Clint Eastwood is an actor and director known for his impressive filmography that spans over several decades. One of his most notable works is the 1986 film, Heartbreak Ridge. The film is a military drama that tells the story of a seasoned Marine sergeant who trains a group of young, undisciplined recruits to become an effective fighting unit.
While the film is widely known and loved, there are still several things that many people do not know about. In this article, we’ll take a look at five things that make Heartbreak Ridge one of Clint Eastwood’s greatest but sadly more overlooked works.
1. Clint Eastwood Is Anti-War
While Clint Eastwood is known for his conservative political leanings, he is surprisingly anti-war. Despite his support for politicians like John McCain, he has been openly opposed to American interventionism of all kinds. Eastwood has made a number of films about war and insists that his films are instilled with an anti-war message.
Following the release of American Sniper, he had to deny accusations of it being military propaganda. In Heartbreak Ridge, Eastwood tackles one of America’s quickest and most controversial invasions of another country.
2. Eastwood Was A Sitting Mayor
Eastwood was inspired by his political philosophy and ambition to actually run for mayor of a small city in California called Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1986. Like fellow actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eastwood won his election and served as mayor from 1986 to 1988. Interestingly, these years of service coincide with the release of three of his projects, Heartbreak Ridge, Bird, and The Dead Pool.
3. The Department Of Defense Drama
It’s well known that the Pentagon often supports movies that are about war in some capacity. However, in the case of Heartbreak Ridge, there was enough clashing between the Pentagon and Clint Eastwood for them to cancel their support for the film back in 1986. Although the details of their breakup are not completely certain, it was confirmed that the Department of Defense fully withdrew support for the movie because of a lack of script changes.
4. Eastwood Didn’t Fight In Korea In Real-Life
Despite his iconic roles as a tough fighter in movies, Clint Eastwood didn’t see much action in his real-life experiences with war. He was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War but was not assigned to a combat role. In fact, he was not stationed in Korea at all during the conflict and instead served as a lifeguard at a military installation in California.
5. The Feud Between Eastwood And Fritz Manes
While Heartbreak Ridge proved to be a successful and enduring film, it wasn’t without its behind-the-scenes drama. The film starred and was directed by Clint Eastwood, but it was also produced by his longtime friend and collaborator, Fritz Manes. Unfortunately, the film put an irreconcilable strain on their friendship, thanks to issues regarding Fritz’s job performance. After that, Eastwood fired his friend, and they never were able to repair things.
It May Be Time To Rewatch It
Heartbreak Ridge is a true gem in Clint Eastwood’s filmography. Despite its age, the movie remains relevant and thought-provoking, offering a unique perspective on war and the military. From the surprising political leanings of Clint Eastwood to the film’s rocky relationship with the Department of Defense, Heartbreak Ridge is a movie that continues to surprise and delight viewers even today.