Dirty Harry Fans Can Watch Clint Eastwood’S Spiritual Sequel To The Series For Free On Tubi


Dirty Harry became a landmark cinematic experience, and not just because of Clint Eastwood’s powerful performance as renegade cop Harry Callahan. The movie pioneered the ‘loose cannon’ cop genre, delivered with a gritty realism that would become the standard for many police action and drama movies. Dirty Harry would spawn several sequels, but one movie is often overlooked when discussing the legacy of Clint Eastwood and the landmark series.

Tightrope, a spiritual sequel to Dirty Harry, has recently become available to stream for free on Tubi. We will examine how the movie fits into the canon of morally questionable cops, how audiences and critics alike responded to it, and, of course, where you can watch it along with the Dirty Harry films.

Tightrope Plot and Cast

A committed father and recently divorced New Orleans police detective, Wes Block (Clint Eastwood), becomes emotionally involved with a recent investigation of a series of murders where the victims are young women assaulted and strangled with a red ribbon. During the investigation, Wes becomes involved with counselor Beryl Thibodeaux. However, this soon complicates the case as Wes begins to believe that the killer is targeting him and those closest to him. His own sexual desires also begin to merge with the case, with Wes finding himself on morally ambiguous grounds as the killer begins to mimic his own dark persona.

Much like many Clint Eastwood movies, Tightrope is primarily a vehicle for the iconic actor, with a supporting cast that helps elevate his performance but, in this case, contributes little to the overall production. This included romantic interest Beryl Thibodeaux, who was played by Geneviève Bujold. Bujold will be well known among David Cronenberg fans for her role as Claire Niveau in Dead Ringers.

Other notable cast include Dan Hedaya, a character actor with over 100 acting credits in various supporting roles, and Clint Eastwood’s daughter, Alison Eastwood, playing Wes’s daughter. The movie was directed by Richard Tuggle and Clint Eastwood. For Eastwood, he had already established himself as a director, with Tightrope being his 11th feature-length film. Richard Tuggle is best known for writing another Clint Eastwood classic, Escape from Alcatraz.

How Tightrope Is the Spiritual Sequel to Dirty Harry

Tightrope treads similar waters to Dirty Harry, with Wes Block and Harry Callahan, both cops, dealing with moral ambiguity and darker impulses. The approach may be slightly different, with Wes struggling with his sexual deviancy and violent fantasies that blur the lines between him and the serial killer he’s pursuing. Still, the character offers the same critical self-reflective approach to the ‘honorable’ cop trope that made Dirty Harry such an iconic movie. Moreover, this places Wes as a conflicted antihero whose vices place him closer to what he is fighting. The movies focus on the protagonist and the personal demons he fights instead of capturing the ‘bad guy.’

Tightrope attempted to push boundaries similar to those of Dirty Harry. Eastwood’s Harry was pushing the acceptance of violence in the genre, while Tightrope leaned into themes of sexual perversion. Moreover, the dark physiological crime-thriller also brings Eastwood’s signature style and gritty atmosphere, which are favored in his works, presenting an unforgiving urban landscape ruled by vices and criminality.


Themes of vigilante justice and police brutality are traded out to expound on the murkier realms of sexual violence and personal depravity. Still, its core concepts and delivery tie the two films together. Ultimately, Tightrope serves as a dark, psychological, spiritual successor to Dirty Harry despite taking a different approach to its themes; the beats, exploration of morality, and grittiness tie the two together.

The Reception of Tightrope

Tightrope was a financial success, earning over $48 million in the US and Canada on a budget of around 7 million. The movie was largely met with critical praise, with Roger Ebert offering plenty of praise for Eastwood’s performance and even placing it over Dirty Harry in certain elements. He said, “Tightrope may appeal to the Dirty Harry fans, with its sex and violence. But it’s a lot more ambitious than the Harry movies, and the relationship between Eastwood and Bujold is more interesting than most recent male-female relationships in the movie.” On the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, Tightrope currently sits at 85% fresh.

Audiences also took positively to the movie, with many even looking at it decades after its release, finding it impactful. Notably, the dark, transgressive depiction of New Orleans’ underbelly has not lost its shock decades later. Still, the movie does not rank among the most beloved works in the fandom, with its 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes among audiences reflecting a rather split reception.

Getting extremes from “Tightrope is a heavy-handed, substandard Clint Eastwood film. Poor supporting cast. Poor musical score. Poor cinematography” to “Tightrope keeps its audience on the edge of their seats with a stylishly presented Eastwood mystery that unfolds in a suspenseful neo-noir atmosphere” among the audience reviews.

With a divide between audience reception and critical and commercial success, the viewers should check out the movie for themselves to determine. Regardless, comparing the two and seeing that influence adds an extra layer of intrigue that has brought viewers back to Tightrope time and time again despite it not having the same notoriety as the landmark Dirty Harry.

How to Watch Tightrope and the Dirty Harry Movies

Tightrope can now be streamed entirely for free on Tubi. The spiritual successor to Dirty Harry can be viewed on its own, but for those who still want to experience the original film and its follow-ups, there are plenty of options to watch them. Unfortunately, none are currently available to stream, but you can rent Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988) on Apple TV+, YouTube, Google Play, and Prime.