On This Day: Clint Eastwood Film ‘Firefox’ Premieres in Theaters in 1982

by Joe Rutland
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Clint Eastwood decided to dive into the world of Cold War-era thrillers as, on this day in 1982, his movie “Firefox” premiered in theaters.

Eastwood plays Major Mitchell Gant, who aims to steal a fighter aircraft that the Soviet Union has produced. Its nickname is “Firefox” and, in the movie, is a MiG-31 Soviet plane. Gant, a former prisoner of war in the Vietnam War, infiltrates the Russians and gets the aircraft back into friendly territory. Why? So they can check it out.

Trouble’s brewing, though, as the KGB hears about the plan. It gets its agents involved and all of this leads to Clint Eastwood furiously shaking off Soviet attempts to shoot down the plane. Gant finds himself involved in a dogfight with a Soviet pilot, but he finds safe haven for refueling at a United States submarine.

Gant goes back into the air and, eventually, uses one of the “Firefox” rockets to down the Soviet plane. He then heads off to safety.

“Firefox” was directed and produced by Clint Eastwood on a $21 million budget. Reportedly, the movie took in more than $46 million at the box office.

Clint Eastwood Makes Name For Himself In Movies, TV Alike

While “Firefox” debuted on this day, Clint Eastwood already had a fistful of movies and TV shows to his credit.

Classic TV fans recognize him from playing “Rowdy” Yates on “Rawhide.” Movie fans know him from playing “Dirty Harry” Callahan in that film series.

Yet Eastwood starred in a number of movies that fall under the “Spaghetti Western” umbrella thanks to director Sergio Leone. “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” “A Fistful of Dollars,” and “For A Few Dollars More” made up that trilogy.

Clint Eastwood went on and even had more success in the movie industry. In fact, he has four Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards, respectively. Eastwood also has been presented with an AFI [American Film Institute] Life Achievement Award.

‘Rawhide’ Role Provided Actor With Breakthrough Role In His Career

He really worked hard to get that breakout role on “Rawhide,” which soared in the ratings just weeks after its debut. Clint Eastwood wasn’t happy with his role and some of those who worked on the show thought he didn’t work hard enough. Mind you, “Rawhide” would sometimes shoot for six days, 12 hours a day, for weeks on end.

The show lasted eight seasons on CBS, owning Friday Nights. But network President William Paley didn’t like its production. Paley gave “Rawhide” a rude Christmas present by canceling the show in December 1965.

Eastwood was probably glad his TV time was over as he could turn his attention to movies. “Rowdy” Yates got him in front of millions of eyes on the small screen. Those fans could go see him now on the big screen, too.

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