Top Western Movies, Part 8

The Gold Rush (1925) / Director: Charles Chaplin / Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray
The Tramp goes the Klondike in search of gold and finds it, and more. Often considered Chaplin’s greatest masterpiece, edging out Modern Times and City Lights.


Dances with Wolves (1990) / Director: Kevin Costner / Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant
On a western Civil War outpost Costner’s Lt. John Dunbar, befriends wolves and — even worse as far as the authorities are concerned — Indians. A three-hour epic of one man’s adventure in finding himself and love, it explores the tension between ancient Native Americans and white newcomers, like The Searchers and other classic Westerns. Won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director.

Wagon Master (1950) / Director: John Ford / Stars: Ben Johnson, Joanne Dru, Harry Carey Jr., Ward Bond
Master director John Ford considered this film perhaps his finest, yet it’s largely unknown. Two young drifters guide a Mormon wagon train to the San Juan Valley and encounter cutthroats, Indians, geography, and moral challenges on the journey.


Django Unchained (2012) / Director: Quentin Tarantino / Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
A freed slave (Foxx) sets out with a bounty hunter (Waltz), a to rescue his wife from a brutal, vainglorious Mississippi plantation owner (DiCaprio). It’s Tarantino, so mayhem is on the menu. A second Oscar for support actor to Waltz (who won his first in another Tarantino historical fantasy, Inglourious Basterds).


Yojimbo (1961) / Director: Akira Kurosawa / Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai
A former samurai (or ronin) plays off two criminal gangs against each other in order to free a captive town.

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