Thursday 13 - Favorite Westerns

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2008 by Travis Cody in

I had a bunch of errands to run this evening after work, and then a bunch of chores to do at home. So I got a late start with rounds and didn't get to everybody. I'll catch up in the next couple of days.

In no particular order, these are my favorite westerns.

1. The Alamo (1960) stars John Wayne, Richard Widmark, and Laurence Harvy as the leaders of the small band of fighters who make their stand at the small Texas mission against Santa Anna's 7000.

2. High Plains Drifter (1973) stars Clint Eastwood as a mysterious stranger who imposes his will on a small town in order to defend it against three vengeful outlaws, and to take his own measure of revenge.

3. The Long Riders (1980) stars four sets of brothers - the Carradines, the Keaches, the Quaids, and the Guests - in a violently sympathetic protrayal of the infamous James-Younger gang.

4. The Magnificent Seven (1960) starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Horst Bucholz, and Eli Wallach. Seven gunfighters with no other prospects help Mexican peasants defend their village against a roving band of bandits.

5. True Grit (1969) stars John Wayne, Kim Darby, and Glen Campbell. A young woman needs a marshall with true grit to bring to justice the man who killed her father, so she hires U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn.

6. Red River (1948) stars John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, and Walter Brennan and tells the adventures of Tom Dunson and his adopted son Matthew during a great cattle drive from Texas to the Missouri railhead.

7. The Wild Bunch (1969) stars William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmund O'Brien, Warren Oates, and Ben Johnson as aging outlaws facing the end of their way of life, looking for one more score and finding only violence.

8. Rio Bravo (1959) stars John Wayne and Dean Martin as a town sheriff and his deputy, who arrest a man for murder and then deal with the efforts of the man's brother to free him.

9. Tombstone (1993) stars Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday in a highly stylized re-telling of the legendary events that occurred in and around Tombstone, Arizona in 1881.

10. Unforgiven (1992) stars Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Morgan Freeman. Reformed and retired outlaws take one last contract from a group of town prostitutes terrorized by a heavy-handed sheriff and his deputies.

11. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the title roles. What are two outlaws to do as the west becomes civilized and a special posse can track through towns, across rivers, across plains, and over rock, and won't stop until they run you down?

12. The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) stars John Wayne and Dean Martin as brothers who return to the town of their birth upon the death of their mother, only to discover that their father may have been murdered for the family ranch.

13. The Gunfighter (1950) stars Gregory Peck as gunfighter Johnny Ringo, who only wants to talk to his estranged wife and see his young son, but can't avoid the trouble that follows his name every where he goes.


  1. Jeni says:

    If memory serves me correctly (it does fail from time to time to do that ya know) I think I have seen almost all those pics -maybe even all of 'em. My favorite of those you mentioned is "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" but another one I loved -not mentioned here -was "Cat Ballou" - loved Lee Marvin in it!

  1. Turnbaby says:

    I could watch Tombstone over and over. We all know about my lifetime crush on Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer is awesome. "I'm your huckelberry" purrrrr

    And one of my favorite movie moments EVER is Clint and horse appearing amidst the heat shimmers--genius!

  1. Matt-Man says:

    Other than a couple of Clint's Italian Esterns, I just cannot get into westerns. Maybe I'm a Communist. Cheers!!

  1. Bond says:

    Terrific films..I also like Tombstone, though I wonder how accurate it is in the portrayal of this infamous gun battle...

    Cat Ballou was certainly different from these, but one I have also always enjoyed...

  1. I'm not really a western fan either, but I do admit to watching Tombstone repeatedly, as well as Silverado.

  1. DrillerAA says:

    For the classics, these can't be beat. I would probably add High Noon to the classics list. While not a true Western, Jeremiah Johnson just may be my all time favorite. I do consider Little Big Man a great film. In the modern era, I like the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, including Outlaw Josie Wales, Two Mules for Sister Sarah, Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and Hang 'Em High. Robert Duall in Open Range might be the best pure western film in the past twenty years. Wow, I think I've got enough material for my own list. Thanks for the idea.

  1. Linda says:

    "True Grit" and "Tombstone" - you are a man after my own heart!

    I always really enjoyed the mini-series "Lonesome Dove" which doesn't qualify for this list but which I thought was very good and followed the book quite accurately.

  1. the teach says:

    Travis, I'm back up, thank goodness! It turned out to be the modem...but my cable company didn't figure it out til yesterday. Aargh!

    Thanks for a reminder of all the westerns I've had to watch starring John Wayne (he's a favorite of my husband). I like the newer westerns Butch Cassidy, Unforgiven, etc.

  1. the teach says:

    I should have mentioned Tombstone. Val Kilmer makes the absolutely "Best" Doc Holiday!

  1. Jeff B says:

    All good choices. I'd put High Plains Drifter at the top of this bunch. Preacher does some serious butt kicking in it.

  1. How about SHANE and HIGH NOON, real classics, oh BTW, I met Miss Bee in Tombstone Az

  1. TopChamp says:

    i played the Magnificent Seven music in my gig tonight (light music in a garden centre Spring launch). It was fun. We mixed some cheesy stuff in with classical quality music.

  1. Kimmie says:

    Hi Trav!

    The only movie I saw out of that list was Tombstone. An Awesome movie indeed!


  1. Travis says:

    Jeni: I enjoyed Cat would probably make my favorite 50.

    Turn: I thought Kilmer should have won a supporting actor Oscar for that role.

    Matt: But communists actually appreciate the American western!

    V: Well, based on a forensic study of the shoot out it appears that they got most of it in the right order as far as the gun battle went. But even eye witness accounts differ in what happened, and Earp himself was often vague and got things in the wrong order when he retold the story. I don't think we'll ever be able to say exactly how it happened.

    Songbird: Oh! Silverado could have made my list...maybe to 20-25 for my favorites.

    Drilleraa: I have never been a fan of High Noon. I agree about Open Range...Duvall definitely made the film.

    Linda: Well now, this is a list of my favorite westerns. Lonesome Dove is a western and could qualify. It's a movie, even if it was in mini series format. I'd say that show would make my top 30 favorites.

    Teach: Welcome back! I liked the resurgence of westerns in the 80' fact, Pale Rider is another more modern western that could have made my list.

    Jeff: High Plains Drifer is one I stop on when I'm flipping channels on a Sunday afternoon and there's no sports.

    Sarge: Not really a fan of either.

    TC: I love that music. But you say that is the cheesy stuff or the classical quality?

    Kimmie: Hi! I guess westerns aren't for everyone.

  1. Roger says:

    Those are all great! My favorite western/comedy is "They Call Me Nobody" Check it out sometime.

    I been getting busy doing things at work to, there is just not enough hours in the day.

  1. Kimmie says:

    Trav...when I was a littl girl my dad always was watching the Westerns'. I think I may have gotten burn out! LOL! You know, I imagine if one was popped into the DVD I would watch it. I can usually watch just about anything as long as I have watched it from the beginning. I am a fan of Indiana Jones Movies. I just thought of that. They aren't Western, but I think they could be considered close. I have to admit, I am a chick flick kinda girl. I do like comedy also. Especially those Blue Collar Guys that are doing shows now. Oh they are funny! LOL!

    Okay, I am rambling. I need to go to bed. My eyes are barely open!


  1. Great list! High Plains Drifter is a classic. I think I need a full on Sergio film fest.

  1. Good movies, but not the best. The single best western EVER was "Once Upon a Time in the West." "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly," second. Unforgiven is third.

  1. Travis says:

    Roger: I don't know if I've heard of that one. I'll keep my eyes open for it.

    Kimmie: I appreciate a good chick flick every once in a while too.

    Starr: Now that sounds like a good way to spend the weekend! Oh wait...I've got wall to wall hoops!

    Charles: Many of my favorites are on the AFI top 100. But even if they weren't, they'd still be my favorites.

  1. Sonia says:

    Great movies! You have a good taste!

    Have a nice Sunday!