One of the most beloved movie genres to ever have been created, some of the most iconic movies have been western productions. They’ve been winners at award ceremonies, some of the most talented actors have been featured in them, and western movies serve up the entertainment movie-watchers require.
While, as consumers, we haven’t been on the receiving end of too many recent masterpieces, there are some western movies in production at the moment. They are, indeed, slowly making a comeback, although what has come before them will be hard to better. The genre is still going strong in other areas, such as gaming, with people playing the hugely popular cowboy-themed Dead or Alive 2 slot. Additionally, pop sensations are creating western-themed music videos and party themes around the world focusing on the wild West. It’s in some past classics where western life is best on show, though, with so many memorable movies registering massive success. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at five of them below.
Once Upon a Time in the West
A 1968 gem, Once Upon a Time in the West was hailed as a classic as soon as film critics got their hands on it. Regarded by many as a more accurate depiction of American western living, the movie features a huge selection of storyline types, from the brutal and the shocking to softer topics around the likes of love and relationships. Ultimately, though, the main focus of this classic creation is to showcase the harsh realities of western life, something it manages to do perfectly.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Most western films have lone heroes on a mission of some sort, but Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid bucks the trend somewhat. Released in 1969, it focuses on the ever-changing relationship between two respected leaders as they navigate a chaotic world. For many, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, both of whom are the main characters in the movie, made the film even better with their truly iconic acting performances.
No Country for Old Men
One of the most memorable movies from this particular category, No Country for Old Men is widely regarded as being a western masterpiece that will live on forever. An understandable take, it certainly delivers in a number of areas, from the danger element throughout to the excellent acting on show from the likes of Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s much-loved novel, No Country for Old Men is one you simply have to watch.
For long-term admirers of the western genre, The Searchers is an instant favorite, and it’s entirely understandable as to why. Released in 1956, the powerful movie follows the story of a racist outsider who is struggling to find his kidnapped niece. A story of many layers and thought-provoking issues, John Wayne’s acting performance was on point also. Although many western movies wouldn’t appeal to modern-day audiences, The Searchers is a production that will always offer something to viewing audiences. Put simply, it’s a timeless creation.
Released in 1961 and starring Marlon Brando, who also directed the film after falling out with the original director, One-Eyed Jacks went from being a mess in production to Brando absolutely nailing what was his directorial debut. A refreshing take on the Billy the Kid legend, the movie was particularly well received due to its stunning visuals and iconic filming locations, like Big Sur. Although a recently restored version went down well with audiences at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the original movie is the one to watch if you can.