Monday, July 22, 2019

My Ten Favorite Western Films -- 2019 Update

The very first post I ever did in my Ten Favorites series was a list of westerns.  But that was 'way back in 2013, and my list has changed since then.  I've seen a lot of westerns in the past six years, plus I fell for Alan Ladd, and um... yeah... a lot has changed.  So I'm updating my list!  As of July, 2019, these are my ten favorite western movies.  Like always, the titles are linked to my full reviews of them where applicable.


1. The Man from Snowy River (1982)  A young man from the mountains (Tom Burlinson) 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 (Sigrid Thornton). It's about Australia, not the American West, but oh well.  My favorite movie of all time.

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... oh man, what a cast.  I consider this the finest western ever made.

4. The Lone Ranger (2013)  Lawyer John Reid (Armie Hammer) teams up with the renegade Tonto (Johnny Depp) to find out why Reid's brother and five other Texas Rangers were murdered.  This is kind of a fantasy-western hybrid, more of a tall tale than a realistic story, just fyi.

5. Rio Bravo (1959)  A sheriff (John Wayne), a recovering alcoholic (Dean Martin), an old man (Walter Brennan), and a young gunslinger (Ricky Nelson) fend off a host of bad guys bent on springing a murderer from jail.

6. Slow West (2015)  A bounty hunter (Michael Fassbender) joins a young dreamer (Kodi Smit-McPhee) on a quest to find a lovely girl with a price on her head.  Like The Lone Ranger, this has a unique vibe that feels more like a legend than a real-life story.

7. Gunfight in Abilene (1967)  A Civil War veteran (Bobby Darin) agrees to resume his job as sheriff out of guilt for accidentally killing the brother of the man (Leslie Nielson) who runs Abilene and is all set to marry the veteran's old flame (Emily Banks). My favorite Bobby Darin movie.

8. Branded (1950)  A shady loner (Alan Ladd) poses as a rich rancher's missing son to gain a hefty inheritance, only to discover himself falling in love with the family he's intent on swindling.  My favorite Alan Ladd movie.

9. Silverado (1985)  Four outcasts (Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, and Kevin Costner) 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.

10. Shane (1953)  A lonesome gunfighter (Alan Ladd) befriends a farmer (Van Heflin) and his family (Jean Arthur and Brandon de Wilde) and realizes he must sacrifice his newfound peace and comfort to keep them safe.  The book by Jack Schaefer is also amazing.


I had so much fun updating this, I might start going back through my other "Ten Favorites" lists and seeing if other lists have changed as significantly as this has.


This has been one of my contributions to the Legends of Western Cinema Week event that Olivia, Heidi, and I are hosting this week!  Click here for the list of other people's posts and to participate yourself.

16 comments:

  1. I have got to see the Bobby Darin movie. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Lone Ranger feature. I haven't seen The Man from Snowy River in years, but your brought it vividly back to me.

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    1. Caftan Woman, awwww, I think you'd like Gunfight in Abilene! It's a B-western, but really nicely done. It's one of my comfort movies. And so is this Lone Ranger. I identify very, very strongly with John Reid in it, and the movie as a whole is just... fun. Weird, but fun.

      I haven't watched The Man from Snowy River in a few years either. Will find a time for it one of these days. I've seen it so often, I can kind of watch it in my head whenever I want.

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  2. Loved your updated list! The Lone Ranger *alllllmost* made my top 10. I just have to see it a few more times I think (that and I have too much to say, so planning to write a bit more on it later in the week ;)). Likewise with Mag7. I was just recently watching bits and pieces of Slow West and wondering if you'd seen it. (What with Michael Fassbender and all.) I think I need to see Branded and Rio Bravo (I know, I knooooww *ducks* you're going to be shocked I haven't seen it yet ;D ;D).

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    1. Heidi, oh, wow! That's cool that you dig The Lone Ranger that much too! It's quirky, but good. As is Slow West. That one's more dream-like, isn't it? It's what made me go, "I need to see this Fassbender guy in more things." I think I'd seen him in Jane Eyre first, and maybe X-men: First Class too, but this was what made me go, "I must find more. This guy is fascinating." I just love his character, Silas, and his whole character journey.

      You would probably like Branded a lot, but you really just need to see Rio Bravo.

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  3. Did you see the sequel to THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER? BRIAN DENNEHY took over the role that KIRK DOUGLAS had in the original. Classic TV Fan

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    1. Classic TV Fan, yeah, I saw that when it came out. Was extremely disappointed and have no wish to revisit it.

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  4. Still need to see "The Sons of Katie Elder". I'm also interested in "Rio Bravo," "Slow West," and "Branded," and I've been needing to re-watch "The Lone Ranger" for a while now.

    Ooh, yes, please do go through your top ten lists and see if any updates are in order! I find top ten lists great fun, both to write and to read. :D

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    1. Well, Olivia, given your comment plus Katie's below, I think we need to have a movie night at my house where we all watch Sons of Katie Elder because.

      Slow West is a very unique film. The first time I watched it, I was like, "What even is this? Where is this going? I have no idea where it's going!!!" But man, I rewatch it several times a year because it's so meaty and good.

      I have ideas for some new top tens too, just need to pull them together. But I think any list that is more than 5 years old, I need to look at it and see if much has changed. I know some have, but others maybe not so much. We'll see!

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  5. I'm always intrigued by The Sons of Katie Elder whenever you mention it, cuz of the title, haha!

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    1. Katie, I regret to inform you that the movie starts with Katie Elder's sons attending her funeral. But the whole movie is about her and how she impacted the people in their town. So you're just going to have to watch it. I think you and Olivia should come over some weekend and we'll have a movie night dedicated to westerns.

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  6. The Man From Snowy River! Boy, those guys could ride a horse!

    I love the dynamic between the brothers in the Sons of Katie Elder – it’s hilarious!

    The Magnificent Seven is such a masterpiece!

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    1. Allison, want to know something totally nuts? Tom Burlinson learned to ride horses for that film. AND he did that whole ride-down-the-steep-slope stunt himself. Wow.

      The Elder Boys are just so neat. I love crunchy, chewy family dynamics like that!

      Masterpiece indeed. I'm itching to rewatch it after talking about it a lot this week!

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  7. Yesss Rio Bravo. And I'm so glad I finally watched Shane! <3

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  8. I've only seen two of these. I need to fix that.

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