Westerns Buying Guide

The classic American genre, Westerns may no longer dominate the cinemas the way they once did, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check our selection of some of the best horse operas.

Modern Westerns

Westerns no longer enjoy the popularity they once did, but there are still plenty of directors willing to try and revamp the genre for modern audiences. None have really succeeded in making the genre commercial again, but many are great films in their own right.

3:10 to Yuma 

A remake of a largely forgotten 50s western, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale  and based on the novel by pulp writer Elmore Leonard .


Clint Eastwood 's final western, in which he directs and stars as a bounty hunter drawn out of retirement and pitted against Sheriff Gene Hackman . Winner of four Oscars, including Best Picture.

Open Range 

This western was a comeback of sorts for director Kevin Costner  after a series of notorious flops, it stars Robert Duvall  as a veteran cowboy taking on a corrupt sheriff and rancher in a small town.

Dances with Wolves 

Kevin Costner directed and starred in this film about soldier during the civil war learning about the culture of the Native Americans and "going native" in the eyes of the military.

The Assassination of Jesse James 

Brad Pitt  is Jesse James , and Casey Affleck  is the coward Robert Ford. One of them gets assassinated, but you'll have the watch the film to find out who.

Classic Hollywood Westerns

The golden era for Westerns was in the days of the studio system, when stars like John Wayne  and director like John Ford ruled Hollywood. Here are some the best from that time.

The Searchers 

John Wayne searches for his niece after she's captured by Indians, and reveals himself to be a crazy racist along the way.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 

Humphrey Bogart  and two other guys find gold, but are torn apart by greed and suspicion and Mexican bandits.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 

Jimmy Stewart  and John Wayne were together on screen for the first time in one of John Ford's last films about the end of the Wild West and the price of bringing order and civilisation to America.

High Noon 

Gary Cooper  plays a small town sheriff who, when an outlaw he put in prison returns seeking revenge, finds that no one in his town will help him.

Rio Bravo 

Howard Hawks  directs John Wayne in this film about a small town sheriff trying to keep a murderer in prison while his brother has enlisted hired guns to break him out.

Spaghetti Westerns

Following the retirement of Wayne, Ford, and Hawks, the Western genre lay dormant for some years, and it was the Italians who revitalised it with the Spaghetti Westerns, called so because they were shot in Italy in locations made to look like America.

A Fistful of Dollars 

The first Western by director Sergio Leone , with Clint Eastwood  in the role that made him a star: the man with no name.

For a Few Dollars More 

Sequel to A Fistful of Dollars sees Clint Eastwood return and form an uneasy alliance with fellow bounty hunter Lee Van Cleef  in pursuing a dangerous fugitive.

Once Upon a Time in the West 

With Henry Fonda  shocking audiences and turning his nice guy image on it's head by playing the despicable villain, this is often considered Sergio Leone's masterpiece.

Django Kill...If You Live, Shoot! 

A strong contender for best title for anything ever, this western stars Tomas Milian as a mysterious stranger fighting priests and bandits for gold.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

The final film in Leone's dollars trilogy, with Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef returning from the second film, and competing with Eli Wallach  to find hidden gold during the civil war.

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