Shapstik’s Movie Clip of the Week: Unforgiven (1992)

“You were right not to take it Bob. I would have killed you”

My favourite scene from my favourite western of all time. Gritty, dark and very realistic, Eastwood directs what I think is his best film from a genre that has defined his life. Unforgiven explores how the old west dealt with the specter of death and looks at how interwoven violence is in their lives.

I have chosen this scene as it epitomizes the above and I especially love the way Little Bill describes how courage and a steady hand is much more valuable than a ‘quick hand’ or a ‘fast draw’. This is in itself interesting as we were all brought up with the glorified notion that western heroes and legends were by default the ‘fastest hand in the west”. Beauchamp represents the way the lack of literature has allowed misinformation to evolve from the west, with English Bob’s lies about his past making it clear that everything written down cannot be trusted.

The whole scene is class from start to finish and showcases Hackman as one of the best ever actors, with his presence and ability to turn his character into a real western figure. One of the most intimidating characters ever penned in the western genre and a movie that I will simply never stop watching.

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