The symbol of justice is the scale, and yet the scale is never balanced; it falls to the left, and then it swings too far back to the right. That's the whole basis of Magnum Force, the sequel to Dirty Harry. These guys on the police force form their own elite, a tough inner group to combat what they see as opposition to law and order. It's remotely based on a true case, that Brazilian police death squad. It's frightening.
(Clint Eastwood in an interview with Arthur Knight, Playboy
, vol. 21, no. 2, February 24, 1974, p. 68. Quoted in Clint Eastwood/Malpaso
, by Fuensanta Plaza, 1991, p. 60)
When Eastwood received a call from screenwriter John Milius with the basic idea of Magnum Force
, he immediately recognized that the film would help clear up the misconception that Harry Callahan was a fascist. Eager to do the film, he had Milius start working on the script. Before it was finished, however, Milius was given an opportunity to direct a script he had written, and asked Eastwood to find someone else to finish writing the Magnum Force
script. Eastwood turned to Michael Cimino, who had just impressed him with the script he wrote for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
. Cimino was hired and finished the script.
What do you think of the plot for this film? Given that it's "remotely based" on actual events that happened in Brazil, does it seem believable that something such as this could happen in the United States? If so, would it have been more likely to happen in 1973 or now, thirty years later?