The MoFo Top 100 Westerns: Countdown

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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?
Yes it is. Speaking of modern or Neo Westerns and of Peckinpah...
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A mysterious stranger arrives by train in a small, isolated desert town. There’s been an injustice committed, a dark secret, and the stranger seems determined to know what it is. This plot could have fit a movie set in the middle 19th Century, but Bad Day at Black Rock is set just after World War II. In bright color and widescreen Cinemascope. This modern day Noirish Western stars Spencer Tracy as a one-armed war veteran who is looking for a Japanese-American man in the area who has seemingly disappeared. The townspeople, including Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Dean Jagger, and Anne Francis, can’t give a straight story about the man or his whereabouts. A good, tense movie from John Sturges (The Great Escape, Gunfight at the OK Corral) with that grade-A cast. Bad Day at Black Rock had only four votes but two of them were top tens in a fourth and a seventh place nod, plus a pair of thirteens.

Sam Peckinpah becomes the first director with three titles on the countdown (joining The Ballad of Cable Hogue #83 and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia #74) with his take on this infamous real-life Western pair. Billy the Kid has been the subject of over a dozen features and counting, portrayed by actors as diverse as Jack Crabbe, Robert Taylor, Paul Newman, Michael J. Pollard, Val Kilmer, Emilio Estevez, and Dane DeHaan. For his William H. Bonny Peckinpah tapped singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson in only his second movie, following Paul Mazursky’s comedy Blume in Love, and for his friend turned hunter it is the great James Coburn as Garrett. The order of the names in the title is no accident as this film focuses more on Pat Garrett and his internal struggle than on the exploits of The Kid. The film is absolutely packed with character actors from generations of Westerns in the supporting roles including Chill Wills, Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, Katy Jurado, Jason Robards, Gene Evans, Richard Jaeckel, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q. Jones, Dub Taylor, Elisha Cooke Jr., Emilio Fernández, Luke Askew, Barry Sullivan, Charles Martin Smith, and Harry Dean Stanton. The film also famously cast two other musicians, Rita Coolidge (Kristofferson’s then real-life wife) and Bob Dylan in his film debut. Dylan also provided the music and score including “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” which in pop culture terms has really outsized the movie it was written for.

Peckinpah intended this to be his farewell to the genre, released the year before Alfredo Garcia, but fights with the producers and the studio led to the director being removed from the final editing process. His cut had come in at 124 minutes but eighteen minutes were cut for its 1973 theatrical release. It was restored to Peckinpah’s vision for a LaserDisc release in 1988, four years after Sam’s death, which began a critical and fan reevaluation of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. While still a divisive point in his filmography its champions here at MoFo have landed it at #67 with seven votes including two top tens; a fourth and a tenth placer.




Both Bad Day At Black Rock and Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid were on the extremely long list of fillums I wanted to visit/revisit for this but sadly didn't get round to either before starting to suffer burnout with the genre in the closing stages and therefore neither made my ballot. Pretty sure I've seen both in the distant past but sadly there are very few grave markers in the Boot Hill of my memory cells so can't definitively count them as such.

Seen: 17/34 (getting embarrassing now .... even Ed has already overtaken me )
My list:  

Faildictions (yee-haw version 1.01):
66. Shane
65. The Alamo (1960)
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Love Bad Day At Black Rock which still seems very relevant today. I really adore the karate chop "screen door" scene between Tracy and Borgnine and every scene with Lee Marvin. Cat-and-mouse all the way. Not a big fan of PGaBtK although the cast is tremendous which makes it relatively easy to sit through. No points from me.

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And the third Peckinpah from my list appears! It's a personal favorite since the day I first watched it. James Coburn's Pat Garrett must be one of my favorite film characters of all time. The struggle between freedom and order he portrays probably felt so pure because Peckinpah could very strongly relate as well. It is said that he cried on set because the film had to end the way it ends.

4) Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
7) Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
18) The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)


Here are my first "flash" reaction posts for all three of these films:

#48 - Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) ~ April 3



For some reason, this was the first Peckinpah film I've ever watched. I watched the 2005 Special Edition Cut and I absolutely LOVED it.
This is a really special film. It offers a revisionist view on the western genre in the best way possible. James Coburn's Pat Garret is probably the character that I've felt closest to from any new film I've watched this year so far. This is what happens when you have a really strong script and some powerhouse performances that are put on the screen in a beautiful manner. On top of that, a large part of the film's atmosphere is created by the tunes of a recent Nobel Prize winner called Bob Dylan, who's also in the film. What more can a cinephile ask for?
#50 - Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) ~ April 5



WHAT A FILM!
The greatest gift that some of the best New Hollywood Era directors had, was that they were able to make films that felt extremely realistic and raw while also delivering some highly stylized cinema at the same time. They could offer the two things that most cinephiles are looking for: "beauty" and "truth". These directors did something very special with the medium and are therefore still rightly recognized as some of the most interesting and unique filmmakers who ever lived.
After only having seen two films of his during the last three days, I already feel safe enough to claim that Sam Peckinpah had that extraordinary gift. It's been a long time since I've seen such truthful and stylish cinema. I can't wait to see the rest of his filmography.
#11 - The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) ~ February 1



Cool, funny, sexy and - above all - warm-hearted motion picture. Its wildness is more youthful and innocent than the usual Sam Peckinpah film, but viewers who pay attention will recognize some of the director's idiosyncrasies.
The ending is one of the weirdest tragicomical endings out there, especially after the road we've taken with the main characters. There's actually a refreshing use of comedy throughout this film's whole running time.
To end this post, one of the best film scores of all time: Dylan's main title music for Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Enjoy the music, listen to the lyrics. They reflect the film's poetry beautifully.

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Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2019





A mysterious stranger arrives by train in a small, isolated desert town. There’s been an injustice committed, a dark secret, and the stranger seems determined to know what it is. This plot could have fit a movie set in the middle 19th Century, but Bad Day at Black Rock is set just after World War II. In bright color and widescreen Cinemascope. This modern day Noirish Western stars Spencer Tracy as a one-armed war veteran who is looking for a Japanese-American man in the area who has seemingly disappeared. The townspeople, including Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Dean Jagger, and Anne Francis, can’t give a straight story about the man or his whereabouts. A good, tense movie from John Sturges (The Great Escape, Gunfight at the OK Corral) with that grade-A cast. Bad Day at Black Rock had only four votes but two of them were top tens in a fourth and a seventh place nod, plus a pair of thirteens.
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Glad to see that this unique film from 1955 made the top 70. I didn't think that it would, although I had it at #13.

I loved the film as a kid, and it still holds up today. All the acting was pitch perfect, and the cinematography by William Mellor is breathtaking in CinemaScope.

Borgnine tells a story that --either accidentally or on purpose-- the salon doors he was to be knocked through by Spencer Tracy were built too strong, so that when he hit them they barely broke apart, which hurt like hell. Borgnine said it was a practical joke by Sturges...



My mom was big on Mel Gibson when I was a kid so I may have seen Maverick (or at least bits and pieces of it) but I haven't seen the rest that have shown up since I last posted.




Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (Sam Peckinpah 1973)

Amazing camera work and scene set up by director Sam Peckinpah. The man has an eye for film, like Orson Welles did. But the story was like a stitched together quilt of amazing scenes that didn't really tell a compelling story. Editing a coherent film isn't Peckinpah's forte. Most likely that's because he was a raging alcohol at the time and you can't do your best work drunk, especially something that takes a ton of patience like film editing.

I recently seen a neat little western called Dirty Little Billy with Michael J. Pollard as Billy the Kid, and it didn't help that Kris Kristofferson played Billy here, he's no Billy the Kid. I've never liked Kristofferson anyway, nor do I think he's a good actor. James Coburn was Pat Garrett the man who killed Billy. Usually Coburn brings a lot of color and pathos to his role, but here he was just a fixture in Peckinpah's over reaching western.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
This will be on twice on this Wednesday 5PM PST 8PM EST on a Peckinpah night which will also include Ride the High Country, The Wild Bunch, Pay Garrett and Billy the Kid and The Getaway. If you want to watch the trailer with English subtitles you have to use the link at the bottom and click on the trailer there [if necessary].
https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2207759...&ref_=tt_ov_vi



Seen neither, neither on my list.

Seen: 4/34
- Slow West (#95)
- The Big Gundown (#85)
- The Furies (#84)
- The Shooting (#71)

My ballot:
None
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Bad Day at Black Rock is totally unknown to me, but I've seen Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid at least as a kid (I'm pretty sure I've rewatched it 15-20 years ago, and kinda feel bad for not rewatching it for this).

Seen 10(+2)/34

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I seen Bad Day at Black Rock years ago and loved it. I had it on my long list for the countdown, but I decided to cut any films that weren't core westerns and as it's set in the middle of the 20th century it got cut.

Bad Day at Black Rock is a real good noir film with a western feel to it. I'd probably rate it a



I saw Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid in 2014 and liked it a lot, and that was before I became a fan of westerns. I probably should've watched it again for this, especially with how much I like other Peckinpah films.

Bad Day at Black Rock was one of the movies I was most looking forward to while preparing for the 50's countdown. It's a good movie but not what I had hoped.

I watched My Name is Nobody last night. Despite it's quirks, I loved the first half. The second half was a little bit of a letdown but still fine. Terrence Hill was a riot; he could have been a great silent film star.


Still 4 I need to see, all from the first 6 to appear.



Leben findet einen weg...
Pat Garret and Billy The Kid, my 3rd to make it.
Had it as my #19.
First saw it back in like, 1993 or something when my mum recommended it after she and I had sat and watched Young Guns together


Always felt that Kristofferson was too old though. Dude was nearly 40 when he played The Kid.
Though saying that, pretty much everyone who played Kid was in their 40s and 50s back in them thar ol' days.


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11. The Sons Of Katie Elder - 100th
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18. Wesworld - 69th
19. Pat Garret And Billy The Kid - 67th

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Bad Day at Black Rock is a great movie that I just forgot about when making my list. I don't really think of it as a western, (but I'm not disputing that it is one), but it might have made my list if I had realized that it was eligible.

I watched Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid for this countdown, but I thought it was only okay. I thought the casting felt wrong, so that also didn't help my opinion of the movie.
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Bad Day at Black Rock is a film I love and watch nearly every time it shows up on TCM. I especially enjoy Spencer Tracy as the "stranger" who comes into town and Robert Ryan as the main villain of the movie (he's appeared several times already on this list and I expect he'll show again) is excellent. The supporting cast is uniformly perfect. I did not vote for it as I, too don't consider a proper Western, despite having a lot of typical Western components.

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is excellent Peckinpah and I particularly get a kick out of Bob Dylan as "Alias." Love the scene where Garrett comes in the hangout/store and makes Dylan do inventory of the shelves while he questions down some bad guys. It's hilarious to hear Dylan speaking out products in the background like, "Beans. Quality beans. Beef stew," all in that Dylan voice. I thought Coburn and Kristofferson were fine as the two leads but I loved the supporting actors more, like Dylan, R.G. Armstrong, Slim Pickens, and Katy Jurado. Didn't include it but Peckinpah has a way of enduring, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
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