What makes a western movie not only a western movie but a great one as well? For one thing, there has to be a hero, or a group of heroes, who fight the outlaws. And these heroes and villains have to be riding horses…no automobiles please. And the gun (or bows and arrows for the indians) is the weapon of choice, used to resolve a fight. There is no, “Call 911!” or sirens, only “Draw!” Here are the best westerns of all time….no, not the hotel chain, the movies.
Any John Wayne movie
Let’s face it. John Wayne is the epitomy of a western hero. What with his confident air, his no nonsense attitude and the drawl that says he means business, anyone would be crazy to call this man out or call him Marion (his real name, if you can believe that). John Wayne is to the western movie what Elvis Presley is to rock and roll music. You can’t think of their genre without thinking about them. If forced to choose the best John Wayne movie, it would have to be True Grit. His portrayal of the rough and tough old marshal, “Rooster” Cogburn was absolutely brilliant.
A group of bad boys out to avenge the death of their father figure. After the man who took them in, gave them shelter, education and love is gunned down by a group of men led by an evil land baron, the boys are deputized. Of course, Billy the Kid takes his role of deputy too far, gunning down all the men they find instead of bringing them in to be tried for murder, thus causing a war. With Emilio Estevez playing the title role and being supported by Keifer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Lou Diamond Phillips, it’s a can’t miss movie.
When Wyatt Earp moves to Tombstone, Arizona, he is reunited with not only his brothers but Doc Holliday as well. Naturally, there is a band of outlaws called “The Cowboys” (how unique) causing problems for the town with their acts of random violence. This violence leads to a showdown between “The Cowboys” and the Earps and Doc Holliday at the OK Corral. Vintage western. And even if you know pretty much from the start how this story is going to be played out, because of the excellent casting, you can’t help but watch the entire movie. Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, Val Kilmer, Jason Priestley and Powers Boothe. Enough said about that.
What would a list of best western movies be without at least one western/comedy? Gene Wilder was brilliant in his role of the naive, Jewish rabbi who comes out to the old west to claim his promised bride. Of course, he meets up with a bunch of brothers who act like they are going to be nice to him, only to beat and rob him. Along comes a bank robber (Harrison Ford) who happens upon the rabbi. Harrison promises to help Gene get to San Francisco in exchange for money but during their journey, the become fast friends. Again, they meet up with the brothers and one of them is shot and killed. The others try to return the favor, but in the end, the good guys win. Gene takes a bride, but not his intended one. Instead, it is her sister, a girl he falls in love with at first sight. Of course the attraction is returned and they end up getting married, Harrison at their side.
There are many great westerns out there to watch. These are just the best of the best. Do you agree?