By Lee Parham

Cry Macho director Clint Eastwood is best known for his acting performances, but the Hollywood legend has quietly helmed fantastic films for over five decades.

Clint Eastwood has performed in a number of notable roles, including as The Man With No Name in the Dollars Trilogy and in Dirty Harry as the titular character in the film series.

Sudden Impact

While Eastwood is more famously known for acting, he’s also made a name for himself in the world of directing as well.

Eastwood’s directorial debut came 16 years after his first acting performance in 1971 with Play Misty for Me, a psychological thriller marketed as an “invitation to terror.”

The film was a decent success, and Eastwood didn’t wait long to direct more films. Two different efforts were released in 1973: a western called High Plains Drifter and a romance entitled Breezy.

High Plains Drifter

Image: Alan Band/Keystone/Getty Images

Eastwood quickly established himself as not only one of the biggest actors, but as a prolific director as well, with three more films released in the 1970s, including The Outlaw Josey Wales.

This proficiency continued into the 1980s, with a slew of films such as Bronco Billy, Firefox, Honkytonk Man, Sudden Impact, and the critically acclaimed war drama Heartbreak Ridge.

Heartbreak Ridge

While Eastwood was pumping out many films, a number of them failed to make a significant cultural impact. All of that changed in 1992 with the release of his western epic Unforgiven.

Unforgiven is now lauded as one of the greatest westerns ever made, with Eastwood receiving nominations for Best Picture, Director, and Actor at the Oscars.

The remainder of the 1990s saw a number of additional directorial efforts from Eastwood, however none of his films lived up to the high standards of Unforgiven.

Eastwood was able to strike awards gold again in the early 2000s, with his crime drama Mystic River nominated for Best Picture, and its stars Sean Penn and Tim Robbins both winning acting awards.

Just a year later, Eastwood found himself atop the Hollywood mountain again with another Best Picture-winning film in Million Dollar Baby, which also earned Eastwood another Best Director win.

Eastwood then took a swing at World War II dramas with an unconventional approach by directing Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. They told the same story from opposite perspectives.

Flags of Our Fathers

Next, Eastwood saw himself back in the acting spotlight while still directing, this time with Gran Torino. He ushered in the iconic line “get off my lawn”, which would spawn many memes.

In the 2010s Eastwood became very politically active and so did his films. He often portrayed patriotic American heroes in movies like American Sniper, Sully, The 15:17 to Paris, and Richard Jewell.

Eastwood can now be seen in Cry Macho, a modern day western where he features as a rodeo star trying to free his boss's son from Mexico.

Clint Eastwood has been active in Hollywood as an actor since the 1950s with a career spanning many different genres and subjects, highlighted by some of his fantastic work as a director.