the best western movies of all time

by smith-d-c | created - 30 Sep 2010 | updated - 30 Sep 2010 | Public
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1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 559,310 | Gross: $6.10M

2. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

PG-13 | 164 min | Western

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
80 Metascore

A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

Votes: 242,737 | Gross: $5.32M

3. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

R | 132 min | Western

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Two bounty hunters with the same intentions team up to track down a Western outlaw.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Mario Brega

Votes: 179,787 | Gross: $15.00M

4. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 308,413 | Gross: $101.16M

5. Shane (1953)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Western

7.7
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A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde

Votes: 30,829 | Gross: $20.00M

6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, Western

8.1
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A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director: John Ford | Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin

Votes: 58,210

7. Stagecoach (1939)

Not Rated | 96 min | Adventure, Western

7.9
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A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine

Votes: 34,409

8. The Shootist (1976)

PG | 100 min | Drama, Romance, Western

7.7
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A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart

Votes: 18,569 | Gross: $5.99M

9. Red River (1948)

Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

7.8
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Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson | Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan

Votes: 23,375

10. How the West Was Won (1962)

Approved | 164 min | Western

7.1
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A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the nineteenth century - including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.

Directors: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall, Richard Thorpe | Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda

Votes: 15,610 | Gross: $46.50M

11. Winchester '73 (1950)

Approved | 92 min | Action, Drama, Western

7.7
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The journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another parallels a cowboy's search for a murderous fugitive.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally

Votes: 13,760

12. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

8.1
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58 Metascore

Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

Director: George Roy Hill | Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin

Votes: 168,778 | Gross: $102.31M

13. High Noon (1952)

PG | 85 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

8.0
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89 Metascore

A town marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges

Votes: 85,234 | Gross: $9.45M

14. The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Not Rated | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Western

7.8
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An oppressed Mexican peasant village hires seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach

Votes: 75,079 | Gross: $4.91M

15. Dances with Wolves (1990)

PG-13 | 181 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

8.0
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72 Metascore

Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner | Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant

Votes: 203,293 | Gross: $184.21M

16. The Wild Bunch (1969)

R | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Western

8.0
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An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them.

Director: Sam Peckinpah | Stars: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien

Votes: 67,522

17. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Unrated | 103 min | Western

7.4
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Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson

Votes: 13,027

18. Silverado (1985)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
64 Metascore

A misfit bunch of friends come together to right the injustices which exist in a small town.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan | Stars: Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover

Votes: 30,482 | Gross: $33.20M

19. Open Range (2003)

R | 139 min | Action, Drama, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
67 Metascore

A former gunslinger is forced to take up arms again when he and his cattle crew are threatened by a corrupt lawman.

Director: Kevin Costner | Stars: Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Diego Luna, Abraham Benrubi

Votes: 57,951 | Gross: $58.33M

20. The Big Country (1958)

Unrated | 166 min | Romance, Western

7.9
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A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston

Votes: 12,618

21. El Dorado (1967)

Approved | 126 min | Drama, Romance, Western

7.6
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Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt

Votes: 19,687 | Gross: $12.97M

22. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Western

8.1
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When a posse captures three men suspected of killing a local farmer, they become strongly divided over whether or not to lynch the men.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn

Votes: 17,392

23. The Iron Horse (1924)

Passed | 150 min | History, Romance, Western

7.3
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After witnessing the murder of his father by a renegade as a boy, the grown-up Brandon helps to realize his father's dream of a transcontinental railway.

Director: John Ford | Stars: George O'Brien, Madge Bellamy, Charles Edward Bull, Cyril Chadwick

Votes: 1,555 | Gross: $0.94M

24. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

R | 120 min | Drama, Western

7.7
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A gambler and a prostitute become business partners in a remote Old West mining town, and their enterprise thrives until a large corporation arrives on the scene.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane

Votes: 18,097

25. Rio Bravo (1959)

Not Rated | 141 min | Action, Drama, Western

8.0
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A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson

Votes: 46,864 | Gross: $12.54M

26. Cat Ballou (1965)

Approved | 97 min | Comedy, Romance, Western

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman seeking revenge for her murdered father hires a famous gunman, but he's very different from what she expects.

Director: Elliot Silverstein | Stars: Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Michael Callan, Dwayne Hickman

Votes: 11,291 | Gross: $20.67M

27. Blazing Saddles (1974)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Western

7.8
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73 Metascore

In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.

Director: Mel Brooks | Stars: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman

Votes: 106,612 | Gross: $119.50M

28. The Gunfighter (1950)

Not Rated | 85 min | Western

7.7
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Notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo rides into town to find his true love, who doesn't want to see him. He hasn't come looking for trouble, but trouble finds him around every corner.

Director: Henry King | Stars: Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell, Jean Parker

Votes: 7,568