Special Report

30 Best Westerns of All Time

Source: Courtesy of The Film Foundation

25. A Fistful of Dollars
> Released: 1964
> Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch

Clint Eastwood creates the “man with no name’’ character who sets two feuding families against each other over control of a town in his first collaboration with Sergio Leone. “A Fistful of Dollars” was filmed in Europe with a mostly European cast.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

24. Winchester ’73
> Released: 1950
> Starring: James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea

In “Winchester ’73,” Lin McAdam (James Stewart) pursues outlaw Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally) into Dodge City, Kansas. While there, McAdam enters and wins a sharp-shooting contest taking the the top prize: the Winchester rifle. Brown steals the rifle, and McAdam chases him across the state and toward an eventual confrontation. The film is noteworthy for the early performances from Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Brothers

23. Blazing Saddles
> Released: 1974
> Starring: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens

Unlike most Westerns, “Blazing Saddles” is a parody of the genre, full of low humor as well as the satire of racism. True to Westerns, though, the film takes place in a Wild West town, and there’s a gunslinger and a sheriff who just happens to be black. And it wouldn’t be a Mel Brooks film if it wasn’t filled with anachronisms, such as a cameo appearance by Count Basie and his band playing “April in Paris’’ in the middle of the desert.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

22. For a Few Dollars More
> Released: 1965
> Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè

“For a Few Dollars More” is the second movie in Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy’’ that helped vault Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef into stardom. The two play bounty hunters looking to kill a murderous outlaw terrorizing the region.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

21. True Grit
> Released: 2010
> Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld

Just over 40 years after the release of John Wayne’s classic “True Grit,” the Coen Brothers made their own adaptation of the Charles Portis novel. In it, a confident 14-year old girl hires a booze-soaked lawman, played by Jeff Bridges, to help her apprehend the man who killed her father. A masterful exercise in genre for the modern day, the film ranks among the Coens’ best.

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