Clint Eastwood: Cowboy, Cop, Composer

From the Bureau of Breaking News That Everyone Probably Knows Already:

Clint Eastwood composes the scores for some of his films. Who knew?

According to teh intertubes, Eastwood began writing music for his own films as early as 1980, penning songs for Bronco Billy, City Heat and Heartbreak Ridge. In 1992, he wrote the main theme for Unforgiven.

Eastwood is a longtime jazz fan and piano player and contributed simple piano-based themes for each project. His friend Lennie Niehaus then fleshed out the idea and wrote the rest of the score based on the theme.

Mystic River was the first film he wrote the entire score for and his work on Million Dollar Baby earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

Eastwood told Lilian Ross that, “[This score] was a difficult one, because I couldn’t find a theme to that, so I finally looked at—I started thinking about the three main actors—the three boys, played by Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, and Kevin Bacon. They all formed this triangle, so I started writing a triad, playing with that on a piano. And all of a sudden I developed this theme based on this triad, which is nothing terribly complicated, but to me—in a movie, the music shouldn’t be terribly complicated. It should be supporting, not overriding.”

Other films he has contributed music to include The Bridges of Madison County, Absolute Power, True Crime, Space Cowboys and Flags of Our Fathers.

The New Yorker blog has a brief video of Eastwood at the piano.

Now that this information has come to light, The Met should be falling over itself to commission an opera. If Brokeback Mountain can make it on the big stage, why not Dirty Harry?


  1. Maurizio

    I knew some of these facts; I was convinced that Eastwood had also played something in “Bird”, (maybe someone had reported me about this?) but I have not found evidences….

  2. c.s.menzell

    I’ve been very interested in mr. Eastwoods,music. Since I heard the music score of the movie “perfect world” with kevin Costner. It was so beautiful it makes my heart and mind feel refreshed, plus goose bumps. I am hoping that I could find a dvd of set with all of Mr. Eastwood’s music. He is such a talented man. I’ve been romantically enthralled with him eversince he made “every which way but loose my dream is to visit his place in Sanfransisco. I’t is on the top of my list of things to do as soon as I can. sincerly pinkee.

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