The Magnificent Seven remake is coming out soon. Westerns are much more scarce in this superhero obsessed world, so we round up 7 brilliant western movies for you to watch.
Unforgiven is the last traditional Western to be named Best Picture, but it really felt like the end of the traditional Western at the time. At the least, it was the end of the Clint Eastwood Western era, as he deconstructed and poked holes in the longtime Western myths he helped create over the previous 30 years.
While the genre would still go on in traditional and nontraditional ways, it would never be the same again with Eastwood officially riding out of town for good, and much more ominously than usual.
Not long after Unforgiven, studios rushed to capitalize by green lighting two Wyatt Earp movies. Tombstone was the first and best, beating out Kevin Costner’s Wyatt Earp by having a much shorter running time, a focus on the Gunfight at the O.K. Coral, having Kurt Russell as Wyatt and especially having Val Kilmer as the huckleberry having Doc Holiday.
Costner took his next shot at the Western genre almost a decade later, in his first film as director since the infamous The Postman. Open Range proved a much more efficent and effective use of his skills as director and star, particularly with an assist from Robert Duvall as Costner’s trail boss who joins him in a shootout with a land baron.
The Magnificent Seven is far from the first famed old time Western to be remade in modern times. 3:10 to Yuma was the first to prove it could work, as Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and their respective glowering work together when Crowe’s outlaw crew seeks to stop Bale and his son from bringing him to the noose.
While this movie may have the longest official title of the last decade, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is also one of the most adored titles of the decade in many critical circles. This is in spite of or perhaps because of its relative lack of action, yet it does have Roger Deakins’ cinematography, modern day mega celebrity Brad Pitt as celebrity outlaw Jesse James, and Casey Affleck as the template for every celebrity worshiping sycophant who would kill their heroes to be like them.
Another of the more successful Western remakes had the Coen Brothers and Jeff Bridges reimagining John Wayne’s only Oscar winning role. However, this version of True Grit focused more on the trail blazing young lady who hires Marshal Rooster Cogburn on a mission of justice, and introduced the public to Hailee Steinfeld as a result.
Rango is perhaps the rare satirical Western other than Blazing Saddles that actually worked, although it was much more family friendly. Yet it is much weirder than the average Western or family film, but it was fortunately made when lead voice actor Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski still knew how to make that work, unlike in their folllow-up Western The Lone Ranger.