Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Unforgiven (1992)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Unforgiven (1992)

In producer/actor/director Clint Eastwood's Best Picture-winning, acclaimed revisionistic western that provided an unromanticized view of life on the frontier - it was his own tribute to his legendary legacy in Sergio Leone's low-budget 'spaghetti' westerns, and a return to his most successful film genre. It was the winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture - the third western to win the top prize. This serious, dark, film-noirish, violent tale of retribution radically redefined and realistically debunked and demythologized the grandeur and romanticism of the Western genre.

  • in this modern-day classic western shot on location, Eastwood reprised his film origins - as a gritty and weathered Western character (e.g., The Man With No Name) and as his urbanized 'Dirty Harry' vigilante in Don Siegel's films. Eastwood played the role of William Munny, a weakened, once-violent, mythological, retired but reformed gunfighter - also an aging and struggling Kansas pig farmer, father, and widower (when his wife Claudia died of smallpox in 1878) who had given up drinking. However, the opening scrolling title card described his past reputation as a mean-spirited killer: "A known thief and murderer, a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition."
  • in the early 1880s, the town of Big Whiskey, WY was run by mean, corrupt, sadistic, and autocratic Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett (Gene Hackman, winner of Best Supporting Actor). In the town, the local brothel was owned by Skinny Dubois (Anthony James) and run by the madam, Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher). Two vicious cowboys, Davey (Rob Campbell) and Mike (David Mucci) viciously knife-attacked and slashed the face of one of the prostitutes named Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson)
  • when the town's Sheriff arbitrarily reduced the punishment from hanging, to horse-whipping, to a payment of ponies, to a simple fine for Delilah's disfigurement, it was considered an outrage. Due to these and other injustices, the women of the brothel collectively offered a $1,000 bounty for the two cowboys

William Munny (Clint Eastwood)

Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman)

The "Schofield Kid" (Jaimz Woolvett)
  • months later, Munny reluctantly decided to take on one last bounty-hunting job to get the money for his children when he teamed up with his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) (whose common-law wife Sally Two Trees (Cherrilene Cardinal) objected to Ned's association with Munny) and a young, cocky, bounty-hunting braggart named the "Schofield Kid" (Jaimz Woolvett), to travel to Big Whiskey to track down the two cowboys and collect the reward. Over a campfire, Munny claimed to Ned that he had truly reformed himself after marrying: "I'm just a fella now. I ain't no different than anyone else no more."
  • others who had already arrived in the frontier town of Big Whiskey included white-haired Britisher English Bob (Richard Harris) and his nervous biographer Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek). The Sheriff - who thwarted the efforts of anyone attempting to collect the bounty, convinced Beauchamp to become his own biographer, while he ran English Bob out of town after almost beating him to death
  • upon the arrival of the trio, the Sheriff regarded Munny as an outsider and severely beat him, although Ned and the Kid were able to escape unharmed from an upper-floor window in the saloon while visiting with prostitutes
  • after some time passed and Munny healed (while his buddies were "taking advances" on the bounty money with "free ones" from the prostitutes), the threesome was able to locate one of the cowboys (Davey) as he was roping calves, and they eliminated him (Ned fired on his horse, and Munny killed the downed, injured cowboy)
  • Ned decided to give up the bounty quest and departed from the group to return home, but he was apprehended by the Sheriff's men, questioned, bare-back whipped (while tied to jail cell bars), and ultimately murdered
  • meanwhile, Munny and the Kid located the whereabouts of the 2nd cowboy Mike, who was being protectively guarded by the Sheriff's cohorts. During a visit to an outhouse, Mike was gunned down and killed by the Kid
  • following the murder, in a stark scene under a lone tree, the distraught Kid admitted that it was in fact his first killing, although he bragged about falsely killing five men earlier, and he was disturbed by it: ("It don't seem real, how he ain't gonna never breathe again, ever, how he's dead"). He resolved and promised Munny that he would never kill again and gave up his gun: "I'm never gonna use it again. I won't kill nobody no more. I ain't like you, Will." Munny advised the young Kid: "It's a hell of a thing, killin' a man. You take away all he's got an' all he's ever gonna have....We all have it comin', kid."
  • now that the two cowboys were dead, the prostitutes paid off Munny and the Kid, but they also learned that Ned had been gruesomely murdered by the Sheriff. While Munny remained behind, The Kid was told to return home to split the money with Ned's family and buy himself spectacles, although he was worried that Munny might kill him for the money - until he was reassured: "You don't have to worry, Kid. I ain't gonna kill you. You're the only friend I got"
  • as he rode into town outside Skinny's brothel-saloon, Munny observed Ned's bloodied, tortured, upright corpse in an open casket with a written warning ("THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO ASSASSINS AROUND HERE"). Fearlessly, he entered the bar with his raised shotgun, and cocked it. Following his own code of retribution and redemption, he shot the unarmed Skinny for "decorating" his saloon with his friend ("He should have armed himself if he's gonna decorate his saloon with my friend"); when criticized by the Sheriff for being a coward, Munny identified himself to the Sheriff as he had always been remembered, and conformed to his reputation as the meanest and most fearsome, cold-blooded killer:

    "That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned."

  • Munny's grim mission of moral revenge, in loyalty to Ned, brought a tense stand-off between the cool-headed Sheriff and the "mangy scoundrel." When Munny's gun misfired, he tossed his worthless shotgun at the Sheriff to distract him, and then fired at Little Bill and some of his deputies (Clyde, Andy, and Fatty) with the rifle. He wounded Little Bill and killed five of the others. With his pistol drawn, Munny brutally warned the others who cowered before him: "Any man don't want to get killed better clear on out the back."
  • seeking bloody, unglamorous retributive revenge for Ned's death, Munny pointed his shotgun at the downed, wounded Sheriff, who begged not to die. Entirely at Munny's mercy after his gun was shot away, Little Bill pleaded and lamented that he wouldn't live long enough to enjoy his dream house in old age: ("I don't deserve this, to die like this. I was building a house"). Munny responded coldly: "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it" - the Sheriff's last words were: "I'll see you in hell, William Munny." After an extended pause with the gun barrel floating above Little Bill's head, Munny blasted him - unforgiven
Little Bill: "I don't deserve this. To die like this..."
  • striding out of the saloon, he shot a moaning and wounded Clyde, and then crouched down and yelled a further warning to anyone on the street who dared to shoot at him as he left town: ("All right, I'm coming out. Any man I see out there, I'm gonna shoot him. Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only gonna kill him, but I'm gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down")
  • he escaped unharmed, and as he rode away past Ned's body, he starkly announced and commanded further frontier justice in the film's final line of dialogue: "You better bury Ned right! Better not cut up, nor otherwise harm no whores, or I'll come back and kill every one of you sons of bitches."

Opening Scrolling Title Card

English Bob (Richard Harris)

English Bob with His Nervous Biographer Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek)

The Shooting Death of 1st Cowboy Davey (Rob Campbell) by Munny

The Shooting of 2nd Cowboy Mike (David Mucci) in an Outhouse by the Schofield Kid

The Kid Admitting It Was His First Killing

Munny to the Kid: "It's a hell of a thing, killin' a man"

Ned Captured, Bare-back Whipped, and Murdered by the Sheriff

Munny to the Kid: "I ain't gonna kill you. You're the only friend I got"

Ned's Upright Tortured and Bloodied Corpse in a Casket Outside the Saloon

Munny's Confrontational Shoot-out In the Saloon


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z