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A list for the die-hard western fan! This long and diverse list of great western movies is largely derived from a list found on Cinemacom.com entitled "500 & More - A Western Lover's List". However, Cinemacom's list is heavily slanted toward the traditional western and admittedly excludes all western comedies and many good spaghetti westerns. I wanted to create a more balanced list and so I cross referenced Cinemacom's list against IMDB user ratings in the western genre and made some thoughtful modifications which add some diversity. If you love westerns I hope this list will help you explore the genre.
These Westerns come from several sources:
- A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)
- Martin Scorsese's talks about the films he loves in the 500 Issue of Les Cahiers du Cinéma.
- Mes Plaisirs Cinéphiles, by Martin Scorsese a small book published by les Cahiers du cinéma that includes the films mentioned in the 500 issue as well as some additional titles.
- City Secrets Movies: The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Cinema's Hidden Gems: A City Secrets Book. Edited by Robert Kahn (With 6 unsung Westerns picked by Martin Scorsese)
- In Altman on Altman, Altman says that one of Martin Scorsese's favorite films is McCabe and Mrs. Miller.
- Martin Scorsese's Guilty pleasures in Film Comment
- Martin Scorsese: Underrated American Film List
100 Western Masterpieces a book by Jean-Marc Bouneau, Alain Charlot et Jean-Pierre Frimbois.
The Western, one of the most American of all genres, boasts many cinematic accomplishments.
In this book, 100 of the most representative westerns are selected.
Les 100 chefs-d'oeuvre du western et du suspense, Alain Charlot, Jean-Marc Bouneau et Jean-Pierre Frimbois
Sur tous les plans, le western, genre américain par excellence, possède ses titres de noblesse cinématographique. Ses grands metteurs en scène : John Ford, Anthony Mann, Raoul Walsh ou John Sturges. Ses grands acteurs : John Wayne, James Stewart, Kirk Douglas, Gary Cooper ou Burt Lancaster. Ses grands films : "La chevauchée fantastique", Les sept mercenaires", "Rio Bravo", "L'appât", ou "Le train sifflera trois fois" : voici cent films du temps des justiciers, des outlaws, des trappeurs, des cow-boys et des Indiens.
Dans ce volume de 224 pages :
- La sélection des 100 films les plus représentatifs du western, classés par ordre alphabétique.
- Chaque film est traité sur deux pages avec fiche technique, thème, commentaire et photos (noir et blanc ou couleur)
Rank is based on the number of citations in the lists of the 27 critics:
these critics are Guy Allombert, Raymond Bellour, Robert Benayoun, Jean-Louis Bory, Patrick Brion, Jean-Jacques Brochier, Patrick Bureau, Franz-André Burguet, Bernard Cohn, Pierre Domeyne, Bernard Dort, Bernard Eisenschitz, Maurice Frydland, Jean Gili, André Glucksmann, Yves Kovacs, Mark Kravetz, Robert Lapoujade, Raymond Lefebvre, Jean Mitry, Rui Nogueira, Claude Ollier, Claude-Jean Phillippe, Louis Simonci, Roger Tailleur, Bertrand Tavernier, Monique Vernhes and Jean Wagner
The crème de la crème of French Critics.
5. is shared between Rancho Notorious and Man Without A Star
6. is from My Darling Clementine to Seven Men from Now
7. is from The Last Hunt to Heller in Pink Tights.
8. is from The Man from Laramie to River of No Return
9. is from Stagecoach to Tennessee's Partner
10. is from Backlash to Taza, Son of Cochise
Westerns are almost inherently grim: Traditionally, the quintessentially American genre would have us believe that the country was wrested from the wild by a few unrelentingly strong, stubborn, self-sufficient men bravely facing incredible odds and probable death. Still, Westerns tend to be about heroes, and heroes usually win. Which makes stark, morally muddy features like High Noon stand out.
Spaghetti Western is a broad sub-genre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone's film-making style and international box-office success. The term was used by critics in USA and other countries because most of these Westerns were produced and directed by Italians.
It was Sergio Leone who defined the look and attitude of the genre with his first western and the two that soon were to follow:For a Few Dollars more (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Together these films are called ‘The Dollars Trilogy’. Leone’s West was a dusty wasteland of whitewashed villages, howling winds, scraggy dogs and cynical heroes, as unshaven as the villains.
All three films were scored by Ennio Morricone, and his music was as unusual as Leone’s visuals: not only did he use instruments like the trumpet, the harp or the electric guitar, he also added whistle, cracking whips and gunshots to the concoction, described by a critic as a ‘rattlesnake in a drumkit’. Morricone went on to score over 30 Italian westerns and was a key factor in the genre's success.
In general spaghetti westerns are more action oriented than their American counterparts. Dialogue is sparse and some critics have pointed out that they are constructed as operas, using the music as an illustrative ingredient of the narrative. For the time of making many spaghetti westerns were quite violent, and several of them met with censorship problems, causing them to be cut or even banned in certain markets. Many spaghetti westerns have an American-Mexican border setting and feature loud and sadistic Mexican bandits. The Civil War and its aftermath is a recurrent background. Instead of regular names the heroes often have bizarre names like Ringo, Sartana, Sabata, Johnny Oro, Arizona Colt or Django. The genre is unmistakably a catholic genre (some other names in use are Hallelujah, Cemetery, Trinity or Holy Water Joe!), with a visual style strongly influenced by the catholic iconography of, for instance, the crucifixion, the last supper or the ecce homo. The surreal extravanganza Django Kill! (Se sei vivo, spara, 1967), by Giulio Questi, former assistant of Fellini (!) has a resurrected hero who witnesses a reflection of Judgment Day in a dusty western town.
"Western Writers of America, a nonprofit organization of more than 600 professional writers, founded in the 1950s to promote and honor the best literature about the American West -- including screenwriting -- announced the 100 Greatest Western Movies of All Time on Thursday, June 12, at Scottsdale’s Chaparral Suites during the association’s annual convention."
This list is inspired by the article "No Country for Bad Movies" from the June, 2011 issue of Texas Monthly. Their panel was limited by criteria such as no documentaries, nothing made-for-TV, and each film "had to really feel as if it could only have been made in Texas". Their official results comprise listings 1-10 below, in no particular order.
Everything after #10 is an at-large selection made by me based on looser guidelines, namely anything partially set in or partially filmed in Texas.
Listed below are the westerns that are most mentioned and praised on the world wide web, based on different (ranked) lists all over the internet. Starting of with 100 points for each of the 100 essential westerns from the official list here on ICheckMovies, the number ones of the other ranked lists gained 500 points, the runners up gained 495 or 490 points (depending on the total number of movies mentioned in the list - 50 or 100), and so on...
The list is based on the following lists:
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/100+essential+westerns/]100 Essential Westerns[/url]
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/western/]IMDb's 50 Highest Rated Western Feature Films[/url]
- [url=http://www.moviemeter.nl/list/topmisc/western]MovieMeter's 50 Highest Rated Westerns[/url]
- [url=http://www.filmaffinity.com/en/moviegenre.php?genre=WE&attr=rat_count&nodoc]Filmaffinity's Top 50 Westerns[/url]
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/the+50+greatest+westerns+time+out+london/kasparius/]The 50 Greatest Westerns: Time Out London[/url]
- [url=http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-best-western-movies-ever-made]Ranker's 50 Best Western Movies Ever Made[/url]
- [url=http://www.flickchart.com/Charts.aspx?genre=Western&perpage=50]Flickchart's Top 50 Westerns of All Time[/url]
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/western+writers+of+americas+100+greatest+westerns/kasparius/]Western Writers of America's 100 Greatest Westerns[/url]
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/wild+wests+100+greatest+westerns/kasparius/]Wild West Magazine's 100 Greatest Westerns[/url]
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/the+100+greatest+western+movies+of+all+time+including+five+youve+never+heard+of+by+the+editors+of+american+cowboy+magazine/kasparius/]The 100 Greatest Western Movies of All Time: Including Five You've Never Heard Of[/url]
- [url=http://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/movie-pages/movie_west.html]DigitalDreamDoor.com's 100 Greatest Western Movies[/url]
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/movie-film-reviews+the+top+100+western+movies/kasparius/]Movie-Film-Review's Top 100 Western Movies[/url]
- [url=https://rateyourmusic.com/films/chart?page=1&chart_type=top&type=film&year=alltime&genre_include=1&include_child_genres=1&genres=western&include_child_genres_chk=1&include=both&limit=none&countries=]Rate Your Music's 100 Highest Rated Westerns[/url]
- [url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/criterionforum+lists+project+-+westerns/timec/]The 144 Westerns of the CriterionForum Lists Project[/url]
Date of reference: July 23, 2015