Western Movies of the '50s

by Hoekkie | created - 19 Jul 2017 | updated - 03 Oct 2017 | Public

The popularity of the Western genre peaked in the 1950s. According to William Indick's book 'The Psychology of the Western' (2008), the number of Western films produced in the 1950s outnumbered all other genres combined.

Which Western movie of the 1950s is your favorite?

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1. The Searchers (1956)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

94 Metascore

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond

Votes: 74,123

2. Rio Bravo (1959)

Not Rated | 141 min | Action, Drama, Western

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: 51,715 | Gross: $12.54M

3. Shane (1953)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Western

80 Metascore

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: 33,970 | Gross: $20.00M

4. High Noon (1952)

PG | 85 min | Drama, Thriller, Western

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: 91,446 | Gross: $9.45M

5. The Big Country (1958)

Passed | 166 min | Romance, Western

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: 14,184

6. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Not Rated | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A one-armed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger

Votes: 17,641

7. Giant (1956)

G | 201 min | Drama, Western

84 Metascore

Sprawling epic covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Carroll Baker

Votes: 31,572 | Gross: $35.00M

8. Johnny Guitar (1954)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Western

83 Metascore

After helping a wounded gang member, a strong-willed female saloon owner is wrongly suspected of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady

Votes: 14,102

9. The Gunfighter (1950)

Not Rated | 85 min | Western

94 Metascore

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: 8,462

10. Winchester '73 (1950)

Not Rated | 92 min | Action, Drama, Western

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: 15,332

11. 3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Not Rated | 92 min | Drama, Thriller, Western

Broke small-time rancher Dan Evans is hired by the stagecoach line to put big-time captured outlaw leader Ben Wade on the 3:10 train to Yuma but Wade's gang tries to free him.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr, Leora Dana

Votes: 16,929

12. Friendly Persuasion (1956)

Passed | 137 min | Drama, Romance, War

The pacifist attitude of a Quaker family is tested as a result of the American Civil War.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, Anthony Perkins, Richard Eyer

Votes: 5,899

13. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

G | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

75 Metascore

In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.

Director: Stanley Donen | Stars: Jane Powell, Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 19,739

14. The Man from Laramie (1955)

Not Rated | 103 min | Western

A stranger, Will Lockhart, defies the local cattle baron and his sadistic son by working for one of his oldest rivals.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, Cathy O'Donnell

Votes: 8,610

15. The Naked Spur (1953)

Passed | 91 min | Thriller, Western

A bounty hunter trying to bring a murderer to justice is forced to accept the help of two less-than-trustworthy strangers.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker

Votes: 9,249

16. Last Train from Gun Hill (1959)

Passed | 95 min | Romance, Western

A marshal tries to bring the son of an old friend, an autocratic cattle baron, to justice for his role in the rape and murder of the marshal's Native American wife.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones, Earl Holliman

Votes: 5,872

17. Old Yeller (1957)

Approved | 83 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

A teenage boy grows to love a stray yellow dog while helping his mother and younger brother run their Texas homestead while their father is away on a cattle drive. First thought to be good-for-nothing mutt, Old Yeller is soon beloved by all.

Director: Robert Stevenson | Stars: Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Tommy Kirk, Jeff York

Votes: 10,665 | Gross: $21.91M

18. Calamity Jane (1953)

Passed | 101 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

The story of Calamity Jane, her saloon, and her romance with Wild Bill Hickok.

Director: David Butler | Stars: Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn Ann McLerie, Philip Carey

Votes: 7,849

19. Bend of the River (1952)

Approved | 91 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

When a town boss confiscates homesteader's supplies after gold is discovered nearby, a tough cowboy risks his life to try and get it to them.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, Rock Hudson, Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams

Votes: 7,114

20. Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

Passed | 122 min | Biography, Drama, Western

Lawman Wyatt Earp and outlaw Doc Holliday form an unlikely alliance which culminates in their participation in the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Jo Van Fleet

Votes: 12,687 | Gross: $11.75M

21. Rio Grande (1950)

Passed | 105 min | Romance, Western

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson, Claude Jarman Jr.

Votes: 12,878

22. Oklahoma! (1955)

G | 145 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

In Oklahoma, several farmers, cowboys and a traveling salesman compete for the romantic favors of various local ladies.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Gordon MacRae, Gloria Grahame, Gene Nelson, Charlotte Greenwood

Votes: 10,448

23. The Far Country (1954)

Approved | 97 min | Romance, Western

A self-minded adventurer (Jeff Webster) locks horns with a crooked lawman (Mr. Gannon) while driving cattle to Dawson.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet, Walter Brennan

Votes: 5,972

24. The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Approved | 120 min | Adventure, Romance, War

In 1863, a Union outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in Mississippi to destroy enemy railroads but a captive southern belle and the unit's doctor cause frictions within ranks.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers, Judson Pratt

Votes: 8,553

25. Broken Arrow (1950)

Approved | 93 min | Drama, Romance, Western

Tom Jeffords tries to make peace between settlers and Apaches in Arizona territory.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget, Basil Ruysdael

Votes: 6,915

26. Man of the West (1958)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Romance, Western

A reformed outlaw becomes stranded after an aborted train robbery with two other passengers and is forced to rejoin his old outlaw band.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Gary Cooper, Julie London, Lee J. Cobb, Arthur O'Connell

Votes: 6,021

27. Vera Cruz (1954)

Approved | 94 min | Adventure, Western

During the Mexican Rebellion of 1866, an unsavory group of American adventurers are hired by the forces of Emporer Maximilian to escort a countess to Vera Cruz.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Denise Darcel, Cesar Romero

Votes: 8,252

28. Hondo (1953)

PG | 83 min | Drama, Romance, War

Army despatch rider Hondo Lane discovers a woman and young son living in the midst of warring Apaches and becomes their protector.

Director: John Farrow | Stars: John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond, Michael Pate

Votes: 8,528

29. River of No Return (1954)

Approved | 91 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The titular river unites a farmer recently released from prison, his young son, and an ambitious saloon singer. In order to survive, each must be purged of anger, and each must learn to understand and care for the others.

Directors: Otto Preminger, Jean Negulesco | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe, Rory Calhoun, Tommy Rettig

Votes: 9,550



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