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100 best Western films of all time, according to critics

  • TriStar Pictures
    1/ TriStar Pictures

    100 best Western films of all time, according to critics

    When someone heads to the movie theater in 2018 they’ll likely be seeing an adventure action drama or comedy. During the first half of the 20th century however the most popular movie genre was the Western. Stories about the American frontier gun-toting cowboys and horse-riding outlaws dominated cinemas and drew in huge crowds. In fact more Westerns were produced in the 1950s than all other movie genres combined.

    Despite their decrease in popularity over the last 60 years Westerns still have plenty of defenders and enduring appeal. If you’re new to the genre and don’t know where to start—or if you’re a long-time fan looking for inspiration—check out Stacker’s list of the 100 best Western films of all time. Stacker compiled this list using data from Metacritic a site which collects reviews from respected critics and uses them to determine the average rating.

    Read through Stacker's list of the 100 best Western films to find something new to watch tonight.

    ALSO: Best Western film from the year you were born

  • Revolution Studios
    2/ Revolution Studios

    #100. The Missing

    Metascore: 55
    Release date: Nov. 19 2003

     

    Cate Blanchett plays a mother in 1885 New Mexico fighting for her daughter's life against an Apache brujo. She seeks the help of her estranged father played by Tommy Lee Jones. 

  • Screen Media Films
    3/ Screen Media Films

    #99. Wild Horse, Wild Ride

    Metascore: 55

    Release date: Aug. 24, 2012

     

    “Wild Horse, Wild Ride” is a documentary that follows nine horse trainers competing in the Extreme Mustang Challenge. Directors Greg Gricus and Alex Dawson showcase the emotional journeys of the trainers as they attempt to tame wild mustangs in just 100 days to win a cash prize and recognition of their skills.

     

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    4/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #98. All the Pretty Horses

    Metascore: 55

    Release date: Dec. 25, 2000

     

    Billy Bob Thornton produced and directed “All the Pretty Horses,” an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name. The story follows two cowboys looking for work in Mexico when one of them, played by Matt Damon, gets into trouble after he falls for a rancher’s daughter, played by Penelope Cruz. The movie was met with mediocre reviews, which Matt Damon blames on heavy edits to Thornton’s first version of the film—including the removal of the original soundtrack.

     

  • Minds Eye Entertainment
    5/ Minds Eye Entertainment

    #97. Forsaken

    Metascore: 55

    Release date: Feb. 19, 2016

     

    In “Forsaken,” a retired gunman attempts to reconnect with his estranged father when he comes up against a local gang and must consider going back to his violent ways. Real-life son and father Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland teamed up to play the lead roles, while Jon Cassar directed.

     

  • A-Team
    6/ A-Team

    #96. Sukiyaki Western Django

    Metascore: 55

    Release date: Aug. 29, 2008

     

    In this Japanese Western, an unnamed gunman arrives in Yuta, a town with two competing gangs. Both gangs welcome the gunman to join them, but he refuses their offers, choosing instead to make his own decisions. The title “Sukiyaki Western Django” includes references to both the Japanese dish sukiyaki and the Western film “Django.”

     

  • Universal Pictures
    7/ Universal Pictures

    #95. Back to the Future Part III

    Metascore: 55

    Release date: May. 25, 1990

     

    The only Western of the “Back to the Future” series, Part III brings Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, back to 1885 where he attempts to save Emmett “Doc” Brown. While not as financially successful as the first film in the trilogy, “Back to the Future Part III” was the sixth-highest grossing film worldwide in 1990.

     

  • Australian Film Finance Corporation (AFFC)
    8/ Australian Film Finance Corporation (AFFC)

    #94. Ned Kelly

    Metascore: 56

    Release date: Mar. 26, 2004

     

    The late Heath Ledger starred as the titular character in this Australian historical drama. The film depicts the life of outlaw Ned Kelly from his childhood until he was sentenced to death. This is not the first movie to center on Kelly, and it won’t be the last: Justin Kurzel is directing “True History of the Kelly Gang,” which started production in 2018.  

     

  • Salamandra Films
    9/ Salamandra Films

    #93. Saving Private Perez

    Metascore: 56

    Release date: Sep. 2, 2011

     

    “Saving Private Perez” is the story of Julian Perez, a powerful Mexican drug lord. Following orders from his mother, Perez heads to Iraq to save his brother, who is serving in the U.S. Army. One of the starring actors, Jaime Camil, went on to play Rogelio de la Vega in “Jane the Virgin.”

     

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    10/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #92. Once Upon a Time in Mexico

    Metascore: 56

    Release date: Sep. 12, 2003

     

    “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is the third film of the “Mexico Trilogy,” all of which were written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. El Mariachi, played by Antonio Banderas, is enlisted by a CIA agent, played by Johnny Depp, to take down a drug lord and thwart his attempted coup against the President of Mexico. Among the cast of famous faces: Enrique Iglesias, making his Hollywood movie acting debut.

     

  • Mi Films
    11/ Mi Films

    #91. Good for Nothing

    Metascore: 56

    Release date: Mar. 9, 2012

     

    While traveling to the American West from England, Isabella Montgomery is kidnapped by an outlaw. Though at one point she nearly escapes, after some time Isabella finds herself developing feelings for her captor. “Good for Nothing” received a positive review from movie critic Leonard Maltin, and was listed in his book “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide 2013 Edition.”

     

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    12/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #90. The Newton Boys

    Metascore: 57

    Release date: Mar. 27, 1998

     

    Based on a true story, “The Newton Boys” follows the lucrative criminal careers of the Newton Gang, a Texan family of bank robbers. Matthew McConaughey plays the leading role of Willis, the oldest brother. The film ends with a clip from The Tonight Show in 1980, during which the real Joe Newton was interview by Johnny Carson.

     

  • Partisan Productions
    13/ Partisan Productions

    #89. Heaven's Gate

    Metascore: 57

    Release date: Nov. 19, 1980

     

    “Heaven’s Gate” is about a conflict between a Wisconsin cattlebreeders’ association and European immigrants in the 1890s. This Western is one of the biggest box office bombs in history, with its studio losing approximately $37 million. Despite the financial failure, it was ranked 98th on the BBC’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time list.

     

  • The Weinstein Company
    14/ The Weinstein Company

    #88. Lawless

    Metascore: 58

    Release date: Aug. 29, 2012

     

    The Bondurant Brothers were real-life siblings who ran a West Virginian moonshine rig in 1931. “Lawless” captures the conflict between the brothers, with Shia LaBeouf taking the lead as Jack Bondurant. Jack’s grandson Matt Bondurant wrote the book “The Wettest County in the World,” which was the basis for the movie.

     

  • Touchstone Pictures
    15/ Touchstone Pictures

    #87. Shanghai Knights

    Metascore: 58

    Release date: Feb. 7, 2003

     

    A sequel to “Shanghai Noon,” this silly martial arts Western follows Chon Wang, played by Jackie Chan, in his attempts to avenge his father who was killed by bandits. Owen Wilson plays Roy O’Bannon, a retired train robber, and Fann Wong plays Chon Lin, Wang’s sister. Both join him in London to help apprehend the bad guys.

     

  • Ocean Blue Entertainment
    16/ Ocean Blue Entertainment

    #86. Frontera

    Metascore: 58

    Release date: Sep. 5, 2014

     

    After an American woman is killed near the border of Arizona and Mexico, a Mexican man who had crossed the U.S. border illegally is assumed guilty. The deceased woman’s husband, a former sheriff, and the current sheriff team up to look for the truth. Eva Longoria plays the wife of the accused, who endures a traumatic journey to the U.S. to help her husband.

     

  • The Malpaso Company
    17/ The Malpaso Company

    #85. Pale Rider

    Metascore: 61

    Release date: June 28, 1985

     

    Clint Eastwood directs and stars in “Pale Rider,” the highest-grossing Western from the 1980s. Eastwood plays an unnamed preacher who steps in when a small village faces threats from an imposing mining company.

     

  • Ariane Mararía Films
    18/ Ariane Mararía Films

    #84. Blackthorn

    Metascore: 61

    Release date: Oct. 7, 2011

     

    “Blackthorn” is a fictional account of Butch Cassidy, the legendary American outlaw, taking place 20 years after his supposed death. Cassidy is living in Bolivia under a different name when he learns that Etta Place, his former companion, has died, then decides to return to the U.S. “Blackthorn” was nominated for eleven Goya Awards, Spain’s national film awards, and won four of them.

     

  • Paramount Pictures
    19/ Paramount Pictures

    #83. Urban Cowboy

    Metascore: 61

    Release date: June 6, 1980

     

    This Western centers on the tumultuous romance between Bud Davis, played by John Travolta, and Sissy, played by Debra Winger. The two meet in a real-life Texan bar called Gilley’s, which was founded by the country singer Mickey Gilley. “Urban Cowboy” launched an interest in country music and Western aesthetics, and even turned Gilley’s into a cultural phenomenon.

     

  • Leonard Freeman Production
    20/ Leonard Freeman Production

    #82. Hang 'Em High

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: Aug. 3, 1968

     

    Clint Eastwood plays Oklahoma rancher Jed Cooper, who is wrongly accused of theft and then nearly lynched. After being saved by the federal marshall, Cooper takes a job as a marshall and seeks out the men who tried to kill him.

     

  • Hughes House Fil
    21/ Hughes House Fil

    #81. Red Hill

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: Nov. 5, 2010

     

    In “Red Hill,” police officer Shane Cooper moves to a small Australian country town with his wife. During the first day of his new job, a prison break occurs, forcing Cooper into a life-threatening situation. Cooper is played by Ryan Kwanten, also known for his portrayal of Jason Stackhouse in “True Blood.”

     

  • Jerry Bresler Production
    22/ Jerry Bresler Production

    #80. Major Dundee (re-release)

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: Apr. 8, 2005

     

    With the background of the American Civil War, a band of Apaches raids U.S. bases and murders civilians in the New Mexico territory. Major Amos Dundee, although recently relieved of his command, raises his own ragtag army to travel into Mexico and destroy the Apaches. The crew Dundee gathers includes Confederate prisoners, Indians, and army regulars. Despite initially receiving poor reviews from critics, “Major Dundee” holds a 97 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

     

  • Donner/Shuler-Donner Productions
    23/ Donner/Shuler-Donner Productions

    #79. Maverick

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: May. 20, 1994

     

    In this comedic Western, Mel Gibson plays the anti-hero Bret Maverick, a gambler trying to con his way into a high-stakes poker tournament. A number of country musicians made appearances in the film, including Michael Ketchum, Carlene Carter, and Reba McEntire.  “Maverick” is based on a television show of the same name that aired in the 1950s.

     

  • Alliance Atlantis Communications
    24/ Alliance Atlantis Communications

    #78. The Claim

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: Dec. 29, 2000

     

    Irish immigrant Daniel Dillon had become extremely successful in California, owning most of the businesses in town. Three travelers arrive in town, bringing with them a secret which threatens Dillon’s peaceful existence. Michael Nyman, composer of the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack for “The Piano,” created the original score for the movie.

     

  • Icon Productions
    25/ Icon Productions

    #77. Seraphim Falls

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: Jan. 26, 2007

     

    Set in post-Civil War America, a Confederate colonel, played by Liam Neeson, hunts a Union soldier, played by Pierce Brosnan, for a bounty. “Seraphim Falls” was director David Von Ancken’s first feature film. He was nominated for the “Breakthrough Director” Gotham Award for his work.

     

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  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    26/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #76. La Última Película

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: Jan. 9, 2015

     

    An American filmmaker heads to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where he hopes to find a location to shoot “the last movie.” The Mayan apocalypse ends up making his search more challenging than he expected.

     

  • 3rd Identity Films
    27/ 3rd Identity Films

    #75. Bomb City

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: Feb. 9, 2018

     

    “Bomb City” is based on true events surrounding the death of 19-year-old Brian Deneke. In 1997, Deneke was murdered when 17-year-old Dustin Camp intentionally hit him with his car. The film depicts the hit-and-run, the resulting course case, and the perception of the punk rock community in Amarillo, Texas.

     

  • Pandora Filmproduktion
    28/ Pandora Filmproduktion

    #74. Dead Man

    Metascore: 62

    Release date: May. 10, 1996

     

    Johnny Depp plays an accountant on the run who is befriended by a Native American man named Nobody. Notably, Nobody was played by Gary Farmer, an indigenous American actor. Among its mixed reviews, “Dead Man” was called “one of the very best movies of the 1990s” by film critic A. O. Scott.

     

  • TriStar Pictures
    29/ TriStar Pictures

    #73. The Mask of Zorro

    Metascore: 63

    Release date: July 17, 1998

     

    Zorro, the masked vigilante who defends Mexican peasants, was created by writer Johnston McCulley in 1919. In this 1998 depiction, Anthony Hopkins plays Zorro, whose real identity is Don Diego de la Vega. Vega grooms Alejandro Murrieta, played by Antonio Banderas, to take over for him. Murrieta soon finds himself falling for Vega’s daughter, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

     

  • Strophic Productions Limited
    30/ Strophic Productions Limited

    #72. Damsel

    Metascore: 63

    Release date: Jun. 22, 2018

     

    In this slapstick comedy Western, a pioneer goes on a surprisingly perilous trek across the Wild West so he can reach his fiance. Robert Pattinson plays the lead role, also contributed with the film’s soundtrack.

     

  • Cinema Center Films
    31/ Cinema Center Films

    #71. Little Big Man

    Metascore: 63

    Release date: Dec. 23, 1970

     

    Dustin Hoffman plays Jack Crabb, a 121-year-old living in hospice. The film flashes back as Crabb recounts his epic life story, starting with being raised as a child by the Cheyenne Nation. “Little Big Man’” has been preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.  

     

  • Zentropa Entertainments
    32/ Zentropa Entertainments

    #70. The Salvation

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: Feb. 27, 2015

     

    After Jon, a Danish immigrant in America, kills the convicts who murdered his wife and child, he discovers that he has created an enemy. One of the convicts’ brothers is Delarue, a violent gang leader. Jon must depend on only himself to survive Delarue’s tactics.

     

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    33/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #69. Silverado

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: July 10, 1985

     

    In “Silverado,” a group of friends team up to take down the town’s evil Sheriff. Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, and Kevin Costner play the leads, while Brian Dennehy stars as the antagonist.

     

  • Blumhouse Productions
    34/ Blumhouse Productions

    #68. In a Valley of Violence

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: Oct. 21, 2016

     

    Ti West is mostly known for his work with horror films, but he both wrote and directed this Western. When drifter Paul finds himself in the “valley of violence,” he ends up clashing with local troublemaker Gilly. Their conflict quickly escalates, and soon the whole town is dragged into the mess.

     

  • Higher Content
    35/ Higher Content

    #67. The Ballad of Lefty Brown

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: Dec. 15, 2017

     

    Bill Pullman plays Lefty Brown, a cowboy who witnesses his close friend’s murder. He sets out to avenge his friend’s death but later finds out that he himself is being accused of the crime. He now must catch the killers to save his own life.

     

  • New Line Cinema
    36/ New Line Cinema

    #66. Appaloosa

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: Sep. 19, 2008

     

    When a rancher terrorizes a small town in New Mexico, two lawmen, played by Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris, are hired to straighten things out. Harris not only stars in “Appaloosa” but also co-wrote, directed, and produced it. The story is based on a novel of the same name written by Robert B. Parker.

     

  • IDTV Film
    37/ IDTV Film

    #65. The Last Christeros

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: Aug. 30, 2013

     

    The story picks up in 1929 at the end of the Cristero War, a conflict that erupted when the Mexican government limited the rights of the Catholic church. Though the war is over, a group of Christian guerrillas are not done fighting for religious freedom.

     

  • United Artists
    38/ United Artists

    #64. The Long Riders

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: May. 16, 1980

     

    “The Long Riders” follows a fictionalized depiction of Jesse James’ bank-robbing escapades. Notably, four real-life sets of brothers were cast to play four sets of brothers, including James Keach and Stacy Keach who played Jesse James and Frank James respectively. The Keach brothers also helped write and produce the film.

     

  • Wildwood Enterprises
    39/ Wildwood Enterprises

    #63. The Electric Horseman

    Metascore: 64

    Release date: Dec. 21, 1979

     

    Robert Redford plays a washed-up rodeo star who is hired as a spokesperson for a cereal company. He feels like such a sellout that he steals the company’s horse and runs away, soon followed by reporter Hallie Martin, played by Jane Fonda. Country music star Willie Nelson had a role in the movie and also sang five songs on the film’s soundtrack.

     

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
    40/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

    #62. Lone Wolf McQuade

    Metascore: 65

    Release date: Apr. 15, 1983

     

    In this action Western, a Texas Ranger seeks revenge on the man who hijacked a U.S. army convoy, injuring his daughter and killing her boyfriend. Chuck Norris stars in the film, which served as the basis for his later television series, “Walker, Texas Ranger.

     

  • Grisbi Productions, Le
    41/ Grisbi Productions, Le

    #61. Hostiles

    Metascore: 65

    Release date: Dec. 22, 2017

     

    Christian Bale plays an Army captain tasked with escorting a Cheyenne chief, played by Wes Studi, back to his home in Montana. The National Congress of American Indians praised “Hostiles” for representing Native Americans well, and using Native American languages appropriately.

     

  • Constantin Film
    42/ Constantin Film

    #60. A Fistful of Dollars

    Metascore: 65

    Release date: Jan. 18, 1967

     

    Clint Eastwood had his first leading role playing the Man with No Name, who gets involved in an argument between three brothers and a sheriff. “A Fistful of Dollars” is the first film of the Spaghetti Western “Dollars Trilogy,” all directed by Sergio Leone.

     

  • Touchstone Pictures
    43/ Touchstone Pictures

    #59. The Horse Whisperer

    Metascore: 65

    Release date: May. 15, 1998

     

    “The Horse Whisperer” is about Tom Booker, a horse trainer who helps a young girl and her horse recover after a traumatizing accident. Robert Redford played Booker, and directed the film. He was nominated for Best Director at the 56th Golden Globe Awards.

     

  • American Zoetrope
    44/ American Zoetrope

    #58. The Beguiled

    Metascore: 66

    Release date: Mar. 31, 1971

     

    Set in the American Civil War, “The Beguiled” depicts a girls school in Mississippi. When one of the students comes across a wounded Union corporal, played by Clint Eastwood, the teacher must decide what to do with him. This film was based off a novel by Thomas P. Cullinan, which was the inspiration for a 2017 movie also titled “The Beguiled.”

     

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    45/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #57. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Metascore: 66

    Release date: Oct. 24, 1969

     

    Outlaws Butch Cassidy, played by Paul Newman, and the Sundance Kid, played by Robert Redford, flee to South America after a failed train robbery. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” won the most awards at the 42nd Academy Awards ceremony, taking home four Oscars.

     

  • Warner Bros.
    46/ Warner Bros.

    #56. Bronco Billy

    Metascore: 66

    Release date: Jun. 11, 1980

     

    Clint Eastwood stars as Bronco Billy, a cowboy barely keeping his traveling circus afloat. He’s able to hire a new assistant, played by Sondra Locke, but his troubles are not over. Although the film received mostly positive reviews, Locke was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress.

     

  • Touchstone Pictures
    47/ Touchstone Pictures

    #55. Open Range

    Metascore: 67

    Release date: Aug. 15, 2003

     

    When threatened by a corrupt land baron, a cattle crew leader must use the skills he gained during his time as a soldier to defend himself. Kevin Costner directed and starred in the film along with Robert Duvall, Annette Bening, Michael Gambon, and Michael Jeter. “Open Range”  was Jeter’s last film, as he passed away in March, 2003.

     

  • Warner Bros.
    48/ Warner Bros.

    #54. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    Metascore: 68

    Release date: Sep. 21, 2007

     

    Robert Ford, played by Casey Affleck, starts out as a young fan hoping to join the group of outlaws led by Jesse James, played by Brad Pitt. After Ford finally earns his place in the gang, his relationship with James turns sour. The film was nominated for a number of awards, and recognized as one of the best films of 2007 by numerous critics.

     

  • Ceibita Films
    49/ Ceibita Films

    #53. The Desert Bride

    Metascore: 68

    Release date: May 4, 2018

     

    An Argentinian maid is travelling to San Juan for a new job. On her trip, her bus breaks down, leading to a chance encounter with a man named El Gringo, and the beginning of her true journey.  

     

  • Visiona Romantica
    50/ Visiona Romantica

    #52. The Hateful Eight

    Metascore: 68

    Release date: Dec. 25, 2015

     

    In this Quentin Tarantino Western, eight travelers take cover from the winter weather in a lodge, and end up getting into a lot more trouble than they expected. The ensemble cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The film won a number of awards, including an Academy Award for its soundtrack.

     

  • EuropaCorp
    51/ EuropaCorp

    #51. The Homesman

    Metascore: 68

    Release date: Nov. 14, 2014

     

    Mary Bee Cuddy, played by Hillary Swank, takes on the task of escorting three mentally ill women from Nebraska to a church in Iowa. George Briggs, played by Tommy Lee Jones, is about to be lynched for a crime, but Cuddy saves him on the pretense that he will help her on the journey. Jones also co-wrote the screenplay and directed the film.

     

  • Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)
    52/ Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

    #50. The Good, the Bad, the Weird

    Metascore: 69

    Release date: Apr. 23, 2010

     

    This South Korean Western follows a two bandits and a bounty hunter as they battle to obtain a treasure map. It plays off “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” one of the most lauded Western films of all time.  

     

  • Warner Bros.
    53/ Warner Bros.

    #49. The Outlaw Josey Wales

    Metascore: 69

    Release date: June 30, 1976

     

    This Western is a revenge story, with main character Josey Wales hunting down the Union militants who killed his family during the Civil War. Clint Eastwood plays the titular character and also directed the film.

     

  • Universal Pictures
    54/ Universal Pictures

    #48. High Plains Drifter

    Metascore: 69

    Release date: Aug. 22, 1973

     

    “High Plains Drifter” is about a stranger who comes to town and is subsequently hired to unite the townsfolk before three outlaws arrive. Clint Eastwood directed and starred in this Western.

     

  • Universal Pictures
    55/ Universal Pictures

    #47. Ride with the Devil

    Metascore: 69

    Release date: Nov. 24, 1999

     

    Set during the American Civil War, “Ride with the Devil” is about a man who joins the Bushwackers, a guerilla gang fighting against the Union. Tobey Maguire plays the lead character, Jake Roedel. The movie is based off the novel “Woe to Live On,” by Daniel Woodrell.

     

  • See-Saw Films
    56/ See-Saw Films

    #46. Slow West

    Metascore: 72

    Release date: May 15, 2015

     

    Kodi Smit-McPhee plays a young man who leaves Scotland for the American West in search of his lost love. Michael Fassbender plays an outlaw who offers to assist him. “Slow West” is the first and only full-length film directed by John Maclean.

     

  • Tig Productions
    57/ Tig Productions

    #45. Dances with Wolves

    Metascore: 72

    Release date: Nov. 9, 1990

     

    A Union Army lieutenant is stationed way out West in the American frontier. Once he reaches his post, he begins to form relationships with the local indigenous people. Kevin Costner starred and directed this film, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

     

  • Caliber Media Company
    58/ Caliber Media Company

    #44. Bone Tomahawk

    Metascore: 72

    Release date: Oct. 23, 2015

     

    When cannibals capture three residents of a small town, the sheriff and his team set off to rescue them. This Western horror film was written and directed by S. Craig Zahler, who also contributed to the soundtrack.

     

  • Game 7 Films
    59/ Game 7 Films

    #43. Five Fingers For Marseilles

    Metascore: 73

    Release date: Sep. 7, 2018

     

    Set in South Africa during apartheid, “Five Fingers For Marseilles” begins when a young man named Tau kills two corrupt policemen. When he is released from prison two decades later, Tau wishes to renounce violence and return home. A new threat, however, prevents him from leading the peaceful life he desires.

     

  • Crossbow Productions
    60/ Crossbow Productions

    #42. Blazing Saddles

    Metascore: 73

    Release date: Feb. 7, 1974

     

    Mel Brooks directed and co-wrote this raunchy Western, which made American Film Institute’s list of America’s 100 Funniest Movies, coming in at number six. The film satirizes Western films for their unrealistic portrayal of racism. Cleavon Little plays Bart, a black man who is appointed sheriff of an all-white town. Gene Wilder plays Jim, an alcoholic who comes to Bart’s assistance.

     

  • UK Film Council
    61/ UK Film Council

    #41. The Proposition

    Metascore: 73

    Release date: May. 5, 2006

     

    “The Proposition” is an Australian Western directed by John Hillcoat. Police captain Stanley offers a proposition to outlaw Charlie Burns: he can walk free if he kills his older brother Arthur. If Charlie cannot follow through within nine days, his younger brother Mikey will be hanged.

     

  • Running Wild Film
    62/ Running Wild Film

    #40. Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde

    Metascore: 74

    Release date: Oct. 4, 2013

     

    Suzanne Mitchell’s documentary includes footage shot over the course of a decade. Her subject: Dayton O. Hyde, a conservationist cowboy who has devoted his life to creating and running the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

     

  • Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)
    63/ Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

    #39. For a Few Dollars More

    Metascore: 74

    Release date: May 10, 1967

     

    In the second film of Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy,” Clint Eastwood plays Manco, a bounty killer who teams up with another bounty killer to take down murderous outlaw El Indio. Screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni claims to have written the screenplay in nine days.

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    64/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #38. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

    Metascore: 75

    Release date: Aug. 6, 1954

     

    After a backwoodsman brings his new wife home, his six brothers are inspired to look for wives as well. This Western musical was met with positive reviews and, included on the American Film Institute’s list of Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time.

     

  • Arts+Labor
    65/ Arts+Labor

    #37. The Retrieval

    Metascore: 75

    Release date: Apr. 2, 2014

     

    Set at the start of the American Civil War, “The Retrieval” stars Ashton Sanders as Will, a black boy who is under the influence of slave-hunter Burrell. Burrell is keeping Will’s uncle captive, so Will has no choice but to agree when he’s sent on a mission to catch an escaped slave in Union territory.

     

  • Myriapod Productions
    66/ Myriapod Productions

    #36. Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys

    Metascore: 75

    Release date: Jan. 24, 2014

     

    Jessica Oreck’s documentary follows a family of Finnish reindeer herders for one year. Though the film does not contain much dialogue, it still communicates a great deal about this challenging lifestyle.

     

  • Illuminaria Productions
    67/ Illuminaria Productions

    #35. Dead Man's Burden

    Metascore: 76

    Release date: May 3, 2013

     

    Post-Civil War, a husband and wife living in New Mexico are struggling to stay afloat. When a mining company shows interest in buying their property things, start looking up, until the wife’s brother arrives home from the war. Clare Bowen is the lead of this Western; she also stars in the country musical television show “Nashville.”

     

  • Regency Enterprises
    68/ Regency Enterprises

    #34. The Revenant

    Metascore: 76

    Release date: Dec. 25, 2015

     

    Leonardo DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a hunter who is attacked by a bear and left to find his own way to safety through the frozen wilderness. “The Revenant” earned DiCaprio the Academy Award for Best Actor, his first Oscar ever, being nominated five times previously.

     

  • Lionsgate
    69/ Lionsgate

    #33. 3:10 to Yuma

    Metascore: 76

    Release date: Sep. 7, 2007

     

    Set in New Mexico, “3:10 to Yuma” is a remake of a 1957 film of the same name. It stars Christian Bale as a rancher who is given the challenging task of bringing an outlaw, played by Russell Crowe, to prison.

     

  • Annapurna Pictures
    70/ Annapurna Pictures

    #32. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: Nov. 16, 2018

     

    The Coen brothers wrote and directed this Western epic, which follows six stories of the American frontier. Each chapter has a different cast, featuring actors like James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, and Zoe Kazan. The film will be available on Netflix in fall of 2018, after a run in theaters.

     

  • EuropaCorp
    71/ EuropaCorp

    #31. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: Dec. 16, 2005

     

    A young man hopes to honor his deceased best friend by bringing him to his Mexico hometown for a proper burial. This Western, directed by Tommy Lee Jones, was inspired by the real murder of Esequiel Hernandez Jr., an American high school student who was shot by a United States marine.

     

  • Bananeira Filmes
    72/ Bananeira Filmes

    #30. Jauja

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: Mar. 20, 2015

     

    Viggo Mortensen stars in “Jauja” as Captain Gunnar Dinesen. After Dinesen’s daughter runs away with a soldier, he must travel into unknown worlds to find her.

     

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    73/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #29. Westworld

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: Nov. 21, 1973

     

    In “Westworld,” a Western-themed amusement park is populated with realistic androids who entertain their adult guests. This science-fiction thriller was the basis for the popular HBO television series of the same name.

     

  • Touchstone Pictures
    74/ Touchstone Pictures

    #28. Shanghai Noon

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: May 26, 2000

     

    Chon Wang, played by Jackie Chan, attempts to save a princess who has been kidnapped and brought to the U.S. Along the way he teams up with the train robber Roy O’Bannon, played by Owen Wilson. This is the first movie in the “Shanghai” series, the second being “Shanghai Knights,” and a third rumored to be in the works.

     

  • Rafran Cinematografica
    75/ Rafran Cinematografica

    #27. Duck, You Sucker

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: June 1, 1972

     

    A Mexican outlaw and an Irish explosives expert find themselves in the middle of the Mexican Civil War. This Western and its companion-film, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” were both directed by Sergio Leone.

     

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    76/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #26. Annie Get Your Gun (re-release)

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: Apr. 16, 2004

     

    Based on the 1946 stage musical of the same name, “Annie Get Your Gun” showcases the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Judy Garland was initially cast as the lead role, but after alleged issues with her on the set, she was replaced by Betty Hutton.

     

  • Paramount Pictures
    77/ Paramount Pictures

    #25. The Shootist

    Metascore: 77

    Release date: Aug. 20, 1976

     

    John Bernard Books led a long life as a talented shootist, but now is suffering from cancer and searching for the best way to die. Books was John Wayne’s final film role; he himself died of stomach cancer a few years after the film was released.

     

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    78/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #24. Lone Star

    Metascore: 78

    Release date: June 21, 1996

     

    After the skeleton of a despised sheriff is discovered, current sheriff Sam Deeds begins an investigation into the murder. “Lone Star” was highly rated, and nominated for a number of awards, including the Academy Award for Writing.

     

  • SuperFilms!
    79/ SuperFilms!

    #23. Becoming Bulletproof

    Metascore: 78

    Release date: Sep. 25, 2015

     

    “Becoming Bulletproof” is a documentary the captures the production of another film: a Western being made by a group of adults with disabilities. Director Michael Barnett showcases the individuals participating in the acting camp run by Zeno Mountain Farm, a non-profit that organizes recreational programs.

     

  • The Samuel Goldwyn Company
    80/ The Samuel Goldwyn Company

    #22. The Westerner

    Metascore: 78

    Release date: Sep. 20, 1940

     

    Walter Brennan and Gary Cooper star in “The Westerner,” which depicts the relationship between a self-appointed corrupt lawman and the drifter who stands up to him. Brennan received his third Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Judge Roy Bean, which is the record for most wins in this category.

     

  • Annapurna Pictures
    81/ Annapurna Pictures

    #21. The Sisters Brothers

    Metascore: 79

    Release date: Sep. 21, 2018

     

    Set in Oregon during the Gold Rush, a pair of assassins known as the Sisters brothers chase down a man who claims to have developed a formula for finding gold. John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix star as the infamous brothers, while Jacques Audiard directs.

     

  • Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab
    82/ Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab

    #20. Sweetgrass

    Metascore: 80

    Release date: Jan. 6, 2010

     

    “Sweetgrass” is a documentary about shepherds working in the mountains of Montana. Anthropologist Lucien Castaing-Taylor directed the film, while his wife Ilisa Barbash produced it.

     

  • Rafran Cinematografica
    83/ Rafran Cinematografica

    #19. Once Upon a Time in the West (re-release)

    Metascore: 80

    Release date: Sep. 30, 2005

     

    A harmonica-wielding stranger teams up with a desperado to save a widow in this Spaghetti Western, directed by Sergio Leone. While initially receiving mixed reviews, “Once Upon a Time in the West” has since received many accolades, including being named one of the 100 greatest films of all time by Time Magazine.

     

  • Hombre Productions
    84/ Hombre Productions

    #18. Hombre

    Metascore: 80

    Release date: Mar. 21, 1967

     

    Paul Newman plays John Russell, a white man raised by Apaches. On his way to collect his inheritance, the other travelers treat him poorly for his upbringing. When the stagecoach is robbed, Russell is the only one who can save them.

     

  • Paramount Pictures
    85/ Paramount Pictures

    #17. True Grit

    Metascore: 80

    Release date: Dec. 22, 2010

     

    “True Grit” is a Coen brothers adaption of a novel by Charles Portis, which had already been made into a movie in 1969. Hailee Steinfeld plays Mattie Ross, a girl seeking to avenge her father’s death. She hires U.S. Marshal Reuben Cogburn, played by Jeff Bridges, to assist her.

     

  • The Weinstein Company
    86/ The Weinstein Company

    #16. Django Unchained

    Metascore: 81

    Release date: Dec. 25, 2012

     

    A freed slave (Jamie Foxx) journeys to save his wife (Kerry Washington) from a Mississippi plantation, accompanied by a German bounty hunter. Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed the film, which went on to be his highest-grossing.

     

  • Republic Pictures (I)
    87/ Republic Pictures (I)

    #15. Johnny Guitar (re-release)

    Metascore: 83

    Release date: Aug. 15, 2003

     

    Joan Crawford stars opposite Mercedes McCambridge in this story about a headstrong saloon-owner who is wrongly accused of murder. Despite initially receiving negative reviews, “Johnny Guitar” is now positively regarded, and was included in the Chicago Reader’s list of 100 best American movies.

     

  • HI Film Production
    88/ HI Film Production

    #14. Aferim!

    Metascore: 84

    Release date: Jan. 22, 2016

     

    Set in 19th century Romania, an enslaved man has run away from his master’s home after having an affair with his wife. A local policeman is hired to find him. The director Radu Jude won the Silver Bear Award for Best Director at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

     

  • Evenstar Films
    89/ Evenstar Films

    #13. Meek's Cutoff

    Metascore: 85

    Release date: Apr. 8, 2011

     

    This Western survival film follows a group of settlers traveling across an Oregon desert. It becomes apparent that their guide has gotten them lost. The ensemble cast includes Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Shirley Henderson, and Neal Huff.

     

  • Warner Bros.
    90/ Warner Bros.

    #12. Unforgiven

    Metascore: 85

    Release date: Aug. 7, 1992

     

    Clint Eastwood directed, produced, and starred in this highly lauded Western. Eastwood plays William Munny, a retired bandit who takes on one final job in hopes of putting the money towards his failing farm. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best FIlm Editing.  

     

  • Focus Feature
    91/ Focus Feature

    #11. Brokeback Mountain

    Metascore: 87

    Release date: Dec. 9, 2005

     

    Based on a short story by Annie Proulx, “Brokeback Mountain” follows the complicated romantic relationship between two cowboys over two decades. Stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, and Michelle Williams were all nominated for Academy Awards. The film failed to win the Oscar for Best Picture, leading to discussions on whether that decision was in part due to homophobia.

     

  • Doc Society
    92/ Doc Society

    #10. Bisbee '17

    Metascore: 87

    Release date: Sep. 5, 2018

     

    Robert Greene’s documentary centers on a town bordering Arizona and Mexico. The community grapples with its past by holding a reenactment of a day one century prior, when more than 1000 immigrant miners were deported.

     

  • Bunya Productions
    93/ Bunya Productions

    #9. Sweet Country

    Metascore: 87

    Release date: Apr. 6, 2018

     

    Set in the Australian outback, “Sweet Country” explores what happens when an Aboriginal farmer kills a white man in self-defense, and is forced to flee for his life. Warwick Thornton directs this Western while Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, and Hamilton Morris all star.

     

  • Stanley Kramer Productions
    94/ Stanley Kramer Productions

    #8. High Noon

    Metascore: 89

    Release date: July 30, 1952

     

    Will Kane, played by Gary Cooper, faces a dilemma when outlaws threaten to kill him. His wife, played by Grace Kelly, wants him to leave town rather than defend himself. A number of U.S. presidents have listed “High Noon” as one of their favorite films.

     

  • Court 31 Productions
    95/ Court 31 Productions

    #7. Western

    Metascore: 89

    Release date: Sep. 25, 2015

     

    German construction workers start a project in the Bulgarian countryside, where their differences from the locals quickly become apparent. Valeska Grisebach directed this film, and the entire cast was made up of non-professional actors.

     

  • Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)
    96/ Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

    #6. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (re-release)

    Metascore: 90

    Release date: May 30, 2003

     

    “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is the final movie in the “Dollars Trilogy.” Clint Eastwood stars as Blondie, a bounty hunter who teams up with an assassin and bandit to find a buried treasure.

     

  • Paramount Vantage
    97/ Paramount Vantage

    #5. No Country for Old Men

    Metascore: 91

    Release date: Nov. 9, 2007

     

    Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin star in this Western, which begins when a botched drug deal is interrupted by a hunter. “No Country for Old Men” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Bardem won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, becoming the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar.

     

  • Caviar
    98/ Caviar

    #4. The Rider

    Metascore: 92

    Release date: Apr. 13, 2018

     

    Chloe Zhao directed this Western drama, which centers on Brady Jandreau, a young man struggling to find his purpose after a brain injury halts his rodeo career. “The Rider” won the Art Cinema Award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

     

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    99/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #3. The Gunfighter

    Metascore: 94

    Release date: June 23, 1950

     

    Gregory Peck plays Jimmy Ringo, a gunfighter who runs into his estranged wife. Even though trouble seems to follow him everywhere, he hopes to convince her he has reformed, and win her back.

     

  • Paramount Pictures
    100/ Paramount Pictures

    #2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    Metascore: 94

    Release date: Apr. 22, 1962

     

    When U.S. Senator Ranse Stoddard returns to the West to attend a funeral, he is forced to rehash his past, including the truth regarding the killing of an infamous outlaw. This black-and-white film was directed by John Ford and stars James Stewart, John Wayne, and Vera Miles.

     

  • Warner Bros.
    101/ Warner Bros.

    #1. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

    Metascore: 99

    Release date: Jan. 24, 1948

     

    Two penniless Americans, Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, go on a gold-prospecting trip, joined by an older prospector named Howard. Director John Huston won the Academy Award for Best Director, and his father Walter Huston, who played Howard, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Humphrey Bogart was not nominated for playing Fred Dobbs, which was considered a snub.


     

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