DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
edited September 2015 in Movies
In hearing A.Ron and Jim discussing 3:10 to Yuma and how few westerns they've seen, I started thinking about which classic westerns would be good to recommend for people not all that familiar with the genre. There's still loads of westerns I've never seen, but here are some that come to mind:

The Searchers (1956) (Widely considered to be the best western of all time, but it is quite controversial in some circles.)

High Noon (1952) (One of the first revisionist westerns, about a marshal having to face a killer he had already brought to justice, while the town kind of abandons him. It's interesting, too because it basically unfolds in real time.)

Stagecoach (1939) (I haven't actually seen this one, but Orson Welles supposedly watched it over 40 times when making Citizen Kane)

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) (Another revisionist western that always makes the lists, but I also know a lot of people find it a bit dull. I like it, particularly the ending. 

Little Big Man (1970) (An early Dustin Hoffman film. It's got quite a mix of stuff, including comedy.)

Blazing Saddles (1974) (I'm sure everyone knows this one. I know it's a comedy, but it's a great parody of the genre.)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) (I don't remember much about this one, but I know it's well regarded and I remember enjoying it when I saw it.)

Rio Bravo (1959) (Entertaining John Wayne film. This one is referenced in Get Shorty)

Shane (1953) (I'm not a huge fan of this one, mostly due to the boy's acting, but it's hugely influential.)

Seven Samurai (1956) (A bit of a cheat as it's technically not a western, but it was remade as The Magnificent Seven. It's all circular though as Akira Kurosawa was heavily inspired by John Ford westerns.)

Yojimbo (1961) (Also a cheat, but it was remade as A Fist Full of Dollars)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) (Henry Fonda was a fantastic villain.)

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) (Clint Eastwood directed a few westerns before he made Unforgiven, but I think this is the only one of those that I've seen.)

What are some others people would recommend? I left off the Man With No Name Trilogy as it was mentioned in the cast as well as all the modern westerns they mentioned. 


  • Once Upon a Time in the West - Fans of Breaking Bad would like it.  It had the multiple story lines, audience knowledge vs character knowledge, fantastic scenery, a great villain, greed, etc.  Reminds me of the Gus v Walt seasons.
  • edited September 2015
    I haven't heard the cast yet (will probably listen to it today), but here are a few:

    3:10 to Yuma (1957) - I watched this along with the remake not knowing which one they were covering. I'm glad I did though. They're both really good and it was interesting to see how the newer one differed from the original.

    True Grit (2010) - I have not seen the original, but I did enjoy this Coen Bros. remake.

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - One of the better classics of the late 60s-70s era of Westerns. You can never go wrong with Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

    The Proposition - This is not your ordinary American western. It's Australian. It's directed by John Hillcoat, who did The Road and stars Guy Pearce. Again, it's not American, but it has all the feel of a classic US western.

    Tombstone - I haven't seen this in 20 years, but I'll never forget loving Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holliday.

    Dead Man - A bit of strange one here, but I was always a big fan of this film. Directed by Jum Jarmusch, this stars Johnny Depp as William Blake, an accountant wanted for murder and meets a Native American who calls himself Nobody and believes Depp to be William Blake the poet.It's got a kick-ass Neil Young score with just him playing an electric guitar solo.

  • UnderwoodUnderwood Philadelphia, PA
    Gotta have The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in there! Its currently my commissioned podcast of choice for the guys, if I so happen to win the Bald Move FF league.
  • elgat0elgat0 Clearwater
    I'm a big fan of the TV Miniseries Lonesome Dove.  It stars Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.  Duvall has called it the best role of his career and I agree. 

    It originally came out in the late 80's.  It reminds in some ways Season 1 of True Detective, big name movie stars doing TV.  Also Duvall's character has a strong philosphical bent like Rust Cohle, except he's more of a Hedonist vs Nihilist.
  • Dances With Wolves?
  • kingbee67kingbee67 Los Angeles Ca.
    elgat0 said:

    I'm a big fan of the TV Miniseries Lonesome Dove.  It stars Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.  Duvall has called it the best role of his career and I agree. 

    It originally came out in the late 80's.  It reminds in some ways Season 1 of True Detective, big name movie stars doing TV.  Also Duvall's character has a strong philosphical bent like Rust Cohle, except he's more of a Hedonist vs Nihilist.

    Yes, This is an EPIC show, but I would recommend the Pulitzer Prize(86) winning book first by Larry McMurtry. Also the prequel's and sequel's to the book are epic. Once you get into the stories of these two Texas Ranger you can't stop reading about them.
  • I love westerns!!!!  Most of the ones I would immediately throw out there have been mentioned.

    I have to echo @elgat0 about Lonesome Dove.  Augustus McCrae (as played by Robert Duvall) is one of the greatest heroes of all time. Just a great character!  His counter-part Captain Call (Tommy Lee-Jones) is almost as good but for different reasons. Also I've read the book and it is THE most faithful adaptation I have ever seen.  A note on the horses (I'm a horse person).  Tommy rides a mare he refers to as The Hell-Bitch (love it!  as he means it very seriously as a term of endearment)

    The Searchers is the movie I normally would throw out as the greatest Western of all time.  It is controversial by today's standards but so is Blazing Saddles.  To me,  the way both films are commentaries on the era they were made is part of their appeal.  It is John Ford and John Wayne at the top of their game.  

    The Clint Eastwood western that hasn't been mentioned that I recommend is Pale Rider.  It tells a fairly standard story but with a bit of a twist.  Very well acted w/ a really menacing villain.  It's a beautifully shot film especially if you are a fan of the western esthetic.  Clint looks amazing (and he rides the most beautiful grey). 

    I also recommend Shenandoah with James Stewart.  I love this film because it features my favorite kind of hero "The Anyman".  Stewart of course wrote the book on the anyman hero.  It's set during the civil war and is one of my favorites. 

    Finally, I highly recommend "How the West Was Won".  It stars just about everyone from the golden era of Hollywood and is fun to watch especially if you have a very big TV. 

  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @Raiyne Shenandoah is one of my all time favourite films! I did a little dance in my head seeing it get a mention. :-)

    I like some Westerns but not a huge fan of the genre itself. The updated True Grit is amazing, Tombstone is awesome ("You tell 'em I'm coming - and hell's coming with me, you hear?") and everybody and his dog seems to pop up in it - what a cast that movie has.

    Another of my favourite movies generally is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (I like old movies, wanna fight about it?).
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited September 2015
    I love Lonesome Dove, too. I've only seen it once and it was years ago, so I don't remember a lot of the details. I do remember my house getting very dusty towards the end.

    Lots of great mentions, though. I really need to revisit some of these and see some I haven't gotten around to yet. 

    I also just wanted to throw in Meek's Cutoff. It's pretty new, only a few years old. It's the only western I can think of that was directed by a woman. It's got Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, and Will Patton. A lot of people find it really slow and boring, but I found it to be pretty fascinating. It's got very little action, but very high stakes. 

    One more that I remember liking a lot back in college was The Ox-Bow Incident with Henry Fonda. It's different from a lot of other westerns I've seen. The whole film basically consists of a posse catching up with three men suspected of killing a local farmer and stealing and being very divided on whether or not they should lynch the three men. Kind of like 12 Angry Men in the West.
  • elgat0elgat0 Clearwater
    I'll put one more out there.  Appaloosa, from 2008 and stars Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen.  The story is simple and straight forward.  Again, it's the cast that does it for me.  This was part of a great string of movies for Viggo and reunites him with Ed Harris after History of Violence.
  • I thought of another couple Westerns that are worth a watch

    The Quick and the Dead. It's directed by Sam Raimi and stars Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe and a very young Leonardo DiCaprio. I'm not a Stone fan so she is a major downfall of the film (for me). It also stars Gene Hackman who plays a robber-baron type villain who is also one of the fastest guns in the territory. It's highly stylized and filled with stereotypical western characters but it's a fun ride. Crowe wasn't known at all in the States when he made this film.

    Open Range which stars Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner. Features a badass shoot out. I think this is Costners best role in a Western but he doesn't hold a candle to Duvall who sort of reprises the Gus McCrae role for this film

    Just as an FYI after listening to the 3:10 cast (which was great) Did you guys notice that Dallas Roberts (Milton from TWD) was the Pinkerton?
    And while I think they would be justified in killing Ben Wade where he stood, the 5th amendment guarantees due process under the law.

  • AussieGregAussieGreg Canberra, Australia
    Some great Westerns already named. Red River is probably my favourite John Wayne film, just brilliant.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    @Raiyne, yeah, it came up during our watch, and I made a note of it... I only end up using about half of my notes in these commissions.  We're thinking of making a live recording of our watches, because some of our best joke type material doesn't make the final podcast.
  • A season and change into Deadwood the show is amazing. I didn't realize Ralyan Givens was in it so that was a cool surprise (was the role in Justified taken directly from his performance as Bullock?), but it's worth it for Ian McShane alone.

    Also, @A_Ron_Hubbard I'm retroactively offended by the comment you made in one of the True Detective season 2 podcasts comparing the dialog to Deadwood.
  • @Raiyne I had totally forgotten about Open Range. I haven't seen it in years, but that shootout at the end was excellent!
  • @DaveyMac and I love Micheal Gambon (Dumbledore) as the villain!
  • @Raiyne I concur! Michael Gambon is great in pretty much every role he he does.
  • Great topic!  Let me also throw in my vote for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a great western with a great story.  I like it just a bit more than The Searchers which is so dark but still excellent.

    Red River is also a great movie but I think they Hollywooded the ending - to me it just didn't flow from the events that occurred before it.  Still very good though.

    I also recommend The Shootist (yeah, I like John Wayne).  It was his last film (also starring Richie Cunningham & Jimmy Stewart).  There are some great scenes in it.  

    True Grit usually gets mentioned as Wayne's best acting job and while that is a good film and, while I could watch him and Duvall do the "that's bold talk from a one-eyed fat man" and "fill your hands you son of a bitch" on an endless loop, I think he gives better, more nuanced performances in both The Shootist and Liberty Valance.

    And, "that's my steak, Valance"....
  • Plus, I don't know if I've seen Unforgiven mentioned, but it's the best western I've seen made in the last 30 years.
This discussion has been closed.