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Posted on May 31st, 2012, by

Clint Eastwood is a famous star whose works are known all over the world. At the same time, he personified not only a kind of a successful American who has managed to gain success and public acclaim, become celebrity and get fame, but he also personifies a particular vision of an average American since his characters are often very symbolic and, as a rule, his characters represent some archetype of an American or a part of an American lifestyle. In fact, his creative work produced a profound impact on the development of American cinematography and he is still very influential and any film where he stars or which he directs is traditionally perceived with a particular attention and, as a rule, his films are positively accepted by the audience as well as critics.

Nevertheless, the popularity of Clint Eastwood as a star as well as a director is determined by objective factors such as the successful and very convincing and, what is probably even more important, by his efforts to create a realistic image of a person who possesses certain qualities which traditionally attributed to Americans, to American culture and mentality. In other words, Clint Eastwood created images and entire films which perfectly met the demand of the audience, especially the demand for the typically American films and characters, instead of those clichés characters produced in masses by Hollywood.

At the same time, it should be said that Clint Eastwood pays a particular attention to such notions as honor, personal freedom and liberty spirit, the power of an individual, that implies not only physical force but also spiritual power, honesty, and undefeatable America spirit. In fact, all these concepts are particularly important nowadays in the epoch of the total domination of materialism and consumerism. In fact, his films provides the audience with an opportunity to escape from the severe reality of contemporary America into the illusionary world where basic American values, such as freedom and honor, are still worthy of something and where they are not just beautiful words as they are in the real life. On the other hand, Clint Eastwood can successfully convey the tragedy of many Americans in different life situation, when their traditional values and ideals are deceived or misused by some villains or by the authorities. And it is really important Clint Eastwood’s works inspire optimism and some hope that basic American values and traditions still exist and they will survive in spite of all the problems and challenges of the modern world, where there remains really little room for morality and high spiritual values.

In order to better understand the significance of works of Clint Eastwood, it is necessary to discuss some of his films which are particularly noteworthy and interesting to view in the context of their representation of the basic values, social norms and traditions that were and still are quite popular in American society and which evolved in the course of time.

In this respect, it would be logical to primarily dwell upon the film which was probably one of the most popular films in which Clint Eastwood starred and which actually made this actor extremely popular not only in the USA but also worldwide. This film is Escape from Alcatraz (1978), which was based on the real-life story. Basically, this story can hardly be viewed as a story that perfectly meets traditional American values. At any rate, Clint Eastwood actually plays the part of a criminal that attempts to escape from the prison. Apparently, this is not the best way to gain the popularity because the violation of laws and moral norms has never been positively accepted by American society.

Nevertheless, Clint Eastwood manages to gain the respect of the audience due to the spiritual power of his character and the goal he attempts to achieve. To put it more precisely, on watching a film, it is hardly possible to believe that Clint Eastwood is a really bad guy that deserved the severe punishment. In stark contrast, by the end of the film a viewer can hardly get rid of a desire that this guy would succeed in his efforts to escape and, even though, the ending of the film is not clear it is still possible to presuppose that he has succeeded. In fact, this is due to this irresistible desire to get freedom Clint Eastwood gains the great respect of the audience and that was particularly important in the late 1970s, when this spirit of freedom haunted the US. In fact, the film and Clint Eastwood’s character perfectly reflects that desire of freedom that overwhelmed American society in the 1960s ”“ 1970s and when the opposition to the norms was not totally wrong, instead, it was practically a norm.

In this respect, the film Blood Work (2002), where Clint Eastwood played the main part of the FBI veteran, is rather contrasting compared to the Escape from Alcatraz because in this film Clint Eastwood plays a part of the FBI officer who protects the law and attempts to punish criminals who violated all legal and moral norms. To put it more precisely, on receiving the heart of a murder victim, he cannot keep living a normal life until the moment he punishes the murderer. It was very important because such an irresistible, almost mystical desire of establish justice and punish villains is traditional to American culture and is highly appreciated by American society. It is worthy of mention that such a desire of revenge for a crime and injustice was particularly strong in the early 2000s, especially after the terror attacks on September 11. In such a context, Blood Work may be viewed as a kind of response of Clint Eastwood and creators of the film on the terror attacks. At any rate, the desire of revenge for injustice and attempt to punish murderers were really strong in American society at that period of time. This is probably why the role played by Clint Eastwood was so positive and became so popular in the US because he practically personified justice and he revenges on criminals even though the victim of the crime had been already dead.

Symbolically, within just a few years, Clint Eastwood creates quite a different film as director, Flags of Our Fathers (2006). In fact, this film is very important from the point of view of the relationship between the state and ordinary Americans. It should be pointed out that probably this film attempts to show the extent to which the American authorities could be deceitful and how they can easily use ordinary Americans in their own interests. What is even more important is the fact that Clint Eastwood has managed to show the great hypocrisy of the US authorities that used three surviving flag-raisers as propaganda tools. At the same time, Clint Eastwood underlines that the US government had absolutely mercantile goals to meet which it used the three flag-raisers as means, as commodities.

So, the director shows that the US government used these three heroes simply to raise the moral of American people and raise money for war efforts. In this respect, it is easily possible to trace the analogy with the current situation in the US when the official policy of the President Administration is severely criticized and Clint Eastwood simply shows that American society may be simply deceived by the current US government which uses the tragedy of September 11, and the War on Terror as a pretext for the ongoing war efforts and simply to raise the moral of American people, while actual heroes that sacrificed their lives to save victims of that tragedy are used as tools of propaganda.

At the same time, this film is quite contrasting to Blood Work since, instead of the almost blind trust in law and law enforcement agencies in Blood Work, Flags of Our Fathers show that the authorities are not worthy of such a trust that reflect the general distrust of American people to the authorities.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the creative of Clint Eastwood reflected the basic trends in social and spiritual life of American people. At the same time, he was always on the side of those who defended traditional American values and strive for justice and honor.

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