Top 20 Classic Western Movies

Behold! presents the 100 Greatest Classic Western Movies of all time. These classic movies are the best western movies which can’t be missed by any western movie lover.

Why 20? Does this means only top 20 movie rentals are there in western cinema?

Well ..NO

henry-fonda-once-upon-a-time-in-westThe list is growing with time and more feedbacks/ reviews from the visitors. Everyone has different opinions if you ask them what are their top 20 movie rentals. But the best ones always come in short numbers. Right? before a movie sneaks in the Classic Movies list on Most-Wanted-Western-Movies. com, it got to be a CLASSIC !

That ensures that a western film freak always quenches that ‘classic’ thirst here.

For me watching western movies, writing movie reviews and rating them is sheer fun smily. But ‘A Man Got To Know His Limits..’ ( Uncle Clint said once ). So the Classic Movies list is prepared after rigorous searches on classic western movies, their popularity among masses and review ratings given by people/ film critics. As a die hard fan of western films, I can say that “I just love each of these western classics and these are my favorite top 20 movie rentals from western genre!” (Actually I own all of them!)

Western genre has given many remarkable films to Hollywood cinema. This is the 20 Best Classic Western Films of all time, so getting right to it from number 20 and watching all the way down to the number 1 is a reasonable plan. Let’s start from bottom to top of our Top 20 western films!

20. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)


Director: Sergio Leone Imdb rating: 8.7Cast: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Gabriele Ferzetti and Claudia CardinalePlot: Railroad is encroaching the wild west. Some are profiting from this development while some are losing their land to big sharks. To protect the helpless, there comes a rebel who stands against big guns. And joining the force is a mysterious stranger..who has his own reasons to stay in the fight.

19. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)


Director: Sam Peckinpah Imdb rating: 7.3Cast: James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Richard JaeckelPlot: When an ageing veteran named Pat Garrett is hired to capture a notorious western outlaw named Billy ‘The Kid’, interesting events follow. Pat Garrett and Billy were old friends and obviously now they are NOT. Drama, Dialogues, tension and action!!

18. My Darling Clementine (1946)


Director: John Ford Imdb rating: 7.8Cast: Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell and Victor MaturePlot: Directed by John Ford, this classic western movie is based on the story of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral between the Earp brothers and the Clanton gang..Come on! you know the legend!

17. The Big Country (1958)


Director: William Wyler Imdb rating: 7.8Cast: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives and Carroll BakerPlot: This classic western is weaved around the classic tale of city-boy-comes-to-village-and-village-boys-beat-him-good. Well no, our city boy is man enough to use his head, even amidst crazy blood thirsty cowboys. This western movie actually breaks western-manhood-myth.

16. Winchester ’73 (1950)

Director: Anthony Mann Imdb rating: 7.8Cast: James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Stephen McNallyPlot: This is the first of eight classic westerns collaboration between Stewart and director Anthony Mann. Stewart searched for a stolen Winchester rifle through several owners until he finds the man he’s looking for.

15. Little Big Man (1970)

Director: Arthur Penn Imdb rating: 7.7Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam, Richard MulliganPlot: This is as classic as it can get. An old man tells his incredible life story. He is raised by Indians, accepted by society and ruined by General Custer’s army. He tells it all.

14. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)


Director: Clint Eastwood Imdb rating: 7.8Cast: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra LockePlot: A peaceful Missouri farmer named Josey Wales sets out to avenge the brutal murder of his wife and son by a band of pro-Union Jayhawkers — Senator James H. Lane’s Redlegs from Kansas.

13. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)


Director: William A. Wellman Imdb rating: 8.2Cast: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Anthony QuinnPlot: In 1998, for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, this classic western was selected by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was adapted from the 1940 novel of the same name, written by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.

12. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)


Director: John Ford Imdb rating: 8.1Cast: James Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Vera MilesPlot: The movie opens at a funeral. Fold by fold movie reveals the secret behind the man once who shot a feared outlaw Liberty Valance. Seriously folks, you gotta watch this. No more words!

11. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)


Director: Robert Altman Imdb rating: 7.7Cast: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Rene AuberjonoisPlot: A drifting gambler and a prostitute join hands to set up a brothel in a remote Old West mining town. Business seems all good until some bigger players enter the game.

10. Dances with Wolves (1990)


Director: Kevin Costner Imdb rating: 8.0Cast: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell and Graham GreenePlot: This is the journey of Lieutenant John Dunbar who finds himself standing where road to future splits in two. The story unfolds when we see Dunbar being sent to a remote outpost in the wilderness of the Dakota territory during the American Civil War. There he encounters and is eventually accepted into, the local Sioux tribe. Soon Dunbar earns himself a name, “Dances with Wolves”. His life gets drifted more towards tribal values than his army duties. Not soon after, the frontier becomes the frontier no more, and as the army advances on the plains, Dunbar is torn apart to make a decision that will not only affect him, but also the lives of the natives he now calls HIS people.

9. The Wild Bunch (1969)


Director: Sam Peckinpah Imdb rating: 8.1Cast: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Robert RyanPlot: In the changing “modern” world of 1913, a gang of old outlaws is trying to score a last job. But their retirement plans are as rusty as their guns. A modern western depicting end of the wild west.

8. Stagecoach (1939)


Director: John Ford Imdb rating: 8.0Cast: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John CarradinePlot: The Stagecoach tells the story of some interesting characters traveling in a stagecoach. The story is spiced up by the fact that Geronimo and his Apaches are on the warpath in the area. This was John Wayne’s first super hit movie.

7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)


Director: George Roy Hill Imdb rating: 8.2Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine RossPlot:Among the classic western movies based on the exploits of the historical characters, this one is a hilarious action western indeed. Butch and Sundance are the leaders of the ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’ Gang. Butch is the brain; Sundance is the muscle of the gang. Together they perform many adventurous robberies. But now the west is becoming civilized and the fashion of keeping outlaws in town is getting outdated. So now Butch has another idea, “Let’s go to Bolivia”. Watch last days of the outlaws of the wild wild west in this classic western. In 2003, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

6. Red River (1948)


Director: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson Imdb rating: 7.9Cast: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne DruPlot: When his adopted son Matthew stands against Dunson, who is driving his cattle from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail, events turn unpredictable.

5. Unforgiven (1992)


Director: Clint Eastwood Imdb rating: 8.3Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Jaimz WoolvettPlot: An old time outlaw William Munny (Clint Eastwood) takes a last job in hand for the future of his kids. The others in the gang are; ‘The Schofield Kid’ and his old friend Ned (Morgan Freeman). Their employers are the prostitutes of town ‘Big Whiskey’ who are enraged after a few drunken cowboys cut one of their fellow prostitutes. The ONLY third western to win the Oscar for Best Picture following Cimarron (1931) and Dances With Wolves (1990).

4. Shane (1953)


Director: George Stevens Imdb rating: 7.7Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Jack PalancePlot: Shane tells the story of a boy’s adoration for a mysterious stranger who comes to the aid of his family. Shane was listed #45 in the 2007 edition of AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list and #3 on AFI’s 10 Top 10 in the category Western.

3. High Noon (1952)


Director: Fred Zinnemann Imdb rating: 8.2Cast: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Harvey Pell, Katy Jurado, Grace KellyPlot: Impeccable performances, tight knit script and witty dialogues are key components which make ‘High Noon’ stand apart from all classic western movies. Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is a town Sheriff. On his retirement and wedding day, he comes to know that a man named Miller, he sent to prison some years ago has just been released and on the way to this town to take revenge. Will the town Mr. Kane protected for years support him against Miller? Suck in some air and watch the scorching heat of High Noon. It’s gonna be tough!

2. The Searchers (1956)


Director: John Ford Imdb rating: 8.1Cast: John Wayne, Jeffrey HunterPlot: John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards an ex-army veteran, who returns from the Civil War to find out that the Texas ranch of his brother is destroyed and his family is massacred by Comanche raid under Chief Scar. He comes to know that Indians have taken away his niece Debbie. Ethan starts a years-long search for his niece along with his half Indian nephew Martin. On their journey they have to confront their own demons as well. The Searchers is a must watch for every die hard John Wayne movies lover and a nice catch in top 20 classic movie rentals.

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)


Director: Sergio Leone Imdb rating: 9.0Cast: Eli Wallach, Clint Eastwood, Lee Van CleefPlot: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly stands out in every aspect of a movie and deserves to be in the top 20 movie rentals. Be it direction, acting, characters, background music, dialogues or camera-work, no other spaghetti western comes even close to this movie. It’s entertaining, it’s violent, it’s has everything a classic western movie should have. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen it yet!

And there you have it Western film Freaks, the 20 Best Western Films. As usual, it is anticipated that the aficionados amidst us already have most of these films, either in a Netflix queue or in the coveted collection. Happy watching western movies!