Top 10 Western Movies of all Time

The epic Western has been a part of film lore since the early days of movie making. The vast expanse of the background, and rugged hard men and stories of heroism and valour made these into masterpieces. Star casts like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood have left their mark on innumerable Westerns and the gritty tales have been the fodder for many a scriptwriter.


1. The Searchers  –  1956
The Searchers 1956

Nominated as the greatest Western movie of all time, this film has a great performance by the amazing John Wayne. He portrays a middle aged Civil war veteran seeking to locate his missing niece.  There are some beautiful vignettes of frontier life, and many subsequent film directors have acknowledged their debt to this film.


2. High Noon  –  1952
High Noon 1952

Gary Cooper’s finest performance in a riveting tale of one man’s courage against a bunch of goons, this film is an all time classic. With very few spoken words, the taut and intense showdown is the highlight of the film.


3. Shane  –  1953
Shane 1953

One of the finest films in its genre, it has been directed superbly by George Stevens. Splendid and restrained performances by Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur, and a guardian angel type of story have made this into a great film in all its facets.


4. Unforgiven  –  1992
Unforgiven 1992

Clint Eastwood’s best directorial venture, this is a sombre, brooding film about guilt and shame, and about the rule of the strong over the weak, and of courage and heroism.


5. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid – 1969
Obit Paul Newman

A modern Western, this film had two superb actors as its main leads – Robert Redford and Paul Newman. More on the lines of a modern comedy, it has some breathtaking landscapes and some great chases.


6. Cat Ballou – 1965
Cat Ballou 1965

Actually this is more of a spoof on Westerns than anything else. A drunk Lee Marvin and a drunk horse are among the many highlights of this film. His double role gained him an Oscar, and managed to steal the film away from Jane Fonda.


7. Red River  – 1948
Red River 1948

Ranked among the best of the classical Western genres this film is about the first cattle drive Texas to Kansas. The growing feud between John Wayne as the irascible cattle rancher and Montgomery Cliff as his adopted son forms the backdrop of the whole film.


8. Stage Coach – 1939
Stage Coach 1939

John Ford’s first attempt to make a sound Western Film, this film was also John Wayne’s breakthrough film. The film follows the travails of a group of people travelling on a stagecoach through dangerous Apache regions.


9. Treasure of Sierra Madre – 1948
Treasure of Sierra Madre 1948

A story of depth and enormity, it is a stunning visual delight. Humphrey Bogart as ragged and earthbound character, some taut lines, and a down to earth portrayal of the Western life, make this into an unforgettable epic.


10. Once Upon a Time in the West – 1968
Once Upon a Time in the West 1968

Termed a spaghetti Western due to the fact that it was produced by an Italian, it was a financial success in Europe, a box office flop in the US and received negative critic responses. But in retrospect it has been considered as a Western masterpiece. With a cast of Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale and Charles Bronson, it had very little dialogue and an immense feeling of realism.

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