The MoFo Top 100 Westerns: Countdown

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I really liked Maverick as a teenager and have seen it a few times. I haven't watched it in a long time and it didn't get my vote.
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I've seen the Shooting! I liked but did not love it. Just missed my list.

Seen: 4/32
- Slow West (#95)
- The Big Gundown (#85)
- The Furies (#84)
- The Shooting (#71)

My ballot:
None
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And like I said, Gold Rush would have made my list but I don't consider it a Western. But had I known it would make the list I would've voted for it to get it higher.
Voter fraud alert!



We got two westerns making the countdown on nostalgia points (Maverick & Westworld)...and one movie making it thanks to being nominated in an HoF (The Shooting).

I've not seen Maverick and I haven't seen Westworld since I was a kid. I did see The Shooting in the Western HoF II and sort of liked it, but not enough to vote for it.

The Frisco Kid
however almost made my ballot, it's IMO the best well done comedy western I've seen. Gene Wilder is brilliant in it.



I have watched Maverick. I forgot to put in on my list.


Anyways, moving on. Taking reccomenation from the list, I watched The Naked Spur. I could totally see this movie being made in today's time. Like a good story, every character mattered and made things more and more complex until the climax.


Interestingly, this is only my second Janet Leigh movie, with the other being the obvious one.


Also, has James Stewart ever been in a movie where he doesn't behave like a grumpy Grandpa 😆?


Lastly, loved the dialogue by Robert Ryan's character Ben, 'Choosing a way to die? What's the difference? Choosing a way to live, now that's the hard part.'



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I have watched Maverick. I forgot to put in on my list.


Anyways, moving on. Taking reccomenation from the list, I watched The Naked Spur. I could totally see this movie being made in today's time. Like a good story, every character mattered and made things more and more complex until the climax.


Interestingly, this is only my second Janet Leigh movie, with the other being the obvious one.


Also, has James Stewart ever been in a movie where he doesn't behave like a grumpy Grandpa 😆?


Lastly, loved the dialogue by Robert Ryan's character Ben, 'Choosing a way to die? What's the difference? Choosing a way to live, now that's the hard part.'
I KNOW, right!? Even as a young man he sounds like a grumpy old man

and reps for quoting Ryan's character. That is an excellent line
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Surprisingly, we haven't touched on any from my list but I'm definitely running wild on films that I have seen, going 4 out of 4 here.


Following in the spirit of the old TV series while adding a bit more action, Mel steps into the role that James Garner made his own,
WARNING: "though technically" spoilers below
as we learn near the end of the film, Mel ISN'T Maverick, he's his son going into his father's business; which I found very appealing to the huge run of remakes that were, and I guess, always do, go on.

Adding a fun three way to the con artists/poker players is Jodie Foster who goes toe to toe, con for con.
I remember watching a special about the making of this film and how there was as much horseplay and joke playing off screen and during shooting as there was on screen. That playfulness coming through on the performances, making a very fun western indeed.

The Shooting was in the Westerns II HoF,



The Shooting

Coley Boyard: [regarding Woman] You don't like her much, Will, do ya?
Willett Gashade: She ain't showin' me nothin' to like.

This would definitely benefit from a secondary watching, that's for sure.
Though I definitely will say, for a film that is quite the slow burner and is spent, mostly, traversing the desert, it definitely kept my interest and kept an air of tension throughout.
The characters had a great dynamics to one another. Coley's continually amusing jabbering compensating for the "cards held tight to the chest" of Billy and The Woman. One, in it for the promise of violence. The second, a spoiled, callous creature intent on the hunt at the price of everyone around her, and possibly, herself. Finally, the grounded center that is Willet trying to make sense out of it all while trying to decipher what was at the end of the trail and how to survive it.

This is a cerebral undertaking that plays on the minimalist scale. Everything is kept low key and scarcely anything is revealed. Even the abrupt ending that seems there should be more and yet, does not really need to be.
I can easily see this as a novel, similar to the long, drawn out books I read as a kid in school that delved far more into the psyche, the scenery and an intellectual/philosophical discussion of it's more symbolic aspects.
Definitely one for a Film Class to ponder over.

The Frisco Kid is a very well made mix of comedy and western that I found far more appreciation for in my later years than when it first came out and I was in ninth grade.
Filled with a lot of heart, Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford work exceedingly well together.
It's been a number of years since I last watched this and should attempt to again, soon.

and, finally,

While I haven't seen Westworld since I was in my early twenties it was one I saw countless times as a pup. I would be very curious to see how it holds up for me now.


Movies Watched 18 out of 32 (56.25%)



The Frisco Kid however almost made my ballot, it's IMO the best well done comedy western I've seen. Gene Wilder is brilliant in it.
I underlined the important. So there are better poorly done comedy westerns then?
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And like I said, Gold Rush would have made my list but I don't consider it a Western. But had I known it would make the list I would've voted for it to get it higher.
Voter fraud alert!
I'm curious what you mean by this.
I was just teasing and you didn't do it but it goes back to a previous discussion about the authenticity of the final countdown results.



I underlined the important. So there are better poorly done comedy westerns then?
Well sometimes “trash” comedy is so much better than sopnisticated (as in something objectively awful can be more entertaining)



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Didn't vote for any.
Westworld and Crichton give James Brolin his first serious role, showcases Richard Benjamin as a leading man and takes Yul Brynner's role as Chris in The Magnificent Seven and turns him into one of the scariest villains ever. Besides that, Westworld remains full of visual and written wit, although I personally feel that the guys behind the plastic doors should have had a fail-safe way to save themselves. Even so, great flick
The Frisco Kid is episodic but both funny and exciting and allows its two central characters a chance to grow from stubborn apathy to open agreement. Fun movie.
Maverick is also very fun, if a bit overlong. The Shooting should be seen by enthusiasts of its makers but certainly the weakest film on the list so far.
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I was just teasing and you didn't do it but it goes back to a previous discussion about the authenticity of the final countdown results.
I thought maybe you were. There's a film I did include that I don't really consider a Western but I 100% know others will so I just voted for it anyway.



Maverick was one of the last two movies that I watched for this countdown, and both of those movies made my list. (You'll find out the other movie later. I'll be surprised if it doesn't make the countdown.) I haven't watched the TV series in years, but this movie was as much fun as I remember in the series. It landed at #9 on my list.

The Frisco Kid has been one of my favorite movies for years. I think I might get more enjoyment out of it than some other people because being Jewish, I can appreciate a lot of the humor more than other people might. It was always a lock to make it on my list. The only question was where it would rank after watching a lot of other westerns. I rarely read about it here on MoFo, so I'm pleasantly surprised to see it make the countdown, but I'm even more surprised to see that two people ranked it even higher than I ranked it. It placed at #7 on my list, and I'm very curious which MoFos ranked it higher than that.

I've seen Westworld a few times in the past, but not recently, so I rewatched it for this countdown. It was a "maybe" to make it onto my list for a while, but it just kept getting pushed down by other movies, and it eventually just slipped off. But I'm glad to see that it made the countdown anyway.

I considered watching The Shooting when it was nominated in the HoF, but it was just one of those movies that I just couldn't find time to watch before the countdown.


My list so far:
1) Oklahoma! (1955)
6) Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)
7) The Frisco Kid (1979)
9) Maverick (1994)
12) North to Alaska (1960)
13) The Bravados (1958)
17) The Hanging Tree (1959)
25) Incredible Rocky Mountain Race (TV Movie - 1977)
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The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is the first from my list to make the countdown. It was my #4. I think its weirdness has been exaggerated (it's no El Topo or anything), but it's certainly an unusual western. It sorta reminds me of a drunken, grumpy, sardonic cousin of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My write-up from the Yearly First Viewing Top Tens thread a couple years ago (I've seen the film a few times since then, and it's easy Top 100 material for me now):

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)

An offbeat, revisionist, one-of-a-kind western from John Huston that's not so much about how things were but rather how things should've been. The plot is episodic, with many familiar faces, like Anthony Perkins and a hilarious, gun-slinging, albino Stacy Keach, popping in briefly only to never be seen again. Shootouts are brief but gripping. The humor is kooky yet cynical. Paul Newman, already one of my favorite actors, delivers one of his best performances as the gruff, no-nonsense, self-appointed judge who worships Lillie Langtry and has an affinity for hanging. This might be my new favorite performance from him. It's certainly one of my new favorite westerns. Hugely underrated/underseen. Also: best performance ever by a black bear.
I had planned on watching The Dark Valley before the deadline, as it sounded very much like my kinda flick, but I ran out of time. Rectified that a few nights ago and was underwhelmed. Outside of a few bloody bursts of violence and an oppressively gloomy atmosphere, I don't think the movie has much going for it. I found the performances stilted, the characters one-note, and the narrative uninspiring. I'd hoped that the movie's country of origin would provide a fresh lens, but it's just your standard western-revenge served with all the typical tropes.

I went through a Peckinpah binge a few years ago, and was taken aback when The Ballad of Cable Hogue lacked the violent, gritty, nihilistic tendencies I'd come to expect from the oft-drunk director. I still enjoyed the movie, but I think I'd appreciate it a lot more on a second viewing now that I'm aware of its comedic tone. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is awesome and I love it more than some of the films on my ballot, but to me it's a crime movie with a cowboy hat, so despite its eligibility, I chose to exclude it for "purer" westerns. Regardless, I'm happy it made the countdown.

Three Amigos! is just the right amount of stupid, and it garnered a surprising amounts of chuckles from me considering that I don't typically find Martin, Chase or Short particularly funny. The turtle bobbing its head to the rhythm of the campfire song is one of those small, random moments I found hilarious.

The Mercenary is full of cool, bad-ass moments synonymous with spaghetti westerns, but I found the film itself rather average. That viewing was a long time ago, however, and I was still in the post-Leone adjustment period where I expected other spaghetti westerns to be at or near his level of quality, so The Mercenary likely suffered as a result of those unrealistic expectations. My Name is Nobody, on the other hand, essentially feels like Leone, but with a comedic, exaggerated twist. It was in contention for my list and likely would've made the cut if I'd been able to squeeze in an overdue re-watch.

The Gold Rush is the first silent film I ever watched. For that reason, parts of it were a struggle, yet I still enjoyed it greatly and many scenes left an indelible impression. I've since become a big fan of Chaplin (I'm firmly Team Tramp in the eternal Chaplin/Keaton debate), and I expect to outright love The Gold Rush when I get around to re-watching it. I thought Day of the Outlaw would place quite a bit higher, as I've seen a lot of MoFos speak highly of it over the years. The movie makes great use of its snowy setting, and I remember the movie being uncommonly grim for its era, but most of the plot has left me.

As others have said, I think High Plains Drifter is the more effective supernaturally-tinged Eastwood western, but Pale Rider is still a good movie, though not particularly memorable, imo. I'm always getting The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind confused. Same casts, same sparseness, same hippie vibes. I prefer the latter, as I felt occasionally lost during moments of The Shooting, which then resulted in me being disengaged. The movie would likely play better on a re-watch, especially with the right chemical assistance. Westworld doesn't come close to fulfilling the potential of its premise, but it's a fun movie and Yul Brynner is deservedly iconic as the robot gunslinger. Never seen the show, though I have seen the middling Peter Fonda sequel, Futureworld.

Of the recent entries I haven't seen -- The Bravados, Pursued, Maverick and The Frisco Kid -- Pursued sounds the most intriguing. I'm embarrassed to say that I'd never even heard of The Frisco Kid, which is surprising given the cast.

Seen: 22/32
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These two fantastic Peckinpah films made my list. Watch them if you haven't!

7) Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
18) The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
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Loved Maverick, especially James Garner's part reprising (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) his TV role for the movie, but Mel and Jodie were aces also, and Richard Donner did a fine job with this movie.

The Shooting I have heard a lot of this one but unfortunately not yet seen, but, to paraphrase Harold Ramis from Stripes, "Am willing to try!"

The Frisco Kid is a great, hilarious, often overlooked movie and the pairing of Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford is inspired. Also have to mention one of my favorite movie bad guys, William Smith, in an important supporting role.

Westworld This is a terrific movie that I love. I know it could count as a Western but while compiling my list, I never considered it because I think of it as a Sci-Fi movie. Great stuff, with the whole cast, especially Yul Brynner as the terrifying gunman, doing awesome work.

None of the four made my list, which, again, so far is:

Hombre Me: 13 List proper: 88
The Naked Spur Me: 25 List proper: 86
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Dang! I thought Westworld would be at least below 50.
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Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) is one I really wanted to watch, but I didn't think it was a Western so I didn't watch it for the countdown. It was hard to tell from the trailer, but I guess it's a modern Western?