Most Famous Cowboy Movies

Sunday, April 3 by Shawn Lealos

The most famous cowboy movies feature stories of the wild west with all the styling of a classic western film. These movies include classics with John Wayne and more recent efforts with Clint Eastwood. The movies are both based on historical events and grand fictional tales that paint the west as wild as a child’s imagination.

  1. “Unforgiven” The western movie was almost dead by the time the 90's rolled around. However, Clint Eastwood was not finished with the genre and directs one of the most famous cowboy movies of all time. Eastwood stars as a former outlaw who comes face-to-face with an evil sheriff.
  2. “Tombstone” While “Unforgiven” helped revive the western movie, “Tombstone” remains one of the most famous cowboy movies thanks to its fun factor. Kurt Russell stars as Wyatt Earp in this tale of the O.K. Corral. Val Kilmer steals the show with his classic portrayal of Doc Holladay.
  3. “Shane” Alan Ladd stars as a stranger who rides into a western town and tries to settle down and make a new home. When danger arrives in the town and threatens his friends, Shane is forced to pick up his guns once again. The story has been told many times but this famous cowboy movie remains the best version.
  4. “The Searchers” John Wayne was the perfect cowboy in western movies but in this famous cowboy movie, he plays a dark, dirty character. Ethan Edwards is a Civil War vet whose niece was kidnapped by Comanche Indians. Edwards, racist to the bone, goes to rescue her with great vengeance.
  5. “High Noon” Gary Cooper is a lawman who is preparing to move away to live out his days with his new wife. When an outlaw he arrested is freed and heads back to exact revenge, Will Kane chooses to stay and fight but no one in town will stand by his side, leaving him to fight to protect the town alone.
  6. “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” James Stewart is a U.S. Senator who returns home for the funeral of a cowboy. When asked why he cares about thi unknown man, he tells the story of how this cowboy helped save his life against an outlaw named Liberty Valance in one of cinema’s most famous cowboy movies.
  7. “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly” In the greatest spaghetti western ever made, Clint Eastwood stars as Blondie, a gunman who sets up a con to raise money with his cohorts. In one of the most famous cowboys movies ever made, the film made the Mexican Stand Off into a work of art.
  8. “The Big Trail” “Red River” is a Howard Hawkes film telling the story of a group of settlers travelling west during the Oregon Trail. John Wayne stars in one of his early roles as a young trapper who helps lead the pioneers to the promised land in one of the most famous cowboy movies.
  9. “Rio Bravo” This famous cowboy movie is a siege movie about a group of people trapped in a jail while a group of powerful ranchers outside arrive to break out their companion. The movie has been remade many times including “El Dorado,” “Rio Lobo” and later in “Assault on Precinct 13.”
  10. “Stagecoach” John Ford and John Wayne team up for this famous cowboy movie about a stagecoach avoiding a dangerous Indian attack as it crosses the Arizona Territory. The movie is full of stereotypes including an outlaw, a prostitute, a drunk doctor, a gambler and an uptight, proper woman.