These People Directed Influential American Westerns

by majfoalbkeopaza | created - 2 months ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

(As Recognized by the National Film Preservation Board)

1. Marlon Brando

Actor | Apocalypse Now

Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in ...

One-Eyed Jacks (1961) (inducted 2018)

2. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

3. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

4. Kevin Costner

Actor | The Postman

Kevin Michael Costner was born on January 18, 1955 in Lynwood, California, the third child of Bill Costner, a ditch digger and ultimately an electric line servicer for Southern California Edison, and Sharon Costner (née Tedrick), a welfare worker. His older brother, Dan, was born in 1950. A middle ...

5. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

6. Robert Altman

Director | Gosford Park

Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...

7. Mel Brooks

Actor | Spaceballs

Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...

Blazing Saddles (1974) (inducted 2006)

8. John Ford

Director | The Quiet Man

John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, ...

10. George Roy Hill

Director | The Sting

George Roy Hill was never able to 'hit it off' with the critics despite the fact that 2 of his films - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and The Sting (1973) - had remained among the top 10 box office hits by 1976. His work was frequently derided as 'impersonal' or lacking in stylistic ...

11. John Huston

Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry was English,...

12. Sergio Leone

Writer | Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...

13. Sam Peckinpah

Writer | The Wild Bunch

"If they move", commands stern-eyed William Holden, "kill 'em". So begins The Wild Bunch (1969), Sam Peckinpah's bloody, high-body-count eulogy to the mythologized Old West. "Pouring new wine into the bottle of the Western, Peckinpah explodes the bottle", observed critic Pauline Kael. That ...

14. Stanley Donen

Director | Charade

Inspired by Fred Astaire's dancing in Flying Down to Rio (1933), Stanley Donen (pronounced 'Dawn-en') attended dance classes from the age of ten. He later recalled that the only thing he wanted to be was a tap dancer.

He was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Helen Pauline (Cohen) and Mordecai ...

15. Erich von Stroheim

Actor | Sunset Blvd.

Erich von Stroheim was born Erich Oswald Stroheim in 1885, in Vienna, Austria, to Johanna (Bondy), from Prague, and Benno Stroheim, a hatter from Gleiwitz, Germany (now Gliwice, Poland). His family was Jewish.

After spending some time working in his father's hat factory, he emigrated to America ...

16. Fred Zinnemann

Director | A Man for All Seasons

Initially grew up wanting to be a violinist, but while at the University of Vienna decided to study law. While doing so, he became increasingly interested in American film and decided that was what he wanted to do. He became involved in European filmaking for a short time before going to America to...

17. Reginald Barker

Director | The Iron Strain

Canadian-born (Winnipeg) Reginald Barker moved with his family to Scotland shortly after he was born, and they eventually emigrated to the US, settling in California. Bitten by the show-business bug early, Barker was acting in plays by age 16, and then joined up with a traveling stock company as ...

18. Budd Boetticher

Director | Bullfighter and the Lady

Brilliant, distinguished American director, particularly of Westerns, whose simple, bleak style disguises a complex artistic temperament. The son of a wealthy hardware retailer, Boetticher attended Culver Military Academy and Ohio State University, where he excelled in football and boxing.


19. Clyde Bruckman

Writer | The General

Had been out of work and was pretty much broke when he killed himself. He borrowed Buster Keaton's gun and after eating a meal that he could not pay for, shot himself. There are two stories; One says it was in the restroom of the cafe on Santa Monica Blvd, and the other story states he did it in ...

20. Delmer Daves

Writer | An Affair to Remember

Although Delmer Daves obtained a law degree at Stanford University, he never had the opportunity to use it; while still in college, he obtained a job as a prop boy on The Covered Wagon (1923) and after graduation was hired by several film companies as a technical advisor on films with a college ...

21. John Emerson

Producer | San Francisco

John Emerson was born on May 29, 1874 in Sandusky, Ohio, USA as Clifton Paden. He was a writer and director, known for San Francisco (1936), Come on In (1918) and Good-Bye, Bill (1918). He was married to Anita Loos. He died on March 7, 1956 in Pasadena, California, USA.

24. Joseph Kane

Director | The Great Train Robbery

Joseph Kane's career as a professional cellist ended when he became a film editor in 1926. His directing career started with co-directing serials for Mascot and Republic, and he soon became Republic's top western director. He handled many of John Wayne's Republic westerns of the 1940s, and piloted ...

In Old Santa Fe (1934), Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935), Melody Trail (1935), Sagebrush Troubadour (1935), The Lawless Nineties (1936), King of the Pecos (1936), The Lonely Trail (1936), Guns and Guitars (1936), Oh, Susanna! (1936), Ride, Ranger, Ride (1936), Ghost-Town Gold (1936), The Big Show (1936), The Old Corral (1936), Round-Up Time in Texas (1937), Git Along Little Dogies (1937), Gunsmoke Ranch (1937), Come on, Cowboys (1937), Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge (1937), Public Cowboy No. 1 (1937), Heart of the Rockies (1937), Boots and Saddles (1937), Springtime in the Rockies (1937), The Old Barn Dance (1938), Under Western Stars (1938) (2009), Gold Mine in the Sky (1938), Man from Music Mountain (1938), Billy the Kid Returns (1938), Come on, Rangers! (1938), Shine on Harvest Moon (1938), Rough Riders' Round-up (1939), Southward Ho! (1939), Frontier Pony Express (1939), In Old Caliente (1939), Wall Street Cowboy (1939), In Old Monterey (1939), The Arizona Kid (1939), Saga of Death Valley (1939), Days of Jesse James (1939), Young Buffalo Bill (1940), The Carson City Kid (1940), The Ranger and the Lady (1940), Colorado (1940), Young Bill Hickok (1940), The Border Legion (1940), Robin Hood of the Pecos (1941), In Old Cheyenne (1941), Sheriff of Tombstone (1941), Nevada City (1941), Bad Man of Deadwood (1941), Jesse James at Bay (1941), Red River Valley (1941), Man from Cheyenne (1942), South of Santa Fe (1942), Sunset on the Desert (1942), Romance on the Range (1942), Sons of the Pioneers (1942), Sunset Serenade (1942), Heart of the Golden West (1942), Ridin' Down the Canyon (1942), Idaho (1943), King of the Cowboys (1943), Song of Texas (1943), Silver Spurs (1943), Man from Music Mountain (1943), Hands Across the Border (1944), Cowboy and the Senorita (1944), The Yellow Rose of Texas (1944), Song of Nevada (1944), Flame of Barbary Coast (1945), Dakota (1945), In Old Sacramento (1946), Plainsman and the Lady (1946), Wyoming (1947), Old Los Angeles (1948), The Gallant Legion (1948), The Plunderers (1948), The Last Bandit (1949), Brimstone (1949), Rock Island Trail (1950), The Savage Horde (1950), California Passage (1950), Oh! Susanna (1951), Woman of the North Country (1952), Ride the Man Down (1952), San Antone (1953), Jubilee Trail (1954), Hell's Outpost (1954), Timberjack (1955), The Road to Denver (1955), The Vanishing American (1955), The Maverick Queen (1956), Thunder Over Arizona (1956), Duel at Apache Wells (1957), Spoilers of the Forest (1957), The Lawless Eighties (1957), Last Stagecoach West (1957), Gunfire at Indian Gap (1957), Smoke in the Wind (1975)

25. Louis R. Loeffler

Editor | Anatomy of a Murder

Long-time film editor Louis R. Loeffler met Yolanda Magliaro in Rome while he was working on a picture there. They married and had three children. They later divorced. Yolanda owned and operated Yolanda's Restaurant, a favorite Italian haunt of many stars. It was located in the Farmer's Market in ...

26. Rouben Mamoulian

Director | Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Rouben Mamoulian was born on October 8, 1897 in Tiflis, Russian Empire as Rouben Zachary Mamoulian. He was a director and writer, known for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Applause (1929) and Becky Sharp (1935). He was married to Azadia Newman. He died on December 4, 1987 in Woodland Hills, Los ...

27. Anthony Mann

Director | Men in War

Anthony Mann was born on June 30, 1906 in San Diego, California, USA as Emil Anton Bundesmann. He was a director and writer, known for Men in War (1957), El Cid (1961) and The Glenn Miller Story (1954). He was married to Anna; 1 child Nicholas Anthony Mann, Sara Montiel and Mildred Mann. He died on...

28. George Marshall

Director | How the West Was Won

George Marshall was a versatile American director who came to Hollywood to visit his mother and "have a bit of fun". Expelled from Chicago University in 1912, he was an unsettled young man, drifting from job to job, variously employed as a mechanic, newspaper reporter and lumberjack with a logging ...

29. Norbert A. Myles

Director | The Daughter of Dawn

Norbert A. Myles was born on August 29, 1887 in Wheeling, West Virginia, USA. He is known for his work on The Daughter of Dawn (1920), Walloping Wallace (1924) and Faithful Wives (1926). He died on March 15, 1966 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

30. Fred Niblo

The Artist

Fred Niblo entered films in 1917 after two decades as a touring actor in vaudeville and one-time manager of 'The Four Cohans' (he married Josephine Cohan, the sister of George M. Cohan). He made his film debut with two early Australian silent films in 1916. He worked for Thomas H. Ince from 1917 as ...

31. Arthur Penn

Director | Bonnie and Clyde

Arthur Penn was born on September 27, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He was a director and producer, known for Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Little Big Man (1970) and The Miracle Worker (1962). He was married to Peggy Maurer. He died on September 28, 2010 in Manhattan, New York City, New York,...

33. Nicholas Ray

Director | Rebel Without a Cause

Nicholas Ray was born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle in 1911, in small-town Galesville, Wisconsin, to Lena (Toppen) and Raymond Joseph Kienzle, a contractor and builder. He was of German and Norwegian descent. Ray's early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the ...

35. Martin Ritt

Director | Hud

Martin Ritt, one of the best and most sensitive American filmmakers of all time, was a director, actor and playwright who worked in both film and theater. He was born in New York City. His films reflect, like almost none other, a profound and intimate humane vision of his characters.

He originally ...

37. Joseph Santley

Director | Down Mexico Way

Joseph Santley was born on January 10, 1889 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA as Joseph Mansfield. He was a director and producer, known for Down Mexico Way (1941), Harmony Lane (1935) and Million Dollar Baby (1934). He was married to Ivy Sawyer. He died on August 8, 1971 in West Los Angeles, California...

38. Victor Sjöström

Actor | Smultronstället

Victor Sjöström was born on September 20, 1879, and is the undisputed father of Swedish film, ranking as one of the masters of world cinema. His influence lives on in the work of Ingmar Bergman and all those directors, both Swedish and international, influenced by his work and the works of ...

41. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

42. Robert Stevenson

Director | Mary Poppins

Robert Stevenson was born on March 31, 1905 in Buxton, Derbyshire, England as Robert Edward Stevenson. He was a director and writer, known for Mary Poppins (1964), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and King Solomon's Mines (1937). He was married to Ursula Henderson, Frances Holyoke Howard, Anna Lee ...

43. John Sturges

Director | The Great Escape

John Sturges was an American film director, mostly remembered for his outstanding Western films. In 1992, Sturges was awarded a Golden Boot Award for his lifelong contribution to the Western genre.

Sturges was born in the village of Oak Park, Illinois, within the Chicago metropolitan area. By 1930, ...

44. Charles Swickard

Director | An Arabian Knight

Charles Swickard was born on March 21, 1861 in Germany. He was a director and actor, known for An Arabian Knight (1920), Mixed Blood (1916) and The Last Straw (1920). He was married to Dale. He died on May 12, 1929 in Fresno, California, USA.

45. Richard Thorpe

Director | Knights of the Round Table

After working in vaudeville, on the stage and in early movies, Richard Thorpe launched his directing career in 1923. After directing dozens of low-budget comedies and westerns, his talents were recognized in the mid-'30s when he went to work for MGM. Studio chief Louis B. Mayer valued efficiency in...

Rough Ridin' (1924), Rarin' to Go (1924), Battling Buddy (1924), Fast and Fearless (1924), Hard-Hittin' Hamilton (1924), Bringin' Home the Bacon (1924), Rip Roarin' Roberts (1924), Thundering Romance (1924), Gold and Grit (1925), Full Speed (1925), Fast Fightin' (1925), On the Go (1925), Double Action Daniels (1925), Quicker'n Lightnin' (1925), Tearin' Loose (1925), The Desert Demon (1925), The Saddle Cyclone (1925), Galloping On (1925), A Streak of Luck (1925), The Roaring Rider (1926), Trumpin' Trouble (1926), The Fighting Cheat (1926), Coming an' Going (1926), The Twin Triggers (1926), Deuce High (1926), Ridin' Rivals (1926), Easy Going (1926), Rawhide (1926), Speedy Spurs (1926), Double Daring (1926), The Dangerous Dub (1926), Twisted Triggers (1926), The Bonanza Buckaroo (1926), The Bandit Buster (1926), The Cyclone Cowboy (1927), Between Dangers (1927), The Galloping Gobs (1927), Tearin' Into Trouble (1927), The Ridin' Rowdy (1927), The Meddlin' Stranger (1927), Pals in Peril (1927), Skedaddle Gold (1927), White Pebbles (1927), The Interferin' Gent (1927), The Soda Water Cowboy (1927), Ride 'em High (1927), The Obligin' Buckaroo (1927), Roarin' Broncs (1927), The Desert of the Lost (1927), The Ballyhoo Buster (1928), Desperate Courage (1928), The Cowboy Cavalier (1928), Saddle Mates (1928), The Vanishing West (1928), Flyin' Buckaroo (1928), Border Romance (1929), The Lone Defender (1930), The Dude Wrangler (1930), Wings of Adventure (1930), Under Montana Skies (1930), The Utah Kid (1930), Wild Horse (1931), 20 Mule Team (1940), Wyoming (1940), The Bad Man (1941), Apache Trail (1942), Big Jack (1949), Vengeance Valley (1951), How the West Was Won (1962), The Last Challenge (1967)

47. William A. Wellman

Director | A Star Is Born

William Wellman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter-director of the original A Star Is Born (1937), was called "Wild Bill" during his World War I service as an aviator, a nickname that persisted in Hollywood due to his larger-than-life personality and lifestyle.

A leap-year baby born in 1896 on the 29th...

Recently Viewed