Top 5 Westerns of all-time

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Kyle Zies

BY KYLE ZIES (’16)

Back in the day, when men were men and… well you get the point. Although western movies may not be the most popular among people today, there was a time when these movies were widely regarded as classic hits. In the 50’s and 60’s when John Wayne ruled the big screen, and into the ‘70’s and 80’s when Clint Eastwood sent shivers through spines in the theaters.

These five movies have brought drama and action to the big screen while giving a sense of American heroism for the audience to adore.

 

  1. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Perhaps Clint Eastwood’s finest work, Eastwood plays a Missouri farmer who joins an outlaw unit who ends up on the search of revenge for the murderers of his wife and children. Eastwood makes a loveable outlaw as the audience is naturally attracted to Eastwood’s character and finds themselves rooting for him to seek his vengeance. The director of this fine film is none other than Eastwood himself. His cinematography is top notch as he uses excellent camera angles to capture the drama and all the shoot-‘em-up action that this movie entails.

 

  1. The Searchers (1956)

John Wayne shoots himself to stardom after the release of this film as a former confederate soldier, Ethan Edwards, returns to his brothers’ family after the war. Upon his return, his brother and sister in law have been murdered by Comanche’s and taken their daughter as hostage. Edwards, along with his nephew, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), embark on a journey of years in search for his niece. Director John Ford does a miraculous job of this plot and ultimately propelling John Wayne to superstar status in Hollywood.

  1. Rio Bravo (1959)

Another great John Wayne film as he teams up with Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson to bring the award winning film of Rio Bravo. As the sheriff of a small town, John T. Chance (John Wayne), brings along the town drunk (Dean Martin) and a young gunfighter (Ricky Nelson), in attempt to keep the brother of a local outlaw in jail. John Wayne once again brings himself to prominence as the hero giving classic lines and saving the day to capture the audiences love.

 

  1. Tombstone (1993)

As the height of the western movie phenomenon pillaged to its end, directors George T. Cosmatos and Kevin Jarre had just enough magic left in them for a final showdown. Tombstone tells the iconic story of Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and his brothers’ as they have left their gunslinger ways to bring law and order to the rough town of Tombstone, Arizona. Based on the true story of Earp’s life, Cosmatos and Jarre are able to captivate the western audience for a final last ride.

 

  1. True Grit (1969)

Attention! Do not watch the 2010 version of this movie with Jeff Bridges, you will be utterly disappointed. John Wayne receives an Oscar for playing a drunken U.S. Marshal who is given the task to hunt down Tom Chaney, the murderer of 14 year old Maddie Ross’ (Kim Darby) father. Rooster J. Cogburn (John Wayne), is said to be someone with ‘true grit’, therefore Maddie Ross hires the old man to track down the cold blooded killer. This movie has heroic scenes that rank atop any American hero movies as John Wayne defines ‘true grit’ throughout his actions in the movie. Director Henry Hathaway does a great job of casting in this film as he also brings in Glenn Campbell to play as the Texas Ranger, Cogburn’s sidekick throughout the film. Hathaway develops an iconic western through lighting, sound, and characters to give the best western movie of all-time.