Warner Brothers Studio purchased the script of Dirty Harry to cast Frank Sinatra in the lead. Sinatra actually accepted the role, however he'd hurt his hand in a karate fight in The Manchurian Candidate eight years prior and eventually felt he'd have problems holding the heavy .45 Magnum.
Also, his father had recently died, so Sinatra decided he wanted to do something lighter. That year he took the lead role in the western comedy Dirty Dingus Magee, which at least had the word 'Dirty' in it.
Next, the part was offered to John Wayne, who said:
"There are three reasons I didn't take the role of Dirty Harry. I don't like being
Three years later, Wayne starred in his own cop film, McQ.
Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster were also offered the role. Mitchum said, "It's a piece of junk." In a later interview Mitchum said;
"When producers say. 'We really want you to do this script,' I answer, 'I'd need an awful lot of money up front to do that one.' The less I like the script, the higher my price. And they pay. Not that I'm a complete whore, understand. There are movies I won't do for any amount. I turned down Patton and I turned down Dirty Harry. Movies that piss on the world. If I've got $5 in my pocket, I don't need to make money that way."
Burt Lancaster turned down the lead role because he strongly disagreed with the violent, right-wing morals of the story. He believed the role and plot contradicted his belief in "the responsibility for criminal and social justice and the protection of individual rights".
Both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman turned down the part. McQueen refused to make another “cop movie” after Bullit. He also turned down the lead in The French Connection for the same reason.
Believing the character was too "right-wing" for him, Paul Newman suggested Clint Eastwood would be good in it. And the rest is, "Did he fire six shorts, or only five?" history.
Also on this site: John Wayne Branded Himself: urlm.in/oylo
Also on this site: Frank Sinatra Learns the True Value of Friendship: urlm.in/pcbb
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