Over the course of my life, it seems like I have already absorbed half of Dirty Harry through cultural osmosis. Harry Callahan's proto-Batman snarl, penchant for snappy one liners, and inclination to barrel past the rules to get the job done has been reflected in the myriad cop dramas that have followed it. There is a lot of stuff in this movie that feels cheesy when viewed today, including the often overbearing soundtrack, but I definitely had a great time watching it.
The half of Dirty Harry that I was unaware of before watching it was how transparently and stridently political it is. Seriously, this felt like an extended Nixon campaign commercial. The villain is an outlandishly cartoonish hippie that cackles and sneers while kidnapping women, hijacking school buses, and sniping targets from afar. Seemingly every government official exists to apathetically stand in Callahan's way by giving in to all of the villain's demands and providing him legal cover at every turn. Nothing says nefarious liberal agenda quite like civil liberties and the rule of law.