Top 11 Greatest Westerns In Cinema History

Top 11 Greatest Westerns In Cinema History

The Western is the most fundamentally American cinema art form, which evokes masculinity and raises questions of whether, for better or more, what it is to be a male.

From the clearly defined roles of villains and heroes from the silent movie era of the early Western movie star Tom Mix to the anti-hero characters in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in the late 60s, most acclaimed Western films have explored the traits of manliness, including courage, independence, and assertiveness to respect duty and justice.

Greatest Westerns In Cinema History

1: The Great Train Robbery (1903)

Was it the first Western ever produced? Although it’s likely not to be appreciated in the same manner as the other movies on the list, it merits being included because of being the first to invent numerous iconic icons and conventions upon which the Western was based.

It’s a simple tale of a train heist, and the subsequent hunt for the criminals is told at a movie’s rapid pace and with plenty of action.

Two standout scenes are an unfortunate man being forced to dance to stay safe from having his feet shot and the final shooting of the gunman shooting directly at the crowd. Both scenes are mentioned explicitly within Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.

2: The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

William Wellman’s film featuring Henry Fonda is an anti-lynching and anti-mob rule movie. Fonda is determined to stop the posse from performing its mission; however, instead of simplistic moralizing, the film is complicated by its characterization.

The film is also ruff with a sometimes brutal tone, which is evident in a scene in which Fonda kicks a man in a bar and utilizes the leverage of the bar as well as a door frame to raise himself and hit the head of the man.

3: Django (1966)

Sergio Corbucci made numerous Spaghetti Westerns, but none were as well-known or infamous as this. The film retells the basic story of Yojimbo, which Sergio Leone used for A Fistful of Dollars in 1964.

It tells the story of a single person playing with two gangs that are ruthless against one another. However, it adds extra brutality and baroque touches.

This includes a machine gun concealed in a coffin that the hero carries behind him and an incident in which a man’s ear is cut away and then fed to.

The character in Django was so well-known that it inspired various versions, sequels, and spin-offs (including Tarantino’s Django Unchained). The film Corbucci had only one official sequel (the movie Django Struck Again in 1987).

4: McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)

Robert Altman’s wacky Western features Warren Beatty as a gambler who runs a brothel along with Lady Julie Christie. The stunning snowy scenery is captured, and the film examines capitalism and big business—a sad, deeply sad film.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

The latest version of the notorious criminal Jesse James story stars Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck as the title characters. Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik is a former music video director.

His film is a sequel to his acclaimed debut film, Chopper, which similarly plays on the interplay between fame, crime, and myth. The film has a casual and almost lyrical style, enhanced partly by Roger Deakins’ warm and poetic cinematography.

5: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

John Ford’s movie is profound and dark and connects the three American Western legends in John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and James Stewart. In contrast to his other films, however, the Monument Valley setting is absent, as most of the action is shot on the sound stage.

The film is about the myths and legends of our times, with a politician’s (Stewart) reputation attributing everything to his decision to shoot into Marvin’s Liberty Valance, even though Wayne’s character committed the crime from behind and the shadows. It was Ford’s final Western (not with a section on How the West Was Won).

6: Hang them High (1968)

Clint Eastwood’s debut American Western after he had been in Italy playing The Man who has No Name in Sergio Leone’s Dollars films. He is an officer who has to hunt off the men who killed him, and the wound from the noose still lingers in his throat.

The visual and story blend the classic American Western but are influenced by cinematography and often baroque elements by the Spaghetti Westerns, which were gaining popularity in the era.

7: The Magnificent Seven (1960)

A brutal Hollywood ensemble film with an iconic Elmer Bernstein score. The story is straight to Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, with shooters employed to defend the village from bandits led by Eli Wallach. Several sequels followed the film.

Yul Brynner later paid homage to the character he plays in Michael Crichton’s sci-fi film Westworld as the black-clad, Terminatoresque robot that has gone insane.

8: Django Kill (1967)

Surreal Western and an unofficial Django film, even though, in reality, it’s related to Corbucci’s film in only its name. It is more akin in style to gothic-inspired horror rather than a Western and is a result of being directed by Giulio Questi did not have a real interest in the genre.

The film starts with Django climbing out of an unmarked grave and is constantly fascinated with images depicting gold. In one thrilling sequence, one man is shot with gold bullets.

He is then ripped apart by people using their bare hands, trying to retrieve the nuggets. In another scene, one of the villains has hot gold poured on his face as it melts in the course of the blaze.

9: The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Clint Eastwood directed himself as Josey Wales, a Southerner looking to avenge the soldiers who murdered his family. He’s also hiding from bounty hunters hired to take him down.

What sets this film apart from other films with similar stories is the number of supporters Wales collects throughout his journey.

They represent the marginalized or the petty and those rejected by society, including indigenous Americans who ultimately aid him in regaining a feeling of belonging. Chief Dan George plays Lone Watie and contributes to the film’s hilarious comedy.

10: The Shootist (1976)

John Wayne died of cancer just three years after he played the old-fashioned gunfighter in Siegel’s witty Western and is also terminally ill with cancer. Instead of dying at his death, the actor wants to depart with a bang.

He decides to fight against three of his adversaries in a deserted saloon. Wayne’s final film movie brought to an end his career that began in the silent film period.

11: Open Range (2003)

Kevin Costner’s film is not as popular as his earlier Western, Dances with Wolves; however, it is an older, more robust, morally complex, and amorally complex piece.

Costner directs and portrays a cowboy that fights alongside Robert Duvall, Michael Gambon’s evil land baron. The shootout finale is chaotic, fast, and brutal, creating a stronger feeling of objective.

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