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DVDBeaver LOVE WESTERNS. I've made a, personal, listing of my 100 favorite westerns that are on Blu-ray. We've added review/comparison, purchase links plus some Recommended Reading.

 

Westerns often deal with the pioneering of the 19th century American Old West, with conquest of the wilderness, interaction with Native Americans and/or the adventures of a nomadic wanderer, a drifting, mysterious, stranger - as part of the narrative. However, the most common primary focus was on morality and codes of honor in the pursuit of vengeance. With minimal, or compromised, law enforcement - personal retribution became key to the protagonist(s) seeking justice - often through violent means.

 

So this is not a complete list of my 'all-time' favorite westerns because they must be on Blu-ray to be included. Over time we will make additions and deletions. Absent are films such as Hud (1963), Budd Boetticher - Randolph Scott westerns Decision at Sundown (1957), Buchanan Rides Alone (1958), The Tall T (1957) and Ride Lonesome (1959) plus a handful of Anthony Mann westerns like The Tin Star (1957), The Far Country (1954), The Furies (1950) - come on Criterion!, The Naked Spur (1953), and, of course, Winchester '73 (1950). There are so many others still not on 1080P yet including Vengeance is Mine aka "Per 100.000 dollari t'ammazzo" (1968), John Sayles's excellent Lone Star (1996), Gregory Peck as aging gunslinger Johnny Ringo in The Gunfighter (1950), Delmer Daves' The Hanging Tree (1959), John Ford gems Sergeant Rutledge (1960) and Cheyenne Autumn (1965), to name, only, a few that are conspicuous by their absence on Blu-ray.

 

These are really just my favorites listed. My rationale would be that my memory limits the order - and positioning is largely dependant on how recently I've seen the film. In some cases it may be over a decade . To raise it higher on the list, I'd only need to see it again (prime example would be The Searchers - which might be number 1 on many individual's lists!)

 

This listing has at least one Noir western (Johnny Guitar), a Silent era (3 Bad Men), only one comedy-element western; Destry Rides Again (1939) although I could have added Cat Ballou (1965), and the hilarious A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014). There are plenty of 'pasta westerns' but 'B' productions have little representation. As they are on Blu-ray I could have added titles like The Night Riders, Byron Haskin's Silver City with Edmond O'Brien and Yvonne De Carlo, Showdown at Boot Hill starring a young Charles Bronson, the 56-minute John Wayne 'B' western Red River Range and Frontier Horizon (the final Wayne 'Mesquiteers' film). I've added a few relatively modern and certainly many revisionist westerns. I've been enamored with The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2006) for years and was very, recently, impressed with The Revenant (2015) and was, also, blown away by Meek’s Cutoff (2010). I really enjoyed the dialogue and intensity of Bone Tomahawk (2015), which has horror elements. I was keen on Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (2015) but should watch it a couple of more times before deciding upon inclusion. Of course, there are John Ford, Clint Eastwood, and Sergio Leone films but they don't totally dominate the list although it would be easy to make case that they deserve to. Just as there are debatable westerns from Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) to the Coen's No Country for Old Men (2007). 

 

DVDBeaver are huge believers in time and that quality eventually rises to the top (most of my favorites are over 50-years old).  Criteria encourages that I should have seen the film at least four or five times. Another example of qualifying a selection is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which my father took me to, theatrically, as a young boy and I have very fond memories of attending that matinee with my Dad. I hope this identifies just how subjective this list is.

 

There is no defense of why I have film 'X' ahead of film 'Y', although there may be omissions as I don't claim to have seen every western ever made. I'm always interested in suggestions. Thanks for any, constructive, input. 'Yippee Ki-Yay'!

 

NOTE: These are IN ORDER (favorites first)!

 

My Darling Clementine (1946)

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Rawhide (1951)

Red River (1948)

Lonely are the Brave

(1962)

Shane

(1953)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

(1966)

 

Man of the West

(1958)

The Cowboys (1972)

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2006)

The Big Gundown (1966)

High Noon (1952)

Warlock

(1959)

 

The Searchers

(1956)

Forty Guns (1957)

Yellow Sky

(1949)

Garden of Evil

(1954)

Johnny Guitar

(1954)

The Big Country

(1958)

Comanche Station

(1960)

 

Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

The Ox-bow Incident

(1943)

Day of the Outlaw

(1959)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

(1969)

The Revenant

(2015)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

(1971)

The Missouri Breaks

(1976)

 

Unforgiven (1992)

Stagecoach

(1939)

Ride the High Country

(1962)

The Magnificent Seven

(1960)

Bone Tomahawk (2015)

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Once Upon a Time in the West

(1968)

 

The Wild Bunch

(1969)

Face to Face

(1967)

Lonesome Dove

(1989)

My Name is Nobody

(1973)

Django

(1966)

Wagon Master (1950)

One-Eyed Jacks

(1961)

 

Bend of the River

(1952)

The Shooting

(1968)

Heaven’s Gate (1980)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

(1962)

Day of Anger

(1967)

Terror in a Texas Town

(1958)

The Man from Laramie

(1955)

 

A Bullet for the General

(1967)

A Fistful of Dollars

(1964)

Cemetery Without Crosses

(1969)

Canyon Passage

 (1946)

Open Range

(2003)

Duel in the Sun

(1946)

The Professionals

(1966)

 

Jubal

(1956)

3 Bad Men

 (1926)

Broken Arrow

(1950)

Broken Lance

(1954)

The Proposition (2005)

Destry Rides Again

(1939)

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

(1948)

 

The Comancheros

(1961)

The Return of Frank James

(1940)

Pursued

(1947)

Western Union

(1941)

True Grit

(1969)

Dead Man

(1995)

The Wonderful Country

(1959)

 

Junior Bonner (1972)

The Culpepper Cattle Company

(1972)

Vera Cruz (1954)

Broken Trail

(2006)

Jeremiah Johnson

(1972)

The Ballad of Cable Hogue

(1970)

Monte Walsh

(1970)

 

Appaloosa

(2008)

Two Rode Together 

(1961)

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Night Passage

(1957)

El Dorado (1967)

Soldier Blue

(1970)

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

 

Pale Rider (1985)

Silverado

(1985)

Dances with Wolves

(1990)

Two Mules for Sister Sara

(1970)

Django Unchained

(2012)

The Scalphunters

(1968)

True Grit

(2010)

 

Django, Prepare a Coffin 

(1968)

Man Without a Star

(1955)

Ulzana's Raid (1972)

The Big Trail

(1930)

Dodge City

(1939)

The Horse Soldiers

(1959)

Lawman

(1971)

 

Hanging For Django

(1969)

Man With a Gun

 (1955)


Recommended Reading for Western Genre Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

Still in the Saddle: The Hollywood Western, 1969–1980
by Andrew Patrick Nelson

 

10,000 Ways to Die: A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western
by Alex Cox

The Philosophy of the Western
by Jennifer L. McMahon Ph.D. and B. Steve Csaki

Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death
by Christopher Frayling

The Western Reader
by Gregg Rickman and Jim Kitses

Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone
by Christopher Frayling

The Crowded Prairie: The Hollywood Western and American National Identity
by Michael Coyne

The Invention of the Western Film : A Cultural History of the Genre's First Half Century (Genres in American Cinema S.)
by Scott Simmon

The Searchers (Bfi Film Classics)
by Edward Buscombe

The Western Genre
by John Saunders
 

 

Any Gun Can Play: The Essential Guide to Euro-Westerns
by Kevin Grant
 

Spaghetti Westerns
by Howard Hughes
 

Western Movies: A Guide to 5,105 Feature Films
by Michael R. Pitts
 

Westerns: Films through History (AFI Film Readers)
by Janet Walker
 

The Noir Western: Darkness on the Range 1943-1962
by David Meuel

The Encyclopedia of Westerns (The Facts on File Film Reference Library)
by Herb Fagen, Tom Selleck

Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America
by Richard Slotkin

The Western (Inside Film)
by David Lusted

Red River (Bfi Film Classics)
by Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues


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