Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

My Ten West… erns, That Is

Since the well-known tech pundit and blogger, John Gruber, noted his Top Ten Westerns in his rejoinder to:

“Jim Coudal’s list of top ten westerns, in response to his re-linking to Mike Royko’s list in a classic 1997 column.”

… and Gary Huswit did the same with his list (John noted this with an interesting observation, as well), I decided to join in. Inasmuch as this is one of my most-loved genres, a lot of angst occurred when I took this on. I knew it meant so many admired films would get unfairly kicked to the curb in the process. But, that is the case in so many of these blog lists. So, in no particular order:

There they are. If this would have been a larger set, I’d have had High Plains Drifter, The Magnificent Seven, Tombstone, Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, Quigley Down Under, Once Upon a Time in the West, Winchester ’73, The Professionals, El Dorado, The Shootist, The Horse Soldiers, Jeremiah Johnson, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Seven Men From Now, For A Few Dollars More, and A Fistful of Dollars in there, too.

What would be yours?

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26 Responses to “My Ten West… erns, That Is”

  1. J.D.

    Nice list! We are certainly in agreement on a few of these selections. My faves would be:

    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
    Dead Man
    Tombstone
    The Wild Bunch
    Unforgiven
    Red River
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    Once Upon a Time in the West
    Silverado
    El Topo

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    • le0pard13

      It’s wonderful you included Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man on your list, J.D. I’ve heard of El Topo, as well. And if you have it on your list, it means I must catch up with it. Thanks so much for the comment and your list.

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  2. rtm

    This isn’t my genre as I’ve only seen a few Westerns and you probably won’t even call those ‘true’ Westerns 🙂 I’m curious to know why you love those ten over the others, Mike.

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    • le0pard13

      The western genre remains remarkably flexible — it contains a whole lot of sub-genres, in fact. So, whatever made your list would likely still be considered a western, Ruth.

      Hmm…. how I choose these. As best as I can say, it’s likely a combination of those I’ve found to mean something beyond their story (the essence of westerns are morality plays), characters that are so memorable (even years later), the uniqueness or originality of its tale, and the sheer entertainment value that doesn’t dissipate even after multiple screenings. I hope that makes sense ;-).

      Thanks, Ruth.

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      • rtm

        Oh yeah, makes total sense, thanks for explaining it to me. Ok, so far I’ve only seen a handful of Westerns, 3:10 to Yuma, The Quick & the Dead, True Grit… I think there might have been something else but can’t remember. I guess it’s not really my genre but I wouldn’t mind watching it depending on the cast/filmmaker. Thanks Michael!

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        • le0pard13

          I’m guessing you’re talking about the modern remakes for 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit? Their originals are also worth taking him. I’m also a big fan of Sam Raimi’s The Quick and The Dead (not to be confused with ’87 TV movie of the same name from the Louis L’Amour novel). If you’re interested, I wrote a piece for that film for the Raimifest that occurred earlier this. Thank you, Ruth!

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  3. Patti O

    SILVERADO!!! I love this movie so much I own it & the soundtrack! Also like the AMC movie Broken Trail. I should see more westerns. I do happen to have High Noon at home from the library because I’ve never seen it.

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    • le0pard13

      Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado is a very good one, Patti. And it has large following (see my friend, J.D.’s list). I’m probably more partial to Walter Hill’s Broken Trail because I like that filmmaker’s touch with the genre. I wish he make more. Thank you very much for stopping by and adding your comment to this thread :-).

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  4. dirtywithclass

    I’m not enough of a Western fan to have my own top 10

    Although, i think you have inspired me to try to create a top 10 list of my own

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    • le0pard13

      I’m hoping you do, my friend. I’d like to see what you’d put together, Julian. No doubt it’ll be interesting. Thanks, my friend.

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  5. Herb

    Tombstone
    Unforgiven
    Wildbunch
    How the West was Won
    The Good, Bad, Ugly
    High Noon
    Liberty Valance
    Once Upon a Time in the West
    Jeremiah Johnson
    Lonesome Dove

    I cheated a little, these are in my personal collection. I guess LD is technically a mini series. I might bump one of these for the latest True Grit.

    Have been out of internet range for awhile and missing your great post, just caught up a little and can say as usual, it is all good. uh oh Jack Nicholson’s Going South should go on my list, very funny western.

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    • le0pard13

      Great to see you back, Herb! Hope your travels have gone well, my friend.

      Oooh… it’s good to see How the West was Won on such a list. And you know I’m a fan of Lonesome Dove so no complaints there. Glad you could add yours to this. Thanks.

      p.s., I love what the Coen Bros. did with True Grit, too.

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  6. Joel Burman

    The Wild Bunch
    High Noon
    Stagecoach
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Unforgiven
    Pale Rider
    Maverick
    Once Upon a Time in the West
    How the West Was Won (Feature)
    How the West Was Won (TV-series)

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    • le0pard13

      Though it’s not necessarily a favorite of mine, High Noon will make a whole lot of these Top Tens. Shane, too. But, you’ve covered its modern remake with Pale Rider, Joel. You remind me that I’ve not seen HtWWW TV series. I must check it out. Thank you for your list, my friend.

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  7. Kevin (Col Mortimer)

    Mmm tough one, I love me some Westerns, off the top of my head (and probably forgetting a lot):

    Once Upon a Time in the West
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    For a Few Dollars More (um, obviously)
    Stagecoach
    The Searchers
    Rio Bravo
    The Wild Bunch
    The Great Silence
    Red River
    Unforgiven
    High Plains Drifter (I owe myself a rewatch of Outlaw Josey Wales, which I haven’t seen in 15+ years)
    Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    El Topo
    McCabe & Mrs Miller

    okay that’s more than 10, and just scratching the surface…and I couldn’t decide on a Budd Boetticher film to pick.

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    • le0pard13

      Wasn’t this one tough? And yes, when I saw you had a list put together, For a Few Dollars More had to be there (and it was). Very cool — and great to see another one with Red River on it. I’ve never heard of the Great Silence. Must check that one that. Thanks a lot, Kevin!

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  8. John D

    I always have a tough time narrowing my lists down. Your list, plus the alternates, cover a lot of my favorites, as do many of the movies mentioned in the comments. Some I would add are:

    Fort Apache
    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
    My Darling Clementine

    Just coincidentally, those are all John Ford movies.

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    • le0pard13

      Great John Ford films there, John. My Darling Clementine is a grand telling of the Shoot-out at the OK Corral. Thinking about it, wouldn’t you want Rio Grande in there, too? I mean to complete his Cavalry Triology of your first two. Thanks for adding to this, my friend.

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    • le0pard13

      That one is another take of the Billy the Kid story. Well, if you’re ever interested in trying another one, any of those mentioned in this thread would be good films in this genre, Novroz. As always, thanks so much.

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  9. The Sci-Fi Fanatic

    Hey L13

    Boy, as much as science fiction may be favorite genre, the Western may be my second favorite tied with war. You would think I would be as excited about Cowboys versus Aliens as you, but alas not really. I loved Firefly. What a fusion.

    Anyway, my handle on the Western is not nearly as strong yet I am exploring it little by little.

    Here are ten favorites.

    Shane
    Once Upon A Time In The West
    The Good The Bad And The Ugly
    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
    Open Range
    Tombstone
    Lonesome Dove
    The Proposition
    Deadwood

    I have The Good The Bad And The Weird in queue. I really want to see Quigley Down Under, Broken Trail, Culpepper Cattle Co., The Magnificent Seven, Pale Rider, Maverick. I need to refresh my memory on some of the Clint classics like Fistful. I also liked The Quick And The Dead, Unforgiven and 3:10 to Yuma.

    Anyway, great post. It is such a great genre and I was pleased to see you take a look at it my friend.

    Your advice and recommendations and additional thoughts are welcomed concerning my comment.
    all the best,
    sff

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    • le0pard13

      Great to hear you chime in on this, SFF. And yes, Joss Whedon performed a wonderful, but unappreciated (at the time), fusion of the two genres that were very much part of both of our lives growing up with the Firefly series. You have a marvelous mix of old and new on your list! Great to see more love for Tombstone as well as appreciation for the Deadwood series (I’ve just started that myself). So, too, for the Australian The Proposition. Love that one. So glad you contribute to this thread — and happy we got WP to un-spam you ;-).

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  10. William

    Dude! Open Range is one of the best modern westerns ever made! You got to check that out (unless you did and you hate it, hehe). Don’t let Kevin Costner fool you (again. . .after Wyatt Earp *shudder*).

    I’m also partial to Pale Rider but can’t disagree with your list.

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    • le0pard13

      I really do have some love for Open Range. It’s very underrated. You can’t go wrong with Robert Duvall and a splendid cast in that modern western. I think Costner definitely has skills at directing westerns, too. I’d wish he do more. Pale Rider, as well, seems to be making many best lists. It’s cross between a Shane remake with a touch of High Plains Drifter supernatural vibe didn’t get the respect it deserved when it debuted. Thankfully, as note, that’s changing, Will. Great comment! Thanks.

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  11. Paul S

    You’ve got me thinking…

    Ulzana’s Raid
    Major Dundee
    The Great Silence
    Red River
    The Long Riders
    Ride with the Devil
    Chato’s Land
    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    Jeremiah Johnson
    Hombre

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