What Are the Greatest Westerns of All Time? We’ve Decided

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.

Robert Redford, Paul Newman Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid - 1969

Robert Redford, Paul Newman Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid – 1969. Photo by 20th Century Fox/Campanile Productions/Newman-Foreman Company/Kobal/Shutterstock

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.

The Wild Bunch

(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).

The Wild Bunch publicity still

The Wild Bunch publicity still. Source: MoviestillsDB.com, Copyrights: Warner Bros.-Seven Arts

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.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

(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.

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Paul Newman

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Paul Newman. Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock

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.