30 Best Westerns of All Time

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures / The Weinstein Company

10. Django Unchained
> Released: 2012
> Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio

The plot of “Django Unchained” takes place prior to the Civil War. Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave who accompanies German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) on a mission to capture the vicious Brittle brothers. The movie, a revisionist homage to Spaghetti Westerns from Quentin Tarantino, does not skimp on violence.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

9. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
> Released: 1962
> Starring: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles

“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” is about an idealistic lawyer, played by James Stewart, who prefers justice to violence but his hand is forced because of a sociopath outlaw played by Lee Marvin. John Wayne, paired again with director John Ford, teaches Stewart his gunfighting skills. The supporting cast includes Edmond O’Brien and is rich in character actors such as Andy Devine, John Carradine, and Lee Van Cleef.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists / Wikimedia Commons

8. High Noon
> Released: 1952
> Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell

“High Noon” broke with Western conventions of the time by replacing much of the expected gunfights and scenery with tension and emotional dialogue. Gary Cooper won an Oscar for his portrayal of Sheriff Will Kane who is torn between his sense of duty and his love for his pacifist wife played by Grace Kelly. The movie also is noteworthy for its Academy Award-winning song, “The Ballad of High Noon,’’ sung by Tex Ritter.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Brothers

7. The Wild Bunch
> Released: 1969
> Starring: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan

There is carnage aplenty in “The Wild Bunch” by Sam Peckinpah. An aging outlaw (William Holden) gets his gang together — played by Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Edmond O’Brien and Ben Johnson — for one last robbery in the early 20th century. Things go wrong when the gang realizes they are being set up by Holden’s old partner, played by Robert Ryan.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Brothers

6. Unforgiven
> Released: 1992
> Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman

Clint Eastwood directed “Unforgiven.” He also plays the role of the main character, retired gunslinger William Munny, who takes one last job — to kill the people  who disfigured a prostitute. Eastwood wanted to use the movie as a commentary on the concept of cinematic violence. The strong supporting cast includes Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman.