A paparazzi once cornered Quentin Tarantino as he was coming out of an airport and asked him which Clint Eastwood film was his favorite. The Hateful Eight director said The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, unsurprisingly.
Clint Eastwood has also praised Tarantino’s work and said that Pulp Fiction was one of the best films he saw at the Cannes Film Festival the year it premiered.
It’s really no surprise that both iconic directors love each other’s work. Tarantino has, of course, drawn from his influences, including Eastwood, for virtually every one of his projects. His love for spaghetti Westerns, the genre Eastwood made famous, shines on in his films The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained, and you can argue, all of his other eight films.
But if Eastwood and Tarantino were both starring in a Western and it came time for the famous showdown, who would win? Eastwood’s got a couple of decades on Tarantino.
Eastwood’s 91 Years Old And Not Stopping
This year Eastwood turned 91, and Variety pointed out he’s still outshooting directors half his age. “There’s no putting Clint Eastwood out to pasture,” they wrote.
Eastwood has been acting since 1955 and directing since 1971.
He entered into the Western world with the series Rawhide, in which he starred from 1959 to 1965. Then he starred in Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy as the “Man with No Name” throughout the ’60s. Into the ’70s, he took his fame even higher, as the antihero cop Harry Callahan, a.k.a. Dirty Harry, in the five films.
He’s acted in nearly all of the films he’s directed, including Bronco Billy (1980), Firefox (1982), Sudden Impact (1983), Pale Rider (1985), Heartbreak Ridge (1986), Unforgiven (1992), True Crime (1999), Millions Dollar Baby (2004), and Gran Torino (2008).
He started to sit back behind the scenes in the director’s chair for his later films though, including Mystic River (2003), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Changeling (2008), Invictus (2009), Hereafter (2010), J. Edgar (2011), Jersey Boys (2014), American Sniper (2014), Sully (2016), and The 15:17 to Paris (2018).
For his earliest roles, Eastwood was only taking home a couple of hundred dollars. Still, once he established himself as a cultural icon in the ’70s and ’80s, he was making way more, especially starring and directing. So the four-time Oscar winner’s $375 million net worth isn’t astounding.
There’s no slowing down for him either. Last year, he told the U.K.’s This Morning that he enjoys what he does.
“I like doing it; it’s nice to be able to have a paying job,” he said. “I like being in films, I like making films, and I started directing films because I thought one day I’m going to look up on screen and say, ‘That’s enough, Eastwood – you’d better do something else.'”
He’s also expressed his confusion over fellow directors Billy Wilder and Frank Capra’s decisions to quit the business at a younger age. He wants to keep working as long as he’s able to unearth projects that are “worth studying.”
Does Dirty Harry come out on top, though?
Tarantino Wants To Throw In The Towel
Tarantino obviously has a way younger career than Eastwood’s, but no less successful. He started his career in the late ’80s when Eastwood was already internationally famous.
Unlike Eastwood, Tarantino did not start his career acting (although he does have some minor credits, mostly from his own films). He entered the business writing and directing.
His first film was 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, then came Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Death Proof (2007), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained (2012), The Hateful Eight (2015), and what might be his very last film, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (2019).
Tarantino claims he wants to retire after ten successful films because he wants to end his career on a high instead of fading out with unsuccessful follow-up films. “I guess the idea is nothing lasts forever. I’ve been making movies one way for a while. I’ve built my whole life to do that,” Tarantino explained. “I would rather choose my own ending.”
He told Indie Wire, “I guess I do feel that directing is a young man’s game. I do feel that cinema is changing, and I’m a little bit part of the old guard.”
Apparently, he needs to remember that Eastwood is still going strong in the game, too, so he’s not the only one still part of the “old guard.” Regardless, Tarantino’s films have made him a boat-load of money and have contributed to his $120 million net worth.
So, it turns out that Eastwood is a far richer man than Tarantino. But is that completely surprising? Eastwood has decades on Tarantino, who is very selective about releasing films. Eastwood can’t seem to stop churning them out. We know who’s the richest, but it’s fair to say their success is equal in their respective generations. One thing’s for sure, though, when both Eastwood and Tarantino stop working, it’s going to be a dark day in Hollywood.