“Everyone else stood up because Clint did”: Clint Eastwood Saved Legendary Star Wars Director from Getting Humiliated in Public That He Will Never Forget 

With a “standing ovation” from Clint Eastwood at Cannes—a nod from one legend to another—this director’s legacy enriches the fabric of cinema!

clint eastwood, star wars


  • Clint Eastwood, a prominent Hollywood icon, has a close relationship with fellow director Ron Howard.
  • Howard became celebrated as a director after working with George Lucas on the 1988 flick, Willow.
  • Despite initially receiving mixed reviews, Eastwood’s support saved Howard & Willow from humiliation when it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
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A few stars in Tinseltown shine as brightly as the revered Hollywood icon, Clint Eastwood, who has long been regarded as a respected veteran of the movie business. But have you heard the heartwarming tale of solidarity & respect that developed between Eastwood and Ron Howard, another giant of the silver screen whose directorial finesse often slips under the radar despite his stellar contributions? 


Well, from Howard’s early days of playing Opie in The Andy Griffith Show to holding directing duties for Solo: A Star Wars Story, he has been a relentless force both in front of and behind the camera. However, it was not until the 1980s, when he collaborated with George Lucas on the cult film Willow, that he gained public recognition as a director.

Clint Eastwood, a prominent Hollywood icon, has a close relationship with his fellow director, Ron Howard.
Ron Howard in Japan Premiere of Solo A Star Wars Story | Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

Willow’s initial reception was not too great. Eastwood, who saw the artistry behind the film, however, saved Howard from embarrassment when Willow was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. 


Clint Eastwood’s Saving Grace: How He Averted Ron Howard’s Embarrassment

Starting his career as an actor in the late 1950s and 1960s, Ron Howard, 70, quickly made a name for himself with roles in popular shows like The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days. But it was Splash and Willow that truly made his mark as a director.

While Splash was a commercial success, it was Willow that truly showcased Howard’s talents as a director. However, it was the acclaimed actor-filmmaker Clint Eastwood, 94, who saw the brilliance behind the 1988 flick and gave Howard a “standing ovation” at the Cannes Film Festival, saving the film from utter humiliation.

Ron Howard became celebrated as a director after working with George Lucas on the 1988 flick, Willow.
Val Kilmer in Willow | Lucasfilm Ltd.

Howard’s actress-daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, recalled the moment with fondness, stating that Eastwood’s support meant the world to her father. The Lady in the Water star, 43, shared (via Daily Mail):


My dad made a film called Willow when he was a young filmmaker, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival and people were booing afterwards. It was obviously so painful for him, and Clint, who he didn’t know at that time, stood up and gave him a standing ovation and then everyone else stood up because Clint did.

Two Academy Award nominations were received by Willow, a fantasy story that was ahead of its time and starred Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley.

According to Box Office Mojo, the film made $137.6 million globally against a $35 million budget. 

This is What Ron Howard Admires About Clint Eastwood’s Iconic Filmography

Ron Howard, like a lot of people in the film industry, has always been very fond of his fellow actor-turned-director. Professionally, Clint Eastwood led Howard to believe that the latter’s directing career would not conclude as quickly as the Willow director had anticipated.

Clint Eastwood led Ron Howard to believe that the latter’s directing career would not conclude as quickly as he had anticipated.
Clint Eastwood as William Munny in Unforgiven (Credit: Warner Bros.)

In an enlightening piece by The Hollywood Reporter, Howard candidly shared how Eastwood’s career longevity inspired him to reassess his own timeline. The former was quoted as saying that his prime directing years would likely occur between 50 and 65. But because of Eastwood, he felt prepared to go beyond that:

Considering that Clint Eastwood is out with American Sniper, I think I can tack another decade onto that. 

Personally, Howard has learned from Eastwood to cease comparing his own abilities and accomplishments to those of others. In an interview with Men’s Journal, the Night Shift director once stated:

We’re all constantly keeping score. You can’t help it. But trying to pit ourselves against other people in some measurable way is largely a waste of time. Look at Clint Eastwood and Ridley Scott, two guys who, at least creatively, inhabit their space in a way that I admire. 

Howard’s own cinematic journey continues, with each film enhancing his reputation as a skilled filmmaker while carrying the sage wisdom of Eastwood’s unrivaled path. The Shrinking of Treehorn, the next film on Howard’s directing credit list, is being penned by Rob Lieber & produced by Paramount Pictures.


Both Solo: A Star Wars Story & Willow are streaming on Disney+.


Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1730

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1700 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.