On summer nights, after all the work was done, my cousins, my siblings, and I would settle down with my Grandparents to watch a John Wayne movie. Sometimes we would branch out to Clint Eastwood or the Lone Ranger, but wow did we love the Duke. As we got older, my Grandparents finally were able to get the Encore channel and we started watching every old rerun western at dinner whenever we visited.
I still love Western movies. They are full of biting humor, a unique view of human nature, and a nostalgia for a brutal time in our country's history. Sometimes it's interesting to listen to 1950s Hollywood's perspective on the world, changing around them, how it differs from their view today and the things that never change.
In case, you need some weekend viewing ideas or a great introduction to the genre, here are my Top 5 Favorite Western Movies.
Top 5 Favorite Western Movies
This just may be the most quotable movie of all time. Its sarcasm is splendid and it's storytelling darkly humorous. You've probably heard of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, but you haven't heard their story like this! If you don't watch any other western movies, this is the one you absolutely cannot miss!
2. The Searchers
If you're a film lover, you've probably watched The Searchers at least once. It is an absolute cinematic masterpiece from its sweeping panoramas of the western frontier to its intense soundtrack. Then you have a deeply human story of hope and vengeance. If you're looking for a hero in The Searchers, you might find it hard to really find one. The characters are realistically flawed complicated by the time they live in and the roles they have played. It's a story about family and the gritty determined spirit of the west that defied anyone to try and tame it. Oh, and Steven Spielberg highly recommends it... need I say more?
3. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Even if you've never seen this movie, I know you've heard its theme. Arguably, this is the most memorable of all Clint Eastwood's work although he is many good westerns. This story has many twists and turns, great lines, and classic western movie faux pas.
4. Rio Lobo
Once you've gotten into the Western craze, Rio Lobo is one of those movies that will really have you thinking about the American Civil War from a different perspective. Warning! This movie would definitely be considered politically incorrect today. However, with everything going on and the tensions between everyone with differing viewpoints, I think it is important to look back at our last Civil War and consider it from all angles. Besides the fact that this is just a very well-told story, with great characters, and good lessons on loyalty.
5. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
After I described my background to you, it should surprise absolutely no one that three John Wayne movies made it on this list. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is the story of a Calvary Captain on his way out of the Army in the middle of the Indian Wars. What it really is, is a testament to the bond between good officers and those who serve under them. It's also a kind of love song to those who just don't know who exactly they would be once they retire. Another deeply human performance with lessons on accepting responsibility for one's actions, respect for authority, and good humor in the face of overwhelming odds. Much like The Searchers, this movie is beautifully filmed and its soundtrack equally well done.
Do you like western movies? Why or Why not? What is your favorite western movie? Did any of your favorites make my list? Did you find a new favorite movie from my list?
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*None of the images used today are my own and are meant only to accent my review.