10 Western Classic Movies

Thursday, December 23 by Greg Hawood

There are two kinds of movie fans in this world: John Wayne fans and Clint Eastwood fans, but both men feature heavily in the best 10 western classic movies. Western's have always been popular because they remind Americans of a time when the difference between right and wrong was all about who fired the last bullet. 

  1. "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," 1962. They must have really blown the budget on this western classic movie because it brought together two of the biggest names in Hollywood: John Wayne and James Stewart. The former was the pragmatic good guy and the latter was the idealist, but it only took one bullet to shoot the oddly named title character. 
  2. "High Noon." 1952. Probably the best black and white western movie and certainly Gary Cooper's most famous film, "High Noon" told the tale of a straightforward law man who didn't allow criminals to bully him. You know who your friends are when the bad guy's train pulls into town and poor old Gary found that you cannot always rely on even your closest comrades in your hour of need. 
  3. "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," 1966. Clint Eastwood became an iconic figure in Hollywood after this film, when he played the good bad guy or perhaps the bad good guy depending on your point of view. The soundtrack became even more popular than the movie, and this ranks as one of the most memorable western movies of all time. 
  4. "The Searchers," 1956. This classic western is memorable for the shots of the red sand desert of Arizona and the performance of Jeffrey Hunter who was as over the top as John Wayne was understated. Vera Miles was certainly worth searching for, though, as she was quite looker back in the day.  
  5. "A Fistful of Dollars," 1964. Clint Eastwood knew how to play the tough guy and he never looked rougher and tougher than in this movie with his cigar hanging out of his mouth and his steely stare. This movie like "The good the bad and the ugly," had a great soundtrack and ranks as one of the 10 best western movies of all time. 
  6. "The Treasure of Sierra Madre," 1948. Humphrey Bogart is better known for his roles in gangster movies, but this film saw him give one of his most accomplished performances as a villain driven mad by greed. The thought of finding a treasure trove will do funny things to people, especially cutthroats.
  7. "Dances With Wolves," 1990. Kevin Costner decided to make this politically correct movie to remind moviegoers that the native Americans who had been cast as villains in many films were in fact the original inhabitants of the U.S. Costner took on the role of a soldier who abandoned western ideals and helped the Sioux Indians to keep their land. 
  8. "3:10 to Yuma," 2007. This remake of an older, less well known film featured Australian actor Russell Crowe as an Eastwood style, good bad guy. The film was a success at the box office and probably the best western movie in the last 30 years. 
  9. "Blazing Saddles," 1974. Trust Mel Brooks to make a classic western movie that turned the classic cowboy into a clown, but this film was hilarious. Gene Wilder showed his versatility as a baked bean eating gas machine. This has to be the funniest western ever. 
  10. "Young Guns," 1988. This is not regarded as one of the classic western movies by hardcore movie buffs, but it was a big hit with teenage girls, and for that reason qualifies for the top ten. When you assemble a cast featuring all of the brightest young stars of Hollywood and ask Bon Jovi to make the soundtrack, you cannot go wrong.