The 17 Best Western Movies

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 4, 2013 · 552 comments

in Movies, Travel & Leisure

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Few figures in history have had as powerful an impact on American masculinity as the cowboy. For over a century, the cowboy has — for better or for worse — been a standard of rugged individualism and stoic bravery for the American male. While the mythologization of the American cowboy began all the way back in the 1880s with dime novels and Wild West shows, it wasn’t until the advent of twentieth century cinema that the cowboy cemented his place as an icon of manliness.

The Western has been a popular genre of cinema since the very beginning of film, and successive generations of filmmakers have used the “Wild West” as a backdrop on which to explore the social issues of their respective eras. Many of the early silent films at the beginning of the 20th century were Westerns, the most famous being 1903′s The Great Train RobberyDuring the 1920s, the Western film genre produced some of Hollywood’s first megastars such as Tom Mix and William S. Hart. These early Westerns were heavy on action, but light on plot. Their primary goal was to simply entertain.

It isn’t until the 1930s that the Western became an avenue for telling stories with searching and hard-hitting messages. Directors and screenwriters used the genre to overtly and symbolically explore the pressing subjects of their day like racism, nationalism, capitalism, family, and honor — issues deeply meshed with manhood. During the Great Depression, for example, when men felt punished by the economy even though they had worked hard and done the right thing, Western plots often revolved around a man who is mistaken for an outlaw and falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit and must find the real criminal and seek justice himself. In the 50s, it was society’s anxiety about conformity that began to be reflected through the prism of the Old West. Instead of taking on bad guys with a posse, the protagonists in these mid-century Westerns (Shane and High Noon being the best examples) were loners who were compelled by their own values to fight against wrong while those around them cowered in fear like sheep. The tenor of Westerns changed once again during the cultural, social, and political upheaval of the 1960s. Like many films during that time, the antihero now took center-stage, and the heroes in these films were typically outlaws who were fighting against a corrupt system of justice and inequality (see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). During the 70s and 80s, the classic Western went into hibernation. It wasn’t until the late 80s and early 90s that the genre returned to prominence in film and TV. Reflecting the post-modern era in which they were made, these more recent Westerns are much more morally ambiguous (Unforgiven) or satirical and/or comedic (City Slickers) than their earlier counterparts.

Because the Western has played such a huge role in the shaping of American masculinity (not to mention simply being enjoyable entertainment), I thought it only proper to highlight some of the best from the genre. Below you’ll find my picks. I tried to get a good mixture from different time periods. It goes without saying that John Wayne makes an appearance in several of these films. Enjoy.

High Noon

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High Noon is film about being torn between duty and love and standing up for what you believe in, even when everyone else abandons you. Gary Cooper plays Will Kane, a town marshal from New Mexico, who settles down with his pacifist Quaker wife (played by Grace Kelly, one of your grandpa’s babes). Kane’s plans to retire to a peaceful life are interrupted after he gets word that a former gunslinger is coming in on the noon train to settle an old score with him. His wife pleads with him to leave town, but Kane knows he can’t. He has a duty to defend the town and his honor. Will finds himself alone in the battle as everyone in town, including his deputy sheriff, have turned away from him. The tension builds, leading up to the final gun battle — the quintessential mano-a-mano showdown that historians say rarely actually happened in the Old West, but has become an indelible part of popular culture.

Best line: “Don’t shove me Harv. I’m tired of being shoved.”

Stagecoach

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This is the movie that made John Wayne a star and set the standard for all subsequent Westerns (some would say it set the standard for all 20th century cinema). Directed by the legendary John Ford and shot on scene in Monument Park, Stagecoach follows a group of nine strangers as they cross dangerous Apache territory in — you guessed it — a stagecoach. All of the characters have their own personal demons that they’re running from and the journey through the treacherous Apache territory in many ways serves as a symbolic road to redemption for each of them. The acting and screenplay is top notch. Despite being filmed in 1939, the movie is still fresh and engaging. Be on the lookout for the epic chase scene featuring one of the most famous movie stunts of all time performed by Yakima Canutt.

Best line: “Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.”

The Searchers

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In this film, also directed by John Ford, John Wayne gives the most intense acting performance of his career as the dark and vengeful Ethan Edwards, a man who vows to kill the Comanche raiders who murdered his beloved sister-in-law, brother, and took captive two of their daughters. Wayne does a fantastic job in embodying a conflicted, complex man whose racism and desire for revenge sets up a situation far more morally ambiguous than Cowboys vs. Indians.

Best line: “That’ll be the day.”

Lonesome Dove

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Technically this isn’t a movie, but rather a TV mini-series, but I don’t care. Lonesome Dove is a Western every man should see. Even if you don’t like Westerns, you’ll love Lonesome Dove. Its themes of friendship, regret, and love will resonate with any man. The action scenes are just icing on the cake. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurty, Lonesome Dove follows two retired Texas Rangers — Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall) and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones) — as they lead a cattle drive from South Texas all the way to Montana. The production on Lonesome Dove isbar none, the best in Western cinema. The costumes, the locations, even the way the characters speak make you feel like you’ve been plopped on a horse in 1876 America. But what really separates Lonesome Dove from the rest of the Westerns on this list (and I’d go as far as saying most movies ever made) are the characters. Thanks to top-notch writing and acting, Lonesome Dove is one of those rare movies that makes you feel like its fictional characters are real life people. Not only that, you feel like old friends with them by the end. You’ll cheer their triumphs and bawl your eyes out when tragedy strikes. Do yourself a favor and rent the complete series and watch it. You’ll be a better man for it.

Trivia: Our son’s name — Augustus McKay — was inspired by August McCrae. That’s how much I love this book and movie.

Best line: “It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living.”

Unforgiven

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Cinema often glorifies the Old West as a mythic time when good guys wore white and the bad ones wore black. In Unforgiven, director/actor/producer Clint Eastwood shines a light on the dark, violent, and morally ambiguous aspects of life in frontier America. Clint Eastwood plays William Munny, a once notorious and violent killer. Now, he’s just a quiet and tired farmer who is a devoted father still mourning his dead wife. But Will’s old life comes back to haunt him when he’s asked to do a hit on a cowboy who slashed the face of a prostitute. Will is transplanted from his farm in Kansas to a town in Wyoming where he meets Sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman), a mean son-of-a-bitch who is determined to not let the hit go down, no matter what it takes. Hold onto your hats, partners, this isn’t your grandpa’s Western.

Best line: “Hell of a thing, killing a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”

Shane

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This is a great sheepdog movie. A quiet gunslinger who is trying to escape his past befriends a pioneer family that has settled out west. He attempts to settle down and become a hired hand to the family, but the ranchers who want to drive cattle through the homesteaders’ property are attempting to push them out. Shane tries to stay out of the disputes, but keeps being drawn in and is finally compelled to put his six shooter back on to protect his adoptive family. Perhaps the most touching part of the movie is the relationship Shane develops with the farmer’s son.

Best line: “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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Based loosely on the real lives of Western outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy) and Harry Longabaugh (aka the Sundance Kid), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a classic movie about two buddies trying to make it in a changing world. What’s funny about this flick is that you forget that these guys were hardened criminals who robbed banks and trains for a living. The easygoing charm Robert Redford and Paul Newman bring to their roles makes you like the characters despite their choice of profession. Their clever hijinks and humor make the movie an enjoyable ride.

The Magnificent Seven

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Inspired by the classic Japanese film Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven follows a group of seven American gunfighters who band together to defend an oppressed Mexican village. This film has it all: great story, great cast, and one of the most iconic movie scores of all time.

Best line: “It’s only a matter of knowing how to shoot a gun. Nothing big about that.”

Red River

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What happens to a man when he’s consumed by obsession? That’s the question that we see answered in 1948′s Red River. John Wayne plays Thomas Dunson, a determined and sometimes ruthless man who has the goal of forming the largest cattle ranch in America. With nothing but his trusty trail-hand (Walter Brennan) and a young boy who survived an Indian attack on his wagon train (Montgomery Clift), Dunson does just that. To make money, though, he’s got to get the cattle to market, so Dunson sets out to drive thousands of cattle from Texas to Missouri. Along the way, Dunson’s brutal and dictatorial leadership causes his young protege and adopted son to mutiny and take the cattle from Dunson. Dunson vows to find and kill his boy. Does he do it in the end? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

Best line: “Get a shovel and my Bible. I’ll read over him.”

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the last in Sergio Leone’s trilogy of “spaghetti westerns.” Despite being the last, it has come to stand on its own. Even if you haven’t seen the film, you probably know something about it. Most likely you’ve heard the iconic theme song with its spooky “wha wha wha” shouts. And you’ve probably seen images and scenes of Clint Eastwood wearing a poncho and smoking a cigar. The film follows three cowboys during the Civil War who try to double cross each other in search of Confederate gold. There’s not much of a deep message in this film. It’s just a lot of fun to watch.

Best line: “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”

 

True Grit (2010)

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Hired by a young girl to track down the man that killed her father, Jeff Bridges takes on the role of Rooster Cogburn, the marshal with “grit” enough to bring the man to justice. The 2010 version is definitely better than the 1969 John Wayne version. Bridges simply did a superior job portraying Rooster Cogburn, and thanks to the Coen brothers, the movie just seemed more real and alive.

Best line: “Fill  your hand you son-of-a-bitch!”

The Wild Bunch

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The Wild Bunch is a tale about a group of outlaws who see the world they know quickly disappearing. Set in 1913, the West by then was no longer “wild.” The old rule of “might makes right” had been replaced by government-dispensed justice. Moreover, technology had made many of the skills and know-how needed to survive and thrive in the Wild West obsolete. Sensing that their time is up, a group of outlaws decide to go out in a blaze of glory and gore. The Wild Bunch was and is a controversial film. Its violence and nihilism paints a bleak picture of life at the end of the American West. In many ways, The Wild Bunch symbolized the end of the classic American Western. Just as the outlaws in the film were out of step with a changing society, so too were Westerns out of step with 1969 America. It’s interesting to note that very few new major Westerns were produced after The Wild Bunch was released in 1969.

Best line: “Let’s go.”

Rio Bravo

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A small-town sheriff (John Wayne) in the American West enlists the help of a cripple (Walter Brennan), a drunk (Dean Martin, of course), and a young gunfighter (Ricky Nelson — how dreamy…) in his efforts to keep the brother of the local bad guy in jail. Director Howard Hawks made this film in reaction to High Noon. Both he and John Wayne despised what they saw as the wimpy and unmanly lack of resolve in Gary Cooper’s character. I’m not sure I agree with Wayne and Hawks about that, but that’s a debate for another day. Overall, Rio Bravo has everything you should expect in a good 1950s Western: action, adventure, and heroics. We even get to hear old Dean-O sing a tune. 

Best line: “Hey, Dude! How do ya like them apples?”

Tombstone

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After years of chasing outlaws, legendary lawman Wyatt Earp retires and takes up residence  in the town of Tombstone, Arizona. His plans to live out his days as a respectable businessman are interrupted when a gang of hell-raisers called “the Cowboys” starts causing trouble in the area. Not able to stand the lawlessness, Earp joins his brothers in getting rid of the Cowboys. Tensions between the Earps and the Cowboys heats up and eventually leads to the infamous showdown at the O.K. Corral. Action-packed and fast-moving, Tombstone is definitely a Western that suits modern moviegoers’ tastes. Not to mention, it has some of the best mustachery in the history of cinema.

Best line: “I’m your Huckleberry.”

The Outlaw Josey Wales

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Directing and starring Clint Eastwood. It’s about a man named Josey Wales who lost home and family during the Civil War to a band of pro-Union Jayhawkers. Driven by revenge, he joins a posse of pro-Confederate soldiers so he can find the men who destroyed the things he loved. The Civil War ends and the band of Confederate fighters surrender. But not Josey. Revenge, sorrow, forgiveness, betrayal  love, family, and honor  take center stage in this Eastwood classic.

Best line: “Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy.”

Editor’s Note: I added this one after initial publication. I can’t believe I forgot to put it in! Lots of other great suggestions in the comments too, by the way.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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This 2007 film directed by Andrew Dominik is the film version of the 1983 novel of the same name. Brad Pitt stars as Jesse James with Casey Affleck taking on the role of his killer, Robert Ford. When James’ gang plans a train robbery in Missouri, Ford makes multiple attempts to join the gang. Ultimately, Ford gets rejected by James, and so sets out to get revenge. The film is star-studded, but surprisingly had lackluster results at the box office despite excellent reviews, with one critic even saying that it is “one of the most wrongly neglected masterpieces of its era.”

Best line: “It seems to me if you have something to confess, you outta be right and you spit it out now.”

The Shootist

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Nobody wants to die alone. Especially gunslingers. In a haunting portrayal that foreshadowed his own fate, John Wayne plays J.B. Books, an aging gunfighter dying of cancer who resigns himself to live out his days in private. But skeletons from his past prevent him from fading away, so he decides to go down the only way he knows how – with his six-shooter blazing.

Best line: “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”

What do you think are the best Western films of all time? Share your picks with us in the comments!

{ 552 comments… read them below or add one }

501 E.L. November 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

One real good western no one has mentioned was “The Long Riders”. The movie was unique because the roles of brothers were played by brothers. James and Stacey Keach played Frank and Jesse James. David, Keith and Robert Carradine played Cole, Bob and Jim Younger. Randy and Dennis Quiad played Clell and Ed Miller. Christopher and Nicholas Guest played Charley and Robert Ford.

502 Saikat K. Bose December 2, 2013 at 4:26 am

What about ‘Mckenna’s Gold’ and ‘Duel under the Sun’

503 Jack A. December 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm

You forgotten several good ones – The Professionals, Big Jake, Chato’s Land, High Plains Drifter, Once Upon the Time in the West…

504 Crush December 9, 2013 at 8:38 am

I do like your choice of true grit. I knew nothing of this movie but went to see it in the theaters out of boredom. Great flick and the girl did an amazing job. Would you consider Django on the list at all or too mainstream

505 colin December 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

i must disagree with your comment on true grit the original with big broad shoulders blows the new one away

506 Pat B December 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

The “Good Ol’ Boys” with Tommy Lee Jones and “Appaloosa” are not on your list and should be. They capture the western and cowboy spirit authentically and ward robing is spot on.

507 JoeW December 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Very true about Lonesome Dove. Just amazing piece of work. As you’ve said the two main characters, relationships, the boy, the friends, their humor, ..it is my favorite. My Dad and I watched it together so many times..laughed and cried…so many good life lessons.

508 Bill December 27, 2013 at 9:29 am

Hombre 1967: One of the best 10 westerns of all time. Bite The Bullet 1975 and The Professionals 1966 both directed by Richard Brooks deserve top 20 lists. One of my favorites The Red Sun 1971 a dark comedy western and one of the first buddy movies made popular in the 80′s. The list can go on.
One of the reasons I hate lists like this.

509 Bo December 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm

‘Lonesome Dove’, is #1.

I love the movie ‘Ride with the Devil’. It is beautiful as well.

‘Assassination of Jesse James’ does not belong on the list IMO.

‘Broken Trail’ was a great mini series.

510 Mike January 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

El Dorado with The Duke remains one of my favorites….

511 Ben January 8, 2014 at 9:39 pm

I would consider both Seraphim Falls and Jeremiah Johnson to be two great westerns.

512 Brian Murtagh January 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm

won’t argue with any of your choices, however would add, My darling clementine; the man who shot liberty vallance; and Ulzana’s Raid, and probably The Long riders, for starters; will have a bit more thought and get back

513 Drew January 11, 2014 at 3:24 am

Was I the only one a little disappointed to see Young Guns 2 was completely left out of here? Say what you will, but as a young kid, I probably wouldn’t have given any other westerns a chance if YG2 hadn’t made me fall in love with them first.

514 Jim Kozera January 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Big County, with Gregory Peck, Burl Ives and Charlton Heston, should be on the list.

515 Ty K January 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Ditto- BIG Country belongs in the top ten. Don’t forget Chuck Connors fighting Peck in the middle of an empty field at night. This movie rocked in so many ways. The use of silence being one.

516 Jim Crabtree January 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Quick and the Dead starring Sam Elliot, Kate Capshaw, and Tim Conti.

517 Rob January 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I concur with Drew that Young Guns was a whole generation’s introduction to the Western genre. It also had some of the best repeatable lines of any movie outside of Princess Bride (notably a non-western). Lonesome Dove is my new favorite, but I have seen all the greats by now.

518 Tom January 19, 2014 at 8:34 pm

All your fine selections pale compared with Once Upon a Time in the West, the greatest western of all time.

519 Marvin January 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

I’d still pay good money for quality dvd’s of the following:
One Eyed Jacks,
Deadwood (entire season),
Hombre,
The Bravados,
Duel @ Diablo,
Mr. Horn,
Tom Horn,
Winchester 73,
The Apaloosa,
Valdez is Coming,
Quigley Down Under

520 Bigjohn January 24, 2014 at 4:26 am

Strongly disagree with the comment that the ‘new’ True Grit is better than the original.

521 Ed H January 31, 2014 at 8:12 pm

John Wayne gave quite likely the best performance EVER in a Weatern movie in “The Shootost” It was far better than his work in “True Grit”, which had a bit of a ‘cartoon’ touch in it. John Bernard Books was a complete human being, expressing the full range of emotion; unlike most Western characters who are largely one dimensional. There is more to all men than ‘stone size’..

522 Johnny Gannon February 1, 2014 at 6:25 pm

High Plains Drifter! The Man with No Name finds himself in Lago, a town that looks like it’s on the Martian surface. Unfortunately, a gang of killers has beef with some folks in the town and have vowed revenge.Enter the Man, hired to defend the town from the ruthless killers.Interestingly, he has a connection to the town, unbeknownst to the townsfolk. Epic gunfight scenes and interesting characters make this a great Eastwood gem. Best line:”what did you say your name was? No-Name: I didn’t”.

523 RKY62 February 2, 2014 at 7:49 am

Ty K January 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm said ” BIG Country belongs in the top ten. Don’t forget Chuck Connors fighting Peck in the middle of an empty field at night.”. Very good movie. Have it on Blu-ray. Except it was Charlton Heston who had the nighttime fistfight with Mr. Peck. Great cast in this movie.___I enjoy all John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart westerns in addition to most in this list.

524 leo February 5, 2014 at 11:54 am

It was Charlton Heston fighting Gregory Peck and not Chuck Connors. Great Movie

525 CF February 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Will Penny – Charlton Heston

Tall in the Saddle – John Wayne (And about a half a dozen more)

Unforgiven, Hang ‘Em High, High Plains Drifter, Pale Rider, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More – Clint Eastwood (For a few dollars more is a strong film)

I’m sure there’s many more but I can’t think of them all right now and supper is ready.

526 Jason February 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

Whether the list is good or bad is subjective to the reader, I personally think it’s a good list.

I don’t know if it belongs on the list, but a favorite of mine is Open Range…I like the storyline and love the loud gun shots throughout the movie.

I’m a big fan of Jimmy Stewart westerns, my favorites are Winchester ’73 & Destry Rides Again.

I also agree that Once Upon a Time in the West and Big Country could be on this list.

I also like all the Eastwood westerns.

527 ross w February 11, 2014 at 1:13 am

Ty K got it right, The Big Country is the best western, certainly one of the best films made. Great cast, combined with super script, evocative music and cinematography. Also James Stewart, Bend of the River and his others tops.

528 Husnain February 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Excellent list! Totally agree with Lonesome Dove. The finest ever.
Others that should belong here:
Jeremiah Johnson
Will Penny, surely!
Another unforgettable mainly for Jimmy Stewart, is Shenandoah.
Broken Trail, too, was good.
At the risk of being accused of blasphemy, I must say I have never understood why Spaghetti Westerns are so popular! Although I am not American, I do, nevertheless, attach great importance to authenticity and a believable depiction of the times, etc. Sergio Leone just doesn’t cut it, sorry!

529 ericleesmith February 17, 2014 at 6:13 pm

This is a fine list, my only quibble is that “Once Upon a Time in the West” has been omitted and it’s my favorite western.

530 Mark February 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Silverado inspires,
“They took the boy.”
“that aint right.
I’ve had enough of what aint right.”

HOMBRE is art.
“Mister,
You got a lot a hard bark on you,
You put two holes in me…”

531 Chuck Findlay February 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter. Both staring James Garner and both are comedy’s. Nothing serious, just a good way to spend a few hours in front of a TV

532 JL Spinks February 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm

I would throw in “The Cowboys” with John Wayne. Also “Valdez is Coming” with Burt Lancaster. Elmore Leonard’s book of the same is absolutely first rate with a terse style that reminds of Hemingway.

533 michael laskowski March 7, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I would add “Ride the High Country” to that list. I thought “Ride with the Devil” was very good also, for the current times. A Budd Boetticher film should make it in there somewhere. If Martin Scorsese comments how “Ride Lonesome” was an influence, then it’s worth mentioning here.

534 Mike March 10, 2014 at 7:36 am

Try “The Ox-Bow Incident”, “Fort Apache”, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (Probably the best western movie title ever).

535 chuck acker March 13, 2014 at 7:46 am

my fav western is “the command”
guy Madison, 1954?

536 Mitch March 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

What about Monte Walsh. That was a great western starring Lee Marvin and Jack Palance.

537 Smitherenzes March 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Silverado is very good.

538 roger March 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm

I think we all agree that if we had to list a top ten, all our picks would be different.
So lets agree that the Duke, Stewart , Scott ,Fonda, Marvin, Palance ,Peck,Bronson, Elliot (Sam), Eastwood,Cooper, Berringer, Selleck, Jones (Tommy Lee) Costner and the great Duvall give the best bang for the Dvd western buck.

But having over a thousand westerns
I still enjoy the occasional B western too! Roy , the later Autries ,Harry Carey Sr and Rocky Lane are only a few I re-discovered recently and enjoy..

Happy trails
roger b

539 lue March 17, 2014 at 5:07 am

Butch Cassidy.. that’s one of my favorite movies. SO witty, so nice to watch (despite the ending). So simple. So touching. Just great tale of friendship.

But yeah, what about High Plains Drifter ?
What about Once upon a time.. ?
What about McCabe and Mrs Miller ?

540 Mr. Bill March 18, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Can’t believe you left out Kevin Costner’s Wyatt Earp. One of the most accurate portrayals of the Earp family ever done. Dennis Quaid should have gotten an Oscar nod as Doc Holliday.

541 Greg March 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm

I’m with Mr. Bill. “Wyatt Earp” is better than Tombstone. I love Tombstone, but Kevin Costner’s is better. They came out around the same time, and Tombstone eclipsed W.E., probably because it is a whole lot shorter. Watch it.

542 Jack March 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm
543 collin March 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Once Upon A Time In The West. Yes it’s a long movie, but it’s so worth every minute. Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, are all amazing. The entire cast is incredible, plus the sets, locations, wardrobe, all set to the amazing musical score by Ennio Morrcone. This Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, and one of the best movies of all-time.

544 Kyle Hurd April 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

In my humble opinion, Val Kilmers portrayel of Doc Holiday is probably the greatest role ever played in a movie. Everything about it was perfection!

545 Jim April 6, 2014 at 9:14 am

Two other movies should have replaced a couple on your list: Open Range, and Broken Trail – R. Duvall with K. Costner, and Duvall with T.H.Church. These are surely two of the all time greatest. On a slightly lighter shade of great westerns, Silverado deserves consideration for being just plain fun to watch.

546 Joe April 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and all of the Cavalry Trilogy films (Fort Apache/She Wore A Yellow Ribbon/Rio Grande) should be on the list. Also, the original version of True Grit was better. Jeff Bridges mostly mumbled his way through the film and it’s not hard to do a passable job as Rooster Cogburn when the master has already shown the way.

547 Charlie April 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

“7 Men from Now” with great direction by Budd Boetticher is such a great easy going western with quiet surprises. One of my top 10.

548 Marianne April 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm

My favorite of the more current is ‘Silverado’.

549 Matt April 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Hard to argue against any picture with either Eastwood or Wayne in it.

Personally, I liked both versions of 3:10 to Yuma. Great casts, great Elmore Leonard story.

I also consider Dances With Wolves to be among the finest Westerns ever made.

Thank you for making this list. Great to see the suggestions and the comments.

550 Cecil Sayer April 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Open Range should be in the top five along with Lonesome Dove

551 Cecil Sayer April 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Can’t stand James (Jimmy) Stewart’s
voice

552 Keith April 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

The late Mike Royko wrote a column about his favorite westerns. I tracked them down way back when and there’s not a dud in the bunch. Here’s a link:
http://www.couchcowboy.com/Campfire/Royko.htm

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