Which Movies Don't Belong on the 100 Greatest Westerns List? | HistoryNet MENU

Which Movies Don’t Belong on the 100 Greatest Westerns List?

By Staff
12/4/2008 • Wild West Extra

Poster for Jesse James. Copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corp. Courtesy Everett Collection. This film's considered a classic; some others about Jesse don't fare as well.
Poster for Jesse James. Copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corp. Courtesy Everett Collection. This film's considered a classic; some others about Jesse don't fare as well.



The World History Group asked 10 experts to compile a list of the 100 Greatest Westerns for a special publication of the same title. Any list of this type will elicit cries of How did that get on the list?

We want to know: Which movies don’t belong on the list of 100 Greatest Westerns? Tell us in the comments section below. No sign-up required.

70 Responses to Which Movies Don’t Belong on the 100 Greatest Westerns List?

  1. w ziegler says:

    Last of the Mohicans? How is a tale set in upstate New York a western, even if it does include Indians and gunfights?

  2. Mandy says:

    These films are NOT Westerns!
    Bad Day at Black Rock
    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Jeremiah Johnson
    The Last of the Mohicans
    The Mark of Zorro

  3. DennisB says:

    Comedy westerns are not true westerns
    Laural and Hardy Way out West
    Blazing Saddles
    The Paleface

    While they are entertaining, they should not be included in the top 100.

  4. John says:

    Some of these films are not westerns but contemporary movies.
    Movies that may take place out west but in modern times for when they were made and not in the 19th century.
    All such films should be removed from the list.

  5. Mark Slaughter says:

    Cat Ballou,
    Way out West,
    The Mark of Zorro
    Quigley Down Under
    Ruggles of Red Gap
    Support Your local Sheriff
    Blazing saddles
    The Pale face

    Somes times experts are just high paid. No real lovers of the old west and that life style from that era, put these on a list of top 100 western movies and left off Wyatt Earp, Lonesome Dove, Silverado, and otheres. These listed above are comedies and have nothing to do with life as it was in the 1800’s.

    • jim purcell says:

      Agreed. You can also include The Alamo 2004 version and 3:10 to Yuma 2007 version. The original 3:10 to Yuma should be included. No contest.

  6. Duke says:

    The Alamo (2004)???????????????? I’ve had root canal that was less painful. Just because a movie purports to be “accurate” doesn’t make it good.

  7. Tarheel says:

    Agree completely that comedy westerns should not be included, however, I might make an exception for Maverick and Support your Local Sheriff.
    How in blazes did you ever come up with the idea of designating The Last of the Mohicans as a western?

    • Dave says:

      The Last of the Mohicans is technicality a western as it takes place on the frontier of the colonies.
      Thrse are not true westwerns
      1. Gene Aruty
      2. Roy Rogers
      3. 90% of the “B” westerns

  8. Tarheel says:

    Jeremiah Johnson is most definitely a western-there was a lot more to the West than Colt Peacemakers and Stetson Hats.
    This is the reason that I stated in another post that The Long Riders should have been included.

  9. Eric Jamborsky says:

    Quigly Down Under and Man From Snowy River are Outbacks, not Westerns.
    Blood Simple
    Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Just plain bad moviemaking. Peckinpah’s worst.
    Any western made after 2000. No way to tell if they will stand the test of time.

  10. Robb says:

    True Grit, even though I live only a few miles from where it was filmed. Baaad acting.

    • Dave says:

      Whitch one there were three 2 with John Wayne and the last with ? I forget who it was. The language was so formal that my grandson and I had a hard time understanding it .

  11. Norman says:

    Will Penny is certainly a Western, just a terrible movie: pointless, with no plot development, wooden acting by Heston (who admittedly specialized in this), and a surprise ending where he professes his love for the woman to whom he has paid no attention.

    Should certainly not be on the list of top movies.

  12. David M. (TEXAN) says:

    Normally I wouldn’t post to a site but there are some obvious errors for the best 100 westerns – as follows:

    While John Wayne was outstanding most of his movies were not – the only Wayne movie that should be on here is The Searchers

    I must agree with the above posts about the comedies – they are not westerns

    Silverado NEEDS to be on this list

    You must be kidding on the following:
    Hang Em High
    Treasure of Sierra Madre (not a western)
    3:10 to Yuma 2007 – Nope replace it with the original
    Last of the Mohicans
    Little Big Man
    The Alamo (2004) bad acting
    Josey Wales
    Pat Garret and Billy the Kid (horrible acting and boring)
    The War Wagon
    The MArk of Zorro (You’re kidding right?)
    The Man from Snowy River
    Cat Ballou (good movie but…)
    El Mariachi (you MUST be kidding)

    • zeke says:

      Hang em high is one of the best westerns made by eastwood. You are right the rest are comedies and not true westerns. Go and watch hang em high again it is not an italian movie it is high up there.

    • Robert says:

      I disagree on “Little Big Man,” though the acting leaves something to be desired. Thomas Berger’s novel very skillfully blends native American and mostly white American cultures–and the film pretty faithfully follows his script, though it isn’t as good as the book. LBM truly IS a western, though, and I can’t quite understand why anyone would say that it’s not. Maybe because there are strong comedic elements to go along with the dramatic ones–but I think it does belong on the list; in a way, it’s one of the films that most accurately portray a “wild west” that really didn’t have that many gunslingers, but plenty of displaced native Americans, U.S. calvary who did the dirty work to kill them and disrupt their lives, and settlers of one kind or another.

  13. Ted Watson says:

    Most of the comedies here are comedies in Westerns drag, but “Support Your Local Sheriff” is at least 50% Western and qualifies for consideration.

    “Bad Day at Black Rock” is no more (or less) a Western than “The Last Picture Show” or “Hud.”

    “High Noon” is possibly the most over-rated film of all time. The cast, with the sole exception of Katy Jurado, is variantly bad, with Cooper at his most wooden (which is really saying something).

    “Jeremiah Johnson” IS a Western, the mountain man film being as legitimate a sub-genre as the early 20th century Western.. The 18th century frontier New York genre is arguable, but probable; however, no version of Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans” is particularly good.

    Wrong version of “3:10 to Yuma” beyond debate. The original is better than so many films which ARE here that the presence of the recent remake PROVES a chronological bias on the part of the panel, which was suggested by several other titles already.

    “El Diablo” (1990) was made for premium cable’s HBO channel. If you understood that, then it must be said that several other made-for-TV Western features are better than many films here, starting with the same channel’s “The Tracker” starring Kris Kristofferson. If you did not, it should be removed.

    Basically, the panel and by logical extension the list have little credibility.

  14. Ralph-Colorado Springs says:

    What belongs or does not depends on your definition of a Western. Since contemporary westerns are included, thei broadens the selection. I cannot understand a Laurel and Hardy picture regardless of what form is accepted. To Leave out classics like She Wore a Yellow Ribbon for Blood Simple leaves one scratching his head. So many disagreements. So little time.

  15. rtresso says:

    In my opinion these do not merit being on the top 100 list.
    Paleface–Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid–Laurel & Hardy–Cat Ballou–El Mariachi– Johnny Guitar–Open Range (TV Movie) if this qualifies certainly does Lonesome Dove–Ruggles of Red Gap–Blazing Saddles– Blood Simple (definite drama set in a town in the west, not a western as you are describing them to be.)
    I suggested some to add earlier. I know out of 4600 movies it was very difficult to get to 100. There were so many very good ones you could not have in the top 100, you made a good try. I grew up with a western every Saturday at the theater.
    Are you going to try and list the top 100 actors in a western movie? Good luck!

  16. El Cutachero says:

    The Alamo-boring, too long
    Paleface-just a farce. Indians are wearing panties under their breechclouts, for goodness sake.
    Any set in the twentieth century.
    Or with jeeps.
    Or with Gabby Hays, or Andy Devine.
    The Wild Bunch is not a western. To coin a phrase, it is a “Mexican” , just like Rory Calhoun in “Treasure of Pancho Villa” or “The Professionals.”
    No automatic machine guns. but Gatlings are OK.

  17. Mary Donnelly says:

    “Maverick” 1994

    It put late 20th century values and the audience’s knowledge of James Garner to great effect, but it was not represenative of the period to which it refers.

  18. Bob says:

    Laurel and Hardy
    El Mariachi
    Major Dundee
    Two excellent movies, but not Westerns:
    Blood Simple
    Ride with the Devil

  19. james celovsky says:

    Western movies not on list. Apache with Burt Lancaster. Indian Fighter with Kirk Douglas, Last Wagon with Richard Widmark.

  20. Greg H says:


    The Last of the Mohicans (not a western to me)
    The Mark of Zorro (what about the Tyrone Power version?)

    Ruggles of Red Gap
    Support Your local Sheriff
    Blazing saddles
    The Paleface
    Laural and Hardy Way out West
    Blood Simple (great movie, but not a western in any way, shape, or form)

  21. Linda says:

    Apparantly nobody mentioned “The Shootist” here, but I just recently viewed it again. I thought it was a good movie, but I wouldn’t include it as a “Western” just because the main character resided in WY and they showed just a very few minutes of some mountain scenes that were supposed to be where he lived.

    It is a modern day setting in D.C. for most of the movie and it is about an assination by a sharp shooter that happens there. Hardly a western in my book!

    I agree with others that “Lonesome Dove” should truly be on this list.

    I never saw the original “3:10 to Yuma”, but I do believe the new one was a good western and deserves to be on the list.

  22. Barry Giovannetti says:

    The “3:10 To Yuma remake, the original was much better in every way.
    “The Alamo” boring

    “High noon” boring and Cooper in his usual wooden style.

    “Blood Simple” bah.

    Any Spaghetti Western, they were all bad.

    Any comedy Western, even the ones I like.

  23. Johnny Matheis says:

    Obviously, “The Outlaw Josey Wales” doesn’t belong on the list. It is a bad movie even for Eastwood. It has no saving grace, and isn’t even a decent revenge tale. It doesn’t make a bit of sense, and there are no characters worth caring about. Total bomb.

    Also, all the spaghetti westerns were garbage. Again, no identifiable characters, or even anyone to care about. All of them are one dimensional cardboard cutouts with no believable motivation, not to mention stupid scripts and clownish action.

    Other terrible films include “Little Big Man”, just too one sided even for my liberal standards. Completely ridiculous.

    “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, and “Support Your Local Gunfighter” are corny even by adolescent standards. If I want a comedy, I’ll take a rip roaring one like Saddles or Ballou.

    “Ulzana’s Raid” was an attempt at a good movie, but I felt that even though it covered three characters thoroughly, for a full length movie, that doesn’t qualify. In contrast, “The Commancheros” explores many characters to great extents. In fact, for me, it is the minor characters that make a movie.

    Which is why I’m glad to see some great movies on the list. Obviously, “Ride the High Country”, “Union Pacific”, “Hombre”, “Shane”, and “Gunman’s Walk” belong on any list. I think one or two of these were omitted. That’s a monstrous oversight.

  24. Scott says:

    “Western” Comedies, are technically westerns but do not belong on a list of the greatest westerns:

    Ruggles of Red Gap
    Support Your local Sheriff
    Blazing saddles
    The Paleface
    Laural and Hardy
    Way out West

    “Westerns” that actually are not westerns:

    Blood Simple
    Bad Day at Black Rock
    El Mariachi
    Quigly Down Under
    Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Last of the Mohicans
    Lonely Are the Brave

    Westerns that are just bad or not worthy of inclusion:

    Johnny Guitar
    One-Eyed Jacks
    Dead Man
    Ride With the Devil

    3:10 to Yuma-Remake was great, but why no inclusion of the original???

  25. Larry Cagle says:

    McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)

    This movie just doesn’t make the grade as a top Western movie. It is a stylized Hollywood dark drama whose only relationship to the Old West is the set.

  26. Shane Mann says:

    I don’t think that Maverick, Mcabe and Mrs. Miller, The Alamao (2004) were good enough to be on the list. The Silence (never heard of it) should not be on the list. Blood Simple was not a Western; you must be on crack cocaine to believe that it was a Western. Last of the Mohicans was very good, but it was not a Western.

    But I do think that the hilarious Support Your Local Sheriff should be on there!

  27. sheik says:

    Cat Ballou should be taken off the list and replaced with Silverado.
    Thank You

  28. Chuck says:

    “The Paleface”, “Blazing Saddles”, “Way Out West” and “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” should NOT be anywhere near the list.

  29. Wayne says:

    I think that The Paleface, Blazing Saddles, and Cat Ballou are comidies not westerns.

  30. Wayne says:

    My favorite and what I think is the most accurate is Steven Spilberg’s “Into the West”

  31. Willie Holmes says:

    How the heck POSSE made it on this list is still a mystery to me. I do commend you, though, for putting movies that would not be conventional westerns on the list like BLOOD SIMPLE and BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK.

  32. Dickie Swindle says:

    These movies are not w westerns and shouls not be consideredwestersns Blazing Saddles
    The Paleface
    Quigly Down Under
    Man From Snowy River
    Last of the Mohicans
    Little Big Man
    Cat Ballou
    El Mariachi
    Laural and Hardy Way out West
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (THIS MOVIE SUCKED)

  33. Hugo D says:

    The Following is other kind of cinema:

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Blood Simple


  34. Chris D says:

    The Shootist is one of the worst movies of all time and a truly lousy western.

  35. Johnny Presley says:

    310 to yuma 2007 remake was terrible and so was the actor crowe.

  36. Western Dog says:

    No wonder the list is Weirder than Wieder. The 10 experts…looks like they know very little about movies (read their bios)…being a history professor or a writer about culture isn’t the same as a movie critic, someone in the film industry, a film archivist or a diehard fan. Movies that definitely DON’T belong here:
    1) Support Your Local Sheriff (how did that make the list??)
    2) Quigley Down Under (Australia…and it is a good movie, but short of great)
    3) Blood Simple
    4) The Alamo (2004)
    5) Last of the Mohicans (not a western)
    6) El Mariachi (good but not a western, a modern Mexican thriller)
    7) Add 3:10 to Yuma original…

    Personally, although some say comedies don’t belong here, I think some do. Notably Blazing Saddles…and Cat Ballou, only because of Lee Marvin’s wonderful role.

  37. Andrei Garcia says:

    Too many to list but the comedies and pre-western era and colonial movies don’t belong in my opinion

  38. RonF says:

    She wore a yellow ribbon should be included. Comedies like Laurel & Hardy, Pale Face, etc. should not.

  39. luther says:

    “The hanging tree” should be on here.
    The number of crap films on this list is too numerous to count.

  40. dirt says:

    Anything cowboy produced overseas by an overseas production company, sucks. The absolute worst cowboy movies, ever, were made in Italy. Some people actually find these exploit movies to be entertaining. But there is one thing for positive, any Italian western, is pure crap. Just one example of the Old West, Italian-style put the 1735 Mohawks in 1880s Arizona. Italian westerns hired big name American stars to be in the movie to get people into the theatre, the rest was crap, Italian-style.

    • Dave says:

      Like one I saw; the railroad station was half built looked like it was jset thrown togather no doors, wall had cracks big enough to ride a hourse thru etc. IN A WORD TERRIBLE

    • Dave says:

      You can say that again all Italian movies are crappy. Every thing looks Eoropean the trains, landscapes, the people, the music, rverything.

  41. Max of dimitrios says:

    What are the standards used to select the listed films? They seem to be on a weak foundation,, thus the list of 100 certainly is void of acceptable validity and/or reliability. A reasonable number are correct as contenders. i am a director of a simple but successful Film Forum in long Beach, Ca. and if I included BLOOD SIMPLE in a best western series my tenure would be seriously compromised by our patrons who are purists by nature with a wealth of movie.viewing experience. 15 years, 50 films a year, and still going strong with the finest free volunteer movie going program in the country. You should do better.

  42. Max of dimitrios says:

    Blood Simple, Lonely Are The Brave, Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, Blazing Saddles, Last Of The Mohicans, Paleface, Bad Day At Black Rock, Laurel & Hardy Way Out West, Man From Snowy River, El Mariachi, Riders in the Sky, Mark Of Zorro, Lone Star, Viva Zapata, Giant, Drums Along The Mohawk should not be eligible candidates for a valid list of ” Best Western Movies”.

  43. Stanley Profitt says:

    Maverick was not a good movie period, Duel in the Sun was a sexy movie and fun,but it was just good trash not a good western. Also some of these films while good were not westerns.

  44. Stanley Profitt says:

    I would also like to comment on a statement made by an earlier post by David M(texan) he said the John Wayne was outstanding but most of his movies were not, (except the Searchers) this guy must be losing it, Stagecoach(1939) was one of the first great westerns ever made, Rio Bravo in my opinon is the best western ever made, Red River the best cattle drive movie that was ever done. That is the reason when anyone brings out a list like this those films (along with the Searchers) arealways on them.

  45. paul G says:

    The Last of The Mohigans was a great movie, but NOT a western!

  46. Strider says:

    I totally disagree with those who believe that the Glenn Ford version of 3:10 to Yuma is superior to the Russell Crowe. It ain’t. Glenn Ford is unconvincing as a villain. Ford is just too likable.

  47. Ben says:

    Last of the Mohicans does not belong. Yed, it has Indians and I think it was a great movie but, it is about the French and Indian war– not exactly what we think of when we think ‘western.’

  48. george mccormick says:

    Worst western of all time? My Darling Clementine. Wyatt aw shucksing all over the place; Doc Holliday being addicted to mashed potatoes and desserts instead of booze and looking oh so thin in those tight Levis with the turned up cuffs; people in places where they weren’t-including Monument Valley and Doc not dying in a hotel in Glenwood Springs, CO but in the “actual”OK Corral which is the size of the entire town of Tombstone. And Old Man Clanton actually rises from the grave to put in an appearance at the gunfight. I think John Ford wore that patch over his eye to keep his brain matter from dripping out. Not very successful this time.

  49. george says:

    so many lousy movies.
    blazing saddles?

    If I didn’t know they were serious, I’d thought they were joking.

  50. hank33 says:

    I read the list here can,t believe a lot of the movies here . not westerns, try again

  51. Alan N. says:

    I agree with many of the people about which movies should NOT have been put on the list. Lonesome Dove, in my opinion, is the best western ever made. Even if it was a made for television, it was one of the highest rated miniseries in television history. It won seven Emmy Awards. Not bad for a movie (miniseries) that never made it to the list.
    I also noticed that no one mentioned that the movie Maverick had an error in it. The magazine refers to the $30,000 stake needed to enter the game. The stake was actually $25,000.
    Also, I found at least eight (8) mistakes in the table of contents. It seems like the errors starts once you get to page 90. Example: No 100 – The Man from Laramie (1955) is NOT on page 95. It is on page 98. Poor proof reading.

  52. chris says:



    and i still have not forgiven eastwood for unforgiven. i just dont get the hype and ive tried to watch several times.

  53. Dan says:

    Red River belongs on any list of great westerns, as does the original Stagecoach. Of the newer films, Appaloosa and the recent Jesse James film with Brad Pitt would make my list, too.

  54. Jay says:

    It seems a little odd that the stories where the natives actually have things to say are looked down upon by many of the reviewers. I can’t watch any of the movies where the indians spend most of the time hiding behind bushes or falling off horses. The Outlaw Josey Wales and Little Big Man are some of the very few westerns that actually let them have a personality. Get rid of all the movies without real native american actors. (Which are most of them.)

  55. fleetwood says:

    open range & maverick dont belong to this group. they aren’t great at all, but quite dull…

  56. David says:

    I recently picked up my copy of the 2009 magazine and read it again. The following movies, as I see it, should not be on the list of Top 100 Westerns.

    Hang Em High
    Last of the Mohicans
    Quigley Down Under
    Ruggles of Red Gap
    The Alamo (2004)
    Virginia City
    The Paleface
    Way Out West
    Duel in the Sun
    Appaloosa (2008)
    War Wagon
    El Diablo
    Jesse James
    Lone Star (1996)
    Two Rode Together
    Thunder of Drums
    They Dies With Their Boots On
    Posse (1993)
    Cat Ballou
    The Way West
    Santa Fe Trail
    Riders in the Sky

    That is 25% of the list, and I am not considering the 1920 movies which I have not seen or on some of the newer westerns which I have not seen.

  57. jack says:

    Blazing Saddles. A silly farce that has not stood the test of time.

  58. D.R. Omdahl says:

    the missing

  59. David Bell says:

    Bad Day at Black Rock would certainly make my list of the 100 Greatest Movies…but not a “Westerns” list. The setting for the movie happened to be in the American West, but the story could be set in any location. It is simply missing to many ingredients of the western genre to be considered a true western.

  60. David Bell says:

    Younger viewers may consider the recent version of 3:10 to Yuma as a greatest western, but the original version is better in my opinion. And without the first version having already been a “greatest,” the second version would surely not have been made.

  61. bill plunkett says:

    Blazing Saddles should not even be considered a western, much less one of the best 100!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

, ,

Sponsored Content: