List your favorite Westerns of all time (and why they are)


Has anyone here seen Ang Lee's Ride with the Devil from 1999? I'm rather interested in checking that one out, and I was wondering what other people thought of it.
It is not a bad movie, at all. But given the level of talent in front of and behind the camera an inevitable disappointment. Jeffrey Wright is the stand-out and his performance alone makes it worth a watch. But honestly the first twenty minutes of The Outlaw Josey Wales make a more compelling if less historically accurate distillation of the conflict in Missouri.

Also... There Will Be Blood. Does that qualify as a Western to anyone else? As you can see, my parameters are pretty broad, and I think it narrowly qualifies. I include it mainly because of its strong thematic connection with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, both Fred C. Dobbs and Daniel Plainview both being very troubled, greedy and misanthropic madmen.
Yes, many experts and average viewers alike consider both There Will Be Blood and Treasure of the Sierra Madre to be Westerns. Whether they fit your personal definition is of course up to you.

Both placed very highly and back-to-back on the MoFo Top 100 Westerns, at #15 and #14, wedged between A Fistful of Dollars and The Outlaw Josey Wales on the countdown.
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This was a TV film I saw a couple of years ago that I really dug...

A Man for Hanging, starring Peter Breck.
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Off the top of my head:

The Outlaw Josey Wales - I guess this was my first deconstructionist Western, I was young, and it played on HBO a lot so I saw it a million times. Love the interesting cast of characters and how a man goes from being a plain man to ruthless to heroic. And lots of great scenes like the "Mr. Chain Blue Lightnin' hisself" scene, the "You gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?" scene, the Commancheros scene, and, of course, the meeting with Ten Bears (my favorite scene of the film).

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - My first exposure to both Newman and Redford (and Katharine Ross, for that matter), it's exciting, it's witty, it's fun, and yet it's also serious. One of the movies that made me love movies.

Big Jake - This is the one I grew up on, the one that introduced me to John Wayne, and one that felt very heroic and kinda teaching me how to be honorable and heroic (in the sense of standing up to bullies and protecting those I can) when I would become a man someday. Another favorite Western scene is here in the two scenes between Boone and Wayne with the "No matter what happens, no matter who else gets killed..." line getting switched between the two of them. Just good stuff.

High Noon - Just a brilliant film that I loved from stem to stern but especially in the way the town abandons him and he follows through anyway.

Shane - Watched this a million times when I was young too this was always a really powerful film to me about what it REALLY means to be a man (if that's your thing) in the character of the father and then ultimately of Shane riding away because he knows he's a bad influence. Wish they'd kept the ending.

Silverado - Just love this film. This, to me, is how you make a film iconic on purpose without overdoing it. The dialogue is great and it really is the less hammy version of Tombstone. A bit of a mess because of all the Rosanna Arquette stuff that got cut because it slowed the movie down that makes some stuff not really make sense but I can overlook that for the showdown between Kline and Dennehy alone.

Blazing Saddles - Do I really need to say anything about this?

Edit - Three others I thought of that would be pretty high up as well:
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Once Upon A Time In The West
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence

I like it, but don’t love it as much as others. Still a decent film, however.

I actually compiled a quick list before winnowing them down to the previous 10. I'm sure there are others I overlooked.

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez
For a Few Dollars More
The Searchers
Yellow Sky
Red Sun
The Outlaw Josey Wales
True Grit (2010)
The Magnificent Seven
Ride the High Country
My Darling Clementine
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
The Wild Bunch
Red River
High Plains Drifter
Open Range
The Homesman
The Revenant
Day of the Outlaw
The Sisters Brothers
Jeremiah Johnson
Destry Rides Again
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Bend of the River
The Naked Spur
The Far Country
The Man from Laramie
The Man From Snowy River
Quigley Down Under
High Noon
White Buffalo
Breakheart Pass
Chato's Land
Valdez is Coming
High Plains Drifter
Pale Rider
Hang 'Em High
The Professionals
Duel at Diablo
The Bravados
Fort Apache
Two Rode Together
Night Passage

I just took inventory of my top 20 westerns. It sucks. I'm currently focusing on a top and bottom 50 of 1972 just to get 100 films for a single year down, but t's obvious that I need to make room for westerns more often.

My top-25 Western ballot from the countdown a couple of years ago was:

Wow, you've got quite a few of my personal favorites in that list! I'm glad to see that there's somebody else out there who's into The Hunting Party, The Four of the Apocalypse and Cemetary Without Crosses as much as I am! Plus, while I haven't seen The Proposition, Ulzana's Raid, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Hannie Caulder and Bone Tomahawk yet, I'm definitely going to check those out at some future date.

On the other hand, for some reason I'm not as much into They Call Me Trinity as other people seem to be, although I do love My Name Is Nobody.

One of the reasons I'm curious about The Proposition is that it's directed by John Hillcoat, and I'm particularly interested in seeing what he does with Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. However... I sincerely hope I find both films to be more watchable than The Road, which I found to be a dank, dark and depressing viewing experience, however well-made and well-acted.

Besides Blood Meridian, the future Western film(s) I'm most interested in seeing are Kevin Costner's Horizon: An American Saga. When I was watching the featurettes on the Blu-ray of Wyatt Earp, I heard Kevin Costner talking about how one of his most formative experiences as a movie lover was seeing How the West Was Won in its original Cinerama presentation as a little kid. Judging from the trailer, the new Horizon films kind of look like Costner was trying to make his own version of that film.
"Well, it's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid" - Clint Eastwood as The Stranger, High Plains Drifter (1973)

"I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours" - Bob Dylan, Talkin' World War III Blues (1963)

When I was watching the featurettes on the Blu-ray of Wyatt Earp, I heard Kevin Costner talking about how one of his most formative experiences as a movie lover was seeing How the West Was Won in its original Cinerama presentation as a little kid. Judging from the trailer, the new Horizon films kind of look like Costner was trying to make his own version of that film.
Absolutely nothing available today beats Cinerama - not even IMAX, not by a long shot.

(I wasn't around for the original release of HTWWW, but I have attended some of the Cinerama revivals at the Cinerama Dome in the last decade or so....)

Wow, you've got quite a few of my personal favorites in that list! I'm glad to see that there's somebody else out there who's into The Hunting Party, The Four of the Apocalypse and Cemetary Without Crosses as much as I am!
Have you seen Cut-throats Nine? Considering how much you like The Four of the Apocalypse, it should be right up your alley. Also, check out Brimstone, but be warned that I seem to be the only person on these forums who loves it wholeheartedly.

High Plains Drifter- I like the revenge aspect of this. Everyone involved had to pay...

Outlaw Josey Wales- Sometimes circumstances will change a man...

Shane- Sometimes a man must be who he is, and sacrifice himself to save others...

Django Unchained- Former slave turned bounty hunter, this was a nice surprise. Would like to have known more about his past...

I forgot about El Topo, Nigh Noon and Whity, being a big Fassbinder fan i at some times in the past said that Whity was my favorite Western, but only beginning today am i seriously considering the genre. I like your poetic assessment above, the twilight part especially, it goes well with Leone cinematography, that golden dusk look that can be seen in other kinds of films like Days of Heaven.

Your #1 would be mine also, The Dollars Trilogy, and tonight watching them all together in glorious HD. It'll be 18 days till i can order more like these

Not a fan of the genre. My current favourite is The Gunfighter (1950). Kind of reminds me a noir-ish Out of the Past (1947). Something about fate, and a profound sense of melancholy, appeals to me as im in my 30s. If the entire genre of the Western can be boiled down to men (and male machismo) getting into fights with each other, over conquest, money, women or simply pride, then The Gunfighter is not about confrontation but avoidance. Which is as noble a choice as engaging and playing into the myths of the western frontier.

I like a lot of westerns and for various reasons. I do however particularly like Audie Murphy westerns. I've seen just about all of them and can't wait to see them again. Big fan. He owned a ranch and was genuinely passionate about horses. That and his charisma made him a great actor and star for westerns.

If I had to mention one specifically it might be No Name on the Bullet. Although he usually played good guy roles he definitely revelled in playing the bad guy occasionally. Top notch performance from him in that one. But yeah, love 'em all.

It's an interesting question. Having grown up on a steady diet of oaters, there came a point when I just could not tolerate another western. I think the last ones I recall seeing, fit right into that "sick of it" sentiment. I think I could see one now, but there would have to be some interesting twist to it, not just another iteration of the plot lines that got used sooooo many times. If I wanted more rigor, I'd come up with a list of the plot items that got used too many times, but, to keep it short, I'll stick with dusty towns, saloons, ranchers and rustlers, bar maids, the sheriff/marshall, gunfights, bank robberies, the livery stable and conflict between settlers and Native Americans. All that was so repetitive...pick one from column A and one from Column B. Westerns need something other than those to get my butt back in the seat.

I don't even remember what it was about, but I do recall The Unforgiven, where iconic Clint Eastwood gritted his teeth as a farmer/bounty hunter and did that for a couple hours.

Then there was an earlier movie, a swan song, IMO, for John Wayne, The Shootist, playing a cancer-ridden gunfighter who checks out with his boots on and cleans up the town. Once John Wayne was really gone in real life, I could not see how the genre could go on and didn't know why it would.

I still can't, since, as the offspring of urban immigrant stock (definitely, always, persecuted outsiders in westerns), I have no personal history there and don't wish to have one. Those stories might as well be set on Mars.

Not much of a westerns fan, but I loved the Magnificent Seven. The one with Steve McQueen.
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I'm no western buff, so my choices are cliché. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Reasons: GBU is a fantastically executed adventure that taught me a lot on how to tell that kind of story, back when I wanted to be a novelist. How to present a larger setting without detracting from the main plot, how to set up characters without wasting the audience's time, how to keep the viewer guessing who's going to win, how to keep a good balance of hope and cynicism.
Liberty Valance is the best film about leadership that I've seen. I'm a sucker for films that depict good leaders (the Godfather, the Lion King...), but this one gets into the nitty gritty of it and paints a fuller picture of building civilization, befitting an older creator who's been at this theme for decades. It is also very well-acted and scripted, but the story and its themes are the main reason I like it.