The 22 Best Clint Eastwood Movies That Aren’t Westerns

Clint Eastwood is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood and has been since the 1960s. A prolific actor and director, Eastwood is now well into his 90s and has contributed to over 50 movies.

A large chunk of his films are Westerns – it's undoubtedly the genre most people think of first when his name gets spoken – but he's also acted in some great movies in different genres.

In this piece, we'll take you through the 22 best movies Clint Eastwood's appeared in that aren't in the Western genre.

1. The Eiger Sanction (1975, directed by Clint Eastwood)

The Eiger Sanction
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Eiger Sanction is an action movie based on Trevanian's 1972 novel. It's about an art history professor, mountain climber, and former assassin who a secret government agency once employed, as he gets blackmailed into returning to his previous profession for one final mission that involves climbing the Eiger.

Eastwood plays the lead role of C-2 Agent Dr. Jonathan Hemlock and does so adeptly, if not iconically. The movie is suspenseful and dramatic, and the climbing scenes are fantastic. The plot's all over the place, but it looks good.

2. Magnum Force (1973, directed by Ted Post)

Magnum Force Clint Eastwood
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Magnum Force is a neo-noir vigilante action thriller and the second movie after 1971's Dirty Harry to feature Clint Eastwood as the nonconformist cop Harry Callahan. In this one, Callahan looks into a conspiracy of vigilante cops who don't mind bending the rules to kill San Francisco's criminals.

It's an exciting movie with an assured performance from Eastwood, but its conflicting moral themes bring it down (Callahan's “anti-vigilantism” really isn't believable). Nevertheless, Magnum Force has plenty of fast-paced action and some excellent stunts.

3. The Mule (2018, directed by Clint Eastwood)

The Mule
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The Mule is a crime drama based on Sam Dolnick's 2014 article in The New York Times, “The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year-Old Drug Mule.” It tells the story of Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran who became a drug courier for the infamous Mexican Sinaloa Cartel while he was in his 80s.

The slow pace of The Mule means it isn't an exciting watch, but it's undoubtedly a charming one. Eastwood's whimsical snarling is endearing, and his overall performance, while subdued compared to normal, is very good.

4. American Sniper (2014, directed by Clint Eastwood)

American Sniper Bradley Cooper Clint Eastwood
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

American Sniper is a biographical war drama loosely based on Chris Kyle's 2012 memoir. It's about Kyle's life, Kyle, as he became the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history (he had 255 kills from four tours in the Iraq War, 160 of which the Department of Defense has officially confirmed).

Bradley Cooper is brilliant as Kyle, giving a gripping performance that makes the film worth watching. It's a pretty sad movie, but its vivid accounts of events warrant significant praise. Eastwood has a mere uncredited cameo as a church-goer, but he appeared in it, so it counts.

5. The Gauntlet (1977, directed by Clint Eastwood)

The Gauntlet
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The Gauntlet is an action thriller about a down-and-out police officer who falls in love with a prostitute after being assigned to escort her from Las Vegas to Phoenix so she can testify against the mob.

It's a fast-paced, energetic, funny movie with near-relentless action. Eastwood is fantastic as the cop who falls for the lady of the night, giving a typically gruff performance. The plot is ridiculous, and the dialogue is straight out of a comic book, but The Gauntlet is an easy, fun watch.

6. Space Cowboys (2000, directed by Clint Eastwood)

Space Cowboys
Image Credit: Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Space Cowboys is an adventure drama about four older “ex-test pilots” – played by Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner – who are sent into space to repair an old Soviet satellite.

It's a clichéd story, but its veteran stars make Space Cowboys a most enjoyable viewing experience. The acting and the tense chemistry between Eastwood and Jones are exceptional, and while it doesn't take any risks, this movie does what it does well.

7. Kelly's Heroes (1970, directed by Brian G. Hutton)

Kelly's Heroes
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Kelly's Heroes is a World War II comedy-drama heist movie that follows a motley crew of American GIs going AWOL to go behind German lines to rob a French bank of its stored Nazi gold bars.

This film perfectly balances humor with the horrors of war. For the most part, it's a fun heist caper with lively performances from Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland, but it's also terrific when it gets serious. It's top-quality satirical commentary.

8. A Perfect World (1993, directed by Clint Eastwood)

A Perfect World
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

A Perfect World is a crime drama about an escaped convict who takes a young boy hostage and goes on the run with the child while various law enforcement officers pursue him.

Kevin Costner stars as the convict, while Eastwood portrays a Texas Ranger in pursuit of him, and both men are fantastic. It's an intelligent, gritty, haunting movie with much heart. The story could be more cohesive, but it's highly watchable, thanks mainly to its cast.

9. Gran Torino (2008, directed by Clint Eastwood)

Gran Torino Clint Eastwood
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

Gran Torino is a drama movie about a recently widowed angry Korean War veteran who befriends his young neighbor (and his family) after the boy gets pressured into trying to steal his prized 1972 Ford Torino for his initiation into a gang.

It's a funny, touching, brilliantly acted movie with a 78-year-old action hero as its lead – and Eastwood pulls it off. The star has a knack for simultaneously being incredibly menacing and likable, and this film epitomizes that. Its multicultural inclusivity warrants praise, too.

10. White Hunter Black Heart (1990, directed by Clint Eastwood)

White Hunter Black Heart
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

White Hunter Black Heart is an adventure drama movie based on Peter Viertel's 1953 novel. It's a semi-fictional account of Viertel's experiences while working on the 1951 film The African Queen. The main character, brash director John Wilson (Eastwood), is based on real-life director John Huston.

It's a poignant and intelligent movie that brilliantly conveys the insecurity some artists endure in their careers. Eastwood is brilliant in this film, and the supporting cast is surprisingly great for a group of actors most people haven't heard of.

11. Tightrope (1984, directed by Richard Tuggle)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Tightrope is a neo-noir psychological mystery slasher crime thriller – and isn't that a mouthful? This movie follows a New Orleans single dad and cop who goes after a serial rapist and murderer but becomes the hunted man when he gets too close to the criminal.

It received praise for portraying a gruff, hard-nosed cop developing as a character and coming to respect a woman. Tightrope is a gripping movie in which Eastwood gives a complex, layered and impactful performance. The chemistry between him and Geneviève Bujold is palpable.

12. Play Misty for Me (1971, directed by Clint Eastwood)

Play Misty for Me
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Play Misty for Me is a psychological thriller about a radio disc jockey who gets relentlessly stalked by an obsessed female fan. This movie was Eastwood's directorial debut, and he plays the lead role of the DJ.

This excellent movie has some genuine scares, and Eastwood and Jessica Walter – the latter in particular – are both fantastic. It's suspenseful, calculating, and thoroughly entertaining, and it has audiences in the palm of its hand and on the edge of their seats.

13. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974, directed by Michael Cimino)

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
Image Credit: United Artists

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a crime comedy about a bank robber who gets his old gang back together to organize a risky new heist with the assistance of a cocky and disrespectful young acquaintance.

It's as funny and dramatic as you could hope a crime comedy could be. Eastwood and Jeff Bridges make a great buddy duo and have excellent chemistry. It's entertaining throughout, if not a little vulgar at times. The tone changes often, but it works in this film.

14. Where Eagles Dare (1968, directed by Brian G. Hutton)

Where Eagles Dare
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Where Eagles Dare is a World War II movie chronicling a joint British-American Special Operations team raiding a mountaintop fortress in the German Alps to rescue a U.S. Army brigadier general.

This movie is a bona fide classic with thrills galore. Its excellent cast, led by Richard Burton, performs brilliantly. The plot is a little convoluted, but most viewers will get the gist of it. The third act, in particular, is completely riveting.

15. Dirty Harry (1971, directed by Don Siegel)

Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Dirty Harry is Eastwood's most iconic movie. It's a neo-noir action thriller that follows San Francisco Police Department Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan as he seeks out a vicious and psychopathic killer.

As controversial as Dirty Harry was, it's a brilliant film. Eastwood is formidable in the eponymous role, and Andy Robinson is frighteningly convincing as the Scorpio Killer, and the thrills are neverending. It's stylish, energetic, and action-packed.

16. The Beguiled (1971, directed by Don Siegel)

The Beguiled
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Beguiled is a Southern Gothic movie based on Thomas P. Cullinan's 1966 novel, originally titled A Painted Devil. It's about a Union soldier who, while recovering in a Confederate girls' boarding school, cons his way into the hearts of several lonely women, causing them to turn on each other and, ultimately, on him.

Eastwood's character, Corporal John “McBee” McBurney, is despicable in this film, but the actor is brilliant. It's one of the strangest movies associated with the veteran star – Quentin Tarantino says it's almost an art film – and it's suspenseful, stylish, darkly funny, and engaging.

17. Million Dollar Baby (2004, directed by Clint Eastwood)

Million Dollar Baby Clint Eastwood Hilary Swank
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Million Dollar Baby is a sports drama based on F.X. Toole's (the pen name of fight manager and cutman Jerry Boyd) stories from his 2000 collection Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner. It's about an amateur female boxer whom a cantankerous boxing trainer helps to achieve her dream of becoming a professional.

Seven Academy Award nominations and four wins say it all. Million Dollar Baby won Best Picture, Best Director (for Eastwood), Best Actress (for Hilary Swank), and Best Supporting Actor (for Morgan Freeman). It's a brilliant movie with excellent performances, direction, and a heartfelt, impactful story. The ending is very depressing, however.

18. The Bridges of Madison County (1995, directed by Clint Eastwood)

The Bridges of Madison County
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The Bridges of Madison County is a romantic drama based on Robert James Waller's 1992 bestselling novel. The movie chronicles a four-day love affair between a National Geographic photographer and an Italian war bride in Iowa in the mid-1960s.

Eastwood and Meryl Streep are superb in this movie, with the latter receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance. It's a sentimental, unrushed, and very easy-to-watch film that's a lot more entertaining than its simple premise suggests it might be.

19. Tarantula! (1955, directed by Jack Arnold)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Tarantula! is a sci-fi monster horror movie about a spider escaping from an isolated Arizona desert laboratory that experiments with giantism and wreaking havoc in the local area as it grows to enormous proportions.

We bet you were surprised to see this movie here! Eastwood appears uncredited in a minor role as a jet squadron leader, but it's a movie he should be proud to be in. It's fast-paced, has excellent special effects for its time, and some genuinely intriguing subplots are at play. Tarantula! is a classic of its genre.

20. Coogan's Bluff (1968, directed by Don Siegel)

Coogan's Bluff Clint Eastwood
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Coogan's Bluff is an action crime thriller about a veteran deputy sheriff from a rural county in Arizona who heads to New York City to escort a captured fugitive who is wanted for murder back for trial.

This movie influenced how action movies would play out for decades and shaped Eastwood's cinematic persona in the future. It's energetic, engaging, and quite funny at times, and Eastwood's performance is easily the most underrated of his entire career.

21. In the Line of Fire (1993, directed by Wolfgang Petersen)

In the Line of Fire
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

In the Line of Fire is a political action thriller about a United States Secret Service agent who couldn't save John F. Kennedy from assassination but is determined not to let a crafty assassin take out the current president.

Although it didn't win any, In the Line of Fire received three Academy Award nominations, and rightly so. It's a brilliant movie with awesomely charismatic performances from Eastwood and John Malkovich (who got a Best Supporting Actor nomination). It's smooth, stylish, intelligent, and completely gripping.

22. Escape from Alcatraz (1979, directed by Don Siegel)

Escape from Alcatraz
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Escape from Alcatraz is a prison action thriller based on J. Campbell Bruce's 1963 non-fiction book, which dramatizes the 1962 prisoner escape from the infamous maximum security prison on San Francisco's Alcatraz Island.

It's Eastwood's best non-Western movie, and he's fabulous as Frank Morris, one of the inmates who escaped. The film is a masterful piece of storytelling and moviemaking, and it's stylish, exhilarating, excellently acted, and makes terrific use of its claustrophobic setting.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Writer and Editor | + posts

Writer and editor with ten years of experience working full-time in this capacity. I've written over 2000 pieces of published work and managed teams of 50+ writers. I've produced content for some of the world's most prominent entertainment and sports platforms. My published work includes feature articles, news and opinion pieces, listicles, quizzes, voice-over scripts, viral content, and more. I'm a British 80s kid who loves movies (horror, superhero stuff, and all things 80s are my favorites), boxing, and football (soccer), a former business owner and executive headhunter, and a Tottenham Hotspur FC fan for my sins.