100 best Western films of all time

Written by:
November 17, 2020
Touchstone Pictures

100 best Western films of all time

The Western was the most-produced genre in the American film industry up to 1970. Exploring myths around American identity, Westerns are always set in the “frontier,” a land untamed by an eastern, city-slicker mindset. The genre rewrites American history so the genocide of Indigenous peoples already settled in a land falsely conceived of as “unsettled” comes across as positive. Westerns are notoriously racist and sexist, propping up racial “others” as simple foes and women as easy foils to manly heroes.

These movies explore the cowboy figure, embodied by actors such as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, who are bolstered by their moral flaws as they wander through settings rendered in stunning panoramic cinematography. Western themes obsess over codes of honor, justice, and gender; what it means to be a man. The cowboy figure in Westerns seems authentic, not carefully crafted through symbols, myths, and fantasies. 

While they haven't all withstood the test of time, for many movie fans, Westerns are classics. Stacker surveyed all Westerns classified as feature films and TV movies with more than 5,000 user votes on IMDb as of April 2022. Films are ranked by IMDb user scores and ties were broken by the number of votes. Read on for the best of classic Westerns directed by John Ford, Sergio Leone, and others, as well as recent revisions of the genre and its themes. See if your favorite made the top 100.

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1 / 100
B.R.C. Produzione S.r.l.

#100. Django (1966)

- Director: Sergio Corbucci
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 75
- Runtime: 91 minutes

The lone gunman Django, played by Franco Nero in the role that made him a star, is introduced dragging a coffin across desolate terrain. Close-ups pan up his body to rest on his swarthy, blue-eyed visage, and like all strong, silent cowboys he’s ruthless, but moral. He follows his own code. This influential Spaghetti Western, filled with striking compositions, follows Django as he fights two brutal gangs and saves the woman he loves.

2 / 100
Producciones Panicas

#99. El Topo (1970)

- Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 125 minutes

“El Topo” is known for its hyperviolent, surrealist visual style that aims to capture a hallucinogenic hellscape both offensive and alluring. Director Alejandro Jodorowsky stars as the lone cowboy on horseback (although he does travel with his son) who confronts and commits slaughter often amid Christian symbols. Jodorowsky admitted to assaulting his co-star, Mara Lorenzio, to make the assault scene authentic. The film has a cult following in spite of a repugnance that’s mischaracterized as avant-garde.

3 / 100
Barunson

#98. The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008)

- Director: Kim Jee-woon
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 69
- Runtime: 130 minutes

This Korean twist on the Western follows two outlaws and a bounty hunter on the run from the Japanese army in Manchuria during the 1940s. The film stars Kang-ho Song, Byung-hun Lee, and Woo-sung Jung as the titular trio in this highly stylized, slapstick send-up of Spaghetti Westerns.

4 / 100
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#97. Silverado (1985)

- Director: Lawrence Kasdan
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 64
- Runtime: 133 minutes

This ensemble Western brings together four cowboys as unlikely heroes against a ruthless cattler. Danny Glover plays a homesteader seeking vengeance. Scott Glenn is the steely sharpshooter who survives devastating wounds to ride again. Kevin Costner plays a hot-headed bandit up for any fight. Meanwhile, Kevin Kline stars as an outlaw trying to go straight. The film’s highlight is a wondrous performance by the inimitable Linda Hunt as a saloon owner caught in the crossfire.

5 / 100
DreamWorks Animation

#96. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

- Directors: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 52
- Runtime: 83 minutes

Voiced by Matt Damon, the mustang hero of this animated hit film evades capture by the “two-leggeds,” including an army captain who intends to break him. Once the horse meets up with a Lakota man, also a prisoner of the army, the pair breaks free, determined to escape enslavement.

6 / 100
Grisbi Productions, Le

#95. Hostiles (2017)

- Director: Scott Cooper
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 134 minutes

“Hostiles” begins with the harrowing massacre of white homesteaders by Comanche brutes complete with the senseless killing of innocents and war cries. The film shows that American troops are also brutal, but somehow less so. Christian Bale plays a captain assigned to transfer an Apache man (Wes Studi) and his family home. The ending offers the bleak hope of love and makeshift families after a vicious loss.

7 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#94. Desperado (1995)

- Director: Robert Rodriguez
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 55
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Antonio Banderas plays the title gunman in this stylish, over-the-top Western, a sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s 1992 indie hit, “El Mariachi.” Highlights include guitar cases fashioned as rocket launchers and Salma Hayek in the role that launched her career. Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Quentin Tarantino, and Steve Buscemi add flair and fun in small roles.

8 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#93. Rango (2011)

- Director: Gore Verbinski
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 75
- Runtime: 107 minutes

This animated family film takes place in a small western outpost called Dirt, and like all such towns, it needs a sheriff. Johnny Depp voices the chameleon Rango who seeks to impose order on chaos in a quirky film with stylized references to classic Spaghetti Westerns.

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9 / 100
Producers-Actors Corporation

#92. The Tall T (1957)

- Director: Budd Boetticher
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 78 minutes

Randolph Scott and Richard Boone play two men on opposite sides of the law in this tense drama known for its dark and austere aesthetic as it examines morality in the Old West. Boone plays an outlaw who befriends the man he kidnaps (Scott) as the two are forced to confront darkness within. Maureen O’Sullivan stars as a newlywed offered up for ransom by her husband after a stagecoach heist goes awry.

10 / 100
Perlberg-Seaton Productions

#91. The Tin Star (1957)

- Director: Anthony Mann
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 93 minutes

In this earnest, dramatic Western, Anthony Perkins (three years before he’d play Norman Bates in “Psycho”) stars as an inexperienced sheriff trying to keep the peace in a town beset with lawlessness. Henry Fonda plays the grizzled bounty hunter who turns up to show him the ropes.

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11 / 100
The Samuel Goldwyn Company

#90. The Westerner (1940)

- Director: William Wyler
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 78
- Runtime: 100 minutes

Walter Brennan won his third Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the tyrannous Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed lawmaker who rules with corrupt drunkenness. Gary Cooper arrives as Cole Harden, accused of horse-stealing, who befriends the judge, but then schemes to take him down.

12 / 100
Allied Artists Pictures

#89. Friendly Persuasion (1956)

- Director: William Wyler
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 137 minutes

Set during the Civil War, Dorothy McGuire and Gary Cooper star as a Quaker couple so devoted to their pacifist beliefs that they refuse to take part in the fighting. Soon, the Confederate Army arrives on their doorstep and they’re forced to take a stand. Anthony Perkins plays their grown son in this acclaimed drama. It was just his second feature film role and it earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

13 / 100
Bryna Productions

#88. Last Train from Gun Hill (1959)

- Director: John Sturges
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 95 minutes

Anthony Quinn and Kirk Douglas go head to head in this suspenseful drama that centers on the rape and murder of an Indigenous woman. Quinn plays Craig Belden, a powerful rancher, whose son is the culprit. Douglas stars as the widower of the woman killed who vows to get justice, but must go up against an entire town to do it.

14 / 100
Universal International Pictures (UI)

#87. Bend of the River (1952)

- Director: Anthony Mann
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Jimmy Stewart and Rock Hudson star in this wagon train drama that pits settlers against gold miners with betrayals and shoot-outs over encampment supplies. Economic tensions play out in a lawless, unregulated world. Classic Western themes around morality emerge as men steal supplies to sell to the highest bidder, and the movie ends with a final showdown.

15 / 100
Universal Pictures

#86. Shenandoah (1965)

- Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 105 minutes

Jimmy Stewart plays Charlie, the patriarch of a family caught in the fray of the Civil War. Despite Charlie’s insistence that his six sons and daughter stay neutral, his oldest son joins the Union Army, the youngest gets captured, and his daughter marries a Confederate soldier. Stewart’s performance offers a stalwart sentimentality as he deals with rebellion and loss.

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16 / 100
William Goetz Productions

#85. The Man from Laramie (1955)

- Director: Anthony Mann
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 103 minutes

In “The Man from Laramie,” Jimmy Stewart's final Western team-up with director Anthony Mann, the actor stars as Will Lockhart, a lone cowboy embroiled in a fight over bootleg guns sold to Apache Indigenous peoples. Lockhart takes on the corrupt, but powerful Waggoman family in a scheme to avenge his brother's death. Filled with gunfights and backstabbing, and shot in widescreen Technicolor, brooding, violent drama emerges against a stunning backdrop.

17 / 100
Beijing Bu Yi Le Hu Film Company

#84. Let the Bullets Fly (2010)

- Director: Wen Jiang
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 66
- Runtime: 132 minutes

Set in 1920s China, this blockbuster Chinese comedy stars Chow Yun-fat as Huang, a kingpin thwarted by a team of bandits after a train heist gone wrong. The bandit leader, Pocky (played by director Wen Jiang), impersonates the local governor, thinking he’s been killed, when he’s actually still alive and pretending to be his sidekick confidante. The plot features double crosses, fake-outs, and reversals in funny, frenetic style.

18 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#83. The Naked Spur (1953)

- Director: Anthony Mann
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 91 minutes

A spur prop adds to the action in this psychological Western drama about bounty hunter Howard Kemp (Jimmy Stewart) who falls for Lina Patch (Janet Leigh), the woman bound to the criminal he’s bringing to justice. With a couple of hired guns, Howard makes his way across the wilderness to claim the reward with the outlaw and Lina in tow. Betrayals and twists take place against the backdrop of burgeoning love between the bounty hunter and the outlaw's companion.

19 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#82. Viva Zapata! (1952)

- Director: Elia Kazan
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 113 minutes

In between the acclaimed “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “On the Waterfront,” actor Marlon Brando teamed again with director Elia Kazan to play the Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata. Brando was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for all three roles—as well as for “Julius Caesar” in 1953—but didn't win one until “On the Waterfront.” Novelist John Steinbeck wrote the “Viva Zapata!” screenplay and Anthony Quinn won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Zapata’s brother who succumbs to the corruption of power.

20 / 100
Walt Disney Productions

#81. Old Yeller (1957)

- Director: Robert Stevenson
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 84
- Runtime: 83 minutes

Disney’s tearjerker about the best doggone dog in the West follows the trials of a homestead, a woman alone with two sons, while the man of the house is off on a cattle drive. Enter the shaggy mutt, Old Yeller, as the mythic creature who teaches them all about the dangers and virtues available in a wild land that can’t always be tamed.

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21 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#80. The Professionals (1966)

- Director: Richard Brooks
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 75
- Runtime: 117 minutes

In this widescreen epic, macho men take on a familiar quest: retrieving a woman captured by a villain. Jack Palance plays the evil Raza, with Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin on board as the hired guns sent to retrieve a woman who doesn’t want to be saved.

22 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#79. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)

- Director: Sam Peckinpah
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 53
- Runtime: 122 minutes

Kris Kristofferson plays the mythic bandit in Sam Peckinpah’s moody and violent version of the young outlaw’s life and death. Bob Dylan scored the film and plays a small role. James Coburn plays Pat Garrett, the man sent to kill the Kid. The film’s theatrical release was marred by controversy, but a cut with restored footage sealed the fate of this film as one of Peckinpah’s best.

23 / 100
Hideout Pictures

#78. Old Henry (2021)

- Director: Potsy Ponciroli
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 69
- Runtime: 99 minutes

Tim Blake Nelson plays Henry, a weathered farmer living on an isolated farm with his teen son, Wyatt. When a wounded outlaw on the run happens upon the farm, Henry protects him even after lawmen arrive. Wyatt faces that there may be more to the simple man he knows as his father in this slow burn, atmospheric Western.

24 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#77. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

- Director: Stanley Donen
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 75
- Runtime: 102 minutes

This dazzling widescreen musical follows seven brothers named for characters in the bible in alphabetical order starting with Adam and going to Gideon. It plays with the trope of taming by showing women civilizing the unkempt, wild ways of men in order to prepare them for the happy promise of marriage. The barn-raising scene shows the artifice of gender through brightly colored costumes and jubilant choreography performed against the obviously fake painted backdrop of nature, a studio set rather than a natural landscape.

25 / 100
Ancine

#76. Bacurau (2019)

- Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 82
- Runtime: 131 minutes

Combining Western themes with sci-fi intrigue and set in the immediate future, this haunting Brazilian film opens with the aftermath of a truck crash and broken coffins strewn across a rural road. A sense of the surreal pervades the stark realism in a film about an isolated small town with looming invaders on the outskirts. Sonia Braga plays one of the locals in this searing, brutal commentary on injustice.

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26 / 100
UK Film Council

#75. The Proposition (2005)

- Director: John Hillcoat
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 73
- Runtime: 104 minutes

This Western set in the 1880s Australian outback focuses on a brutal assault and the community that demands justice from the youngest brother of the gang who committed the crime. The local captain proposes to hang the boy unless an older brother (Guy Pearce) finds and kills the brother responsible. Written by Nick Cave, and brutally violent, “The Proposition” shows the futility of justice, retribution, and revenge.

27 / 100
The Malpaso Company

#74. Pale Rider (1985)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 61
- Runtime: 115 minutes

Clint Eastwood stars as a ghostly figure, dubbed “Preacher” who arrives to help bullied prospectors after a young girl prays for a miracle. Eastwood brings his signature style of stoic intensity to the role of the man who arrives, doles out punishment and redemption, then rides off into the snowy hills. The film’s final scene offers a redux of the end of “Shane.” This time the youngster yells “I love you,” instead of “come back.”

28 / 100
Annapurna Pictures

#73. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 79
- Runtime: 133 minutes

This strange and provocative Western uses vignettes to explore the violence and cruelty at the heart of survival in the Wild West. Notable stories include Liam Neeson as the proprietor of a traveling roadshow with a disabled performer and James Franco as a hapless bank robber destined for execution.

29 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#72. Yellow Sky (1948)

- Director: William A. Wellman
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 98 minutes

Gregory Peck, as Stretch, leads a gang of outlaws with such names as Walrus, Lengthy, Half Pint and Dude, across Death Valley after a robbery. The gang nearly perishes from the harsh conditions until they stumble upon the decrepit town Yellow Sky, inhabited only by Grandpa and a woman named Mike played by Anne Baxter. Stark black-and-white photography frames stunning scenery as characters vie for the nearby gold and contend with greed and betrayal.

30 / 100
Batjac Productions

#71. 7 Men from Now (1956)

- Director: Budd Boetticher
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 78 minutes

Beautfiully shot in ways that make desert terrain feel both claustrophobic and expansive, this widescreen color Western follows Stride (Randolph Scott) in his quest to avenge his wife’s murder at the hands of bandits. In the stylish opening, Stride happens upon the peaceful camp of two of the seven men he’s vowed to kill in this classic with a biting sense of justice.

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31 / 100
Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

#70. The Big Gundown (1966)

- Director: Sergio Sollima
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 110 minutes

This underrated, stylish Italian Western stars the charismatic Lee Van Cleef as the weathered bounty hunter, Colorado. Tasked with nabbing a monstrous child rapist, Cuchillo (Tomas Milian), the two embark on a tense cat-and-mouse chase until the criminal is finally apprehended. When Colorado realizes that neither Cuchillo nor his crime are what they seem, he’s faced with the blunt truth about corruption that pervades the Western genre.

32 / 100
20th Century Fox

#69. Hombre (1967)

- Director: Martin Ritt
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 80
- Runtime: 111 minutes

Shot in Death Valley and featuring the natural landscape of Arizona in stunning compositions, “Hombre” follows the story of John Russell, a white man raised by Apache people. The film is part of a revisionist bent to critique white people and their treatment of Native Americans. However, with blue-eyed Paul Newman in the lead role, the film explores racism through the experience of a white man.

33 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#68. Ride the High Country (1962)

- Director: Sam Peckinpah
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 94 minutes

“Ride the High Country” dramatizes director Sam Peckinpah’s signature Western themes around honor, the codes of masculinity, and a lawless world that depends on men to ration justice as they see fit. The film follows gunslingers protecting gold during a time when industrial expansion is making their kind obsolete.

34 / 100
Warner Bros.

#67. The Cowboys (1972)

- Director: Mark Rydell
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 52
- Runtime: 134 minutes

John Wayne stars in another film ostensibly about training a passel of young boys to be cattle drivers. However, with Wayne as their instructor, the film is more about teaching them about masculinity and what it is to become a man, especially when they have to step up and do the job for real.

35 / 100
Caviar

#66. The Rider (2017)

- Director: Chloé Zhao
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 92
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Since Westerns obsess over taming what’s thought of as wild and free, unbroken horses are a powerful trope within the genre. Recently, “The Rider,” uses realism to examine a rodeo contestant recovering from a life-changing accident. Using non-professional actors and based on a true story, the film explores Western myths about horses and riders in an authentic, non-romantic depiction that is nonetheless triumphant.

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36 / 100
Estudios Churubusco Azteca S.A.

#65. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

- Director: Sam Peckinpah
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 80
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Director Sam Peckinpah made this bleak, ultraviolent Western outside the Hollywood studio system to ensure creative control. Though panned by critics at the time, the film has since found a cult following and is considered a masterpiece of the form for its brutal examination of the human condition.

37 / 100
West Film

#64. They Call Me Trinity (1970)

- Director: Enzo Barboni
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 115 minutes

Italian actors Terence Hill and Bud Spencer play outlaw brothers in this slapstick send-up of Spaghetti Westerns that indulges in the genre’s tropes and style for comedic effect. The brothers find themselves in a Mormon enclave after Trinity falls for two sisters, and though he intends to marry both it goes against his gunslinging, horse-thieving nature.

38 / 100
Rafran Cinematografica

#63. My Name Is Nobody (1973)

- Director: Tonino Valerii
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 68
- Runtime: 116 minutes

Henry Fonda stars as an aging quick-draw gunman confronted by the loner “Nobody” (Terence Hill) in this Spaghetti Western. Nobody pushes the old-timer to get back in the shoot-‘em-up game so the younger outlaw can replace the legendary gunslinger in the history books. Who’s the fastest? In the film’s oft-repeated conceit, “Nobody.”

39 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#62. Lone Star (1996)

- Director: John Sayles
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 78
- Runtime: 135 minutes

John Sayle’s expressive style pans between the past and the present as it tells the story of a disappeared sheriff in 1957 whose remains are found in the 1990s. Chris Cooper and Elizabeth Peña star with Matthew McConaughey and Kris Kristofferson in this elegant drama that interrogates the myths around race and masculinity that abound in classic Westerns.

40 / 100
Bocek Yapim

#61. Yahsi Bati - The Ottoman Cowboys (2009)

- Director: Ömer Faruk Sorak
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 112 minutes

A box office hit in its home country, this Turkish film is a surreal, comedic send up of tropes from American Western films. The plot centers on special agents, joined by a Calamity Jane-esque sharp shooter, who take a gift to the American president. They experience the perils of the “mild West,” as the title translates.

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41 / 100
EuropaCorp

#60. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

- Director: Tommy Lee Jones
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 77
- Runtime: 121 minutes

In his directorial debut, Tommy Lee Jones’ neo-Western examines the way the past stays present in a story about trying to right a profound injustice. A border patrol agent kills an immigrant and quickly buries the body. The killed man’s friend exhumes the corpse to provide a proper burial. Surreal imagery and a non-linear narrative engage in a critique of border patrol and its brutality.

42 / 100
Wallis-Hazen

#59. True Grit (1969)

- Director: Henry Hathaway
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 83
- Runtime: 128 minutes

A young, but intrepid girl hires Rooster to avenge her father’s murder. John Wayne plays the macho gunman, with his stoic performance visually punctuated by an eye patch in this film about the role, and the grit, of men in enacting justice. The girl and another ranger join Rooster, and despite perils and hardship, the three form a bond fused by grit and bravery.

43 / 100
Touchstone Pictures

#58. Open Range (2003)

- Director: Kevin Costner
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 67
- Runtime: 139 minutes

Beautifully shot in Alberta, Canada, “Open Range” features sweeping widescreen shots of untrammeled terrain. Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall play cattle herders, men living a pure existence thwarted by the corruption they feel compelled to avenge; shootouts ensue. The film also depicts the classic contrasts between wilderness and civility in this romance where the land itself is the lush object of affection.

44 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#57. The Mark of Zorro (1940)

- Director: Rouben Mamoulian
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 94 minutes

In this update to the 1920 silent version starring Douglas Fairbanks as the masked swashbuckler, Tyrone Power plays the sword-wielding hero with panache and flair. By day, Don Diego (Power) is the shallow son of a man ousted by a tyrant, while masked by night, he’s the champion of the underclass fighting for justice using virtuoso swordplay.

45 / 100
Cherokee Productions

#56. Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)

- Director: Burt Kennedy
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 92 minutes

In this silly send-up of Western classics, James Garner plays Jason McCullough, a stranger traveling through a small town who’s tagged to run the place in a parody of the common plot set-up. The proceedings are played for broad laughs with pun-filled dialogue and a breezy portrayal of civic corruption.

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46 / 100
Argosy Pictures

#55. Fort Apache (1948)

- Director: John Ford
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 128 minutes

Another entry in John Wayne’s “Cavalry Trilogy,” “Fort Apache” casts the classic Western hero as a captain overlooked for a post that instead goes to a pompous lieutenant played by Henry Fonda (Shirley Temple shows up as his daughter.) Wayne and Fonda vie over the right way to deal with the Apache peoples nearby.

47 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#54. Of Mice and Men (1992)

- Director: Gary Sinise
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 73
- Runtime: 115 minutes

Gary Sinise stars in and directs this sensitive and haunting adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic tragic novel. Set during the Depression, Sinise plays George with John Malkovich as his intellectually disabled companion, Lennie, as the two ride the rails looking for stable ranch work and dreaming of a farm of their own. Themes concern the inhumanity of harsh working conditions and lawless mob justice.

48 / 100
The Malpaso Company

#53. High Plains Drifter (1973)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 69
- Runtime: 105 minutes

Clint Eastwood directs himself as another lone drifter figure, one of many in Western movies, who ride into vulnerable towns, beat down the bullies, and then ride away. This film uses a style influenced by Italian Spaghetti Westerns, using allegory and symbols to create the loner myth as a ghost or spiritual figure who provokes conscience in others.

49 / 100
Pandora Filmproduktion

#52. Dead Man (1995)

- Director: Jim Jarmusch
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 62
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Jim Jarmusch’s arthouse take on the Western was filmed in black and white and features Johnny Depp as the easterner who turns into an ailing gunslinger after heading west. The film uses poetic visuals and a haunting style to revisit Western myths and the racism beneath them. As usual for this genre, this exploration occurs primarily through the bleak story of a white man.

50 / 100
TriStar Pictures

#51. Legends of the Fall (1994)

- Director: Edward Zwick
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 45
- Runtime: 133 minutes

This sweeping melodrama follows the frontier adventures of a patriarch (Anthony Hopkins) and his trio of sons, Aiden Quinn as the civilized do-gooder, Brad Pitt as the wild individualist, and Henry Thomas as the young idealist who brings home the woman they all fall in love with. Julia Ormond’s role offers Western myths about women as the touchstones men can use to figure out their true purpose in the new, inchoate America in clashes between frontier and city.

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51 / 100
Warner Bros.

#50. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

- Director: Andrew Dominik
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 68
- Runtime: 160 minutes

Brad Pitt plays the mythic Jesse James, with the Coward Robert Ford of the title portrayed by the lesser star Casey Affleck. The casting works for this revisionist Western’s obsession with the nature of celebrity. The stylized cinematography and stark compositions aim to reveal the role of photography in the creation of myth.

52 / 100
Universal Pictures

#49. Back to the Future Part III (1990)

- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 55
- Runtime: 118 minutes

In the franchise’s third installment, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) return, this time to 1885, smack dab into a scene of cowboys and Indians, who appear unfazed by the DeLorean time machine in their midst. Moving the story to the Old West allows the hero McFly to interact with myths just as nostalgic and “classic” as those in the original’s 1950s past.

53 / 100
HI Film Productions

#48. Aferim! (2015)

- Director: Radu Jude
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 84
- Runtime: 108 minutes

This acclaimed film uses black and white photography, resembling an old-time newsreel, to conjure a sense of classic Westerns in its tale about a father and son who capture an escaped enslaved person in 1830s Romania for a bounty. Set during the transitional Russian occupation, before slavery is abolished, the film explores the brutal laws of the period in a tone that moves from humor to horror.

54 / 100
Hal Roach Studios

#47. Way Out West (1937)

- Director: James W. Horne
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 66 minutes

This madcap Laurel and Hardy comedy drops the comic duo into a Western setting where they’re tasked with delivering a goldmine deed to a woman held against her will by evil saloon-owners. The pair’s signature slapstick charm offers a spoof-filled send-up of the myths of the genre with several iconic scenes such as a dance number in front of a busy Western town on rear-screen projection.

55 / 100
Joel Productions

#46. Lonely Are the Brave (1962)

- Director: David Miller
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 107 minutes

Kirk Douglas stars as Jack, a war vet who resists modern times, instead preferring travel by horseback and sleeping with a knapsack on the range. He gets himself arrested in order to join his friend in prison so he can help him escape. After his friend prefers to serve his sentence, Jack escapes alone, using frontier skills to evade authorities in a suspenseful manhunt across mountainous terrain.

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56 / 100
Universal Pictures

#45. Destry Rides Again (1939)

- Director: George Marshall
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 81
- Runtime: 95 minutes

Marlene Dietrich shines as Frenchy, the prototypical saloon singer in this black and white Western starring Jimmy Stewart as Destry Jr., the sharpshooter who avoids guns, but brings order to a corrupt town. Frenchy is partnered with the town bad guy, but finds herself falling for Destry as crime, corruption, and cynicism lose their allure.

57 / 100
Republic Pictures

#44. Johnny Guitar (1954)

- Director: Nicholas Ray
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 83
- Runtime: 110 minutes

Joan Crawford’s dramatic line deliveries create a radical style in this Western that gives a woman the chance to gun sling. Crawford plays a hardscrabble saloon owner caught in the crossfire between cattlers and townies. She dresses in pants and a holster and gets to fire shots in the climactic shootout.

58 / 100
Lionsgate

#43. 3:10 to Yuma (1957)

- Director: Delmer Daves
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 92 minutes

Based on a short story by noirist author Elmore Leonard, this suspenseful Western stars Glenn Ford, cast against type, as the villainous Ben Wade. Van Heflin plays the rancher assigned to deliver him to the law, but the honorable task proves less easy than it seems since morality codes are unstable for men in the Wild West.

59 / 100
Universal International Pictures (UI)

#42. Winchester '73 (1950)

- Director: Anthony Mann
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 92 minutes

This popular Western centers on the rifle in its title—“the gun that won the West,” as the opening title puts it. The plot follows the weapon as it changes hands, going from one cowboy to the next, imbued with righteous poetic justice. Jimmy Stewart plays the cowboy who wins the gun before it’s stolen by his murderous brother, forcing him to take to the trail in pursuit.

60 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#41. The Shootist (1976)

- Director: Don Siegel
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 77
- Runtime: 100 minutes

In John Wayne’s final film role, he plays an aging, legendary gunfighter who settles old scores while ailing from cancer. Also starring Lauren Bacall, the film seems a meditation on Wayne’s persona and the genre itself as a “dying” concept. The concept of the Old West must finally expire when there’s nothing left to conquer.

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61 / 100
David Foster Productions

#40. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

- Director: Robert Altman
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 93
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Warren Beatty stars as a frontiersman who takes refuge with an escort, Julie Christie as Mrs. Miller, in this story about the inevitable futility of running from the bad guys who want to kill you. Director Robert Altman’s realistic style and natural, hovering camera brought a new sensibility to the genre and sought to undermine its conventions.

62 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#39. El Dorado (1966)

- Director: Howard Hawks
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 85
- Runtime: 126 minutes

Hailed as one of director Howard Hawks’ masterpieces, John Wayne and Robert Mitchum play aging gunfighters caught up in conflict with a villainous landowner over water rights in the classic “El Dorado.” James Caan also stars as a young vigilante helping out. Wayne plays Thorton, a gunslinger with a bullet lodged near his spine who doles out cowboy idioms in Wayne’s signature drawl.

63 / 100
Sanford Productions

#38. Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

- Director: Sydney Pollack
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 75
- Runtime: 108 minutes

Robert Redford stars as the ultimate mountain man, a natural loner and former soldier who braves the harsh elements of the environment, including weather and grizzlies. Along the way, he ends up with a makeshift family after he’s “given” a woman by her chief father. Despite endless perils, he ends up a solitary hero revered by Indigenous people.

64 / 100
Rafran Cinematografica

#37. Duck, You Sucker! (1971)

- Director: Sergio Leone
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 77
- Runtime: 138 minutes

The second film in Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time” trilogy pairs Rod Steiger and James Coburn as unlikely co-revolutionaries in 1913 Mexico. Coburn plays a munitions ace, fleeing crimes left behind in Ireland, while Steiger plays a bandit who gets caught up in the war and becomes a hero to the people. Features Leone’s signature film style that includes close-ups and dashes of humor amid extreme violence.

65 / 100
Cinema Center Films

#36. Little Big Man (1970)

- Director: Arthur Penn
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 63
- Runtime: 139 minutes

The film begins with Dustin Hoffman as an elderly white survivor of Custer’s Last Stand. This revisionist Western aims to examine the genocide of Indigenous people, and does so through the examination of a white survivor raised by the Cheyenne people and a witness to injustice.

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66 / 100
George Stevens Productions

#35. Giant (1956)

- Director: George Stevens
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 84
- Runtime: 201 minutes

This epic story is notable for its exploration of race and class in the midst of family melodrama. It stars screen idols Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson as a couple whose oil fortune can’t be separated from the exploitation of the Mexican American people they employ. James Dean plays the field hand Jett whose status changes once he inherits land and strikes it rich.

67 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#34. Shane (1953)

- Director: George Stevens
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 80
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Alan Ladd plays the mysterious drifter who sidles up to protect a bullied homesteader family, saves the day, and then rides off again into the sunset. It epitomizes Western tropes about the lone gunman, his code of honor, and his inevitable departure, as epitomized in the famous ending lines. “Shane! Come back,” as yelled by the child who’ll never forget the exiting hero’s masculine bravado.

68 / 100
Film 44

#33. Hell or High Water (2016)

- Director: David Mackenzie
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 88
- Runtime: 102 minutes

This contemporary Western follows brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) as modern bandits who rob banks because of unfair foreclosure on their land. Soon, they’re on the run from the law. Jeff Bridges plays the steely ranger who won’t let them go in a mode similar to classic Western lawmen who relentlessly pursue bad guys, and in doing so, reveal themselves as the same breed.

69 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#32. True Grit (2010)

- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 80
- Runtime: 110 minutes

The Coen brothers bring their signature quirky, mannered style to this remake of the earlier classic. Jeff Bridges stars as the iconic marshal with Hailee Steinfeld as the young girl trying to avenge her father’s death as she makes her way in a Western world of gallows and gallows humor in a landscape as harsh as it is existential.

70 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#31. The Gunfighter (1950)

- Director: Henry King
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: 94
- Runtime: 85 minutes

Gregory Peck plays the mythic gunfighter Ringo in this 1950 classic. Ringo’s reputation as the fastest quick draw makes him a legend, but also a target as younger cowboys want to kill him to earn the title for themselves. Peck’s stoic performance shows the loneliness of heroism, as Ringo copes with estrangement from his wife and son, living always on the run.

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71 / 100
Adelphia Compagnia Cinematografica

#30. The Great Silence (1968)

- Director: Sergio Corbucci
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 105 minutes

In this Spaghetti Western, the gunman Silence (so named because of slashed vocal cords,) goes up against the nihilistic evil so often embodied by the corrupt villains of the genre. This film is known for its striking visual compositions that render the stark beauty of bleakness with unsentimental fatalism.

72 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#29. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

- Director: John Sturges
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 81 minutes

This Western and noir fusion focuses on a buried secret in a sun-seared Arizona town in post-World War II America. When a wounded vet (Spencer Tracy) shows up to visit his friend Komoko, townspeople try to hide the racism that fueled a violent crime. The film is notable for depicting white American’s anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II.

73 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#28. My Darling Clementine (1946)

- Director: John Ford
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 97 minutes

Henry Fonda plays Wyatt Earp in the first of many films to take on the myths around the shooting at the O.K. Corral. It’s considered one of John Ford’s definitive Western masterpieces because of its stunning visual style and captivating cinematography (even in black and white and 4:3 aspect ratio.)

74 / 100
Mirisch Company

#27. The Magnificent Seven (1960)

- Director: John Sturges
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: 74
- Runtime: 128 minutes

Using Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” as a thematic and narrative template, this iconic Western depicts an innocent community in need and the cowboy “samurai” who arrive to save it. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson star as the hero warriors in a film that explores corruption and the honor and sacrifice required to overcome it.

75 / 100
Crossbow Productions

#26. Blazing Saddles (1974)

- Director: Mel Brooks
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: 73
- Runtime: 93 minutes

Mel Brooks’ send-up of Western movies spoofs the genre with slapstick silliness and lowbrow humor. While it aims to offer a satire of American racism, its bombastic style sometimes engages in crassness rather than illuminating it. Gene Wilder stars, along with Cleavon Little as the Black sheriff of a white town.

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76 / 100
Acacia Filmed Entertainment

#25. Wind River (2017)

- Director: Taylor Sheridan
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: 73
- Runtime: 107 minutes

Set on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, this revisionist Western takes place across a stark, snow-covered winter landscape, highlighting themes of the repression of the violent history against Indigenous people that persists. Elizabeth Olsen plays an FBI agent investigating the circumstances of frozen bodies found in the wilderness. Jeremy Renner stars as a grieving father who helps investigate in this haunting film that explores brutal injustice.

77 / 100
Lionsgate

#24. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

- Director: James Mangold
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: 76
- Runtime: 122 minutes

Russell Crowe stars as the singularly diabolical Ben Wade, an outlaw so ruthless and spry, it takes epic manpower just to get him on the right train. Christian Bale plays the pioneer man who walks with a limp, and has that brand of virtue that’s flawed, but still good enough to take down a bad man, or at least try.

78 / 100
Salem-Dover Productions

#23. Hud (1963)

- Director: Martin Ritt
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 62
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Paul Newman plays Hud, the rakish son of a rancher who fails to live up to his dad’s expectations. Sporting a Texas accent, the role made Newman a superstar despite him playing an anti-hero. Hud represents the immoral counterpart of his principled father, which comes across less as weakness and more as the romantic rebellion of every Western outlaw who bucks his father’s rules.

79 / 100
Monterey Productions

#22. Red River (1948)

- Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 133 minutes

“Red River” explores the weighty drama of father-son relations—that clash between old and young, between the new-fangled versus the traditional that undergirds patriarchy. John Wayne plays the fatherly, tyrannical cattler who takes on a young orphan who grows up to be his greatest rival. Montgomery Clift plays the young rancher who challenges the elder cowboy and his ways.

80 / 100
Walter Wanger Productions

#21. Stagecoach (1939)

- Director: John Ford
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 93
- Runtime: 96 minutes

This is the film that launched John Wayne as a movie star idol in his turn as the Ringo Kid. The iconic battle scene features Apache people descending upon a stagecoach in a stereotypically hapless fashion. In contrast, the white people represent civility, law and order, and in the case of women, the conflict between the pure and the profane.

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81 / 100
Warner Bros.

#20. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 69
- Runtime: 135 minutes

Clint Eastwood directs himself as the outlaw gunman who tries to leave his tragic past behind. After his family’s murder, he joins the confederate army, engages in illegal bloodshed, and finds himself a wanted man on the lam. Eastwood gives the character his signature stoic grit and a masculine persona bolstered by frowns and quietude.

82 / 100
Hollywood Pictures

#19. Tombstone (1993)

- Directors: George P. Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 50
- Runtime: 130 minutes

Kurt Russell’s campy delivery works well in this redux of the mythic Earp brothers, men trying to maintain law and order in a world brimming with villainy. The performances give this film its allure. Powers Boothe seethes with villainy as a rival leader. The gravelly bravado of Sam Elliott is right at home, and a sublime performance by Val Kilmer as the mythic Doc Holliday makes “Tombstone” a mirthful romp into the Western as male melodrama.

83 / 100
Visiona Romantica

#18. The Hateful Eight (2015)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 68
- Runtime: 168 minutes

Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell star as part of the ensemble in Quentin Tarantino’s neo-Western about eight strangers hunkered in a remote Midwestern cabin during a blizzard in the post-Civil War years. Stylized, hyperviolent havoc ensues over a letter from Abraham Lincoln that may be a forgery.

84 / 100
Anthony Productions

#17. The Big Country (1958)

- Director: William Wyler
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 166 minutes

Gregory Peck plays another easterner, a sailor, who goes west only to find himself embroiled in the lawless conflicts of those who live in the untamed West—the kind that are resolved through duels. Shot in Technicolor widescreen, it also stars Jean Simmons as a kidnapped woman who must be saved.

85 / 100
Warner Bros.

#16. The Wild Bunch (1969)

- Director: Sam Peckinpah
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: 97
- Runtime: 135 minutes

“The Wild Bunch” is Sam Peckinpah’s ode to ultraviolent shootouts set in 1913, a year seen as marking the shift between an untamed West and one fully civilized. William Holden and Ernest Borgnine star as two of the gang members on the run who can’t escape their brutal, intrinsic criminality, even as their ways are becoming quickly outdated.

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86 / 100
C.V. Whitney Pictures

#15. The Searchers (1956)

- Director: John Ford
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: 94
- Runtime: 119 minutes

Natalie Wood stars as a frontier girl, abducted by Indigenous people, who prompts the epic search of this film’s title. The formal visual style pairs widescreen natural vistas with studio set nature to create a sense of artifice that matches the crude racist theme—the idea that a female raped by Indigenous people is better off dead. The closing shot frames John Wayne in a cabin doorway against the frontier beyond, as if a part of it.

87 / 100
Constantin Film

#14. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

- Director: Sergio Leone
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 99 minutes

The first in Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy,” introduces Clint Eastwood as the iconic lone gunman of Western myth. Based on Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo,” Eastwood’s cowboy offers to work for rival factions, then double-crosses both. Leone employs his signature stylistic elements such as striking compositions, arresting close-ups, and evocative musical scoring.

88 / 100
Warner Bros.

#13. Rio Bravo (1959)

- Director: Howard Hawks
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 93
- Runtime: 141 minutes

Directed by stylist Howard Hawks, the film follows three cowboys trying to maintain law and order in a world of corruption who happen to go by the iconic names Chance, Dude, and Colorado. John Wayne stars as the sheriff Chance, tasked with holding a man in jail while his corrupt and wealthy brother employs all manner of violent mayhem to bust him out. Dean Martin (Dude) aids the fight, drunk, but good-hearted, and the youngster Colorado (Ricky Nelson) also finds himself pulled into the siege.

89 / 100
Stanley Kramer Productions

#12. High Noon (1952)

- Director: Fred Zinnemann
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 89
- Runtime: 85 minutes

This quintessential classic Western displays the iconography of the old town shootout and its revelry in honor and justice. Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly play newlyweds set to skip town and start anew. Once Cooper, as a soon-to-be-retired sheriff, learns that bad guys approach, he’s conflicted over leaving with his pacifist wife or staying for his code of honor. The movie’s running time replicates the “real time” of the movie, the 80 minutes or so before a departing train and the arrival of the evil gunman.

90 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#11. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

- Director: George Roy Hill
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 66
- Runtime: 110 minutes

This popular buddy Western paired screen idol Paul Newman with newbie star Robert Redford as real-life bandits running from the law. It was a box office hit that used stylized composition to rework myths about outlaw heroes. “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” won the Oscar for best song; it scored a scene in which Newman and co-star Katharine Ross tool through meadows on a bicycle.

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91 / 100
Regency Enterprises

#10. The Revenant (2015)

- Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 76
- Runtime: 156 minutes

This archetypal tale pits man (Leonardo DiCaprio) against nature as it offers a meditation on masculinity through a plot about trappers, the 1800s pelt industry, and vengeance. Betrayed and left for dead by fellow trappers, a wounded captain must survive the elements in a hostile wilderness while hunted by Indigenous people (after being mauled by a surreally tenacious bear,) until the final showdown with his mumbling mountain man nemesis (Tom Hardy).

92 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#9. The Ox-Bow Incident (1942)

- Director: William A. Wellman
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 75 minutes

Henry Fonda plays another iconic Western hero who must grapple with law and order in the late 1800s. Fonda and his companions join a posse (to avoid being incriminated themselves) to track down accused men in a film that examines mob rule and critiques the codes of vengeance at the heart of the Western genre.

93 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#8. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

- Director: John Ford
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Metascore: 94
- Runtime: 123 minutes

John Ford’s flashback story about the ways legends become fact, creates a few myths of its own around what makes a heroic man. The “man” of the title exists as a conflict between an eastern politician (Jimmy Stewart) and the Western cowboy (John Wayne) who always arrives to save him. Lee Marvin stars as the archetypical bully, Liberty Valance, so evil that whoever kills him will become a legend.

94 / 100
Tig Productions

#7. Dances with Wolves (1990)

- Director: Kevin Costner
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Metascore: 72
- Runtime: 181 minutes

Kevin Costner’s rhapsodic epic posits the idea of the “one good white man” who understands Indigenous people and values their ways as contrasted with incoming colonial expansion in post-Civil War America. Costner plays an army captain stationed on the plains who romances a white woman raised in a Sioux tribe as he immerses in their culture and earns the name “Dances with Wolves.”

95 / 100
Warner Bros.

#6. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

- Director: John Huston
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Metascore: 98
- Runtime: 126 minutes

Humphrey Bogart plays a down-and-out drifter on the hunt for gold in John Huston’s classic meditation on the nature of greed and the irony of riches. Three prospectors patch together supplies and discover gold in the Sierra Nevada mountains, only to succumb to depravity.

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96 / 100
Warner Bros.

#5. Unforgiven (1992)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Metascore: 85
- Runtime: 130 minutes

Gene Hackman steals the show as a corrupt sheriff who seeks to prohibit violence with shocking displays of it. Clint Eastwood directed and stars in this story about a widower pulled back to a life of crime by the promise of bounty. Morgan Freeman stars as his sidekick, but the vengeance they promise to a group of wronged prostitutes proves bleak and futile in light of a culture that doesn’t recognize humanity, especially in women.

97 / 100
Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

#4. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

- Director: Sergio Leone
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Metascore: 74
- Runtime: 132 minutes

Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy” returns with the second installment featuring Clint Eastwood as the “Man with No Name.” The story about hunting an iconic villain displays more of Leone’s signature stylizations, including aesthetic violence, tension created through both silence and score, arresting compositions, and masterful use of the close-up.

98 / 100
Rafran Cinematografica

#3. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

- Director: Sergio Leone
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Metascore: 80
- Runtime: 165 minutes

With an epic length and a striking visual style, this notable Western is considered one of Sergio Leone’s masterpieces. The film both critiques the myths of the West and presents them with flash, grit, and characteristic fatality. The plot follows a villainous gun for hire (Henry Fonda) and the mysterious “Harmonica” (Charles Bronson) as the rival with a secret who’ll take him down.

99 / 100
The Weinstein Company

#2. Django Unchained (2012)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Metascore: 81
- Runtime: 165 minutes

Jamie Foxx stars as Django, an enslaved man who must earn his freedom by helping a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) in the pre-Civil War South. Quentin Tarantino’s fantastical revision of American slavery portrays a too-easy vengeance against racist white slave owners, relying on stereotypes and stylization in its depiction of brutal American history.

100 / 100
Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

#1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

- Director: Sergio Leone
- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Metascore: 90
- Runtime: 178 minutes

The final installment of Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy” with its iconic, oft-referenced title continues an exploration of the gunslinger figure, the “good,” as embodied by Clint Eastwood’s character. With an epic 178-minute running time, and considered an emblematic Spaghetti Western, it shows Leone’s visual style, excessive bloodshed, and nihilistic ambiguity toward moral order. The darkly humorous sensibility meshes well with the familiar Western plot about killing bandits and stealing gold.

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