1. The Long Riders
“THE LONG RIDERS is a superb, nitty-gritty retelling of the story of the James-Younger gang, the most notorious American bandits of the 19th century. In a unique bit of casting, the Younger, James, Miller, and Ford brothers are played by the brothers Carradine, Keach, Quaid, and Guest. The Long Riders is one of the… great westerns made in America, directed tautly by Walter Hill from an excellent, well-researched script. The cinematography by Ric Waite is magnificent, the period is beautifully captured, and Ry Cooder’s outstanding score nicely incorporates folk music of the era.” TV Guide
2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is an engrossing and hypnotic western that places a heavy emphasis on atmosphere, character and reality.
It is also an excellent biography which gives substance to the legendary and mythical James, examining his wandering existence as an infamous outlaw; his charming, enigmatic, paranoid and temperamental nature; the crippling depression which plagued him in the later stages of his life; and the infamy that would eventually cost him his life, and continue to haunt him after his death.” Matt’s Movie Reviews
3. 3:10 To Yuma
“3:10 To Yuma Elevated above the usual fare by an engaging and complex relationship between its two stars, 3:10 To Yuma would be a thoroughly entertaining two hours whatever the genre - the Western setting is almost a bonus. It’s not often you get to see two talented guys like Bale and Crowe go toe-to-toe with such aplomb (Crowe positively revels in his role as bad boy).” The Shiznit
“Unforgiven looks like a Western. It has many of the conventions of a Western. But it doesn’t feel like one. The violence is brutal, the sheriff isn’t the good guy, and the story is saturated with moral ambiguity.
One of Unforgiven’s assets is the way it overturns conventions, taking the man who is typically the hero and making him the villain, while transforming the traditional bad guy into a sympathetic protagonist. Reel Views
5. The Cowboys
“The Cowboys The passing of Western mores from the older to the younger generation is at its most explicit in Mark Rydell’s “The Cowboys”.
During the cattle drive, the innocent and inexperienced youngsters grow up under Wayne’s tough guidance and demanding leadership. He instructs them how to use a gun, how to drink, and even lets them see a brothel. In other words, Wayne helps them to mature into manhood through many rites of passage.” Emanuel Levy
6. True Grit
“True Grit The girl with the strength of a man, and the man with a sensitive heart (albeit under layers of crust).
After years of playing stolid, mostly cookie-cutter “manly men,” Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn gave John Wayne an eccentric character part with an intriguing arc. A divorced cat fancier with an eye patch, Cogburn may be a “fat old man,” but he’s still the toughest, hardest drinking U.S. Marshal around, known for shooting first and asking questions later. His reputation as “a man with true grit” draws the enthusiastic attention of Mattie (Kim Darby), whose unwavering focus is to track, capture and bring to justice (preferably before a “hanging judge”) the killer of her father.” Groucho Reviews
7. Dances With Wolves
“Dances With Wolves Donning hats as director, co-producer, and lead actor, Kevin Costner plays Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, a veteran of the Civil War who is determined to experience the American frontier before it fully disappears. He is posted to a remote fort in South Dakota, where he eventually comes into contact with a neighboring tribe of Sioux Indians. The Sioux are understandably wary of this lone white man encroaching on their land, and he is cautions, as well, having been filled with stories about Indians being beggars and thieves at best, bogeymen at worst. Yet, despite their radically different cultures and long-standing (and well-founded) suspicions, both Dunbar and the Sioux cannot resist their curiosities about each other, and through increasing contact and fumbling attempts at communication, they develop a mutual respect that grows into a strong bond of friendship.” Q Network
8. Last of the Mohicans
‘Last of the Mohicans a rapturous revision of the schoolroom classic, follows the trail blazed by “Dances With Wolves” and more recently “Unforgiven.” A rousing frontier saga drawn from James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Leatherstocking Tales,” it looks back with longing on the savage Eden of 18th-century America, a lush old-growth wilderness from which mountains rise like sleeping giants wreathed in cloud. Painstakingly, breathtakingly re-created by director Michael Mann, this landscape makes room for heroes with principles greater than the circumference of their biceps” Washington Post
9. No Country for Old Men
“No Country For Old Men A mostly absorbing tale of the hunter being subverted into the hunted, No Country For Old Men deserves to be lauded for its gripping, relentless thrills…” Digital Spy
10. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
“Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid The success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made it a template for countless later films. The so-called “buddy elements” of the movie have been replicated and refined countless times throughout the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Although Butch Cassidy wasn’t the first movie to pair up a couple of wisecracking best friends in an action/adventure setting, this film became the model of how well that approach could work when done right. It’s easy to see a little of Butch and Sundance in nearly every action duo to reach the screens during the last 30 years. And that, more than anything, is a testimony to the lasting influence of one of the most atypical of all the Westerns.” Reel Views