10 Best Westerns Of All Time
Top 10: Western Films
The following films are solely the opinions of the Smashing UK production team! Have your own opinions? Post them in the comments below! Smashing UK Website – http://www.smashingukproductions.co.uk/, IMDd – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5436236/, Facebook and http://www.facebook.com/SmashingUK.
1. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
The first “spaghetti western,” a violent, lurid, game-changing Italian variation on the genre. It turned Clint Eastwood, as the taciturn Man With No Name, into a global star; director Sergio Leone, with his penchant for melodramatic close-ups, quickly became a cult figure.
An impeccable story adapted from Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, featuring seven gunmen hired to save a Mexican village from bandits. In a terrific cast, Yul Brynner has the lead role, but Steve McQueen steals every scene. Thrilling theme tune from Elmer Benstein.
3. Man of the West (1958)
Gary Cooper stars as a weary, reformed gunslinger persuaded by former sidekicks to rob a bank. There’s an almost noirish quality to his character, but Anthony Mann’s direction has big-screen scope that does justice to a literate, intriguing script.
Late period John Ford classic, with James Stewart as a senator who helped bring law to the west, partly through having killed an outlaw. The truth behind this legend is finally unveiled. Utterly absorbing; its reputation has grown over time.
Sergio Leone finally went to Hollywood and created this ravishing epic western, making waves by casting American hero Henry Fonda as a rapacious would-be tycoon aiming to drive a widow off her land. Ennio Morricone’s score, composed in advance, is a masterpiece.
John Wayne near his best as a tough, headstrong cattle boss, locking horns through a crucial cattle drive with his educated foster son, played brilliantly by Montgomery Clift in his film debut. A classic western that looks wonderful on the big screen.
7. Rio Bravo (1959)
There’s a raucous male-bonding spirit to this Howard Hawks western, starring John Wayne as a sheriff, aiming to protect a town against bandits with only a drunk, a naive teenager and a crippled old man to help. But its insolent, generous spirit has rightly helped its reputation grow in recent years.
8. The Searchers (1956)
A complex story of revenge, reconciliation and loss, even encompassing racism. Director John Ford and John Wayne, as an ex-war hero tracking down Indians who murdered his relatives and abducted their daughter, combine to shape a troubling masterpiece.
9. Stagecoach (1939)
The great Monument Valley western with director John Ford at his most visually poetic. Eight characters, some decidedly flawed, board a stagecoach besieged by an Indian war party. John Wayne stars; stunt man Yakima Canutt takes the honours. Virtually unimprovable.
10. Unforgiven (1992)
Sombre, thoughtful, genre-reinventing western directed by Clint Eastwood, who stars as a violence-weary gunman lured back for one last job. It’s a smart, assured piece of film-making, acutely aware of the western’s history, its limitations and the dubious truths of its legends.