Actors Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman are identified with violence. Yet they claim the making of "Unforgiven" marks a change in their attitudes toward violence:
"Now, I'm certainly not doing any penance for any of the mayhem I've presented on the screen over the years," explains Eastwood. "I think it's a time in my life and a time in history that maybe violence should not be such a humorous thing. Or that it should be portrayed without its consequences.... That was a message I had to get across to Gene. I know when I tried to get him to play little Bill Daggett, he said he didn't want to do any more films with a lot of violence."
Hackman says, "Even my kids have been asking me to stop doing those kinds of pictures. I have a lot of feelings about films I've done. But, you know, you take what's offered to you early in your career.... This [film] doesn't appeal to our baser instincts about violence.... Here, we see the aftermath of violence."