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The TOP TEN Westerns of ALL-TIME................

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by Mike Ness, May 30, 2010.

  1. Mike Ness

    Mike Ness
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    I have always loved Westerns. Some people like scary movies, some like kung-fu flicks, me I have and will always love the Outlaw stories of the old west. That being said this is my list and my opinion I am not a critic and I am not basing this off box office success, just very simply the films that are the most enjoyable to watch.

    FOCUS: discuss the movies on my list, make your own and please make sure to post movies you feel should be on the list.

    10. The man with no name series: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good Bad and The Ugly: Western fanatics were introduced to an entire new genre in 1964 when Sergio Leone gave fans the "Spaghetti Western." It certainly did not hurt that he had the best western actor EVER to play the main characters in all three movies. **(if you think John Wayne is the best close the thread......I'm not kidding) These films gave birth to a new type of hero, one who was not afraid to fight a little dirty to get the job done. The movies were released in 64, 65 and 66. Many critics have Good Bad and the Ugly as the number one Western of all time, that movie is the most popular of the three. Many characters were based on Eastwood's portrayal of this gunman, Bruce Willis in "Last man standing" to Steven Kings epic series "The Gunslinger." Pretty much everyone associates Eastwood with cowboys.

    9. Young Guns II: 1990, Emilio and the boys are back in this sequel that follows one of the most famous outlaws of all time Billy the Kid. I always loved westerns that were based on real people and events and to this movies credit there is more historical accuracy than usual for Hollywood. Many of the things are just accounts that were not proven, but are indeed on record. The movie starts when an old man named Brushy Bill Roberts talks to a reporter and claims to be the famous William H. Bonney, he then proceeds to tell his story. It mainly focuses on him being on the lam from onetime friend Pat Garrett but there is some great acting, and awesome action. Christian Slater plays Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh and gives the film a great boost. (Rudabaugh was indeed a great historical figure from the outlaw sense, he shared a jail cell with John Wesley Hardin and was beheaded in Mexico) This movie is a thrilling ride and helped revive Westerns, they had truly fallen by the wayside until the Guns. ***(this movie also gave us the song Blaze of Glory by Jon Bon Jovi which was pretty cool) "Hey, I'll make you famous......"

    8. Appolosa: 2008- A brilliantly acted film starring Ed Harris, Viggio Mortensen and Jeremy Irons. This movie follows Virgil Cole an older gunman who has made his living traveling and cleaning up rough and tumble towns that have fallen under the control of bad men. I loved this movie because it gives realistic depiction of a gun fight, in one sequence there was a shootout between five men that took less that a minuet. Everett said to Virgil "well that didn't take long" (both men were laying on the ground wounded) Virgil responded "well everyone could shoot!" The movie get's a little too involved with Renee Zellwhatevers character but Ed Harris did a great job directing.

    7. The Wild Bunch: 1969- This movie may be unknown to many of you but it was excellent. Ernest Borgnine and a group of aging outlaws try for one last score so they can retire. Amazing ending sequence with a gatling gun that for it's time was incredibly violent and bloody.

    6. Open Range 2003 Brilliant cinematography and sensational acting make this film very enjoyable even if you don't like westerns. Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall do a marvelous job at bringing these characters to life, you really end up cheering for them by the end. In my opinion this movie has one of the most realistic gunfights is all Westerns. You wont see guys getting shot with a pistol from fifty yards away, but you will see them missing from ten feet away. You will see the fear on a mans face when a guy get's shot in front of him, you will see a body fly backwards after being shot with a 44. caliber handgun as opposed to just grasping his chest and falling forward. It takes a little while to get to it but it's well worth it. Western junkies have trouble with this one because of the lack of action, but it's a great story.

    5. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid 1969- This was a "fun" Western. It was also one of the first one's to get critical acclaim with a best picture nomination. Robert Redford and Paul Neuman had great chemistry making it a great movie. Again I always enjoy movies based on real events and the story of these two bank robbers going out in a blaze of glory in South America is an excellent one.

    4. The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976- This picture was directed by Clint Eastwood and tells the story of a Missouri farmer who avenges his murdered family by gunning down Union soldiers. This Western was one of the few that actually has some funny scenes thanks to Chief Dan George and the fact that Eastwood's character constantly spit tobacco on a mangy dog. This movie had the infamous move of handing two men pistols butts first and then flipping them upside down and shooting them. Every kid who had a toy Peacemaker did this at one time or another.

    3. Tombstone 1993- Great, great movie that tells the story of Wyatt Earp and one of the most famous gunfights in American History, The gunfight at the OK Corral. Val Kilmer does an insane job portraying Doc Holliday and I really can not believe he did not get an oscar nod for best supporting actor. The film has an all-star cast including Charlton Heston, Bill Paxton and Thomas Haden Church in minor roles. Hollywood took a couple liberties with the story but it still is an action packed shoot em up that will not disappoint. When you get to the scene with Wyatt and Josephine getting ready to go for a horse ride fast forward it. Keep your eye's peeled for Billy Bob Thorton, he has an interesting cameo.

    2. Unforgiven: 1992- My favorite movie on the list and one of my favorite movies of all time. This movie was also critically acclaimed as well winning best picture, best director, and snagging a best supporting actor for Gene Hackman. While following the aging outlaw William Munney you get an amazing story that has an absolute dynamite ending. Eastwood does an amazing job (of course) portraying a man who had turned his life around and had become a gentle loving father. Then of course he ends the movie by showing the mans dark side and becomes the devil himself who "always had been lucky when it comes to killing folks." Morgan Freeman is also in the movie and everyone knows about the chemistry between Eastwood and Freeman. Many fans were not exactly thrilled with this movie because it had very little action, but Western purists can recognize this gem as an amazing story about The American West. "Why William Munney, you are a cowardly cuss!! You just killed an unarmed man!" "Well he best arm himself if he's gonna decorate his saloon with my friend...."

    NUMBER ONE-YOUNG GUNS 1988- I loved this movie. I was thirteen years old when I saw this film, I had always loved westerns but this movie made me want to be an outlaw. Again this movie did a good job in siting many historical facts as well as glamorizing the life of one Henry McCarty, aka Henry Antrum, aka William H. Bonney, aka Billy the Kid. Emilio Estevez is an awesome Billy the Kid and there is a slew of young actors that make up the cast of the regulators. Doc Skerlock played by Keifer Sutherland, the knife smith Chavez E. Chavez played by Lou Diamond Phillips and don't forget the Pugilist Charlie Bowdre (Billy's eternal Pal) portrayed by Casey Siemaszko. This movie takes you through the action packed and very violent Lincoln County War. Plenty of gunfights, and superb acting make this movie almost flawless. Jack Palance playing the lead villain of course adds to the excitement, and they didn't try and put some stupid love story in it either so it keeps to the plot. (A couple short scenes with Doc and an Asian girl but nothing significant) this movie was a cultural phenomenon that made around 45 million with a 13 million dollar budget not bad for a western. You can even here the catch phrase "Regulators mount up" in Warren G's rap song "Regulators. This movie is thoroughly enjoyable and if you like Westerns at all rent it. NOW, I'm not kidding if you have not seen it stop reading and go get it.

    **********honorable mentions********** Silverado, 3:10 to Yuma, (Crowes character was great but the stupid scene at the end of them running around town kept it off my list, Dances With Wolves (i don't really consider that a western but it's sometimes categorized as one)

    Well have at it!
     
  2. Idiot Wind

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    Great topic. Some pretty good Westerns not on the list:

    Once Upon a Time in the West - A more serious Leone film than the Dollar movies, it has Charles Bronson as a mysterious stranger seeking Henry Fonda's ruthless killer for reasons only revealed at the end of the movie (one of my favorite scenes of all time). The film also depicts how the era of outlaws gives way to technological advance (the railroad) and the entrepreneurs behind it. Morricone's music is haunting and beautiful, probably his best.

    Duck, You Sucker - A lesser known Leone film, with James Coburn and Rod Steiger, as an Irish explosives expert and a Mexican bandit respectively, teaming up to rob a bank. It's a bit of an odd movie, because the interaction between Coburn and Steiger is very comical, but it plays out against the backdrop of the Mexican revolution where innocent people are routinely slaughtered.

    Jeremiah Johnson - Robert Redford plays a trapper who sets out to live and hunt in the mountains on his own, marries an Indian woman, and ends up in conflict with another Indian tribe. Nothing much to say about it except it's a well-told story and worth watching.

    My top three Westerns would be:

    3. Once Upon a Time in the West
    2. The Wild Bunch
    1. Unforgiven
     
  3. Kerbunked

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    I used to watch all the old Eastwood westerns back in the day with my dad, but of the recent ones that have been made (there haven't been many) I would tip my hat to 3:10 to Yuma.

    I thought Russel Crowe and Christian Bale had fantastic chemistry and there was also an incredible performance by Ben Foster as Crowe's confused / obsessed second in command.

    I know there haven't been a lot of westerns made in the last 15 years, but to me, this was the best of them.
     
  4. KIMaster

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    I haven't watched "Unforgiven" and "3:10 to Yuma", but I've seen just about everything else mentioned above.

    1. Once Upon a Time in the West- Quite possibly the greatest film ever made.

    2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- Not far behind.

    3. A Fistful of Dollars- Ditto.

    4. For a few Dollars More

    5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid- George Roy Hill is awfully underrated/forgotten as a director. He was the first director to have two films simultaneously among the top 10 grossing of all time, made the greatest sports film ever (Slap Shot), the greatest caper film ever (The Sting), and the greatest non-Sergio Leone Western.

    6. Blazing Saddles- Not quite as great now as it was some 35 years ago, but still very enjoyable and funny, with a lot of racial/sexual humor that would never be allowed in a film today. More importantly, it ushered in the modern style of comedy, and influenced hundreds of films in the genre since then.

    7. High Plains Drifter- Clint Eastwood's character is an eerie, ghost-like figure that rides into a town controlled by criminals. No one knows his name or his past, but he systematically destroys his enemies, while numerous flashbacks of the town play, indicating his possible identity. One of the most surreal Westerns ever, and a great film.

    8. Red Sun- Quite possibly the single greatest cast in movie history. It has the greatest action star ever, Charles Bronson. It has the greatest Asian action star ever, Toshiro Mifune (star as a lot of Kurosawa films, like Seven Samurai and Rashoman), as well as one of the greatest European action stars ever, Alain Delon. As a bonus, it stars one of the most beautiful actresses of all time, and the first ever Bond girl, Ursula Andress.

    Samurais in the old West, along with guns? Awesome.

    9. True Grit- John Wayne was a great actor, but unfortunately, the only really good film he was in was this. Second best was probably "The Shootist", and both of those were roles he had near the very end of his life.

    10. Chato's Land- The IMDB description is pretty good: "After Pardon Chato, a mestizo, killed a US marshal in self-defense, a posse pursues him, but as the white volunteers advance deep in Indian territory they become more hunted then prey, leading to internal strife. They rape Chato's woman, and are hunted down to the last man by the unrelenting warrior."

    Basically, it's Charlie Bronson doing the Indian/Western version of "Death Wish". A strange pick, but I enjoyed this film a lot, and couldn't think of anything better.
     
  5. BakedBean

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    I'd consider that a true western, only with the Cavalry being the bad guys and the indians the good guys. Speaking of which:

    Little Big Man: You follow Jack Crabb (played by Dustin Hoffman), a kinda sketchy possible compulsive-liar who meets many of the famous people and sees many of the famous events of the Old West in a kind of Forrest Gump way.

    Don't rely on it for history, and brush up on Custer and Little Big Horn if it sparks your interest, because the portions surrounding that are political (the Washita River = My Lai; Custer's Last Stand = what should have happened to the My Lai war criminals).

    It's got some very funny scenes and some very unsettling ones, and it deals with some very bleak themes and nasty subjects without serving up steaming helpings of pretentiousness and condescension. I've seen it literally dozens of times until the old VHS copy I had wore out. I can always watch it - it's that kind of movie. It's also quotable in a Lebowski kind of way.

    Plus, it's got Chief Dan George in a less cartoony role (Old Lodge Skins) than in Josey Wales, and Faye Dunaway (pre-plastic-surgery) doesn't look half bad.

    And Crabb is right, there is no English word for heemaneh.
    "Hermaphrodite" alone doesn't cover it.

    We should probably agree now that some genres, like the gangster movie which have been argued to be just Westerns with tommy guns and motor-cars, should be left out of the discussion lest we muddy the waters. I did find it interesting though that one common basic plot of the Western - the eastern lawman who goes west and has to do battle with bad people with the aid of a beleagured local cop - technically includes Die Hard. So let's agree on some kind of definition of what qualifies as a "western". Time period doesn't help since it would leave out No Country for Old Men or Lone Star. I'm at a loss as to an actual definition. Any takers?
     
  6. KIMaster

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    There's no way I would consider "No Country for Old Men" a Western. Just because something is set in Texas and has shoot-outs and stretches of desert it qualifies? No.

    I would definitely include time period; a Western is about life on the American West frontier set any time from about 1840 to 1910.
     
  7. BakedBean

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    Rules of defining movie genre are like the rules of the English language - there's always an exception. The subgenre of the modern western is one where I've seen NCFOM listen - not just because of setting and shootouts, but because it was about a lawman there who faced an evil injustice that was bigger than him. Where would you place Bad Day at Black Rock, if not under "westerns"?

    Yours sounds like a decent enough definition though. I'd extend the end to 1914, to make room for The Wild Bunch, and because World War One took the old romanticism of the West and whole 19th century, sprayed it with phosgene and stabbed it in both eyes.
     
  8. KIMaster

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    You could say that about an awful lot of films, though. (Especially action movies) No Country for Old Men shouldn't be considered a Western, but I would rank it higher than any of the 10 I listed above; it's my third or fourth favorite film ever.

    Never seen it. Looks very interesting.

    Good point. Probably need to re-watch "The Wild Bunch"; I remember not being too impressed, but I'm not sure why. Speaking of which, I totally forgot

    The Magnificent Seven, which is a better pick than Chato's Land.
     
  9. carpenter

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    How about 'before the automobile'?
    It was pretty wild west kinda shit until then wasn't there? I mean, is it a "western" movie without horses and single action pistols?

    I think The Unforgiven takes the top spot. The scene in the beginning where he can't hit shit with the pistol and breaks out the shotgun?
    The bar scene at the end? I love that movie.
     
  10. Crown Royal

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    That's an easy one:

    1) High Noon
    2) Dances with Wolves
    3) Johnny Guitar
    4) Unforgiven
    5) Once Upon a Time in the West
    6) My Darling Clementine
    7) Little Big Man
    8) The Wild Bunch
    9) How the West was Won
    10) The Magnificent Seven

    Yes, I love Tombstone as well. It would probably be number 11 or 12, along with High Plains Drifter.
     
  11. dixiebandit69

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    What, no love for Wild Wild West?

    Seriously though,

    1. Once Upon a Time in the West

    2. Dollars trilogy, (especially For a Few Dollars More)

    3. Lonesome Dove

    4. Death Rides a Horse

    You know, I bought this 5 disc box set of lesser known spaghetti westerns, but I have been too busy to watch them all. I got to get on that.
     
  12. Nettdata

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    I agree with most of what's been posted, with the addition of "My Name Is Nobody".

    <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Name_is_Nobody" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Name_is_Nobody</a>

    It, too, is a Sergio Leone film, but it's more of a western with a bit of a humorous bent to it.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Mike Ness

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    I agree that Ben Foster was fantastic in this. I also think "Ben Wade" was an amazing character portrayed by Crowe. I just could not stand the end. Rather than having an epic climax at the end you had a kind of unbelievable sprint around town (didn't Bale have a missing leg??)

    Did anyone see the original 3:10 to Yuma? I was always curious about that.

    Well done with The Magnificent Seven, the guy who can throw a knife faster than you can draw a gun was awesome.

    Two more I forgot:

    High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider, forget about the part with the axe handle in Pale Rider and you have a great film, and of course they star Clint.
     
  14. Aetius

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    The opening six minutes of Once Upon a Time In the West by themselves are enough to make any top ten list.

    One that hasn't been mentioned yet: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
     
  15. Blue Dog

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    1) Lonesome Dove- the only reason a person should have for not including this as number one is because your could argue that it is not really a movie and more of a mini-series.

    2) The Man From Snowy River- Under-appreciated classic. Kirk Douglas gives an awesome double-performance as both the greedy cattle baron/horse breeder and as his gold prospecting mountainman of a brother. Tom Burleson is a badass with a heart of gold. The last 15 minutes of this movie alone beats out almost any other western made.

    3) Unforgiven- on here for the reasons yall have said.

    4) The Searchers- John Wayne at his very best.

    5) The Outlaw Josey Wales- This was my favorite Clint Eastwood movie until I saw Unforgiven. Plus, you've got to love Lone Watie.

    6) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid- Reasons yall have said

    7) Dances With Wolves- I think this does qualify as a western, and an amazing one at that. The director's cut is absolutely epic.

    8) Tombstone/Wyatt Earp- I actually liked Wyatt Earp better. Oh well. Tombstone is still a great movie, but I think it is a more Hollywood-dized version, if that makes any sense.

    9) Blazing Saddles- Excuse me while I whip dis out.

    10) The Ballad of Cable Hogue- this one is just a personal favorite of mine. I was funny as hell to me when I saw it drunk as hell at my hunting camp.

    Honorable Mention:
    3:10 to Yuma, Open Range, Man with No Name movies
     
  16. Crown Royal

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    It is hands down one of the most beautifully photgraphed films of all time. The horse sequences are astonishing to watch. A classic film, but the sequel is underwhelming at best.
     
  17. zyron

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    I also recommend the director's cut. There are parts of the original where I had some questions (Like when Costner first gets to the soldier fort and looks at the hill with the holes dug in). The director's cut explains everything. But it is a little over 4 hours long so make sure you have some time to kill.
     
  18. Crown Royal

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    Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is one of the most offbeat Westerns ever made, with Paul "The Man" Newman in the title role. A great film, too.

    Maverick was a fun and entertaining movie. It had a great cast, a great sense of humour and a cool soundtrack, and even though it's a "Hollywood" western and managed to stay good from start to finish.

    The Long Riders was a cool gimmcik: Use real-life Hollywood sibling the Keaches, The Quaids, The Guests and The Carradines to play the James, Miller, Ford and Younger brothers. Walter Hill's overamped stunt directing style is vividly on display in this surprisingly violent and exciting film.
     
  19. BakedBean

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    Anti-focus: Dead Man's Ransom. This is a Polish western of the last few years that is the worst western I've ever seen, and high in the running for the worst movie I've ever seen, period.

    It "stars" Val Kilmer as a corpse that shows up in some no-name town (he was in Eastern Europe shooting something else and apparently did this as a side project). That's the extent of his role in it. All the elements of a western are there - it's got a gunfighter, some bad guys, a brothel (with one whore, who looked like an old leather chair that'd been in the sun for decades), and a grizzled old sheriff. And apparently those responsible for this carpet bombing figured they'd just put all these elements together and it would write itself.
     
  20. Durej

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    Hell yes I love Young Guns! Its still my favorite western movie to date. The last gun fight seen was my favorite when I was a little kid.

    Has anyone seen the comedy westerns The Frisco Kid or Goin' South (Sorry dont know how to link these).

    The Frisco kid
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079180/
    From IMDB:
    It's 1850 and newly-ordained orthodox rabbi Avram Belinski (Gene Wilder)sets out on horseback from Philadelphia to San Francisco, knowing only that California's "somewhere near New York." Cowpoke bandit Tom Lillard (Harrison Ford) hasn't seen a rabbi before. But he knows when one needs a heap of help. And getting this tenderfoot to Frisco in one piece is going to cause a heap of trouble -- with the law, Indians and a bunch of ruthless killers.

    Goin south
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077621/
    From IMDB:
    Henry Moon (Jack Nicholson) is captured for a capital offense by a posse when his horse quits while trying to escape to Mexico. He finds that there is a post-Civil War law in the small town that any single or widowed woman can save him from the gallows by marrying him. Julia Tate (Mary Steenburgen)needs a man to help her work her mine and marries him. The sheriff makes it very clear to Moon what the consequences of his leaving Julia will be. The two begin to try to form a relationship based on necessity in which they have nothing in common