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How the West Was Fun


NickAndNora34
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Don't judge me, I needed a catchy title; I am really getting more into Westerns, and I wanted to ask you guys if there were any you've seen that you could recommend. A few of note that I have seen and enjoyed are Rio Bravo, The Big Country, True Grit (both), Once Upon a Time in the West, High Noon, and Stagecoach. Let me know if there are any you think I should try :) 

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SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON and EL DORADO are a lot of fun, at least they are for me (though one could argue EL DORADO is more or less a remake of RIO BRAVO but there are enough differences to make it stand out on its own).

You might want to try some spaghetti westerns like the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood trilogy, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. 

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I was about to say Unforgiven, but the title asked for "Fun", and that's...not quite the vibe Clint was going for.  Good is not always Fun. 👍

The Magnificent Seven, however, can be enjoyed with or without having seen the Japanese sword version.   Those who discovered that Yul Brynner was one badass gunslinger might also want to move on to Westworld, although the "Western" definition might be stretched a tad.

A viewing of James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again may also come in handy if you haven't gotten to Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles yet.

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Here's a couple of good ones which where filmed right here in Sedona and which I can recommend for ya, N&N:

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This 1948 sort of western/film noir hybrid, stars Dick Powell as a federal government agent sent out west to find who's behind the thefts of gold shipments. 

 

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This 1957 western builds to a terrific and surprising climax. The 2007 remake of it starring Russell Crowe and Christain Bale is also very well done.

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In addition to the fine selection of titles already supplied I would add They Died With Their Boots On (1941), The Gunfighter (1950) and Hondo (1953). Of the various films to deal with the legend of Wyatt Earp, Tombstone (1993) is one of the best.

One of the best director-star western combinations was that of Anthony Mann and James Stewart, who made five films together in the first half of the '50s. Winchester 73 (1950) and The Naked Spur (1953) stand out among them, in my opinion. These were films with not only interesting, often colourful villains but a leading protagonist with secrets or dark streaks within his makeup to make him a more complex character than previously seen in many westerns.

The 1950s, for my money, turned out more outstanding westerns than any other decade.

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I just thought of another western well worth seeing, a moody one with, once again, a protagonist with a dark past, The Hanging Tree (1959), Gary Cooper's last western.

The Hanging Tree (1959) starring Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, Karl Malden,  George C. Scott directed by Delmer Daves, Karl Malden Movie Review

Speaking of protagonist's with dark pasts, there is also Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992), a fine film exploring violence and the impact that it has on men's lives. Among other things it boasts an outstanding (and complex) portrayal by the great Gene Hackman, which won him an Academy Award (deservedly).

Gene Hackman Nearly Turned Down This Role That Earned Him A Golden Globe

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2 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

Don't judge me, I needed a catchy title; I am really getting more into Westerns, and I wanted to ask you guys if there were any you've seen that you could recommend. A few of note that I have seen and enjoyed are Rio Bravo, The Big Country, True Grit (both), Once Upon a Time in the West, High Noon, and Stagecoach. Let me know if there are any you think I should try :) 

Here's A Menagerie of (Much Newer) Titles.

 

  -  Aint Them Bodies Saints. --

   - The Homesman. --

  -   Dreamland. -- (M. Robbie RADIATES, and Is EXQUISITE In This Gem.)

  - Logan. -- (If This Inclusion Confuses.. Ask. I'll Do My Best to Explain.)

 -  The Good The Bad The Weird. --

  - Renegade (Blueberry). -- *be Careful with this one, if applicable. Two, Scenes In Particular Are Quite Explicit. (But Not Disrespectful Nor Condescending imo)

 - Revenge. -- *Be EXTREMELY Careful, If/When This Title Is Investigated Further.     NOT For the Faint Of Heart.

- BrimStone. -- *Again (See Immediately Above); NOT For Faint Hearted. Durations Are GRUELING To Get Thru. But, Start - Finish.. This Title Is EXQUISITE.

 - Blood Father. --

 

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Rio Conchos

The Tall T

Comanche Station

The Wild Bunch

Ride Lonesome

The Big Gundown

Death Rides A Horse

A Bullet For The General

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Ride The High Country

Keoma

Villa Rides

The Long Riders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Suggestions

The Big Country (sprawling, monumental "horse opera" distinguished by Jerome Moross' majestic score)

The Big Gundown (superior "Spaghetti Western" starring Lee Van Cleef and Tomas Milian and directed by Sergio . . . Sollima; Ennio Morricone's musical contribution is, as usual, superbo)

Blood on the Moon (stylish Film Noir oater with a "psychological" undertone directed by Robert Wise and starring Robert Mitchum)

El Condor (underrated gem, scripted by Larry Cohen; contains Lee Van Cleef's finest performance, IMO)

Lonely Are the Brave (thoughtful requiem and character study, a modern Western . . . that is more than a Western; screenplay by Dalton Trumbo)

The Magnificent Seven (immortalized by Elmer Bernstein's iconic main theme, this classic remains durable, enduring, and magnificent)

Once Upon a Time in the West (epic "Spaghetti Western," arguably Sergio Leone's masterpiece; excellently enhanced by Ennio Morricone's score)

Pursued (Another multi-layered, psychological Western starring Robert Mitchum, it is an ideal companion to Blood on the Moon)

Rio Conchos (unjustly neglected Noir Western; its explosive finale is operatically tragic, its tormented anti-hero protagonist fatefully doomed)

Saddle the Wind (moody quasi-Shakespearean "adult western" spiced by John Cassavetes' edgy performance; screenplay by Rod Serling, vocals by Julie London)

The Shootist (only a fortunate few Hollywood stars were blessed to ride off into the sunset in grand and glorious style; this perfect, elegiac "Adios" is a wonderful, moving tribute to "The Duke")

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This is an amazing list of westerns including some that I consider among the best films ever made.  I especially love "Stagecoach".

Another to add is "Duel in the Sun" (1946) directed by King Vidor and starring Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, Lillian Gish and Joseph Cotton.  A surprisingly sexy story for 1946 with Gregory Peck playing a bad guy (and he's great!).  This story of 2 brothers who are opposites feels like a western fable.

image.jpeg.a1fa96b63adae56af3303f39bfe1f9ab.jpeg

Also, "The Hateful Eight" (2015) directed by Quentin Tarantino was very good.  It's an intriguing story involving a group of very different people trapped in an isolated setting

image.jpeg.dd742a07dbc82d9f88fe5699ffa310e9.jpeg.

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All the classic ones I've loved, the obvious and not so obvious, have already been named, but I'll recommend Alex Cox's Searchers 2.0.  It's obscure and I bought it on Amazon about a decade ago but worth a watch if you like Cox and westerns, but no, it isn't a traditional Western.  Wish a studio would give Cox another shot at making a big budget film. 

Oh, and not sure if someone has named it already or not, but I'll say Smoke Signals.  Love it.  In my top 100.  The book is Better (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fish Fight in Heaven), but a great film still.

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2 hours ago, Toto said:

Also, "The Hateful Eight" (2015) directed by Quentin Tarantino was very good.  It's an intriguing story involving a group of very different people trapped in an isolated setting

image.jpeg.dd742a07dbc82d9f88fe5699ffa310e9.jpeg.

Hateful Eight is one of my favorite movies of the 21st Century!!

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2 hours ago, Shank Asu said:

(The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fish Fight in Heaven)

I'm not saying it's a good Western, but The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) comes under the "fun" heading if you're looking for something disposable.

4 hours ago, Katie_G said:

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I almost didn't put this one on the list for the same reason as Unforgiven (although now that someone else has, I'll go ahead), but it works well as a chaser to go with the "real-West" deconstruction of Unforgiven.

I can't understand why critics keep calling it "obscure", or "difficult", etc., since it's pretty clear-cut--Suggesting that if Jesse James was the first wildly reputation-overblown American cult-celebrity, Ford may have been the first creepy celebrity star-stalker.  

On the "artsy" list, The White Buffalo, with Charles Bronson, is also making a long-lost comeback on streaming--Don't let the post-King Kong Dino DeLaurentiis marketing fool you, it's got Charles Bronson doing another Unforgiven-like complex psychological deconstruction of a Western myth.

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I am sort of enfant terrible as a Western fan because I don't like and even abhor some of great classics that have mentioned so far. I can't stand Liberty Valence or The Searchers and a whole host of others. It's me though, not the movies. You should by all means try them, these favorite standards and classics.

Warlock (1959) is a favorite. With Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, and Dorothy Malone.

Any Western with Henry Fonda is good, like Fort Apache or My Darling Clementine.

Stagecoach, John Ford's version from 1939 not to be missed.

If you can find it, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) is a little gem. It has been termed a "mature" Western, not the best word but it avoids some of the normal trappings of a Western. It was actually shown on PBS.

I just viewed The Showdown (1975), a character driven little story with an aging Rock Hudson and an aging Dean Martin with comic elements, This does not have the stature of our great classic Westerns but I found it entertaining. I posted a capsule review in IJW a couple of days ago.

Most of the Jesse James movies are good and Wyatt Earp movies as well. That's a little general but they DO imo get good treatment. Someone mentioned Tombstone, don't miss that one.

Well, N&N, you have quite a few suggestions? Are you overwhelmed yet? Have fun. You have a lot of Westerns to watch. But you're young, you can do it. ;)

Bethluvsfilms has just mentioned The Ox-Bow Incident, another Henry Fonda good one. You can't go wrong with Henry

 

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