100 Greatest Western Movies

By Staff
12/4/2008 • Butch Cassidy, Geronimo, Jesse James, OK Corral, Outlaws, Wild West

Western movies have allowed audiences to ride the dusty trails for over a century. From the film Stagecoach. Jerry Tavin, Courtesy Everett Collection.
Western movies have allowed audiences to ride the dusty trails for over a century. From the film Stagecoach. Jerry Tavin, Courtesy Everett Collection.

Like steam locomotives and town squares, Western movies are an indelible part of America’s heritage. Indeed, they are inextricably linked to the American image around the world. From a darkened theater, they transport us to a dusty world of steely eyed men, strong women, loyal sidekicks, fast horses and faster guns. Some of them rose to artistic levels that influenced how movies in all genres are made. Others were churn-em-out horse operas. But what was the top Western movie of all time, the one that would unquestionably still be standing when the gun smoke cleared?

100 Greatest Westerns, a special publication from the World History Group (on sale December 9, 2008) looks at 100 films that a panel of 10 experts selected as the best of the genre. Now we want your opinions.

Below you’ll find a link to our forums, where you can vote for your favorites among four groups of 25 titles each. You can cast eight votes in each of the four groups. Later this month, we’ll pit the top choices against each other in an elimination tournament, and you will decide which one will emerge as the greatest Western of them all. Sign-up is necessary to participate in the forums, to allow us to monitor usage and content, but membership is free and we don’t spam our members. The sign-up procedure is simple.

You’ll also find three questions below, each linked to a page where you can leave your comments. No sign-up is necessary to participate in these discussions.

It’s high noon in Dodge. Strap on your Colt, adjust your Stetson, and help us determine the greatest Western of them all.

Vote for your favorite Westerns. (Link will take you to the forum, hosted on our partner site, ArmchairGeneral.com.)


1. Which movies do you think are missing from this list?

2. Which movies don’t belong on this list?

3. What movies do you think most accurately reflect the historic Old West?

100 Greatest Westerns
High Noon (1952) Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) True Grit (1969) Will Penny (1968)
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) Heartland (1979) Lone Star (1996)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) The Shootist (1976) Virginia City (1940) The Virginian (1946)
Ride the High Country (1962) Major Dundee (1965) Maverick (1994) How the West Was Won (1962)
Rio Bravo (1959) The Professionals (1966) Duel in the Sun (1946) Two Rode Together (1961)
Seven Men From Now (1956) The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) The Westerner (1940) Hearts of the West (1975)
The Searchers (1956) The Unforgiven (1960) Hondo (1953) The Covered Wagon (1923)
Shane (1953) A Fistful of Dollars (1964) The Paleface (1948) A Thunder of Drums (1961)
Tombstone (1993) Ulzana’s Raid (1972) The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) Man From Snowy River (1982)
Red River (1948) Dances With Wolves (1990) The Big Trail (1930) Dead Man (1995)
Winchester 73 (1950) Jeremiah Johnson (1972) Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) Ride With the Devil (1999)
Stagecoach (1939) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Laurel and Hardy Way Out West (1937) They Died With Their Boots On (1941)
Hang ’Em High (1968) Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) Broken Arrow (1950) Blood Simple (1984)
The Wild Bunch (1969) Lonely Are the Brave (1962) The Big Country (1958) Posse (1993)
Fort Apache (1948) Last of the Mohicans (1992) Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Cat Ballou (1965)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Little Big Man (1970) The Far Country (1954) Blood on the Moon (1948)
My Darling Clementine (1946) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Appaloosa (2008) The Way West (1967)
Unforgiven (1992) Hombre (1967) The War Wagon (1967) El Mariachi (1992)
The Tall T (1957) One-Eyed Jacks (1961) The Missing (2003) The Great Train Robbery (1903)
Destry Rides Again (1939) The Naked Spur (1953) El Diablo (1990) Johnny Guitar (1954)
3:10 to Yuma (2007) Geronimo: An American Legend (1993) Ride Lonesome (1959) Tall in the Saddle (1944)
Bend of the River (1952) Quigley Down Under (1990) Open Range (2003) Santa Fe Trail (1940)
The Magnificent Seven (1960) The Gunfighter (1950) Jesse James (1939) The Great Silence (1968)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) The Mark of Zorro (1920) Riders in the Sky (1949)
Blazing Saddles (1974) The Alamo (2004) Yellow Sky (1948) The Man From Laramie (1955)


Tags: , ,