“I’D Have Just Died”: Clint Eastwood’S Ignorance Saved His Life After Hitching A Ride Left Him In Shark Infested Icy Waters


Clint Eastwood has a long and storied career in Hollywood, first as an actor and then as a director. However, prior to his Hollywood success, Eastwood was also in the United States Army, where he served between 1951 and 1953. During this time, Eastwood faced a near-death experience while hitching a ride on a military plane.

The acclaimed director recently spoke to students at the Loyola Marymount University School of Film & TV, where he addressed his near-death experience after the flight crashed and left him in shark-infested waters. Here is how Eastwood described his experience and why he credited his ignorance for his survival.

Clint Eastwood Reveals How He Survived After Hitchhiking Experience Went Wrong

Clint Eastwood has been an influential figure in Hollywood, through his more than seven decades-long career as an ac tor and filmmaker. Eastwood took part in the Hollywood Masters interview series at Loyola Marymount University where he reflected on his career.


During the interview, Eastwood was asked about his time in the army, particularly an incident where hitching a ride on a military plane crash landed him in icy cold water. Eastwood revealed that as army personnel, he could get a free plane ride on the planes of other branches of the armed forces.

Eastwood recalled traveling to a naval base in Monterey and hitching a ride to Seattle on a World War II-era vintage bomber plane. However, Eastwood admitted experiencing stark fear after everything went wrong on the flight, including radio blackouts and oxygen running out.

“The pilot flew it around for quite a while and we ran out of fuel up around Point Reyes, California. And went in the ocean.”

Eastwood made the above statement (via The Hollywood Reporter) recalling the plane crash that forced him to swim to survive after finding himself stranded in cold water. The Academy Award-winning director later learned that the water was shark-infested.

“Found out many years later that it was a white shark breeding ground but I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time or I’d have just died, just had apoplexy or something.”

Although Eastwood survived the incident, he admitted that it was mainly because of his ignorance. The actor-director implied that had he known he was in a shark-infested water body, he could have died from a stroke or hemorrhage.

Clint Eastwood Claims American Sniper is an Anti-War Film

During the same interview, Eastwood was also asked about the controversial nature of American Sniper, the biographical drama film, which is Eastwood’s highest-grosser as a director. Eastwood addressed whether he thought the film glorified war and the role of US military snipers in it.

Eastwood admitted that some portions of the film glorify the profession of sniping. However, the director also remarked how different aspects of the film highlight the dire impact of war on the main character, especially his psychological state.

“I think it’s nice for veterans because it shows what they go through, you know, and that life. And the wives and families of veterans. It has a great indication of the stresses they are under. And I think that all becomes… Adds up to kind of an anti-war.”

He made the above statement explaining why he felt that American Sniper was an anti-war film despite its focus on war and related issues. Eastwood also stated he personally held an anti-war stance despite making several films that explore conflicts stemming from wars.

American Sniper is streaming on Max.