Well hey Internet, in honor of the upcoming release of the only good movie coming out in September (The Magnificent 7) I thought it might be fun to jump into that good old nostalgia mobile and take a look at some of the greats, the classics, and the ugly!! That’s right it’s time for the ultimate breakdown of the absolute best of the Western genre, that nobody was asking for!!

Top 10 Western Movies

(My caveat here is that these are in no particular order, they’re all great and different and great for different reasons!)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Yes folks, believe it or not, there was a time before Clint Eastwood was old.


Most people would say that this is probably the greatest Cowboy movie of all time… most people who said stuff like that anyway… I mean ‘most people’ seem to think “going outside” is a good idea too and we’ve all seen what that leads to. Anyway though, the good, the bad and the ugly is a fantastic ‘spaghetti western’ starring the gruff, grimy face, of Clint Eastwood before it became the gruff, grimy, craggy face of Clint Eastwood. Great storyline, interesting characters, and a solid character arc, which some westerns did struggle with. I mean, most of the movies on this list just had the one good guy and the one bad guy and they just sort of shot at eachother until the movie ended, but this movie at least introduces some grey areas into the whole thing. And speaking of grey areas…

The Searchers

the searchers

John Wayne everyone, literally just a cowboy, being a cowboy.


Oh boy… So if you’re looking for a fun time you should probably just (incoming) “search” somewhere else. The searchers is a GREAT movie but it is not fun. John Wayne stars as a crazy racist person going in search of his… niece?? I think, anyway, some woman whose parents were murdered by Indians and he’s just… he’s real racist. And murdery. But it’s a great movie. Just… ya know, maybe have another movie to watch right after this, something happier like, I don’t know, Finding Nemo, or the Titanic or something.

Rooster Cogburn, True Grit

Okay, now we’re onto the more upbeat, awesome westerns. I put these two together because True Grit is technically a sequel, though the only returning character of any note at all is John Wayne’s, Rooster Cogburn. The first movie co-stars Katherine Hepburn and her and Wayne are just awesome and while the second one does miss Hepburns ying-yang with Wayne it’s still a really great Western starring old drunk John Wayne, basically playing old Drunk John Wayne. And boy does he play it well.

It’s worth mentioning that the 2010 Coen brothers remake of True Grit is actually quite good, though it does (obviously) not have Wayne’s charismatic anchor.

El Dorado

A great movie starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum that is in no way about the lost city of El Dorado. Instead it focuses on a little dusty, nasty town, that someone who REALLLLLY loved irony named El Dorado.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


Butch and the Kid, also a great band name… but not a great food name…


Yeah, I know, a shocking break from the John Wayne movies! Don’t worry, they’ll be back, but this is a fantastic, fun, outlaw movie starring Paul Newman and the every awesome Robert Redford. It does have a fairly depressing ending I’ll admit, but it’s mostly a really cool adventure movie that suddenly tanks at the end and leads you into a horrible, spinning depression… so fun?? Right?

The Shadow Riders

Another shocking departure from the Wayne-genre, Shadow Riders stars Tom Selleck, Tom Selleck’s mustache, Sam Elliot, and Sam Elliots growly man-voice. I mean what more do you need to know about this movie?? It has those 4 things in it! Literally the only thing that would make this a better western would be old Drunk John Wayne!


Arguably the most western thing ever photographed.


Rio Bravo

This isn’t old drunk John Wayne territory but it is riiiight before that. The sons of Katie Elder isn’t the best movie drama wise but it is a ton of fun and features the silky smooth voice of Dean Martin so really how can you complain about that! Dean and Wayne teamed up again in The Sons of Katie Elder, which is also pretty fantastic but Rio Bravo features more Wayne and Dean, whereas the Sons of Katie Elder tries to make the son of a villain into a character and that doesn’t work so well… or at all.

The Alamo (1960)

No no. Not the 2004 version with (gulp) Billy Bob Thornton and (for some reason) Dennis Quaid. No this is the good version with John Wayne as Davey Crocket and… some other people. Who I’m sure were very talented. Obviously this movie ends sadly (historical spoiler alert) but Wayne delivers a pot notch performance, and also directs a really well put together action movie, it’s sad but it’s great.

The Magnificent Seven



The original 1960 Magnificent Seven that is. A movie that starred Yul Brynner (the man of a thousand nationalities) and Steve McQueen (the most America person ever) The Magnificent Seven tells the story of Seven gunfighters that stand up to an army for the sake of… a reason. It’s a strong movie with a great cast and if the new movie is exactly as good as this movie it will be the best movie we’ve seen in a LOOOOONG time.

And there you have it guys! A list of ten cowboy movies that are (without a doubt) cowboy movies! Anything you think should have been added to the list?? Let me know in the comments below… Pilgrim.

  1. You left out High Noon and the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

    I don’t know if I can forgive that… (seriously)

    And the inner kid in me (unseriously) is disappointed that the Apple Dumpling Gang isn’t on this list. 😉

    • Micah says:

      Both very valid points and great movies!! I also felt bad about leaving off the Shootist but we all know about my commitment to the holy number 10!! Also: Apple Dumpling Gang is fantastic!!

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