Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Christopher Carley, Bee Vang, and Ahney Her. This was Eastwood's first starring role since 2004's Million Dollar Baby. The film features a large Hmong American cast, as well as one of Eastwood's younger sons, Scott. Eastwood's oldest son, Kyle, provided the score. Set in Highland Park, Michigan, it is the first mainstream American film to feature Hmong Americans. Many Lao Hmong war refugees resettled in the U.S. following the establishment of a socialist government in Laos in 1975.
The story follows Walt Kowalski, a recently widowed Korean War veteran alienated from his family and angry at the world. Walt's young neighbor, Thao Vang Lor, is pressured by his cousin into stealing Walt's prized 1972 Ford Gran Torino for his initiation into a gang. Walt thwarts the theft and subsequently develops a relationship with the boy and his family.
Gran Torino opened in a limited theatrical release in the United States on December 12, 2008, before expanding wide on January 9, 2009. It grossed $270 million worldwide (making it Eastwood's second highest-grossing film to-date). The film received positive reviews from critics for Eastwood's direction and performance; within the Hmong community in the United States, the film was generally praised but also received criticism for its cultural inaccuracies.