Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan, tough San Francisco Police Department inspector
San Francisco, August 1972
Film: Magnum Force
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: Ted Post
Costume Supervisor: Glenn Wright
When the first Dirty Harry sequel was being conceptualized in the early 1970s, Clint Eastwood recalled a plot line introduced by Terrence Malick in an unused first draft for Dirty Harry that was fleshed out by John Milius to center around a group of young rogue officers in the San Francisco Police Department who formed a secret vigilante “death squad” to rid the city of its worst criminals. This neatly responded to criticism of Harry Callahan’s methods from the first film, illustrating that while Harry may be an antihero comfortable with skirting red tape to get the job done, he doesn’t extend down into the villainous domain that truly takes the law into their own hands, illustrated by the movie’s repeated motif that “a man’s got to know his limitations.”
Magnum Force launched the careers of several of the actors playing the young officers like Tim Matheson, David Soul, and Robert Urich, who would go on to star in ’70s fare such as Animal House, Starsky & Hutch, and Vega$, respectively.
The involvement of Milius meant plenty of attention paid to firearms, from the title itself and the lingering shots of Harry’s .44 Magnum over the opening credits to extended dialogue about the officers’ weapons and shooting practice and competitions beyond the call of duty. When Milius left to film Dillinger, Michael Cimino was hired to revise the script, adding more action sequences and—at Eastwood’s suggestion—a love interest for Harry named Sunny (Adele Yoshioka).
While Milius scoffed at additions like this, he was no doubt pleased by scenes that found Harry and the officers comparing the relative merits of their service revolvers, later followed by an annual shooting competition where Harry gets to show off his abilities not just with his own legendary Smith & Wesson but also with the .357 Magnum carried by the rogue group’s ostensible leader, Officer John Davis (David Soul)… though this turns out to be merely a method for Harry to get his hands on slugs from the revolver to conduct ballistics testing that would potentially link Davis and his fellow officers to the murder of a drug kingpin.
What’d He Wear?
Per request from BAMF Style reader Ryan, let’s take a look at Harry’s dressed-down duds for target shooting. While practicing at the range and in competition, Harry wears a comfortable dark navy windbreaker made from water-resistant cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. Similar to a classic “Harrington jacket”, the waist-length jacket has a standing two-button collar, a zip front, slanted side pockets (albeit without flaps), and raglan sleeves.
However, Harry’s jacket has more in common with the Baracuta G4 golf jacket than the G9 “Harrington” as evident by the non-blouson waist hem and the cuffs having an adjustable button closure rather than elasticized ribbing. The jacket is decidedly not a Baracuta as it lacks the venerated British brand’s signature Fraser tartan plaid lining, instead lined in a navy material that matches the lightweight shell, though you’d be in good hands with a Baracuta G4 if you’re looking to crib Harry’s look.
Update! After this post was published, BAMF Style reader Dan suggested London Fog as the potential manufacturer of Harry’s jacket. Based on seeing some of their 1970s golf jackets (such as this piece that sold on Poshmark), this may indeed be the solution!
Harry likely chooses this as his designated shooting jacket in Magnum Force as there two outward-facing pleats on each side of the back, shirred at the horizontal yoke that reaches from armpit to armpit, giving Harry a greater range of easy movement as he takes aim.
When Harry arrives at the shooting range for an evening of target practice among the SFPD “death squad”, he wears a pine green short-sleeved polo shirt made from a lightweight synthetic knit fabric as was trendy during the mid-’70s. The shirt has a set-in breast pocket with a single-button flap (best seen in behind-the-scenes photography when Eastwood has his jacket off) and a long front placket with four imitation pearl plastic buttons.
Later in Magnum Force, his suspicions aroused by the young officers, he dresses more casually for the shooting competition in a red crew-neck T-shirt with elbow-length raglan sleeves. On the left breast is a small design consisting of two bright orange footprints, matching a similar logo—embroidered in navy blue—on Officer Davis’ sky blue polo shirt.
The logo suggests that Harry’s and Davis’ shirts were made by Hang Ten USA, “the original surf and California lifestyle brand” that has used this double footprint logo since it was founded in 1960. While the brand continues to offer surf clothing today, you can also scour eBay for vintage finds similar to the short-sleeved top Harry wears for his competition.
Harry removes his jacket during the competition to reveal his tanned leather shoulder rig with a holster suspending his signature Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver under his left arm for a right-handed draw. As in the earlier installment, Dirty Harry, Harry carries a 6.5″-barreled model in what appears to be the same tanned leather Bucheimer-Clark holster with a sewn yoke, tension screw, and narrow belt strap.
Harry’s trousers are beige flat front chinos with a long rise and a straight leg that flatters Eastwood’s tall, lean physique as he strides across the field during the competition. The trousers have on-seam side pockets, jetted back pockets, plain-hemmed bottoms, and tall belt loops for his thick brown leather belt, detailed through the center in light brown and fastened through a large, gold-toned single-prong buckle.
Harry’s brown napped leather sneakers coordinate with his shoe leather and the informality of the outfit. They are lined in a white leather that can be seen around the ankle collar as a marked contrast to his slightly darker chocolate brown cotton lisle socks.
Thanks in large part to John Milius’ early influence, Magnum Force ensured that Harry’s iconic Smith & Wesson Model 29 would continue to ride its momentum from Clint Eastwood’s introduction two years earlier as “a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world,” to become one of the most famous movie firearms of all time. (The title alone, Magnum Force, suggests the power not only of Harry’s Smith & Wesson but also the .357 Magnum revolvers carried by each member of the SFPD death squad.)
Harry’s blued steel Model 29 with its rosewood grips has the same 6.5″ barrel as he carried in Dirty Harry, bringing the weapon’s overall length to one foot. When shooting with the “death squad” officers at the firing range, he explains that his ammunition is “a light Special… this size gun, it gives you better control and less recoil than a .357 Magnum with wadcutters.” The line was reportedly a holdover from John Milius’ contributions, though the firearms-enthusiast director was no longer attached to the production at the time and wasn’t able to clarify that, although the Model 29 can fire the lighter .44 Special round, Harry’s line instead implied that he used a lighter .44 Magnum load that he specially prepared himself.
In 1979, after the first three films of the Dirty Harry franchise were released, Smith & Wesson shortened the Model 29’s 6.5″ barrel length to 6″, and it was this 6″-barreled Model 29 that Clint Eastwood carried in his Bianchi X2000 holster for the final two installments, Sudden Impact (1983) and The Dead Pool (1988).
As always, you can learn more about this and other firearms featured in Magnum Force by checking out IMFDB.
How to Get the Look
Harry Callahan comfortably layers in a roomy windbreaker and chinos for days and nights practicing with his famous .44 Magnum.
- Navy water-resistant cotton or cotton-blend waist-length zip-front windbreaker jacket with standing two-button collar, slanted side pockets, raglan sleeves with button cuffs, and horizontal yoke with double side-pleat sets
- Red cotton crew-neck raglan-sleeve T-shirt
- Beige chino cotton flat front trousers with tall belt loops, straight/on-seam side pockets, jetted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Brown (with light brown center) leather belt with large gold-toned single-prong belt buckle
- Brown suede 4-eyelet sneakers
- Chocolate brown cotton lisle socks
- Light brown leather shoulder holster (RHD) for a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver