Gran Torino Review
9 Jan 2009
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
The “cool medal” the kids find in Walt’s basement
..is the Silver Star, the U.S. Military’s third highest award for valor in combat. Despite its predominately gold color, it gets its name from the smaller silver star (based on the small silver World War I Citation Star) set inside the large gold star.
Clint Eastwood’s character’s name
, Walt Kowalski, is the real name of legendary wrestler Walter “Killer” Kowalski.
Korean War references
Eastwood’s character is a Korean War veteran, which he has played in other movies such as Heartbreak Ridge (1986) and Absolute Power (1997). In real life, the actor’s penchant for dropping ambiguous Korean War references is considered audacious by those who know him, because he was actually a lifeguard at the Post Swimming Pool at Fort Ord in California for his entire stint in the military.
As of 2017,
the last time Clint Eastwood both starred in and directed a movie.
Walt Kowalski’s gun collection
..seems to consist of weapons he used in the military. His rifle is an American M1 Garand, a 9.5lb .30-06 gas-operated rifle. It was first issued during WWII, then re-issued in Korea before being phased out by the M14 selective fire .308 rifle. His pistol is an M1911A1, a .45 ACP semi-automatic handgun also issued during the Korean war.
Tattoo on upper chest
A Hmong gang member has Chinese characters tattooed on his upper chest. They translate to “family.”
Gran Torinos were built in Lorain, Ohio, 145 miles from Detroit. Walt’s truck could have been built in Wayne, Michigan, twenty miles from Highland Park.
Retirement from acting (and return)
Walt’s death scene near the end of the film was supposed to signify the acting retirement of Clint Eastwood, since this is the only movie in which his character dies on screen. This held true for only four years, when the filmmakers of Trouble with the Curve (2012) convinced him to come out of retirement and star in the movie.
This is the only movie where..
Clint Eastwood loses a gun fight. He did not technically lose, however, as it was deliberate.