Thursday, May 02, 2013

My Ten Favorite Westerns

Inspired by the Flowers of Quiet Happiness post listing Kara's favorite rom-coms, I've decided to do a series of posts listing my ten favorite movies in various genres.  I think I'll go in the order in which I've arranged my movies on my shelves (I have them organized first by genre, then by alphabet), which means I'll start with my favorite movie genre of all, westerns!  If I've previously done a post about a particular movie, I've linked the title to that post.  I'm also including my own one-sentence synopsis of each movie, and any thoughts I might feel like adding.

1.  The Man from Snowy River (1982)

Jim Craig must clear his name after he's accused of freeing his employer's most valuable horse in retaliation for being told he can't court the boss's daughter.  Sometimes I don't consider this to be a western, but it's about guys riding horses and rounding up cows, so... that makes them cowboys, right?  It's about Australia, not the American West, but oh well.

2.  The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)

Four brothers (including John Wayne and Dean Martin) reunite at their mother's funeral and work together to find out how their parents lost their ranch.  My favorite John Wayne movie!

3.  The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Poor Mexican villagers hire seven gunfighters to defend them from the bandit who's been oppressing them for years.  Steve McQueen, Yul Brenner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn... magnificent, indeed!

4.  Rio Bravo (1959)

A sheriff, a recovering alcoholic, an old man, and a young gunslinger fend off a host of bad guys bent on springing a murderer from jail.  John Wayne, Dean Martin, Walter Brennan, and Ricky Nelson play the four heroes.  Angie Dickinson plays the love interest.

5.  Gunfight in Abilene  (1967)

A Civil War veteran agrees to resume his job as sheriff out of guilt for accidentally killing the brother of the man who runs Abilene.  My favorite Bobby Darin movie.

6.  Silverado (1985)

Four outcasts set out to rid Silverado of the evildoers who sent one of them to prison unjustly, stole another's horse, and debauched another's sister.  The best "modern" western, IMHO, and has a knockout soundtrack.

7.  Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)

Jason McCullough (James Garner) uses unorthodox methods to clean up a town and woo the mayor's daughter.  The funniest western spoof I've ever seen, and possibly the movie my father quotes more than any other.

8.  Tombstone (1993)

Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and his pal Doc Holliday face off against the outlaw band called The Cowboys and bring them to justice.  Val Kilmer's turn as Doc Holliday is mesmerizing (and so quotable!), and he's really the whole reason I love this movie.

9.  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

A young lawyer faces down a notorious outlaw, and what everyone believes happened during that shoot-out launches his political career that takes him far.  I love the way John Wayne and James Stewart engage each other in this, bringing out some great acting in each other.

10.  The Rare Breed (1966)

A British widow and her daughter accompany the prize bull they've sold on its way to its new home in Texas, convinced it will revolutionize the cattle industry.  James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Don Galloway, and Juliet Mills -- their characters are like my dear friends.

I did a list of my favorite westerns about six years ago, and I see that my ordering has changed a bit since then.  The old list is here.

Have you seen any of these?  Did you like or dislike them?  What are your favorite westerns?  Maybe you'll recommend some I haven't seen, and I'll discover some new favorites!


  1. Okay, you read my blog, so you know that Westerns aren't really my genre...BUT you also know that I am determined to cultivate at least an enjoyment of them, if not a love for them.

    Since Audie Murphy is my star of the month in June, I am going to be OD'ing on Westerns. Funny, though I say I don't like Westerns, I do enjoy Audie's...probably because he's clean-shaven in most of them. I think what I dislike the most about Westerns is the dirt and dust and the grizzled men...LOL!!

    Anyhow, I have recently gotten into Bobby Darin, and I would love to see him in this kind of a role, so I am definitely going to look for "Gunfight in Abilene."

    I think my favorite Western is "True Grit"...the original, not the remake, though the Mattie Ross character was an improvement in the remake.

    On your list, I've only seen "Snowy River," "Liberty Valance," and "Katie Elder," and the latter two, I don't really remember.

    Thanks for sharing your list.

    1. My dad and I are nutty about westerns, and my mom and brother aren't. My mom always said that she didn't mind watching John Wayne westerns, though, because at least there was a little bit of a love story in most of them, and that kept her interested.

      I can see there could be a correlation between liking men clean-shaven or scruffy and disliking or liking westerns -- I love me a scruffy man with a three-day shadow and unkempt hair, and I love me a good western. You're the opposite. Hmm, wonder if anyone else fits this trend?

      I actually liked the remake of True Grit better than the original, which I realize some think is blasphemy when said my a John Wayne fan, but it's true.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I have two guns, one for each of ya.

  3. Your first list!!! Yay!!! And you even mention me?! You are too sweet. :) I will definitely be on the lookout for your next lists.

    I do have to confess that I haven't seen many westerns. But I have been learning to really appreciate John Wayne in the last few years. I've been to friends houses and we've watched a few of his movies. I'm realizing why he's still so popular! His movies are always so much fun!

    I believe it was one of my teachers in high school who raved about The Magnificent Seven. How silly that I still haven't seen it. I'll have to remedy that.

    1. I think that a lot of people have this idea of John Wayne and what his movies must be like, but that when they actually watch a few (especially the really good ones from the 40s, 50s, and early 60s), they are pleasantly surprised. And yes, his movies are generally fun and have happy endings.

      I think that The Magnificent Seven is probably the finest western ever made. See it when you can. (Also, Steve McQueen is really hot!)

  4. I am not really into westerns but a few of them I can appreciate.

    I like men clean shaven too. I can appreciate a few days of growth because it is a very sexy look, but ultimately I prefer men to be clean shaven. I don't like the Grizzly Adams look at all.

    The Man From Snowy River is already in my Netflix queue and I will check out the others on your list.

    1. If by Frizzly Adams, you mean full-on beard, then agree that not a lot of guys can pull that off. But a nice scruff because they haven't shaved for a few days? Yum :-9 In real life or on screen, that is my fave look.

      I'm flattered that you're checking out some of my favorite movies! But be warned: I have drama, film noir, action, fantasy/sci-fi, musical, comedy, romantic comedy, and family yet to go... don't drown!

    2. Reply to "Brownstone":
      Have you seen the Grizzly Adams episode where a clean-shaven detective Pinkerton shows up? It is called 'Adam's Ark' and I can highly recommend it (to be found on youtube, btw.)

  5. Oh my, Support Your Local Sheriff is absolutely hilarious! Definitely a favorite in my home! :-)

    There's something about Westerns that just makes my heart beat wildly...The excitement, the adventures, the manliness...Westerns are so romantic in that way...

    Thank you for the list! I will check some of these out! :-)

    1. The manliness! That is absolutely one of the reasons I love westerns. I love really manly men.

      "I've never made any secret of the fact that basically, I'm on my way to Australia." Isn't Sheriff just the most quotable movie? "I thought this was frontier country, and we was pioneers!" "So did I!" :-D

    2. So do I! And yet manly men are so hard to find these days, at least where I live. :-( That's why I read books. Ha!!!

      Your quotes! Hysterical! I love how he keeps one of the Danby's in the jail cell that doesn't have bars!!! So, so funny... :)

    3. At least the Pretty Guy look is fading in Hollywood, and Manly Men are back in style. So much more fun watching movies now, IMHO!

      "AND... he lies to you about whether or not your gun is loaded."

      "He lies to you about WHAT?!?!?!"

      Loooooooove that movie :-D

    4. I AM DYING HERE! I totally forgot those lines! What can compare?!?

      BTW again...I just saw Thor, and I now completely understand your love for that superhero...OH MY GOODNESS! He is awesome...Maybe more awesome than Captain America...maybe. ;-) The chemistry between Thor and Jane is just....I can't even explain it...Aren't you excited for Thor 2?!? My mind is blown... ;)

    5. I may expire of anticipatory excitement before November.

      Cap does run a close second to Thor, I will admit, as does Tony Stark. I get to see Iron Man 3 on Saturday! Woo!

  6. BTW...Have you ever seen the movie French Kiss starring Meg Ryan? If you have, did you like it?

    1. I love French Kiss! It will be on my list of fave rom-coms, I'm sure. Have you seen it? It's great fun, though there's one love scene that earns it its PG-13 rating.

    2. Oh, I am so glad that it's good, other than that scene you mentioned...I have been wanting to see it ever since I read about it on Natalie Lloyd's blog... :-D YAY!!!

    3. It's a very unusual rom-com, kind of a caper film, really. And Kevin Kline's French accent is delicious!!!

  7. Lol, our movie preferences are pretty different. :P But that doesn't mean we can't be blog-friends! I just found you through Flowers of Quiet Happiness and am glad I did . :)

    1. Hello! And my goodness, different movie tastes can be great! We can introduce each other to all kinds of new things. I love movies in every genre except horror, so I'm sure we can find something in common. I've been reading your blog a bit, and I see you're a fellow writer, so you're doubly welcome!

  8. Surprised again... I have not seen a lot of westerns, but my favourites are on your list! (Rare Breed and Abilene... for one reason alone, and you probably know it ;) Even a dunce like me knows that these are not the biggest westerns ever made... but I still love them, and I'm happy that somebody else does too.)

    1. Hee! I do know precisely why you like those two :-) Interesting that Don Galloway is in two of my favorites, and those are mainly what I know him from... until now.

      I think one advantage to being born a couple decades after most of these were made is that a movies bigness or importance doesn't affect my thinking on them as much -- I can take them on their own merits without taking into consideration a movie's success.

    2. Oh, he's done better than these two... I would be glad to give you a few hints. In "Ironside" he had to play the serious, square Sergeant, but I think he liked comedic parts. He seemed to have a lot of fun in "Grizzly Adams" (Youtube, Grizzly Adams 6 - Adams Ark; it's really worth watching, and I also like the music!)

    3. I've got company this week, but later this month, I'll find that one too. Thanks!

  9. Of the films I have seen on your list, I agree with you, but I seriously need to watch the first two on your list. Here are my Top 10 favorite westerns.

    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    True Grit
    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    The Magnificent Seven
    Rio Bravo

    Honorable Mention: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance


    1. When I was a little kid, I'm talking 7 or 8 here, the Josey Wales was my hero. Oh man, every time my friends and I played outlaws, I was always Josey. Terrific movie.

      Of yours, I haven't seen Rango yet, though I want to. One of these days!

    2. Josey Wales is a awesome hero!

      Normally I am not a fan of animated films, but Rango was a fun homage to classic western mixed with Johnny Depp's fun character.

      Although more sci-fi than western, Serenity would be at the top of the list for sure. The series was much more western than the movie though, both are amazing.


    3. I like a lot of animated films, but I only get to watch 1 or 2 things a week these days, so something has to be pretty high on my list to get watched. Some day I'll have more movie-watching time, I know.

      I tend to classify Serenity more as sci-fi -- when I do my sci-fi list, it'll be on there for sure! I got to see that one on the big screen, kind of by crazy random happenstance, and I'm so glad I did.


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