Movie Review: Unforgiven

Happy Halloween! I know today’s movie review should be a scary movie, but I’m rubbish when it comes to planning. You would think I would be better with dates since I was a history major, but I’m not.

Today’s movie, Unforgiven, is a western starring Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, and Richard Harris. It’s the third western I’ve watched from AFI’s top 100 list. The other two were The Wild Bunch and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I wasn’t a fan of the first and loved the second. Before I give my verdict on Unforgiven, here’s the IMDb synopsis:

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Well that doesn’t say much. I remembered watching this film when it was released in 1992 and I hated it. I couldn’t accept a docile Clint Eastwood. Of course, in 1992 I was a teenager and hadn’t really experienced much in life, even though I was absolutely convinced I knew everything.

When I popped the DVD in recently, I wasn’t expecting much from my second viewing. The movie is 131 minutes long. At the time, though, I didn’t notice that. What I did notice was how I couldn’t take my eyes off the film. Trust me, my dog was unhappy that I wouldn’t play tug-o-war while watching. Maybe I’ve matured since 1992 or more than likely I now have more experiences, including many regrets. I could relate more to Clint’s character. In case you are wondering, no I haven’t killed anyone.

It’s not your typical western; however, I’m not sure what a typical western is since I don’t watch many. Sorry Grandpa—I know you love John Wayne. Considering I thought I would hate this film, I’m happy to report that it’s good. Really, really good. Unless you are a know-it-all teenager and want Clint to blow everyone’s brains out and not feel guilty about it. Was I really that stupid back then?

This movie won four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman), and Best Film Editing. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.

Up next is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, a movie I have never seen and to be honest I’ve avoided it. I’m not a fan of couples who yell a lot and from the clips I’ve seen that’s all they do.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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52 Responses to Movie Review: Unforgiven

  1. i like unforgiven, too.

    it’s been years since i last saw virginia woolf, and i look forward to your take on it. my memories are fuzzy except for all that yelling

  2. FictionFan says:

    I loved Unforgiven, though I’m not generally a fan of Westerns. Or maybe because I’m not generally a fan of Westerns.

    I look forward to hearing what you think of Who’s Afraid – definitely in my Top 5 movies of all times. Both central performances are brilliant – both Burton and Taylor showing that they had pure acting talent rather than just ‘star quality’…

    • TBM says:

      That’s good to know. Your top five. What are the other four?

      • FictionFan says:

        Twelve Angry Men, Casablanca, Key Largo, To Kill a Mockingbird, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, A Few Good Men, White Heat, Die Hard, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, West Side Story, Notes on a Scandal, The Lord of the Rings…hmm, OK maybe I should have said Top 20… 😉

      • TBM says:

        We have a lot of the same on our top 20 list. You are one of the first to agree with me about a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof–such a great flick. I haven’t seen Key Largo, White Heat, Notes on a Scandal–adding them to my rental list.

      • FictionFan says:

        I think you’ll probably love Key Largo and Notes on a Scandal. White Heat’s a bit dated now, maybe, but I’ve always had a huge soft spot for James Cagney…my Dad’s favourite, so I was brought up on his films.

      • TBM says:

        I do love James Cagney! I prefer older films. bumping that one higher up the list now.

      • FictionFan says:

        Hope you enjoy it! I’d love to hear what you think… 🙂

      • TBM says:

        Thanks. Will do.

  3. Dounia says:

    I haven’t seen this one, but I’m a big fan of Clint Eastwood and westerns in general (thanks to my dad 🙂 ). Plus there are some other great actors in Unforgiven too..Thanks for the review and the good movie idea!

  4. lynnsbooks says:

    I can barely remember this film although I’ve definitely seen it! It is a great cast.
    Lynn 😀

  5. Melly says:

    I remember hating it the first time I saw it (I was a teenager too) but I saw it a few years ago and really enjoyed it. It actually changed my mind about Clint Eastwood, I though of him as an actor rather than just an entertainer after that. It’s incredible how a few years change your taste.

    I hope you enjoy Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, I liked it a lot but now that darn song is stuck in my head again. Hehe.

    • TBM says:

      Yes I’m finding that the older I get I can appreciate books and movies more. Not just looking for a shocking story, but stories that have heart and make me think and feel.

  6. Unforgiven: One of the few truly great “realistic” films of the past twenty years.
    As for Virginia Woolf, it isn’t the yelling that gets under your skin and gnaws away at you until you are an astonished, exhausted, wreck. It is, to me, a true catharsis every time I see it. Astounding acting, amazing script and brilliant direction.

  7. Vishy says:

    This is a movie at the top of my ‘To be seen’ list. I watched a little bit of the beginning and then saved it for another time and haven’t got around to watching it yet. Should make plans to watch it soon.

    Hope you enjoy watching ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’. I read the play version recently and found it quite interesting. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

  8. Big Man loves this film, don’t think I’ve seen it so now maybe I should give it a chance!

  9. I’m fairly certain I’ve seen every Eastwood film, but don’t remember this one at all.
    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf isn’t a fun movie to watch, but Richard Burton, Liz Taylor and Sandy Dennis are outstanding.

  10. I saw “Unforgiven” when it was released. It didn’t rock my world. I’m not a big fan of the films Clint Eastwood’s directed. I loathed “Million Dollar Baby” and “Mystic River”, but I did like “Bird” (I’m a huge Charlie Parker fan) and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (I thought that was much better than “Flags of Our Fathers”). Back to “Unforgiven” maybe I should watch it again, but my “to do” list is so long, that’s unlikely. I did see “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” both on screen and last year, on stage, when it was revived on Broadway. Elizabeth Taylor is fantastic in the film, but I could not get her out of my head when I watched it on stage. The stage actress didn’t have Liz’s force. Richard Burton was great, too. I hope it won’t be hell for you. Edward Albee’s play is brilliant. He’s one of my favorite playwrights even though his plays vary in quality, to phrase it politely. To be blunt, some suck out loud.

    • TBM says:

      I think it would be intimidating for most actors to play Taylor’s role in this movie or on stage. From what I hear, she was phenomenal in it and I think if I was an actress I would keep thinking, “They’re going to compare me to Taylor.”

      Suck out loud–that’s hilarious. Sounds like something Dorothy Parker would say.

  11. pattisj says:

    I’ve not seen Unforgiven yet. It’s on the list, maybe one day…

  12. The Guat says:

    Back in the day I didn’t like Clint Eastwood either. I didn’t like Westerns, but when I got to college my Dad’s love for Eastwood influenced me and then I watched many Eastwood flicks on the VCR/DVD Player, you know when they still had VCRs. This movie in particular is awesome. Gene Hackman is so good in this. Glad you watched it again and discovered the awesomeness that is Clint.

    • TBM says:

      I’m a fan of Clint and I think he showed his diversity in this film. And I have to admit, I loved him in Bridges of Madison County. Yep, I’m a secret romantic and a sucker for those films and books. Shh! Don’t tell.

  13. I am pretty sure CH and I watched Unforgiven this summer. Summer was a blur for me. We love our westerns and CH is a big Clint Eastwood fan.

  14. Congratulations on the Red Sox winning the World Series!

  15. Jerry says:

    I’ll see if my library has Unforgiven. I typically avoid old movies. By watching them I often feel like I’m living in the past, being left behind, wasting time. But there are a few that are very good and worth seeing.

  16. Rorybore says:

    LOVE this flick. One of my all time favourites. And I was a big “shoot em up Clint!!” fan too — but I specifically loved that this showed a different character. I liked the darker tone and the moral ambiguity.

    • TBM says:

      Sometimes I still get in the mood to see a shoot em up flick. But yes, this is a wonderful flick since it offers so much more than just point and shoot.

  17. Caroline says:

    I haven’t seen this but I might. I’ve read the play “Whos Afraid . . . ” and loved it. I’m not sure I’ve seen the movie, possible though.

  18. Fergiemoto says:

    I’m glad you liked the movie. I saw it when it first came out and I just couldn’t get into it. I know it is a good movie, though.

  19. Novroz says:

    I saw this ages ago and I barely remember anything. Did you know that Japan remake this movie?

  20. Jo Bryant says:

    I loved this movie. If you are looking for a great ‘Clint’ movie…as well as a terrific ‘Kevin’ movie…this is it.

    • TBM says:

      How funny! I was trying to think of the title of this movie recently, but couldn’t. All I could remember was the trick-or-treating scene. Thanks! I like this movie as well. Kevin is great and the boy is wonderful in it.

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