Saturday, August 15, 2009

Top Ranked Westerns on the Net

© 2009, William L. Sinclair

These are all the westerns mentioned in our Top Ranked Films on the Internet survey. Only the first 35 made the top 1000, but I listed all those mentioned. I'm using the IMDB genre categories, so the Brazilian films of Rocha are included based on that, I've not seen any of them. [Photo: Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, whose universal tale of greed transcends the genre]

1. Searchers, The [Ford, John, 1956] #46
2. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The [Huston, John, 1948] #62
3. Once Upon a Time in the West [Leone, Sergio, 1968] #70
4. Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, The [Leone, Sergio, 1966] #73
5. Wild Bunch, The [Peckinpah, Sam, 1969] #87
6. Unforgiven [Eastwood, Clint, 1992] #91
7. High Noon [Zinnemann, Fred, 1952] #106
8. Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The [Ford, John, 1962] #135
9. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [Hill, George Roy, 1969] #149
10. Stagecoach [Ford, John, 1939] #219

11. My Darling Clementine [Ford, John, 1946] #233
12. Red River [Hawks, Howard, 1948] #252
13. McCabe & Mrs. Miller [Altman, Robert, 1971] #278
14. Shane [Stevens, George, 1953] #287
15. Rio Bravo [Hawks, Howard, 1959] #304
16. Ox-Bow Incident, The [Wellman, William A., 1943] #464
17. Wind, The [Sjöström, Victor, 1928, silent] #512
18. Black God, White Devil [Rocha, Glauber, 1964] #529
19. For a Few Dollars More [Leone, Sergio, 1965] #541
20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia [Peckinpah, Sam, 1974] #584

21. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon [Ford, John, 1949] #589
22. Antonio das Mortes [Rocha, Glauber, 1969] #670
23. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid [Peckinpah, Sam, 1973] #695
24. Misfits, The [Huston, John, 1961] #737
25. Duel in the Sun [Vidor, King, 1946] #747
26. Ride the High Country [Peckinpah, Sam, 1962] #779
27. Man of the West [Mann, Anthony, 1958] #800
28. Outlaw Josey Wales, The [Eastwood, Clint, 1976] #833
29. Wagon Master [Ford, John, 1950] #837
30. Magnificent Seven, The [Sturges, John, 1960] #878

31. Pursued [Walsh, Raoul, 1947] #930
32. Naked Spur, The [Mann, Anthony, 1953] #941
33. Lusty Men, The [Ray, Nicholas, 1952] #961
34. El Dorado [Hawks, Howard, 1966] #964
35. Rio Grande [Ford, John, 1950] #984
36. They Died with Their Boots On [Walsh, Raoul, 1941] #1092
37. Bend of the River [Mann, Anthony, 1952] #1158
38. Hud [Ritt, Martin, 1963] #1224
39. Far Country, The [Mann, Anthony, 1954] #1228
40. Dances with Wolves [Costner, Kevin, 1990] #1255

41. Ballad of Cable Hogue, The [Peckinpah, Sam, 1970] #1259
42. Fort Apache [Ford, John, 1948] #1261 43. Forty Guns [Fuller, Sam, 1957] #1279
44. Destry Rides Again [Marshall, George, 1939] #1282

Ford predictably dominates this list, but I think they overrate The Searchers (and Butch Cassidy), and forget My Darling Clementine, which despite the title, is the best of the gunfight at the O.K. corral histories. They also underrate She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, a cavalry tribute to a John Wayne's retiring officer who's understandably tired of the Indian wars. It's safe to say: watch all the John Ford films, not just the westerns, as some of his best (The Informer, The Grapes of Wrath, Mister Roberts, The Quiet Man) were outside of this genre.

To These I Would Add
Open Range [Costner, Kevin, 2002] - a classic in the Ford tradition, avoids cliches like warring Indians and gunfights; to me, better than Dances With Wolves, thanks to Robert Duvall - it's in my Top 100

The Gray Fox [Borso, Philip, 1982] - a career-defining performance by Richard Farnsworth makes a classic of this true story of Bill Miner, the last known train robber in the american west

The Claim [Winterbottom, Michael, 2000] - terrific western about a gold mining claim in the Canadian Rockies; light on action, heavy on story

The Man From Snowy River [Miller, George, 1982] - Australians make good westerns as well; see comment - I'm told not the same George Miller as Road Warrior and Babe

The Proposition [Hilcoat, John, 2005] - a hard-core, violent Australian western, based on a true story of fugitive brothers

Hidalgo [Johnston, Joe, 2004] - though not technically a western, it features the true story of Frank Hopkins, famed western long distance horse racer who answers an invitation to race across the Arabian desert with his mustang Hidalgo; "if it looks like a western.."

1 comment:

Davey Morrison said...

I agree about "The Searchers" being overrated (it's great, but I don't quite understand the widespread adoration), and "My Darling Clementine" underrated (Ford's best western, in my mind, and perhaps the best western period). You're mistaken, however, on "Man From Snowy River"--it's a different George Miller who directed that than the one who helmed the "Mad Max" films, "Lorenzo's Oil," "The Witches of Eastwick," "Babe: Pig in the City," "Happy Feet," et al.