Top Western Movies, Part 5

The Gunfighter (1950) / Director: Henry King / Stars: Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell, Jean Parker
Reformed gunslinger Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) arrives in town to try and reunite with his estranged family; he’s tried to transcend his violent past but his legendary reputation makes him a target for up-and-comers who want to establish their street cred.


Silverado (1985) / Director: Lawrence Kasdan / Stars: Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover
Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill) introduces new faces (John Cleese plays an evil sheriff!) to the dusty world of Wayne, Stewart and Fonda, as a hardy bunch of misfits face off against the bad guys in the unlovely town of Silverado.

Little Big Man (1970) / Director: Arthur Penn / Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway
A savage take on the mythology of the Wild West, Jack Crabb (Hoffman) recalls at age 121 his exploits as a young man. Called “little big man” by the Cheyenne Indians who raised him (they called themselves “the human beings”), Jack encounters some of the famous figures of the day, including Wild Bill Hickcock. He also miraculously survives the Battle of the Little Big Horn where George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry are massacred. Quite a life.


Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) / Director: Sergio Leone / Stars: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards
A mysterious harmonica-playing stranger joins a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from the railroad’s assassin. A rich, long (three hour) tale with several subplots, filmed in Spain, Italy and Utah showcasing the gorgeous scenery and cinematography Leone was known for.

Stagecoach (1939) / Director: John Ford / Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine
This is the movie that began the long collaboration between John Ford, one of the most influential directors in movie history, and John Wayne. A group of people on a stagecoach learn a few things about each other under threat of attack by Geronimo. Wayne is said to have based his much of his on-screen persona on the actual life of stunt man Yakima Canutt, who gained renown for the film’s famous chase scene.

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