Top 10 Westerns

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Prairie Dog, Sep 9, 2008.

Which AFI "Top 10 Western" is your favorite?

  1. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. “Cat Ballou”

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. “High Noon”

    18.2%
  4. “McCabe & Mrs. Miller”

    9.1%
  5. “Red River”

    18.2%
  6. “Shane”

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. "Stagecoach"

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. "The Searchers"

    36.4%
  9. "The Wild Bunch"

    9.1%
  10. "Unforgiven"

    9.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Prairie Dog

    Prairie Dog A-List Customer

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    The American Film Institute recently revealed it’s list of the top ten westerns of all time, which ended up being one of the only reasonable lists from it’s recent 10 Top 10 series. Here’s how things shook down there:

    1. “The Searchers”
    2. “High Noon”
    3. “Shane”
    4. “Unforgiven”
    5. “Red River”
    6. “The Wild Bunch”
    7. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
    8. “McCabe & Mrs. Miller”
    9. “Stagecoach”
    10. “Cat Ballou”


    I can find myself agreeing with maybe seven of those. I can’t say I love what Sam Peckinpah did with the genre, nor do I subscribe to Robert Altman’s treatment of it. And the tenth slot was obviously playing devil’s advocate on the part of the Institute, seeing as the AFI is nothing if not conventional.

    I’d much rather have seen “Once Upon a Time in the West” (the greatest of the genre, though an Italian film, so I assume ineligible), “The Ox Bow Incident” (a near masterpiece), “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (the one film of the genre that seems to be a work of reflexivity) or “Winchester ‘73″ (the best of the early Jimmy Stewart westerns).
     
  2. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

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    Give me the oldies

    This list is sort of skewed to the modern era. For me, westerns will always be those hokey shoot 'em ups of the 1930's and 40's. I have a couple of Tex Ritter DVD's from the mid 30's. Totally hokey, but Tex sings. What could be better? And how about Hopalong Cassidy? Bill Boyd played Hoppy in more movies than anyone ever played a single character in the history of films.
    And let's not forget the one and only William S. Hart. He was the greatest of the silent film cowboys, and the one who actually portrayed the old west in an authentic manner.
    John Ford's early silent masterpiece, "Three Bad Men" also belongs in this group.
    As far as modern westerns are concerned, I suppose all those John Ford flicks are great, "The Searchers", "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", etc. "High Noon" is also an all time favorite. But the real oldies are the authentic westerns in my mind.
     
  3. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    I voted for The Searchers, which has really grown on me over the years: when I was younger I would have said High Noon. I also believe The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - my personal favorite - absolutely belongs on the list, and I dearly love Once Upon A Time In the West.

    Note that we had a pretty full-blown thread on westerns just recently:

    http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?t=31858
     
  4. dahliaoleander

    dahliaoleander One of the Regulars

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    What! No Roy Rogers? My Pal Trigger? LOL
     
  5. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    I really love good westerns, but there are precious few of them. A good western has to have realistic characters and realistic action. I can’t stand it when a cowboy shoots and ten Indians fall dutifully off their horses. With that said, there also has to be an interesting story line. All this means that there are very few that meet my standards for quality westerns.

    I have read many historical first person accounts from those who lived during those times, and I have done a lot of living myself. And I have done a lot of hunting and shooting over the years. I have studied the firearms used during those years, so I really hate seeing Colt Peacemakers and Winchesters used when the movie is set before 1873.

    So with all that said, here are my thoughts on the best westerns of all time. Probably very few will agree with me on all my favorites, but that’s okay. We all have our personal taste. After my pick for the very best, the others are listed in no particular order.

    The very best western ever made was Lonesome Dove. Yes, I know it’s easier to do great characterizations when you have four long episodes, but hey…it’s still the best ever, IMHO.

    After that, there are:

    Culpepper Cattle Company: some of the most realistic characters in any movie, ever, let alone in a western. And the gunfight in the saloon is the most realistic, ever. And the four outlaws that come out of retirement to lend a hand in the cattle drive are genuinely bad people, not “outlaws with a heart of gold.” Except for the one who obviously struggles with memories of home.

    Man Who Loved Cat Dancing: perfectly real characters, the action is just like it would have happened in real life. And the Indians are portrayed as real people.

    The Searchers: no need to say more.

    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon: perfect portrayal of cavalry life as it must have been, with all the realistic touches such as having to walk their mounts for a while every hour to keep the horses healthy.

    Hondo: every part of it is realistic. You can almost smell the dust in the air.

    Ulzana's Raid: an unappreciated masterpiece, flawless in every detail

    Monte Walsh (Lee Marvin version): excellent movie about the death of the Old West, personified by the title character. Realistic in every aspect.

    Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: if you’ve seen it, you understand

    McCabe and Mrs Miller: some of the most realistic characterization I have ever seen, and the shootings are totally like they must have been in real life.

    I love Outlaw Josey Wales for its characterizations but there are some unrealistic gunfight scenes that keep it off my list. Same said for Dances With Wolves too many places where the action simply wouldn’t have been like that.

    So…your thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  6. JackieMatra

    JackieMatra A-List Customer

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    My top thirty-three, in chronological order:

    Destry Rides Again (1939)
    Stagecoach (1939)
    The Westerner (1940)
    The Ox-Box Incident (1943)
    My Darling Clementine (1946)
    Fort Apache (1948)
    Red River (1948)
    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
    The Gunfighter (1950)
    High Noon (1952)
    Shane (1953)
    Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
    The Searchers (1956)
    The Sheepman (1958)
    The Magnificent Seven (1960)
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
    Ride the High Country (1962)
    A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
    Hour of the Gun (1967)
    Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
    Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)
    The Wild Bunch (1969)
    Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
    McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
    The Long Riders (1980)
    Silverado (1985)
    Dances with Wolves (1990)
    Unforgiven (1992)
    Wild Bill (1995)
    Appaloosa (2008)
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  7. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I have not seen them all, so can't say I think the list is wrong, but a list of my favorite Westerns would certainly include "High Noon," "The Big Country" and "Open Range."
     
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  8. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    Open Range is one of my favorites, too. That has one of my favorite "first two seconds" of a gunfight at the end.
     
  9. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

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    Where's True Grit (the John Wayne/Kim Darby original, though the Jeff Bridges one is arguably more "realistic" looking)?

    I agree about the realistic elements, but I also want some dialogue that sings (a la The Magnificent Seven). Or funny dialogue if that works -- see the James Stewart/Henry Fonda charmer from the Sixties, The Cheyenne Social Club, and of course Butch Cassidy.
     
  10. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

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    One thing that makes this so hard is that we lump a great many film types under the category of "western." Some are grittily realistic historical films (The Wild Bunch). Some are political, about the times when they are made (High Noon) others are fantasies (anything Lone Rangerish). Yet others combine all three (the Searchers).

    Concerning that last: The Searchers is my second choice. It is a wonderful film and it lets John Wayne play his stock character with a hard, nasty edge. But it takes place in a fantasy world where West Texas looks like Monument Valley, it's right after the Civil War but everyone carries guns from the mid-1870s and there is no Yankee Reconstruction occupation government. And there's to much singing and fistfighting. In real life Ken Curtis would have pulled out a bowie knife and shanked Jeffrey Hunter.

    My vote goes for "The Wild Bunch," not just as the best western but the best movie, period. It's a film where everything just clicks perfectly, like "Casablanca." Every aspect of the film is world-class, from the music to the editing. Maybe the best cast ever assembled except for the lack of good female roles, but this is a movie about scummy bandits and Mexican federales and the milk of human kindness is nowhere to be found.

    "Once Upon a Time in the West" is an utterly glorious production, but it shares John Ford's mythic vision and has a stately, operatic, European pace. But I can watch it over and over. "The Professionals" is another favorite and the big reveal has one of the greatest lines of dialogue ever: "Amigo, we've been had!"

    It's really a bigger theme than a "best 10" list can serve.
     
  11. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    I like True Grit, both versions, but I like the Jeff Bridges one better. But there are other movies I like much better. It's all personal taste, really.

    All good movies, yes, just not on my personal top ten list.
     
  12. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    Good points all. I hearby remove The Searchers from my "flawless list" and replace it with Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, one of the truly greats.



    Another of the greats, yes!


    Absolutely true. But it makes for fun conversation.
     
  13. SurfGent

    SurfGent Suspended

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    Once upon a time in the West ! Hands down !!!!
     
  14. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    Well my Faves:

    "Red River" - Wayne and Clift and Howard Hawks, three great cards to draw to!

    "My Darlin' Clemintine" - Fonda, Brennan and pouty lipped Victor Mature for extras!

    "Fort Apache" - The best of Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy".

    "Tombstone" - Val Kilmer should've got an Oscar nod for that one.

    "The Big Country" - "Ah warned ya! Why'd you make me shoot?"

    "Rio Bravo" - Well Ricky Nelson didn't totally suck.

    "The Quick and the Dead" - Ah Gene Hackman... what a villain!

    "The Gun Fighter" - Peck is excellent in this one.

    "Destry Rides Again!" - "See what the boy's in the back room will have and tell 'em I died of the same!"


    "The Magnificent Seven" - What a theme song.

    "The Man who Shot Liberty Valance" - When a lie becomes legend.

    That's off the top of my head. I'm sure there are others.

    Worf
     
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  15. JackieMatra

    JackieMatra A-List Customer

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    I won't disagree, but the fact of the matter is that Doc Holliday is a wonderful character that any actor should love to play.
    Dennis Quaid was quite impressive as Holliday in "Wyatt Earp", as were Victor Mature in "My Darling Clementine", Kirk Douglas in "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", and Jason Robards, Jr. in "Hour of the Gun".
     
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  16. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

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    I think Kilmer's performance is the best because he actually looks like a man dying of consumption. Mature was the buffest man in Hollywood in his day, and Douglas just didn't look sick enough, although his cough was great. Quaid made an almost suicidal effort to lose weight for the role, and for that he has to be honored, but he's huge and Doc was a tiny man. Val gets my vote.
     
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  17. Denton

    Denton One of the Regulars

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    Here's my list. McCabe and Mrs Miller; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; Ride the High Country; High Noon; The Tall T; Red River; My Darling Clementine; Stagecoach; Destry Rides Again; The Virginian (with Gary Cooper, 1929).
     
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  18. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

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    In addition to many already listed, I would have to include 'Lonesome Dove' (1989) even if it's not a theater release. It is my favorite Western.
     
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  19. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    Mine, too, hands down the best ever.
     
  20. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    One more I forgot.....

    "The Outlaw Josey Wales" - "You gonna pull that pistol or whistle Dixie?"

    Worf
     
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