Whether you like it or not, the western is one of the most beloved genres of all time. Westerns are still made to this day, albeit with modern twists. But still, there’s something about the genre that speaks to the everyday American.
The genre even seems to be making a comeback. Recently, Chloé Zhao released her standout rodeo movie, The Rider, and in 2016, Antoine Fuqua did a remake of The Magnificent Seven. Here are the top two westerns we think are (arguably) the best ever.
(Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
Director Sam Peckinpah’s masterpiece became famous for its level of violence. Even these days, the amount of blood and gore is shocking (even for Quentin Tarantino fans).
But if you look beyond the slow-motion carnage, it’s pretty obvious that Peckinpah stays true to the genre’s recurring themes of the death of the old West, where men who are out of step with the times face their own demise.
(George Roy Hill, 1969)
The Oscar-laden buddy film works perfectly with the wonderful on-screen chemistry between Paul Newman and Robert Redford. And when you add William Goldman’s dialogue and Burt Bacharach’s famed soundtrack, you get a perfect cocktail.
It all mixes together to create an irresistible slice of late ‘60s cool, softened with some newfound revisionism. The film is just asking to be watched again.