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Unforgiven, Essential Revision Notes

Unforgiven (Film)

dir. Clint Eastwood

Leaving Certificate English

Revision Notes

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Table of Contents

Film, Director background 4

Unforgiven’s Wild West 4

Summary 5

Characters and Cast 8

William Munny (Clint Eastwood) 8

Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman) 8

Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) 8

The Schofield Kid (James Woolvett) 9

English Bob (Richard Harris) 9

Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) 9

The Prostitutes 10

Themes with Supporting Quotations 11

Violence 11

Transformation 12

Memory and the past 13

Death 14

Film, Director background

In August, 1992, shortly before Unforgiven’s release, Clint Eastwood said this in a New York Times interview: "I'm not sure this will be my last western, but if it is it'll be the perfect one."

Even if some critics don’t consider Unforgiven the best Western movie of all time (there is a lot of competition for that title) it features prominently in many best-of-genre lists. And it also won the 1992 Oscar for Best Picture making it one of only three full-blooded Westerns ever to achieve that distinction. Unforgiven received 4 Academy Awards in total, including Best Director and Best Supporting Actor.

On its surface the plot is simple, Robin Hood-like even: a former outlaw named William Munny (Eastwood) comes out of retirement and returns to the murder-for-hire business only to find himself up against the equally evil sheriff of Big Whiskey, Wyoming, Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman).

Rife with moral dilemma and ambiguity, this film is incredibly dark, often literally so as much of the film is set at night – which is a significant reason why this Western stands above many others.

Unforgiven’s Wild West

The reality of the Wild West often comprised murder, abuse of power, isolation, desperation, and fear. Clint Eastwood's Will Munny is a murderous loner tamed by domestic life. Gene Hackman's Little Bill is a psychopath and control freak who strains to maintain an air of sani...

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