Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Top 10 Westerns of All Time

Last night while watching Anthony Mann's excellent Winchester '73 I tweeted that I thought it was one of the top five westerns of all time. This got me thinking about my top ten and I thought it would make a good simple fun blog post. So in no particular order, I give you my top ten. This list is SCIENTIFIC FACT, but I know some of you will insist I left some good ones off the list, so feel free to chime in.

1. Winchester '73

2. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

3. The Searchers

4. Unforgiven

5. High Noon

6. True Grit (you can argue about which version)

7. The Wild Bunch

8. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

9. The Magnificent Seven

10. Hombre

Honorable Mentions:


She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

The Outlaw Josey Wales


Mike Oliveri said...

Not even an honorable mention for Silverado?

Victor Gischler said...


I put that film squarely in the "fun" category but not quite a classic of the genre. Although it was one of the best cast movies I've ever seen.


Mike Henderson said...

I have zero problems with this list. I wish I could add The Silence and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but I don't know what you'd take away....

Victor Gischler said...

Mike (Henderson),

Those choices would easily go on the list if I ecpanded to 20. Great films.


Neil said...

No love for Star Trek: Wrath of Khan?

Stephen D. Rogers said...


Unforgiven. What sets it apart from other the other Eastwood westerns?

I'm waiting to be convinced why it shouldn't be replaced with The Outlaw Josey Wales.


Victor Gischler said...


What sets it apart is a top performance by Gene Hackman as Little Bill as well the rest of the solid supporting cast.


Dan_Luft said...

This inspires me to check out Anthony Mann. I've never seen his westerns (which was his main gig) but I love his hardboiled gangster stuff like "Railroaded" and "Raw Deal."

Unknown said...

I'm gonna say No Country For Old Men just to toss a grenade in here.

Dave Zeltserman said...

you left the BEST WESTERN off the list: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Also the second best Western: Once Upon a Time in the West. No Little Big Man? No Jeremiah Johnson?? At least you got The Good, Bad & Ugly, Unforgiven and High Noon, but still, feh!

Victor Gischler said...

That's the nature of lists, Dave. Things get left off. The films you mention are very good. Once Upon a Time in the West is one of my faves, but Leone is represented better with Good, Bad, Ugly.

danames said...

Great list. Since most of us love crime fiction as well, I have to mention Joe Kidd - a film based on an Elmore Leonard story. I'm not saying it's a Top 10 or even 20, but it's good.

Steven Sidor said...

I'd second Once Upon a Time in the West and add Joe Kidd, High Plains Drifter, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Unknown said...

Well, I knew you were a man of great taste :-) Thanks for your blurb and for this list! However, I can't seem to find "Once upon a time in the West" anywhere on this list! That must be a mistake. Best Bronson movie ever, and Henry Fonda playing the villain. Classic, epic stuff, my all time favorite, followed closely by "Unforgiven".

John D said...

Great list, Victor. For true cinephiles, paring it down to 10 is never an easy task. As for Unforgiven, let's not forget that the screenplay was written by David Webb Peoples, co-writer of the screenplay for Blade Runner.

For what it's worth, my additions to the list would include Stagecoach, Fort Apache, and Tombstone.

Unknown said...

I can barely forgive the omission of RIO BRAVO, but RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY belongs on any Top Ten list of this kind.

Mark Richardson said...

Good list, although I would have to put Once Upon a Time in the West at the top. I actually like Rio Bravo directed by Howard Hawks, although it's more "fun." And Tombstone, with Val -- "Who's your huckleberry" - Kilmer was pretty entertaining.

Royale said...

Uh, hello..Blazing Saddles? :) Actually, I really don't get Unforgiven. Without it, Once Upon a Time in the West would be a good spot filler.

Kieran Shea said...

Burt Lancaster-ing here:

Vera Cruz. Valdez Is Coming. The Professionals.

Victor Gischler said...

Okay, guys, If I'd remembered ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST when I was composing the list, I *might* have done things differently.


Palle, Glad you found your way to blogpocalypse. Your graphic novel was excellent.

Kieran, I've actually never seen Valdez is Coming. Maybe I need to.

Good contributions, all of you.


Tom Piccirilli said...

BARBOROSA is a terribly underrated and mostly unknown western nowadays. But it remains one of my faves. Willie Nelson and Gary Busey both shine in this dark piece.

Mark said...

I would argue that "Tombstone" and "3:10 to Yuma" should be on here.

MysterLynch said...

I agree with the picks (more or less), but disagree with the order. Wild Bunch and Seven should be higher.

Gerard Saylor said...

Woo-hoo! First new comment after the Blogger fiasco.

Paul said...

American Westerns:
Red River
The Wild Bunch
One-Eyed Jacks
The Searchers
Outlaw Josey Wales
High Noon
The Cowboys

Spaghetti Westerns:
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (obviously)
Fistful of Dollars
A Bullet for the General
Once Upon a Time in the West
Mannaja: A Man Called Blade
Death Rides a Horse
The Great Silence

Randy Johnson said...

I would have included Josey Wales in the top ten. However, in looking over your list, for the life of me, I can't decide which one to ditch. And I liked both versions of true Grit. Let's just call mine the top twelve.

Randy Johnson said...

I have no problem with Paul's spaghetti list. Seen and love all of them.

Victor Gischler said...

Wish you guys could have joined the conversation before blogger ate the other 20+ comments.

Lots of good flicks here.


Victor Gischler said...

Whoa. All the comments came back. WTF?

Scott Harbison said...

Good list...westerns are my favorite genre, behind film noir. I watch lots of westerns and many, over and over again. I'd have to make a few changes for my Top 10:

1. The Searchers - Wayne at his finest and a wonderfully scripted and shot film.
2. Unforgiven - What a story! Great cast, great script and Clint is amazing as Muny.
3. Red River - Wayne and Clift together make it a must see. Another great acting performance by The Duke.
4. The Outlaw Josey Wales - I could probably move this one up, but I can't scoot Red River any lower. Just great action and nice humor between the action and silence.
5. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - A bit long, but a fun movie to watch. Clint made his name as the man with no name!
6. The Wild Bunch - Another great cast and the first of the revisionist westerns that told a truer version of the western mythos. A bloody, gore filled masterpiece.
7. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence - I love this movie! Other than the fact that James Stewart was probably too old for his role, it's just an outstanding story with standout acting from every single player!
8. - Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid - "Who are those guys?" Maybe the best "buddy movie" ever! Newman and Redford are perfectly cast.
9. Winchester '73 - Stewart is such an underrated western actor, but he shows in the wonderful film why he should be considered one of the genre's best!
10. - Tombstone - By far the best film ever on the legendary Shootout at the OK Corral. The acting in this film just jumps off the screen with Kilmer stealing the movie as Doc Holiday.


The next 10 would be, in no order: She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Stagecoach, Treasure of Sierra Madre, Fort Apache, The Magnificent Seven, High Noon, The Shootist, Once Upon A Time In the West, The Ox-Bow Incident and Rio Bravo.

Personally, I think Shane is waaaayy over rated, but that's just me.