The best AMERICAN WESTERNS

by TankGuy | created - 02 Jun 2011 | updated - 03 Sep 2011 | Public
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1. The Shootist (1976)

PG | 100 min | Drama, Romance, Western

77 Metascore

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: 20,901

ONE OF THE SADDEST MOVIES EVER MADE, BLENDS ACTION WITH STRONG HUMAN DRAMA. AN INSPIRATION AND A MASTERPIECE

2. El Dorado (1967)

Passed | 126 min | Drama, Romance, Western

85 Metascore

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: 22,555 | Gross: $12.97M

FUNNY, SAD AND FULL OF ACTION. BRILLIANT CHARACTERS AND EXCELLENT THEME TUNE

3. The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)

Passed | 122 min | Western

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer, Michael Anderson Jr.

Votes: 13,498 | Gross: $13.33M

4. The Wild Bunch (1969)

R | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Western

95 Metascore

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: 74,008 | Gross: $12.06M

GREAT CHARACTERS AND ONE OF THE BEST MOVIE SHOOT OUTS OF ALL TIME

5. How the West Was Won (1962)

G | 164 min | Western

56 Metascore

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: 17,425 | Gross: $46.50M

SPRAWLING EPIC MADE UP OF BRILLIANT ACTORS AND BREATHTAKING SCENERY

6. 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: 75,420

JOHN WAYNE AT HIS VERY BEST. BREATHTAKING SCENERY AND BRILLIANT GUNFIGHTS

7. Chisum (1970)

G | 111 min | Biography, Western

Cattle baron John Chisum joins forces with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett to fight the Lincoln County land war.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Christopher George, Ben Johnson

Votes: 8,452 | Gross: $6.00M

8. Rio Lobo (1970)

G | 114 min | Adventure, Romance, War

55 Metascore

After the Civil War, Cord McNally searches for the traitor whose treachery caused the defeat of McNally's unit and the loss of a close friend.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: John Wayne, Jorge Rivero, Jennifer O'Neill, Jack Elam

Votes: 9,803 | Gross: $9.27M

GREAT ADVENTURE FILM WHICH SHOWS GOOD GUYS STANDING UP TO BAD GUYS. CLIMAXES IN EPIC GUNFIGHT

9. The Alamo (1960)

Passed | 162 min | Adventure, Drama, History

In 1836, a small band of soldiers sacrifice their lives in hopeless combat against a massive army in order to prevent a tyrant from smashing the new Republic of Texas.

Director: John Wayne | Stars: John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, Frankie Avalon

Votes: 13,588 | Gross: $17.26M

EXCELLENT DRAMA WHICH RESULTS IN EPIC BATTLE

10. Big Jake (1971)

GP | 110 min | Western

57 Metascore

In 1909, when John Fain's gang kidnaps Jacob McCandles' grandson and holds him for ransom, Big Jake sets out to rescue the boy.

Directors: George Sherman, John Wayne | Stars: John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne

Votes: 10,436 | Gross: $7.50M

ANOTHER OF JOHN WAYNES BEST. STRAIGHTFORWARD ACTION ADVENTURE FILM WHICH DELIVERS A LOT

11. The Undefeated (1969)

G | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

48 Metascore

After the Civil War, ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico run into ex-Union cavalrymen selling horses to the Mexican government but they must join forces to fight off Mexican bandits and revolutionaries.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Antonio Aguilar, Roman Gabriel

Votes: 5,608

12. McLintock! (1963)

Passed | 127 min | Comedy, Romance, Western

Wealthy rancher G.W. McLintock uses his power and influence in the territory to keep the peace between farmers, ranchers, land-grabbers, Indians and corrupt government officials.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers

Votes: 12,100

13. The War Wagon (1967)

Unrated | 101 min | Western

The story of a man who was shot, robbed and imprisoned who returns to steal a large gold shipment from the man who wronged him. The gold is transported in an armored stage coach, the War Wagon.

Director: Burt Kennedy | Stars: John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Howard Keel, Robert Walker Jr.

Votes: 8,223

14. True Grit (1969)

G | 128 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell, Jeremy Slate

Votes: 40,010 | Gross: $31.13M

PERHAPS JOHN WAYNES MOST ICONIC PERFORMANCE. FUNNY AND FULL OF ALL GUNS BLAZING ACTION

15. Shenandoah (1965)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, War, Western

During the Civil War, a Virginia farmer and his family vow to remain neutral, but one of the sons is captured by Union soldiers, sending the farmer to his rescue.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne

Votes: 7,470

16. 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: 15,632

17. Hondo (1953)

PG | 83 min | Drama, Romance, War

Army dispatch 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: 8,750

18. 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: 7,258

19. North to Alaska (1960)

Approved | 122 min | Comedy, Romance, Western

During the Alaska gold rush, prospector George sends partner Sam to Seattle to bring his fiancée but when it turns out that she married another man, Sam returns with a pretty substitute, the hostess of the Henhouse dance hall.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: John Wayne, Stewart Granger, Ernie Kovacs, Fabian

Votes: 6,573

20. The Comancheros (1961)

Approved | 107 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

55 Metascore

Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, John Wayne | Stars: John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin, Nehemiah Persoff

Votes: 7,693

21. The Cowboys (1972)

GP | 134 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

52 Metascore

Rancher Wil Andersen is forced to hire inexperienced boys as cowhands in order to get his herd to market on time but the rough drive is full of dangers and a gang of cattle rustlers is trailing them.

Director: Mark Rydell | Stars: John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Bruce Dern, Colleen Dewhurst

Votes: 12,408 | Gross: $16.35M

22. The Train Robbers (1973)

PG | 92 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

A gunhand named Lane is hired by a widow, Mrs. Lowe, to find gold stolen by her husband so that she may return it and start fresh.

Director: Burt Kennedy | Stars: John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, Ben Johnson

Votes: 4,933

SIMPLE ADVENTURE FLICK WITH BREATHTAKING SCENERY AND LOUD ALL GUNS BLAZING ACTION

23. The Big Trail (1930)

Passed | 125 min | Adventure, Western, Romance

Breck Coleman leads hundreds of settlers in covered wagons from the Mississippi River to their destiny out West.

Directors: Raoul Walsh, Louis R. Loeffler | Stars: John Wayne, Marguerite Churchill, El Brendel, Tully Marshall

Votes: 3,163

24. Tall in the Saddle (1944)

Approved | 87 min | Mystery, Romance, Western

Ranch hand Rocklin arrives in town to start his new job but his employer has been murdered and the locals don't seem too friendly.

Director: Edwin L. Marin | Stars: John Wayne, Ella Raines, Ward Bond, George 'Gabby' Hayes

Votes: 2,629

GOOD WESTERN FULL OF MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE

25. The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

G | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A cowboy named Tuck Kirby seeks fame and fortune by capturing an Allosaurus living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public.

Director: Jim O'Connolly | Stars: James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Laurence Naismith

Votes: 3,766

26. Rio Bravo (1959)

Passed | 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: 52,602 | Gross: $12.54M

COLOURFUL WESTERN WITH BRILLIANT CLIMATIC GUNFIGHT

27. 5 Card Stud (1968)

PG | 103 min | Mystery, Romance, Western

The players in an ongoing poker game are being mysteriously killed off, one by one.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: Dean Martin, Robert Mitchum, Inger Stevens, Roddy McDowall

Votes: 3,190

28. Cimarron Strip (1967–1968)
Episode: Knife in the Darkness (1968)

TV-PG | 73 min | Western

Marshal Crown, during the course of an hauntingly foggy night, hunts for a killer who is butchering his victims. Francis tells crown about how police in London were unable to solve a ... See full summary »

Director: Charles R. Rondeau | Stars: Stuart Whitman, Percy Herbert, Randy Boone, Jill Townsend

Votes: 52

29. Kentucky Rifle (1955)

Approved | 84 min | Western

While the wagon train forges ahead, a few people stay behind to repair a disabled rifle-filled wagon but they have to contend with one another's ego and with aggressive Comanches who demand the rifles as payment for safe passage.

Director: Carl K. Hittleman | Stars: Chill Wills, Lance Fuller, Cathy Downs, Sterling Holloway

Votes: 190

30. Billy Two Hats (1974)

PG | 99 min | Romance, Western

After a bank robbery, runaway Scottish outlaw Arch Deans and his young half breed Kiowa partner Billy Two Hats develop a father-son relationship but Sheriff Henry Gifford is determined to capture or kill them.

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Gregory Peck, Desi Arnaz Jr., Jack Warden, David Huddleston

Votes: 1,038

GOOD WESTERN WITH GOOD CHARACTERS AND GOOD AMOUNT OF ACTION

31. Bandolero! (1968)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Mace Bishop masquerades as a hangman in order to save his outlaw brother from the gallows, runs to Mexico chased by the Sheriff's posse and fights against Mexican bandits.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: James Stewart, Dean Martin, Raquel Welch, George Kennedy

Votes: 4,185

32. Young Billy Young (1969)

G | 89 min | Action, Romance, Western

In New Mexico, looking for his son's murderer, Ben Kane takes a deputy marshal's job and runs into young Billy Young who's on the lam.

Director: Burt Kennedy | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Angie Dickinson, Robert Walker Jr., David Carradine

Votes: 965 | Gross: $0.22M

33. Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

GP | 116 min | Adventure, Romance, War

62 Metascore

Nun Sara (Shirley MacLaine) is on the run in Mexico and is saved from cowboys by Hogan (Clint Eastwood), who is preparing for a future mission to capture a French fort. The pair become good friends, but Sara never does tell him the true reason behind her being outlawed.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine, Manolo Fábregas, Alberto Morin

Votes: 22,157 | Gross: $11.50M

COMEDIC WESTERN WITH BRILLIANT CLIMATIC BATTLE

34. Major Dundee (1965)

Approved | 123 min | Adventure, War, Western

62 Metascore

In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.

Director: Sam Peckinpah | Stars: Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, James Coburn

Votes: 6,671 | Gross: $0.01M

GREAT WESTERN WITH BRILLIANT SCENERY, COLOUR AND EPIC BATTLE

35. Little Big Man (1970)

PG-13 | 139 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

Jack Crabb, looking back from extreme old age, tells of his life being raised by Native Americans and fighting with General Custer.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam

Votes: 31,297 | Gross: $31.56M

36. Kansas Pacific (1953)

Approved | 73 min | Western

With the Civil War about to begin, Southern saboteurs attack frontier railroad construction.

Director: Ray Nazarro | Stars: Sterling Hayden, Eve Miller, Barton MacLane, Harry Shannon

Votes: 563

37. Breakheart Pass (1975)

PG | 95 min | Mystery, Western

John Deakin is being transported, as a prisoner, on a train with supplies and medicine to Fort Humboldt, Nevada.

Director: Tom Gries | Stars: Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, Jill Ireland

Votes: 6,159

38. The Spoilers (1942)

Approved | 87 min | Drama, Western

In Nome, Alaska, miner Roy Glennister and his partner Dextry, financed by saloon entertainer Cherry Malotte, fight to save their gold claim from crooked commissioner Alexander McNamara.

Director: Ray Enright | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, Margaret Lindsay

Votes: 2,189

39. Night Passage (1957)

Approved | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A fired railroad man is re-hired and trusted to carry a ten thousand dollar payroll in secret, even though he is suspected of being connected to outlaws.

Director: James Neilson | Stars: James Stewart, Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea, Dianne Foster

Votes: 3,296

40. The White Buffalo (1977)

PG | 97 min | Action, Adventure, Western

At the closing of 1874 a haunted, dying Wild Bill Hickok teams up with a grieving Crazy Horse to hunt a murderous albino buffalo.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Charles Bronson, Jack Warden, Will Sampson, Kim Novak

Votes: 3,647

41. Stagecoach (1939)

Passed | 96 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

93 Metascore

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: 39,854

42. Rooster Cogburn (1975)

PG | 108 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

Marshal Rooster Cogburn unwillingly teams up with Eula Goodnight to track down the killers of her father.

Director: Stuart Millar | Stars: John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Zerbe, Richard Jordan

Votes: 10,164 | Gross: $8.02M

43. The Deputy (1959–1961)

30 min | Western

The Deputy is Clay McCord, a storekeeper in 1880's Silver City, Arizona Territories, who is an expert shot, but refuses to use his gun, because he believes they are the major cause of ... See full summary »

Stars: Henry Fonda, Allen Case, Read Morgan, Wallace Ford

Votes: 171

44. Cimarron Strip (1967–1968)
Episode: The Blue Moon Train (1967)

TV-PG | 73 min | Western

An ex-convict kidnaps Francis and forces Marshal Crown to assist him rescue a number of prisoners being shipped to federal prison on a special train.

Director: Gerald Mayer | Stars: Stuart Whitman, Percy Herbert, Randy Boone, Jill Townsend

Votes: 33

45. Gunsmoke (1953)

Approved | 79 min | Romance, Western