With my current obsession in Western flicks, I decided to make a quick top ten list of my favorites. Let's first get the obvious out of the way, The Searchers is not on this list, neither is Tombstone, although it's certainly ridiculous to even utter those two flicks as being anywhere near the same league. Once again this list will not be in numerical order, I'm just gonna list them alphabetically.
For a Few Dollars More: I don't think the middle chapter gets as much recognition as it deserves. This flick actually has my favorite standoff of all time.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: If I had to choose one movie here as my favorite, it would be this one. I mean, it was the flick that made me finally fall in love with Westerns.
High Noon: Watched it for the third time today, and it still continues to amaze me how different this film was. I love that we have an actual human character, as opposed to the glorified heroes that we see in Eastwood and John Wayne.
The Magnificent Seven: It took me forever to even getting around to watching this because I knew I would have an unfair bias towards this because of Seven Samurai, but when I finally did a few months ago, I was surprised and just how much fun I had with this flick. Plus, I mean, everyone was losing their minds when they heard that The Expendables was going to star a bunch of manly men, well this flick did it first. I mean, Steve Mcqueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Eli Wallach, and a bad ass turn by Yul Brynner... this, is the good shit.
Once Upon a Time in the West: If we stripped everything down, and didn't waste time breaking things into categories like Classical Westerns, Spaghetti Westerns, Contemporary Westerns and all the rest, this one probably stands up above the rest as the absolute best the complete genre could offer, and it's a film I can watch over and over again.
The Quick and the Dead: This may be an odd choice but I really dig the film. The Western, as defined by John Ford or Sergio Leone is a thing of beauty, often with long held shots of breathtaking scenery. This film however, switches that up for the pure energy of Sam Raimi, one of the most distinctly visual directors of our time. Also, if your favorite part of the Western is the final stand off, then this one flick is your wet dream.
The Proposition: The Australian flick by John Hillcoat is certainly one of the most intense films in the genre. Also, what an interesting dilemma, he has to kill his older brother, in order to save his younger one. Man, being the middle child must really suck.
Rio Bravo: Confession time, yes this is the only film on my list starring The Duke, but damn, I love this film so much I don't feel all too guilty about it. Here he stands as the ultimate Western hero, and the complete opposite of Gary Cooper's character in High Noon, and it's awesome. Also, that scene when Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson sing together, I actually start to tear up a little, every time.
Unforgiven: Is any Western list complete without Unforgiven? It's the film Gran Torino wants to be, and the perfect final chapter to the Western in general.
The Wild Bunch: Now I have to admit, for most of the film, I do find it pretty dull. I found it really difficult to care about the characters in any capacity, with the exception of Ernest Borgnine. BUT, this film is beautifully crafted and extremely gritty, with some of the best shootouts ever.