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Poll: Top-10/20/50 list of your favorite Westerns (1 Viewer)

Reggie W

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I've dragged my feet on making my list here because I just love the western genre so much it is hard for me to choose favorites because they shift about and sometimes depend upon what I watched last and happen to be thinking about.

I am imposing some rules on myself here and I am only including pictures set in the old west. I am not including a picture like Treasure of the Sierra Madre because it does not meet my criteria although I find it to be one of the greatest films of all time.

I am not going to list neo westerns or films set basically post the early 1900s.

I'm going with, what I would call, primarily traditional westerns. This is just how I want to compose this list.

That said I am going to start with 4 westerns that I just absolutely love and that I will watch over and over again. So, essentially I am starting with the top of my list and any one of these films depending on my mood could be my favorite all time western.

The Wild Bunch - This is probably the western I have seen more times than any other. I went through a period where I was totally obsessed with the film. To me this picture takes the western genre to another level. It is gritty, nasty, cynical and it has quite a bit to say about humanity in general. I just find it to be a brilliant film. I also love so much about the way Peckinpah made it and how he tells the story.

The climax of the film is fantastic. I will assume if you are in a thread about westerns at this point you have seen The Wild Bunch. It's not just fantastic as an all time great action sequence with the massive shootout that ends the picture but also in what leads up to that shootout.

The men are sitting around enjoying the spoils of their work, booze and women, but then they essentially look around at each other and make a rather huge decision about what they are going to do. Here's the key thing, there is no big speech explaining their decision. The characters don't go on and on about what they have done or what they are going to do. Basically, they look at each other and in those looks...they just know what is the right thing to do and so does the audience. They then just get up and do it. Peckinpah and the actors give a master class in this sequence.

No bullshit, no explain it all to the audience as if they are idiots... just brilliant filmmaking.

There is amazing dialogue in the film, at one point Holden gives a short speech about sticking by the men you ride with that may be some of, if not the, best dialogue ever delivered in a western.

It's not a happy film by any stretch. The main characters are certainly not "good guys" they are men that can see their time has passed and choose how they want to go out. The audience does not stick by them because they are good men, they stick by them because they are not men that compromise their principals. When it comes down to it they choose to die for what they believe in. Not just a great western, also just flat out great cinema.
 
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Reggie W

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The Searchers - This picture may be the ultimate revenge picture. Wayne's character is so bent on revenge that he goes on a crazed epic journey to achieve it and nothing is going to get in his way. He is completely obsessed, filled with rage and hate, and he intends to take it out on the world. Revenge is a big factor in a lot of westerns but if you want to see the ultimate tale, this provides that and then some. Tarantino is obsessed with making revenge pictures but honestly, his pale in comparison to this...although I've long thought his Kill Bill epic is very much inspired by Ford's The Searchers. I know this picture gets mentioned a lot and so will come as no surprise on a list of best westerns but Ford's filmmaking here is just gorgeous. He creates so much iconic western imagery in this film that it becomes almost a blueprint for making a beautiful looking...well, not just western but film in general. So much has been said about this one I really don't need to say anymore but the truth is this picture deserves all the praise it gets. Again, not really a happy film and you can't call Wayne's character a good guy but he is an unstoppable force until he achieves his ultimate goal.
 
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Billy Batson

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"I put There Was A Crooked Man... (1970) on my list, but I haven't seen it for decades, I remember enjoying it all those years ago, I suppose I'm waiting for a WAC Blu-ray release."

Oh well, it looks like they are releasing it (I'll be happy to get an official announcement). Now Pat Garrett please Warner.
 

Reggie W

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One Eyed Jacks - Marlon Brando directed only one picture and this is it. It is a wildly beautiful piece of work with some absolutely drop dead gorgeous photography provided by the one and only Charles Lang. Due to the photography and settings it is probably one of the most beautiful Westerns ever committed to film. The acting is fantastic, the story is essentially just something to hang the acting on but boy does it work. I always liked this picture but when I saw the Criterion Blu-ray I fell totally in love.
 

Reggie W

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Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid - Yes, two of my four favorite Westerns come from Sam Peckinpah. This, like One Eyed Jacks, is a very different poetic work that has it's own interesting vibe and feeling. Lyrical is a good word to describe it. Interesting that both pictures sort of revolve around the same myths and that Peckinpah did for a bit work on One Eyed Jacks. So, no wonder I love both of these pictures so much. I should say that by the time I saw these two pictures I had already watched a lot of Westerns, features and TV shows, and so I was quite ready for a different experience with a Western and both of these pictures really delivered. The characters in them are very human while portraying the mythic Western characters we are used to. Both are filled with character moments where we learn things about the characters just by watching them. Brando relaxing eating a banana during a bank robbery or Pat Garrett taking shots at something floating in the river when he spots a guy on a barge using the item for target practice. Little moments that are beautiful, just showing the characters being human, and that draw you in. These are unique and special Westerns that I never tire of and find a joy to watch.
 

Beckford

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Love me a movie list. And one devoted to my favorite westerns is bound to be long.
Here are my personal favorites arranged by year.
The dozen that remain closest to my heart as the years go are in boldface:

THE HALF-BREED(1916) Douglas Fairbanks
THE RETURN OF DRAW EGAN(1916) William S. Hart
THE NARROW TRAIL(1917) William S. Hart
THE SILENT MAN(1917) William S. Hart
THE GREAT K&A TRAIN ROBBERY(1926) Tom Mix
REDSKIN(1929) Richard Dix
THE BIG TRAIL(1930) John Wayne
HEADIN' NORTH(1930) Bob Steele
NEAR THE RAINBOW'S END(1930) Bob Steele
THE RIDIN' FOOL(1931) Bob Steele)
THE FIGHTING CHAMP(1932) Bob Steele
HERITAGE OF THE DESERT(1932) Randolph Scott, Sally Blane
THE WAY OF THE WEST(1934) Wally Wales
THE RIDER OF THE LAW(1935) Bob Steele
THE COWBOY STAR(1936) Charles Starrett, Iris Meredith
TREACHERY RIDES THE RANGE(1936) Dick Foran
ARIZONA DAYS(`1937) Tex Ritter
BORDER G-MAN(1938) George O'Brien
THE MARSHAL OF MESA CITY(1939) George O'Brien
WHEN THE DALTONS RODE(1940) Randolph Scott
BELLE STARR(1941) Gene Tierney, Randolph Scott
SILVER STALLION(1941) Dave Sharpe
WESTERN UNION(1941) Randolph Scott
APACHE TRAIL(1942) William Lundigan
LIGHTS OF OLD SANTA FE(1944) Roy Rogers
BELLS OF ROSARITA(1945) Roy Rogers
NORTHWEST TRAIL(1945) Bob Steele
SAN ANTONIO(1945) Errol Flynn
DUEL IN THE SUN(1946) Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck
TRAIL STREET(1947) Randolph Scott
ALBUQUERQUE(1948) Randolph Scott
BLACK BART(1948) Dan Duryea
RED RIVER(1948) John Wayne
SILVER RIVER(1948) Errol Flynn
UNDER CALIFORNIA STARS(1948) Roy Rogers
CANADIAN PACIFIC(1949) Randolph Scott
COLORADO TERRITORY(1949) Joel McCrea
GRAND CANYON(1949) Richard Arlen, Mary Beth Hughes
I SHOT JESSE JAMES(1949) John Ireland
KANSAS RAIDERS(1950) Audie Murphy
RIO GRANDE(1950) John Wayne
WAGON MASTER(1950) Ben Johnson
WINCHESTER '73(1950) James Stewart
FORT DEFIANCE(1951) Ben Johnson
THE LAST OUTPOST(1951) Ronald Reagan, Rhonda Fleming
MAN IN THE SADDLE(1951) Randolph Scott
WESTWARD THE WOMEN(1951) Robert Taylor
WHEN THE REDSKINS RODE(1951) Jon Hall, Mary Castle
APACHE WAR SMOKE(1952) Robert Horton
HANGMAN'S KNOT(1952) Randolph Scott
HIAWATHA(1952) Vince Edwards
HIGH NOON(1952) Gary Cooper
SHANE(1953) Alan Ladd
THE BATTLE OF ROGUE RIVER(1954) George Montgomery
RIVER OF NO RETURN(1954) Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe
DAKOTA INCIDENT(1956) Dale Robertson, Linda Darnell
THE KING AND FOUR QUEENS(1956) Clark Gable, Eleanor Parker
RED SUNDOWN(1956) Rory Calhoun
THE SEARCHERS(1956) John Wayne
SEVEN MEN FROM NOW(1956) Randolph Scott
DECISION AT SUNDOWN(1957) Randolph Scott
DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE(1957) Barry Sullivan, Dennis O'Keefe
GUN GLORY(1957) Stewart Granger, Rhonda Fleming
THE GUNS OF FORT PETTICOAT(1957) Audie Murphy
GUNSIGHT RIDGE(1957) Joel McCrea
THE BIG COUNTRY(1958) Gregory Peck
BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE(1958) Randolph Scott
THE HANGMAN(1959) Robert Taylor
NO NAME ON THE BULLET(1959) Audie Murphy
RIDE LONESOME(1959) Randolph Scott
RIO BRAVO(1959) John Wayne
THE WILD AND THE INNOCENT(1959) Audie Murphy, Sandra Dee
YELLOWSTONE KELLY(1959) Clint Walker
COMANCHE STATION(1960) Randolph Scott
ONE-EYED JACKS(1961) Marlon Brando
DER SCHATZ IM SILBERSEE(1962) Lex Barker, Pierre Brice
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY(1962) Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea
APACHE UPRISING(1965) Rory Calhoun
IL RITORNO DI RINGO(1965) Giuliano Gemma
UNA PISTOLA PER RINGO(1965) Giuliano Gemma
A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL(1966) Gian Maria Volonte
DAY OF ANGER(1967( Lee Van Cleef, Giuliano Gemma
THE WAR WAGON(1967) John Wayne, Kirk Douglas
THE WAY WEST(1967) Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum
HANG 'EM HIGH(1968) Clint Eastwood
WINNETOU UND SHATTERHAND IN TAL DER TOTEN(1968) Lex Barker, Pierre Brice
MADRON(1970) Richard Boone, Leslie Caron
A MAN CALLED HORSE(1970) Richard Harris
MOLLY AND LAWLESS JOHN(1972) Vera Miles, Sam Elliott
ULZANA'S RAID(1972) Burt Lancaster
THE WRATH OF GOD(1972) Robert Mitchum
DJANGO 2: IL GRANDE RITORNO(1987) Franco Nero
UNFORGIVEN(1992) Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD(1995) Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman
THE HOMESMAN(2014) Tommy Lee Jones
THE REVENANT(2015) Leonardo DiCaprio
SLOW WEST(2015) Michael Fassbender
 

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