The 20 best western or western movies in history

Movies that have a western or western theme have been among the most popular in the twentieth century, that is why we have made a list of the 21 best feature films of this style that includes everything from the Italians to the iconic ones produced by the mecca of cinema.

The list includes some of the films with the highest box office in Hollywood in which actors such as John Ford, Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood or John Wayne reached stardom, thanks to the roles of tough cowboys and gunmen, turning the film genre of cowboys in one of the most relevant in the history of the seventh art.

We wanted to begin our proposal of the best films of the Old West with the oldest feature films, until culminating in the highlights of the genre, filmed in recent decades by directors such as Quentin Tarantino or Kevin Costner. There are many productions that make up this genre, which is why we have had to leave out some titles, in this case, we invite you to complete this proposal with your favorites.

The 20 best Old West movies ever

As it is not a definitive list, we intend to show the highlights of the films of this much appreciated genre, so let’s get started:

Stagecoach (1939)

We started with this film that we think was the first great western, shot in 1939, directed by John Ford, causing this genre to take its place in series B films, achieving great recognition from critics and audiences, accommodating a trend that would last several decades.

The Outlaw (1943)

The outlaw (The oulaw) was a film that upset the society of that time, being described as little less than erotic and pornographic, by the canons of the time.

This is what its filmmakers, Howard Hawks and Howard Hughes, took advantage of to dare to do more and promote it, taking advantage of the commotion it caused among the public. The reality is that it is not so bad. It is an argument that tells the story of Billy “The Child”, Pat Garret and Doc Holliday, who constitute the Holy Trinity of the mythology of the Old West, with an actress who appears very low on stage.

The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948)

With the atmosphere of the year 1925, this film starred Humphrey Bogart, who played a beggar named Fred Dobbs. He and two friends travel to Mexico to exploit a gold deposit in the Sierra Madre. When the mine began to produce profits, distrust among the partners was also born, which is increasing, causing great hatred. It must not be of poor quality because at the time this film won three Oscars.

Alone in Danger (1952)

This was the title that was given in Spain, but its original name is High Noon, whose protagonists were Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly and Lloyd Bridges. In this film, Cooper plays the role of a sheriff who, after he gets married, goes into retirement. However, a bandit who was imprisoned by him, years before, returns with his band to take revenge.

Faced with this conflict, the sheriff has to decide whether to leave and leave the people to their fate, at the hands of the bandits or not. Unfortunately, you are going to find that no one person will want to help you fight the outlaws and you will only have to fulfill your oath as a law enforcement officer.

Desert Centaurs (1956)

The searchers was translated with the poetic title Centaurs of the Desert. It is the maximum creation of John Ford, both for the direction and for the technical resources, in it John Wayne reached stardom as an actor in a drama in which a tough man has to handle obsessions and frustrations.

The film is about the long search by two cowboys, in Indian territory, for a girl kidnapped by the natives. It is a journey that embodies redemption in the center of hell.

Rio Bravo (1958)

It is an iconic film, directed by Howard Hanks, in which an argument that brings together friendships, jealousy, rivalries and brotherhood is shown. John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and Angie Dickinson starred in this legendary production.

It becomes a kind of B-side of the western Alone in the face of danger, with the difference that in this film the sheriff is the one who wants to face the criminals alone, but the people want to give him support.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

This production has no waste whatsoever. It has a mythical cast, led by Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson, which is why it is one of the best films of the Old West. It tells the story of a sheriff who gathers a group of gunmen to help a small town on the border with Mexico. The team will go through many vicissitudes to defend itself from the evildoers.

The Dollar Trilogy (1962-1966)

For a handful of dollars (1962), Death had a price (1965) and The good, the bad and the ugly (1966) are one of the most incredible trilogies of the seventh art, because without a doubt they are part of the best films of the world. West. They are also the representation of the best of the western.

The director of this trilogy, Sergio Leone, is also a giant in the film industry and was able to shoot memorable films of this genre with a minimal budget. All three are worth seeing.

The conquest of the West (1962)

It is a film that presents an idyllic Old West, co-directed by John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall. They brought together the greats Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, among others, to tell the story of a family spanning four generations in the 19th century, and how it ended up taking root in San Francisco. This is one of the most epic stories in America.

Until his time came (1968)

Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone gave us another great work of Western cinema in which mythical figures of the stature of Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Claudia Cardinale and Gabriele Ferzetti act, in a story of revenge, greed and rivalry that will end with bullets and lust. It is an ode to the darkest of the human spirit and the Old West.

Value of law (1969/2010)

Under this title we have two productions made in 1969 and 2010. Valor de ley, from 1969, starred John Wayne, under the direction of Henry Hathaway, whose plot proposes a revenge, in which a mercenary and vigilante hunter of Rewards is hired by a girl to assassinate her father’s murderer.

It is a trip to the Wild West that will be a revelation for the vigilante and the little one. The Coen brothers directed the remake of this film in 2010 that bore the same name, starring Jeff Bridges, with Matt Damon and Josh Brolin also appearing in the cast.

Two men and one destiny (1969)

That was the name that was given in Spain to this production for the big screen, directed by George Roy Hill, whose original name was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It starred the great actors Robert Redford and Paul Newman. The plot is a true, but adapted, story of two renowned bank robbers and how they had to leave the West to travel to Latin America, hiding in Bolivia, where they were shot to death.

Little Big Man (1970)

Directed by Arthur Penn, starring Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Martin Balsam and Richard Mulligan, the plot centers on the fact that in a nursing home, a historian forges a friendship with Jack, a hundred-year-old man, white, who claims to be the sole survivor of the last battle of Custer.

Use the flashback resource to tell the life of this character who was raised in a Native American tribe, after his parents died in the assault on the caravan in which they were traveling. Jack will narrate the conflicts that arose in his life, in particular, in his relationships with Indians and whites.

They called him Trinidad (1971)

Western Italian films bequeathed us great titles and iconic faces that are part of popular culture, such as those of Terence Hill and the late Bud Spencer. This pair first made a trilogy of You forgive… not me, but in 1971 they gave us two comedy films set in the West that gave rise to what came later in their careers.

They called him Trinidad, it was the first and greatest of them, in which a subtle parody of the typical topics of the genre was made.

Hot Saddles (1974)

It was a contribution from the great Mel Brooks, who made parodies of all film genres. Hot Saddles is a beastly parody of the western genre, in which the topics, plots, contexts and even Hollywood itself were dealt with behind them. It starred Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.

The Outlaw (1975)

Clint Eastwood managed to put this tape to the limit in which he was not only the director, but also the protagonist. The plot is about a Confederate fugitive named Josey Wales, who is based on a popular hero from Texas named Bill Wilson. Wales, like Wilson, remains neutral in the face of civil war until Union soldiers set his farm on fire.

When the armed conflict ends, instead of surrendering, Wales flees to the desert, where he can rebuild his life, becoming the leader of a caravan of settlers marching to new lands.

Dancing with Wolves (1990)

In this tape Kevin Costner amazed the world. This western takes place in the second half of the XIX century, in the border area of ​​the North American west. It recounts the experiences of a Union officer, who is ordered to go to a remote and remote post that is abandoned.

His activities lead him to establish relationships with the native Indians of the place, and that makes his connection with the army questioned. This film won seven Oscars and vindicated the Western genre in the 90s.

Unforgiven (1992)

Clint Eastwood increased respect for westerns with this film. The plot begins in the town of Big Whiskey, where a prostitute is disfigured by a cowboy. Outraged at the indolence of the authorities, the girl’s friends hire an old retired gunman, William Will Munny, who was already an honest farmer, after a life of crime. The man accepts the task out of monetary need, but his worst instincts will surface again.

Open range (2003)

Kevin Costner returned in 2003 to present a cowboy tape that, while not as well received at the box office, did get rave reviews. In this film acted, apart from Costner, the renowned artists: Robert Duvall, Annette Bening and Michael Gambon.

The argument exposes the journey of some ranchers through the central lands of America, beginning as a normal job, but which will end up being the most dangerous journey. In addition, experts in the field affirm that it is the Western film with the most similar shooting matches to reality.

Django: Unchained (2012)

It seems unfair to say that Quentin Tarantino is the heir to the tradition of Italian Westerns and for example we have The Hateful Eight and this gem that is Django: Unchained.

But we are going to include it in our list as the last one, among other reasons, because of the great references to the Western movie genre. An additional reason is its epic cast, with absolutely memorable performances by stars of the big screen and because it is a narrative that cannot be stopped admiring.

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