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    How the west was won movie theme

    how the west was won movie theme

    The park was designed by Oscar- winning production designer Dante Ferretti and inspired by the Italian film studio. The theme park, inspired. Top 20 Western Movie Themes · 1. A Man With Harmonica (Once Upon A Time In West -1968) by Ennio Morricone · 2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) by Ennio. If it didn't say that right on my cover, I probably would have assumed that book came before movie. Nevertheless, I wasn't discouraged and figured that at least.
    how the west was won movie theme
    Music of the American West is really a combination of styles and rhythms inherent to the place and culture of the people who occupied the West, whether Native American, European American or African American. The music represents the cultural heritage of the people who came to call the West home. This music, however, is not the music that expresses the grandeur of the western environment or the image in the American mind of a place called The West. The music that most of us western aficionados associate with Western America is the music composed to accompany the numerous TV and movie westerns of the 1950s and 1960s.

    The popularity of TV westerns in the late 1950s and 1960s convinced many in the film industry of the lucrative possibilities of the western genre; film executives outdid each other in their race to produce westerns of epic proportions. By so doing, they helped define the West as an expansive landscape where western characters fought how the west was won movie theme died on the advancing western frontier. Even though I have seen more western movies than I care to admit, it is not always the movie that leaves a lasting impression, it is the accompanying musical score that brings to mind a feeling and a longing for the many wonderful attributes we have come to associate with The West.

    A musical composition can relate many things to its listeners. A composer knows this and spends a lot of time incorporating the right instrument, chord, or phrase to express what he wishes to convey through his music. It really is not unlike an author who uses words to create his images; the composer uses music notation and orchestration. In the end, they both create a piece of art that tells us something about our world. Of the composers who have written musical scores to accompany western movies and TV shows, several stand out for their interpretation of the West-- Russian born Dimitri Tiomkin (1894-1979), American born Jerome Morass (1913- 1983) Alfred Newman (1901-1970, and Elmer Bernstein (1922- ). Of the four, Dimitri Tiomkin was probably the most influential in creating the western theme.

    Dimitri Tiomkin was born in Kremenchuk, Russia1894. He studied piano and composition at St. Petersburg Conservatory of music. His first experience with music theatre was in St. Petersburg, where he played the piano accompaniment to Russian and French silent films. Tiomkin immigrated to New York in 1925, where he worked with different theatrical and ballet companies. His big break came in 1931 when Universal Studio hired him to score the Russian themed movie, Resurrection, his first non-musical film. Through his long tenure as a composer, he scored over 100 movies, which included Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939), The Westerner, (1940), It’s a Wonderful Life, (1947), Red River, (1948), The Big Sky, (1952) and The High And The Mighty(1955). And, he wrote the scores for such classic westerns as High Noon, (1952), Gunfight at the OK Corral, (1952) and the TV series, Rawhide, (1959-1966).

    High Noonis what has been called a classic western in that the story has all the elements that we have come to associate with the western genre—good v. evil, or the advance of civilization and the conflict when civilization meets up with the savage West. And, the hero who has to choose between the fair haired schoolmarm from the East, or the dark haired woman who knows her man but is too indigenous to the West to get her man. Just as popular as High Noonwas in the 1950s, so to was the theme song that introduced the movie, “Do Not Forsake Me.”

    “Do Not Forsake Me,” was one of the most popular movie songs of the era and the winner of an Oscar in the category of the Best Original Music. The producers of High Noonalso saw the commercial possibilities of recording the song for the growing pop music market--the production company made a considerable amount of money from royalties. High Noonset the trend and other film producers soon followed. Between 1950 and 1954 only thirteen percent of American feature films used theme songs in their openings. But by the 1960s, twenty-nine percent of movies opened with theme songs—the biggest rise taking place within the western genre. “Do Not Forsake Me” was popular with the listening public for two reasons—Dimitri Tiomkin’s musical score and Ned Washington’s lyrics.

    When listening to “Do Not Forsake Me,” one cannot mistake the western flavor of the song. Tiomkin opened the composition with the constant rhythm provided by a percussion instrument, the Tom Tom. After a couple of measures of the lone Tom Tom, the slow strum of guitar chords introduced the lyrics. Throughout the song the Tom Tom continued the rhythm in the background while the guitar, harpsichord, and harmonica played softly in accompaniment to the melody and the lyrics.

    Ned Washington’s lyrics informed the listener of the struggle in the story of the main characters, who were forced to come to terms with the reality of the upcoming shootout in the street. Added to this winning combination of music and lyrics was the performance of “Do Not Forsake Me” by Tex Ritter. His western (Oklahoma) twang authenticated the “West” feeling of the song and added to its overall appeal.

    Tiomkin, Tex Ritter and Ned Washington

    High Noon1952

    Ned Washington wrote the lyrics to many of Dimitri Tiomkin’s musical scores. In 1952, Tiomkin wrote another classic western song for the theme to Gunfight at OK Corral starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming.

    Again, Washington’s lyrics summarize the story line td bank hours friday the movie. And in the musical score Tiomkin employs the same rhythmic techniques in the background as he did in High Noon. The beginning overture to the movie, however, is more intense than High Noon. A full orchestra begins Gunfight at OK Corralwith a strong forte’ crescendo that creates tension and energy but quickly fades out to a lone whistler beginning the melodic line. Accompanying the melody is the constant background rhythm that mocks horse huffs on dry clay earth.

    The listener cannot help but imagine men on horses riding steadily toward town. Added to this is what Tiomkin must have imagined to be a truly western attribute to the music, short musical bridges between different sections imitating Native American rhythms associated with warriors and the preparation for conflict. In the movie, these bridges serve as a transition in time and place. Frankie Lane recorded the song.

    click on icon to go to YouTube how the west was won movie theme the song.

    Probably the most popular song for Frankie Lane was the theme to the TV series, Rawhide, another Dimitri Tiomkin musical successes. There is again a constant background rhythm played against Ned Washington’s lyrics, which sum up the gist of the program—the lonely cowboy tending to the herd. The listeners can almost see the cowboy’s rawhide whip snapping in the are bananas good for you uk as he yells, “move’em out.”

    Tiomkin’s constant rhythm in the background of Rawhidehowever, is not instrumental but performed by backup singers who add the same western flavor to the song as Frankie Lane’s rendition of the lyrics.


    In 1958 Jerome Moross wrote the score to another successful western, (and one of my favorites) The Big Countrystaring Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons.

    Moross was another accomplished musician who wrote musicals, ballets and concert pieces. He was born in New York City in 1913. As a child, he studied piano and graduated from the New York School of Music at age eighteen. As a senior he held the Julliard conducting fellowship and was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947-48. He is probably most known for his song, “Frankie and Johnny.”

    He started his career in Hollywood first as an orchestrator for films in the 30s and 40s and by 1948, as a composer. Of the western films he scored, Big Countryis the best known. Biographers wrote that Moross’s western musical style was shaped from his experience in the Great Plains in 1936 while traveling by bus from Chicago to California. Moross explained, “as we hit the Plains, I got so excited that I stopped off in Albuquerque and the next day I got to the edge of town and walked out onto the flat land with a marvelous feeling of being alone in the vastness with the mountains cutting off the horizon. When it came to writing the main title of the film, I wrote the string figure and the opening theme almost automatically.” The main theme to Big Countryreflected Moross’s wonder at the grandeur of the West.

    The opening theme to Big Countrystarts with full orchestra, at double forte’, stings carrying the background rhythm. The music goes from forte’ to a quieter melody line played by strings, but in the background bass instruments bring home the driving rhythm until the orchestra comes in again at full force, the bigness of the country expressed in the music can not be missed.

    Elmer Bernstein was another successful composer who has many movies to his credit; most recognizable is The Magnificent Seven.

    Bernstein was born in New York City in 1922. He was multitalented, as a young man, he performed as a dancer, actor and artist, winning several prizes for his paintings. He also studied piano with a teacher from Julliard School of Music. In his long career, he was nominated fourteen times for an Academy Award and in 1967 won for his score of Thoroughly Modern Millie. His other nominations were The Man with the Golden Arm, Summer and Smoke, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Return of the Seven, Hawaii, True Grit, Walk on the Wild Side, just to name a few.

    Like musical scores of other westerns, Bernstein opens the score to The Magnificent Sevenwith full orchestra, which quickly moves into a strong rhythmic background lead by percussion and brass. Bernstein introduces a variation to the western theme with his use of Latin rhythms in the percussion and guitar, which incorporated the Spanish flavor of the American Southwest. Throughout the theme, strings and woodwinds play the melody against the constant and strong background beat.

    Mignificient Seven1960

    The musical style used by Dimitri Tiomkin influenced others who followed Tiomkin with their own musical compositions written to accompany The Western. Most apparent in the different western movie themes was the constant beat in the background that imitated Native American rhythms. Also, the use of percussion instruments to give special effects like galloping horses, and incorporating such folk instruments as the guitar, the harmonica, and the whistle into the score produced a unique sound that became associated in the American mind with the music of the American West.

    There is one other song that is almost synonymous with westward immigration and has been incorporated in many western scores—“Shenandoah.” The song has been around since early America, but there seems to be quite a bit of debate about the origins of the song. One popularly accepted explanation, taken from a 1931 book on sea and river chanteys by David Bone, has the songs origins in Virginia. Bone maintained that, “Oh Shenandoah” originated as a river shanty song and became popular with crews on sea faring vessels www walmart one com the 1800s, basically a boatman’s song. Another more feasible explanation is that it originated with Scot-Irish settlers and the lyrics referred to their term of confinement as indentured servants. “The seven (long) years since I last saw you” was the common term of indenture servitude in early America. Over the years, the song has been known by different titles including, “Shennydore”, “The Wide Missouri”, “Across The Wide Missouri”, “The Wild Missourye”, “The World of Misery”, “Solid Fas”, “Rolling River” and “Oh Shenandoah.”

    At any rate, by the 1950s and 60s, “Shenandoah” was solidly anchored in the American music culture. The Kingston Trio wrote their popular version of the song and included it in their albums and concerts. But, probably the person to reintroduce the song into American music culture was Alfred Newman, who incorporated the song into his score of the epic western, How the West Was Won. The listener cannot help but feel the arduous journey westward with such lyrics as, “Away, Bound Away, A Cross the Wide Missouri.”

    In 2006, Bruce Springsteen released yet another version bdo online payment to citibank credit card Shenandoah on his album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.” Springsteen’s arrangement of the song, and the instrumentation, gives the song the “feel” of western migration. The song opens with the slow and soft chords of the guitar and fiddle. Gradually the music builds as the accordion and banjo take over. As the introduction continues to build, the banjo player plucks slow distinct chords that give the listener the feel for the rhythm of the river. The music begins to build as Springsteen sings the familiar lyrics. The listener cannot help but feel the energy of the song as Springsteen brings the song to climax and the music begins its fade to the soft chords at the end. What ever the origins of the song may be, Springsteen’s interpretation gives the listener the distinct feeling “Of the Way West.”

    Music is timeless and how one interprets music is an individual experience. For me, whenever I hear a theme from one of the many westerns of the 1950s and 1960s, I imagine the large landscape and beautiful mountain vistas of Western America. But, the music also relates the conflicts inherent in settling the land. Just as it was all played out on the “big screen,” it was also played out in the musical score that accompanied the action.

    LYRICS to the songs on the soundtracks
    of How The West Was Won

    (Note that the lyrics may differ between the movie, the single CD soundtrack, and the two CD soundtrack versions.)

    How The West Was Won(sung by the MGM chorus, Ken Darby Singers, and Dave Guard & The Whiskeyhill Singers)
    The promised land
    I'm going, I'm going, going, going to the bountiful,
    Bountiful land!
    Roll, wagons, roll!

    I am bound for the promised land,
    I'm bound for the promised land
    Oh who will come and go with me
    I am bound for the promised land

    It's a land of plenty that never fails
    where trees immortal grow,
    where rocks and hills and brooks and vales
    with milk and honey flow
    milk and honey, milk and honey, milk and honey flow.

    I am bound for the promised land,
    I'm bound for the promised land
    Oh who will come and go with me
    I am bound for the promised land
    Who will come and go with me
    I am bound for the promised land

    Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
    Roll away, you rolling river
    Oh, Shenandoah, I'm sure to leave you
    And away, I'm bound to go, cross the wide Missouri.

    Endless prairie, I wanna leave you
    I'm gonna leave you - goodbye!
    Because I don't aim to die
    Here on the prairie
    Where the wind blows so hard
    That you have to walk sideways
    To keep from flying
    I'm gonna leave this endless prairie
    Or I'm gonna die from trying

    I popped my whip and I bring the blood
    I make those leaders how the west was won movie theme chase freedom visa credit card login mud
    We grab the wheels and we turn 'em round
    One long pull and we're on hard ground
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh
    Tim-a-ridee-oh, tim-a-roon-I-oh
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh

    When I got west, the hills were steep
    T'would make a tender person weep
    To hear me cuss, and pop my whip
    To see my oxen pull and slip
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh
    Tim-a-ridee-oh, tim-a-ridee-oh, tim-a-ridee-oh! Tim-a-roon-I-oh
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh

    When I get home, I'll have revenge
    I'll land my family 'mong my friends
    I'll bid goodbye to the whip and line
    And drive no more in the wintertime
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh
    Tim-a-roe, tim-a-roe, tim-a-ridee-oh
    Tim-a-ridee-oh, tim-a-ridee-oh, a-ridee-ohhhh

    Ohio (the promised land)
    Nebraska (the promised land)
    Wyoming (the promised land)
    How the west was won movie theme (the promised land)
    The Promised Land!

    I am bound for the promised land,
    I'm bound for the promised land
    Oh who will come and go with me
    I am bound - for the promised land!

    Home In The Meadow (sung by Debbie Reynolds, to the tune of Greensleeves)
    Away, Away
    Come away with me
    Where the grass grows wild, where the winds blow free
    Away, Away
    Come away with me
    And I'll build you a home in the meadow

    Come, Come
    There's a wondrous land
    For the hopeful heart, for the willing hand
    Come, Come
    There's a wondrous land
    Where I'll build you a home in the meadow

    The stars, the stars
    Oh how bright they'll shine
    On a world the Lord must have helped design
    The stars, the stars
    Oh how bright they'll shine
    On that home we will build in the meadow

    Come, Come
    There's a wondrous land
    For the hopeful heart, for the willing hand
    Come, Come
    There's a wondrous land
    Where I'll build you a home in the meadow.

    (Extra verses - from the songbook of the movie)
    The hills! The hills! Look beyond the hills,
    there are rivers wide, there are whip-poor-wills
    The hills! The hills! Look beyond the hills,
    To that home we will build in the meadow.


    The stars, the stars
    Oh how bright they'll shine
    On a world the Lord must have helped design
    The stars, the stars
    Oh how bright they'll shine
    On that home we will build in the meadow


    Raise A Ruckus Tonight (sung by Debbie Reynolds)
    C'mon along, everybody come along
    While that moon am shining bright
    C'mon along, and raise your voice in song
    We gonna raise a ruckus tonight

    T'ain't no time to sit and brood
    Raise a ruckus tonight
    It's time to strike a lively mood
    Raise a ruckus tonight

    Go and get that old banjo
    Raise a ruckus tonight
    Just pat your foot and tap your toe
    Raise a ruckus tonight

    Do ya hear me? Come on along -
    little children come along
    While that moon am shining bright
    C'mon along now, tune up that string
    And let that banjo how the west was won movie theme We gonna raise a ruckus tonight

    Sing it out now!  Come on along -
    little children come along
    While that moon is shining bright
    Join in, let's all sashay
    Until the break of day
    We're gonna raise a ruckus, raise a ruckus, raise a ruckus tonight!

    Come on along -
    little children come along
    While that moon is shining bright
    Let's all sashay, until the break of day
    (Yahoo! That's the spirit! That's the way to feel!)
    We're gonna raise a ruckus tonight 
    (repeat section again)

    (Extra verses - from the songbook of the movie)
    We've come quite a ways I know
    Raise a ruckus tonight
    We've got quite a ways to go, so
    Raise a ruckus tonight.

    Can't cha hear that old coyote's mournful wail,
    Raise a ruckus tonight
    Sounds like he's been put in jail,
    Raise a ruckus tonight

    Ain't you all done sat a spell,
    Raise a ruckus tonight
    Now's the time to raise some well!
    Raise a ruckus tonight

    Leave that brayin' to the mule,
    Raise a ruckus tonight
    Come up here and cut the union bank philippines 24 hour customer service Raise a ruckus tonight

    What Was Your Name In The States? (sung by Debbie Reynolds)
    What was your name in the States?
    Was it Thompson or Johnson or Bates?
    Did you happen to draw on your mother-in-law?
    Or sink the old lady with weights, my friend,
    Eh, What was you name in the States?.Oh!

    What was your name in the States?
    Was it Murphy, MacDonald or Gates?
    Did you hold up a bank as a juvenile prank
    And pack up the money in crates, my friend,
    What was your name in the States?.Tell the truth.

    What was your name in the States?
    Now yuh must have had some honest traits (I doubt it).
    Did you try to abscond with a beautiful blond?
    Such minor offenses we tolerates,
    Eh, What was your name in the States?

    Sure, an' what was your name in New York?
    Was it Clancy, O'Toole or O'Rourke?
    Are you wanted for life 'cause you left your poor wife
    When she caught you sniffing a cork, my friend,
    What was your name in New York?

    What was your name in the East?
    And how recently was you released?
    Are you ridin' the rails 'cause you held up the mails?
    Or was it the females you held, you beast!
    Oh, What was your name in the East?

    Oh, what was your name in the States?
    Though you've suffered the cruelest of fates,
    'Way out here in the West ev'ry body's a guest,
    So line up and lol dolls com up your plates, my friend,
    Who ever you are in the States!

    Nine Hundred Miles From Home (sung by Dave Guard & The Whiskeyhill Singers)
    I'm walkin' down the track I got tears in my eyes
    I'm tryin' to read a letter from home.
    If that train runs right I'll be home tomorrow night
    'Cause I'm nine hundred miles from my home
    And I hate to hear that lonesome whistle blow.

    The train I'm ridin' on is a hundred coaches long
    You hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
    If those tracks run right I'll be home tomorrow night
    'Cause I'm nine hundred miles from my home
    And I hate to hear that lonesome whistle blow.

    On The Banks Of The Sacramento(sung by Dave Guard & The Whiskeyhill Singers)
    We'll explore the western shore,
    we'll fill our pockets with the the golden ore.
    It's been found just lyin' around
    in a bushel and a peck all over the ground

    Then ho, boys, ho! to California go!
    There's plenty of gold in the world I'm told
    on the banks of the Sacramento.

    (That) gold out there is ev'rywhere
    and ev'rybody is a millionaire.
    It's so thick we'll get rich quick
    just pickin' up a chunk as big as a brick.

    Then ho, boys, ho! to California go!
    There's plenty of gold in the world I'm told
    on the banks of the Sacramento.

    Exit Music (Finale Ultimo)
    The promised land - the promised land - the promised land!
    The promised land, the land of plenty rich with gold
    Here came dreamers with Bible, fist and gun
    Bound tahiry jose pics land, across the plains their wagons rolled
    Hell bent for leather - that's how the West was won

    Side by side they tamed the savage prairie land   (note: the songbook says "stride by stride")
    Nothing stopped them - no wind nor rain nor sun
    Side by side these pioneers from ev'ry land
    All pulled together - that's how the West was won

    And they sang of the day when they would rest their boots
    How the west was won movie theme a land where the still waters flow
    Where the dreams of a man and wife could put down roots
    And their love and the seeds of love would grow
    And grow and grow!

    Dream by dream they built a nation on this land
    Forged in freedom for ev'ry mother's son
    Here it is, the beautiful the promised land
    We won't forget them and how the West was won!

    - END -


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    The 50 Greatest Western Movies Ever Made

    Photo-Illustration: Maya Robinson/Vulture and Photos Courtesy of Studios, Getty Images and Shutterstock

    America can only claim a few art forms as its own. Jazz, for sure. Comic books, certainly. It’s probably safe to add the Western to that list, too, even if — like jazz and comics — the Western has roots around the globe and has since been adopted in many lands.

    The history of movie Westerns more or less begins with the end of the Old West itself. Westerns thrived in the silent era, and though the genre’s popularity has ebbed and flowed ever since— largely fading from view in the ’80s but enjoy several resurgences in succeeding decades — it’s never threatened to fade away. The Western is a vital genre with the habit of reinventing itself every few yearsthat doubles as a way to talk about America’s history while reflecting on its present. A strand of violent, psychologically complex Westerns that appeared in the 1950s, for example, captures both changing attitudes toward the settlement of the West and the treatment of Native Americans while channeling the spirit of a country still recovering from a devastating World War. And while there are certain themes and elements that define the genre, it’s also proven to be flexible, capable of playing host to many different stories and an infinite variety of characters. In Paul Greengrass’s recent film News of the World, for instance, Tom Hanks plays a traveling newsreader whose attempt to return a girl to her family doubles as a tour of a country whose divisions look like clear roots to some of our current national troubles.

    This list of the 50 greatest Westerns reflects that wide legacy from the very first entry, a film directed by a Hungarian and starring a Tasmanian. It’s been assembled, however, working from a fairly traditional definition of the Western: films set along the America frontier of the 19th and the first years of the 20th century. That means no modern Westerns, no stealth Westerns starring aged X-Men, and no space Westerns with blasters instead of pistols. (We did, however, make an exception for a certain comedy that concludes with its stars attending its own premiere.)

    That, of course, still leaves a lot of great Westerns. More, of course, than could possibly fit on a top-50 list interested in capturing the full scope of the genre. As such, not every John Ford film made the list. Anthony Mann and James Stewart made eight Westerns together. Any of them could have been included, but not all of them have been. This list is designed to double as a guide to the genre’s many different forms in the hopes it will send readers to corners they might not know and reconsider some classics they might not have seen before.

    So with all that said, let’s kick it off with a trip to an especially rowdy Old Western town.

    Some of the greatest Westerns ever made tweak the genre’s traditions and expectations — traditions and expectations created by countless films that like their good guys to wear white hats, their bad guys to be instantly identifiable villains, their saloons to play host to barroom brawls, and their climactic shoot-outs to be rousing. Dodge City has no interest in subverting any of that. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland — a team that had recently enjoyed great success with films like Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood —the film wants nothing more than to be a traditional Western on the grandest scale imaginable. Flynn plays a man compelled to clean up the lawless cattle town of Dodge City. De Havilland plays the woman who loves him (eventually), and Bruce Cabot plays a lawless tough guy. The rest, as the saying goes, writes itself, but the film’s so entertaining that the familiarity of it all doesn’t matter. Flynn and de Havilland transport the chemistry of their swashbuckling adventures to the Old West, while Curtiz makes brilliant use of Technicolor and a big budget. Anyone new to the Western or just wanting to see a Hollywood Western in its most basic form executed at the highest possible level should start here. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    At the other end of the spectrum lies what back in the ’60s used to be called “the revisionist Western,” though its influence has so permeated the genre that it’s hard to tell where traditionalism ends and revisionism begins. Put simply, the revisionist Western steers away from, or plays against, formula, refusing to romanticize the Old West or depict it as a place with clear good guys and bad guys. It also tends to emphasize the grimier, more unpleasant aspects of life in the American West. One litmus test: If you see flies buzzing around a corpse, you’re probably watching a revisionist Western.

    There’s grime aplenty, but also unexpected sweetness, in The Sisters Brothers, in which John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix play brothers who work as hired assassins, despite being temperamentally unsuited for the job. Hired by a rich man to take out an inventor named Warm (Riz Ahmed), they run into mission drift as they get to know both their target and the other man tracking him down, a private detective named Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal). Adapted by Jacques Audiard from a novel by Patrick deWitt, the film didn’t find much of an audience when it played in theaters. But it’s a cult classic waiting to happen, a cockeyed look at a time and place in America when the rules hadn’t yet hardened and seemingly anything could happen — for good and for ill. It also features a breathtaking ending that’s unlike anything another Western has dared. (Available on Hulu.)

    Watch enough classic Westerns and it’s easy to conclude — leaving out a few exceptions — that African-Americans rarely had a role to play how the west was won movie theme the Old West, or at best kept to the margins of the stories that defined it. That doesn’t square with history, and Sidney Poitier’s directorial debut shines a light on just one underrepresented Old West story via the tale predicciones de jose iglesias some Black migrants fleeing the brutality of Reconstruction life to find a new life in unsettled territory — only to find that prejudice and other perils await them on their journey. Poitier stars as Buck, a former soldier who escorts wagon trains for pay but comes to find he has a deeper stake in the well being of those he protects. A virtually unrecognizable Harry Belafonte co-stars as Preacher, a scraggly, traveling man of God/con man who, eventually, throws in with Buck. Joined by Ruby Dee, they make a fun buddy team. Their chemistry provides a light counterbalance to the film’s exploration of the complicated racial dynamics that defined the West, including the party’s tense arrangement with the Native Americans who never let the migrants forget they’re only visitors as they pass through their territory. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Robert Benton enjoyed his first great success as a screenwriter with the Arthur Penn–directed Bonnie and Clyde, which made a direct connection between the restless spirit of the 1960s and a pair of Depression Era live-fast, die-young outlaws — a take on their story that had little interest in the crime-doesn’t-pay narrative attached to classic Hollywood gangster films. Benton’s directorial debut, Bad Company, brings a similar urge to demythologize the Western. The story centers on a Civil War draft dodger named Drew (Barry Brown) who falls in with some morally questionable companions led by a rapscallion named Jake (Jeff Bridges) as he makes his way West. Drew tries to stay pure of heart in spite of his new acquaintances, but the West has other plans. Benton shapes the film into a darkly funny coming-of-age story, a kind of anti–Horatio Alger tale in which good intentions and hard work never stand a chance against fast cash and well-timed betrayal. (Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.)

    The Western genre got a shot of new ideas starting in the early ’60s thanks to the proliferation of European Westerns, many of them made by Italian directors using stretches of Italy and Spain that mostly looked like the Old West — not to mention a mix of American and European stars. The master of what would come to be known as Spaghetti Westerns was Sergio Leone, whose breakthrough film, 1964’s A Fistful of Dollars, made a movie star out of a TV actor named Clint Eastwood and helped spark a boom that would lead to hundreds of such films in the decades that follow. (More on Leone, Eastwood, and A Fistful of Dollars below.) With their askew takes on the American mythos, twisted characters, inventive scores, vivid imagery, and florid violence, the Spaghetti Western developed into a rich subgenre that could easily fill a top 50 list of its own, one that rewards those who venture away from Leone. One example: Day of Anger, directed by Leone’s former assistant director Tonino Valerii. Giuliano Gemma stars as Scott, a lowly street sweeper whose status starts to change when Frank Talby (Lee Van Cleef, an American actor whose career got a second act thanks to Spaghetti Westerns) takes him under his wing. But he soon learns that there’s a price to be paid by those who would use a gun to move up in the world. I m still standing ukulele inspired by Leone — they’d work together again on the fun My Name Is Nobody in 1973Valerii mixes cutting black humor with scenes of violence, blending enthrall with revulsion as we see what it means to make one’s reputation by shedding blood. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Consider this: When Edwin S. Porter made The Great Train Robbery, using New Jersey as a stand-in for the American frontier, the Old West wasn’t even that old. Most historians use 1912, when Arizona and New Mexico became states, as the closing of the frontier. But, as with the dime novels that made heroes and legends out of its inhabitants, the West was already passing into myth when Porter made this violent, crisply edited film in which bandits meet a bad end after robbing a telegraph office (but not before thrilling audiences with their daring and ruthlessness, like so many heroes and villains to follow them). The final shot, in which the lead bandit takes aim at the audience, is its own kind of wonder, implicating viewers in both the threat and the thrill of what they’d just seen. (Available on Flix Fling.)

    If the Western genre has an original sin, it’s the portrayal of Native Americans, treated by many films alternately as buffoons and subhuman savages. The demeaning depictions have ties to some of the ugliest chapters in American history. And just as the country at large is still reckoning with the consequences of its conquest of the West, the Western genre will always have to grapple with its most thoughtless and hateful portrayals. Some films tried to offer correctives, though they usually weren’t without their own sorts of awkwardness. Directed by Delmer Daves, Broken Arrow loses points for casting white actors in most of its Native American roles, a once-common practice that now seems baffling. But it scores points for weaving a message of tolerance into an effective, fact-inspired adventure story in which James Stewart plays Tom Jeffords, an ex-Army scout who befriends the Apache chief Cochise (Jeff Chandler) and works to defuse tensions in the area. The film both helped nudge the Western’s depiction of Native Americans in a more sympathetic direction (though not every film responded to that nudge) and — with Winchester ’73, released the same year — helped confirm Stewart as one of the key stars of the new decade, thus bringing about a more complex, conflicted sort of Western hero. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Marlon Brando only directed one movie and it didn’t exactly do his career any favors. He went over schedule, and over budget with One-Eyed Jacks, which premiered to mixed reviews and commercial indifference. The release of a restored print in 2016 — shepherded by admirers like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg — helped confirm what the film’s partisans had argued all along: Brando knew what he was doing behind the camera. Scorsese described it as “represent[ing] a sort of bridge between two eras in moviemaking: the production values of old Hollywood and the emotional values of the new Hollywood,” an apt summation of a classic-looking Western anchored by Brando’s tortured performance as Rio, an outlaw determined to exact revenge on an older partner he calls Dad (Karl Malden) who’s gone straight and become a lawman — a plan made all the more complicated when Rio falls for Dad’s stepdaughter (Pina Pellicer). The production was dogged by stories of Brando wasting time waiting for just the right waves to appear for a shot, but the film itself bears out his instincts. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right wave to suggest the roiling emotions of a bad guy trying to decide if he wants to follow his instincts to their violent ends. (Available on Amazon Prime Video.)

    Few revisionist Westerns took the task of demythologizing the West as literally as Arthur Penn’s Little Big Man, which is narrated by the 121-year-old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman, under extremely impressive aging makeup) who tries to set the record straight by telling a historian what really happened in the Old West. Crabb has an unusual perspective. A white kid raised by the Cheyenne, he bounces back and forth between the white and Native American worlds over the course of the film, finding abundance of absurdity on both sides but an overabundance of hypocrisy and cruelty on only one. Penn balances comedy against tragedy, depicting Crabb bungling his way through stints as a gunslinger and a soldier then refusing to look away from the massacres he witnesses, scenes Penn fills with echoes of the Vietnam War. Even those who remember the past sometimes live long enough to see it repeated. (Available on Amazon Prime Video.)

    Speaking of Penn, years before he made Bonnie and Clyde sympathetic outlaws, he did much the same for Billy the Kid with The Left Handed Gun. As played by Paul Newman, William Bonney is a trigger-happy hothead who’s more misunderstood than evil. Taken in by a cattle boss, he becomes enraged when a competing bunch of cattlemen kill his mentor. The anger ultimately leads to his downfall, but not before he starts to see his own short life start to become legend. Working from a take on Bonney originated by Gore Vidal, Penn and Newman treat him as a rebel with an overdeveloped sense of justice and underdeveloped impulse control. It serves as a showcase for a complex, twitchy performance for Newman, who was just coming into his own as a major movie star, and for Penn, whose directorial debut captures a director ready to question received American myths from the start. (Available on Amazon Prime Video.)

    A similar impulse drives Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but rather than fill the film with restless energy, as Penn did, Dominik opts for a more meditative approach. Brad Pitt plays James opposite Casey Affleck as Robert Ford, an admirer and gang recruit who ultimately turns against his idol. Aided by stunning Roger Deakins cinematography and an entrancing score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Dominik’s film locks into the rhythms of another time, letting sharp moments of violence interrupt long, slow passages that wouldn’t be out of place in a film by Terrence Malick (one of Dominick’s obvious reference points). The film had a difficult journey to theaters where it drew only small but devoted audiences, yet even then it seemed destined to be regarded as a classic unappreciated in its time. (Available on HBO Max.)

    John Wayne might not have known the end was near when he agreed to make The Shootist for Don Siegel, but he must have had his suspicions. Wayne, who died in 1979, had fought cancer since the early ’60s and had been finding it increasingly hard to work due to his physical limitations. The story of a gunfighter facing down death, The Shootist didn’t begin as an elegiac tribute to the star — a number of other, younger actors passed on the part — but it works beautifully as Wayne’s swan song, giving him a character who’s lived long enough to become a Western legend only to learn that that status has more detriments than benefits. Filled with familiar faces — James Stewart and John Carradine among them — and set in 1901, it also captures the passing of one era and the coming of another. Wayne’s character, J.B. Books, becomes the idol of a teenage boy named Gillom (Ron Howard), but the film’s ultimately about how the sort of life Books lived has no place in the world that’s coming. Nor did Wayne, but Siegel’s film gives him a fitting good-bye. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Filled with deep knowledge of and affection for the classic Western, and a willingness to blow raspberries at it anyway, Blazing Saddles finds Mel Brooks (and a writing team that included Richard Pryor and Andrew Bergman) deploying every sort of gag known to comedy, from dark, anachronistic asides (“I must’ve killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille”) to a concerto of bean-assisted farts. But it might just have been a fun romp were it not for the social commentary central to the story of Bart (Cleavon Little), a black man sent by the corrupt Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) to stir up trouble in the town of Rock Ridge so it can be demolished to make way for a railroad line. It’s silliness with a purpose, and the film weaves the jokes and the pointed jabs together brilliantly. Brooks directs with an understanding of how classic Westerns work, but the film is driven by a need to tell the sort of story they never could. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Between 1956 and 1960 director Budd Boetticher, writers Burt Kennedy and Charles Lang, and star Randolph Scott teamed up for six films that came to be known as the Ranown Cycle — tough, tight, morally complex stories of the Old West and the difficulties of being a person of conscience while living within it. All beautifully crafted and carefully considered, any of them would make a fine addition to this list (and there’s one more a little further up the line). Adapted from a story by Elmore Leonard, The Tall T casts Scott as a down-on-his-luck cowboy who ends up in the middle of a scheme to ransom a wealthy woman (Maureen O’Hara) newly wed to a coward. Boetticher keeps the suspense high in a film deeply interested in what it means to be an honorable man under impossible circumstances, a struggle Scott depicts less through words than actions and the emotions he feels but never expresses. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Undoubtedly the most influential Spaghetti Western not directed by Sergio Leone, Django takes the ugliness and violence of Leone’s films up several notches for a story that pits an ex-Union soldier named Django (Franco Nero) against the Klan and other foes. Sergio Corbucci — who also contributed memorable entries like Navajo Joe and The Great Silence to the Spaghetti canon — directs like Leone without the lyricism, putting the emphasis squarely on violence and absurdity. But his approach, and Nero’s performance, serve the lean, mean, bloody story well. The film has one official sequel but dozens of unofficial follow-ups with titles like Django, Prepare a Coffin and A Few Dollars for Django. It also has even more imitators who found varying degrees of success by 40 f equal to c a mysterious hero with ever-escalating violence. The original, however, remains a dark delight. (Available on fuboTV.)

    The ’50s and ’60s found international filmmakers engaging in a fascinating cultural exchange. For his 1954 classic Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa looked to the American Western — especially the films of John Ford — for inspiration. The American Western repaid the tribute with this remake of Seven Samurai directed by John Sturges. Sturges’s film lacks some of the surprise and depth of Kurosawa’s film, but it’s as entertaining as big Hollywood Westerns get, putting Yul Brynner in charge of a mismatched band of gunfighters (whose ranks include Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn) as they defend a Mexican village plagued by bandits under the command of a sadistic leader played by Eli Wallach. (Available on Starz.)

    The West held the promise of reinvention, serving as a place where those who wanted to start a new chapter in their lives could forget the past. But does a fresh start always change the contents of a person’s heart? That’s the question at the center of this Anthony Mann Western in which James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy both play former border raiders who, in the years after the Civil War, have started to create new lives for themselves on the frontier. For Stewart’s character, that means helping a wagon train find its way to Oregon. For Kennedy’s that maybe means the same thing. But maybe not. Mann’s film explores what it takes to redeem the bad actions of the past while depicting the corrupting influence of wealth, watching as the discovery of gold turns almost everyone into monsters and the Edenic Oregon Territory into a land ruled by greed. It’s a complex, gripping drama that’s unafraid to send some likable characters down dark paths, and it all plays out against stunning Pacific Northwest scenery (some less-convincing-than-usual soundstage sequences aside). (Available to purchase on DVD on Amazon.)

    The Spaghetti Western’s offshoots include the Zapata Western, which set stories against the background of the Mexican Revolution. This often provided filmmakers the chance to offer coded (and sometimes not so coded) commentary on the politics of the 1960s. Among the first of its type, Damiano Damiani’s A Bullet for the General mixes rousing action with a story of betrayal and political assassination that ends with an unambiguous call for the underclass to take up arms. Unsurprisingly, its screenwriting team includes Franco Solinas, the Marxist co-writer of TheBattle of Algiers, but Damiani effectively folds the film’s political agenda into an exciting narrative filled with memorable action scenes that exemplifies how popular entertainment can often be the best way to deliver a message. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Spaghetti Westerns didn’t come out of nowhere. Their precursors include this Robert Aldrich film, in which a financially struggling plantation owner named Ben (Gary Cooper) seeks to bail himself out any way he can by seeking his fortune in Mexico. There he teams up with Joe (Burt Lancaster), the morally suspect leader of a band of outlaws (a band that includes Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and others), to make off with a fortune in gold coins. Aldrich brings a surplus of visual flair to a sweat-soaked film in which Cooper’s character looks like a good guy only in contrast to the even worse guys around him. Cooper’s tight-lipped performance leaves Lancaster plenty of room to play the colorful rogue, a man who can keep up a charm offensive up to the moment he puts a bullet in your back. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Budd Boetticher moved on from movie Westerns after Comanche Station in 1960, focusing instead on TV work and a documentary about matador Carlos Arruza. Randolph Scott, on the other hand, made one more Western, the 1962 film Ride the High Country. The first Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah, it plays a bit like the passing of the torch. Scott and Joel McCrea co-star as aging cowboys who take on the job of guarding a gold shipment. They’re men past their prime in a world that’s passing them by, and they know it, but they’re determined to make the most of their last ride. Peckinpah would soon make movies that would upend the Western genre with their balletic violence and dirt-caked vision of the West. Ride the High Country finds him exploring some of his pet themes — particularly the end of the West and what it means to be a man out of time — via a much more traditional style and using major stars of a not-quite-but-almost-bygone era. A lovely, quietly mournful film, it, too, would be one of the last of its kind. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Some films never fully give up their mysteries. The Shooting, one of two low-budget Westerns that Monte Hellman made back-to-back in Utah for an uncredited Roger Corman, is one such film. Working from a script by future Five Easy Pieces writer Carole Eastman (working under a pseudonym), Hellman turns the story of two gunslingers (Warren Oates and Will Hutchins) accompanying an unnamed woman (Millie Perkins) through an unforgiving desert while being trailed by a man in black (a menacing Jack Nicholson). Artful and at times almost abstract, it strips the Western down to its fundamental elements and then strips away some more as it builds to an ending as mysterious in its own way as the end of Don’t Look Now (or Hellman’s own Two-Lane Blacktop). For a long time, The Shooting seemed almost more like a rumor than a film. It never played theaters and aired just a few times on TV. But those who saw it kept its flame alive, and it’s rightfully received a second life thanks to home video. The film’s more conventional companion piece, Ride in the Whirlwind, also starring Nicholson and Perkins, is also very much worth a look. (Available on HBO Max.)

    Clint Eastwood’s fifth film as a director has tangled origins. It began as a film by Philip Kaufman, who took on the job of adapting a book by a man who called himself Forrest Carter, who’d later write the memoir The Education of Little Tree recounting his upbringing in the Cherokee tradition. Kaufman lost his job while shooting the film and Carter would later be exposed as a fraud — a former member of the Klan and a speechwriter for George Wallace. Despite how it got started, The Outlaw Josey Wales ended up as very much a Clint Eastwood film, and a more mature consideration of the genre than he’d managed with its dark, violent, and deeply satisfying predecessor High Plains Drifter. Trading in a story of revenge for one of reconciliation, Eastwood stars as Josey Wales, a member of a pro-Confederate militia who heads West to escape a bounty on his head. Having lost his wife and child to pro-Union forces, he expects his journey to be a lonely one, only to pick up a kind of surrogate family that includes an aged Cherokee man (Chief Dan George), a mute Navajo woman, and others. Eastwood doesn’t skimp on the violence, but the film ultimately cares more about what happens after violence ends, and how a country patches itself together after a divisive war, a theme that resonated with mid-’70s America. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    A tight, chilling cautionary tale about the dangers of mob mentality and rushed judgment, this William Wellman film stars Henry Fonda and Harry Morgan as cowboys who drift into a new town and find themselves drawn into a posse seeking justice for the murder of a rancher. They find some likely suspects, or at least suspects that seem likely enough to a bloodthirsty crowd. Always efficient, Wellman’s film is short and to the point, but it moves to deliberate rhythms, conveying the speed and urgency of the posse’s hunt but slowing down as their suspects endure the torture of knowing that their time on Earth may have reached an end. In a genre with no shortage of blazing guns and casual killing, The Ox-Bow Incident makes every death sting. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    The middle entry in Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy — we’ll be hitting the others a little further up the list — For a Few Dollars More sometimes gets overlooked, sandwiched as it is between the tight, revelatory breakthrough A Fistful of Dollars and the sweeping The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In many respects, it falls squarely between those two poles, but it’s also the most emotionally rich of the three. Eastwood returns, this time playing a bounty hunter who joins forces with a former Army colonel who keeps his reasons for seeking revenge to himself until the film’s finale, reasons that add a poignant undercurrent to a film that ups the violence and grunginess of its predecessor and sets up an even more ambitious follow-up. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    James Stewart didn’t have the easiest time returning to work after World War II. The charming comedic parts he’d specialized in before his time in the Hello is it me you re looking for remix Force, an experience he had difficulty discussing, didn’t seem to suit him anymore, and his first film back, It’s a Wonderful Life, flopped even though it showcased a skill at playing troubled characters rarely glimpsed before. However, 1950 was a breakthrough year. He dazzled in Harvey, but it was a pair of Westerns that confirmed that he’d be a major force in the genre for years to come: Broken Arrow (see above) and this first pairing with Anthony Mann. Here Stewart plays Lin McAdam, the central figure in the story of a rare, coveted gun’s journey through the Old West, as it passes from Lin’s hands to that of an outlaw, a Native American (Rock Hudson), and others. It’s a clever device that allows Mann to explore several corners of the West and, in the process, tell a variety of stories while setting up both director and star as important voices in the genre. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    John Wayne shook up his image with the 1969 film True Grit, an adaptation of a Charles Portis novel in which Wayne played the cantankerous, usually drunk U.S. Marshal “Rooster” Cogburn. It’s a fine film in its own right, but Joel and Ethan Coen’s second pass at the story is even better. Jeff Bridges takes on the Cogburn role, playing him as equal parts curmudgeon and hero as he helps the spirited, teenaged Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) track down the villain (James Brolin) who killed her father — with some help from a boastful Texas Ranger (Matt Damon). The results, which bring more of the novel’s eccentric touches to the screen, suggest Portis’s book was always meant to be a Coen brothers movie, creating a vision of the West as a weird, darkly comic place, one that requires an almost inhuman amount of dedication to bend it to its will. It gets points for keeping Portis’s bittersweet ending, too. (Available on HBO Max.)

    “Well, there was this movie I seen one time about a man riding ’cross the desert and it starred Gregory Peck,” Bob Dylan sings on his 1986 track “Brownsville Girl,” a song co-written by Sam Shepard. Then, without warning, he goes on to spoil the plot of this 1950 Henry King film, in which Peck plays a gunfighter whose prowess with a gun has made him a legend while putting a target on his back for any young gun hoping to make a name for himself. Dylan can’t quite remember the name of the movie, but it’s clearly made a deep impression on him anyway, no doubt in large part thanks to Peck’s haunted performance as a man for whom fame has become a trap and the reasons for that fame a source of shame that stands between him and the righteous, settled life he wants to live. It’s yet another 1950 Western that signaled a shift in the genre. Drawing on noir, it helped set the stage for a decade filled with haunted men shadowed by a past they can only dream of escaping. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    That same sense of fatalism hangs over every frame ofJim Jarmusch’s journey through an old, weird American West, which alternates between gritty revisionist sequences and increasingly surreal passages as it sends a Cleveland-born accountant named William Blake (Johnny Depp) on a journey toward death. Along the way he encounters everyone from a pitiless industrialist played by Robert Mitchum to a cross-dressing trader played by Iggy Pop — and, most importantly, a Native American man named Nobody (Gary Farmer) who guides him on his journey in part because he suspects Blake is the reincarnation of the poet who shares his name. A languorous Neil Young score sets the tone for a film in which Jarmusch uses starkly beautiful black-and-white images, dry humor, and Depp’s deadpan performance to create a dreamlike journey beyond the boundaries of Old West myths. (Available on HBO Max, The Criterion Channel, and Kanopy.)

    The first Budd Boetticher, Burt Kennedy, and Randolph Scott collaboration set the pattern for those that is smoking weed through a vaporizer bad for you, and a high standard for them to match. Boetticher reportedly described their unifying feature as common setup: “Here comes Randy. He’s alone. What’s his problem?” Here Randy’s problem’s especially tough. Once the sheriff of Silver Springs, he now hunts for the seven men responsible for a robbery that left his wife dead, a pursuit that puts him in conflict with a tough character played by Lee Marvin and a young married couple whom he suspects might not survive their journey West without his help. Whether or not that’s his problem proves central to britannica great books of the western world ebay plot, and more complicated than it first appears. The subsequent twists allow Boetticher and his collaborators to explore the complex matter of what it means to live justly in a dangerous world while still surviving to see the next day — a question they try to answer with this and the brisk, action-packed, but always reflective films that followed, rarely arriving at any easy answers. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    The film that made Clint Eastwood a movie star, revealed Sergio Leone as a peerless stylist, and inspired hundreds (thousands?) of imitators, this breakthrough Spaghetti Western offers a bloody, enthralling reinterpretation of the American Western as viewed from afar, with a plot on loan from Akira Kurosawa’s samurai hit Yojimbo. (The cultural exchange between Kurosawa and the Western didn’t end with The Magnificent Seven.) Eastwood plays the Man With No Name (though he’s known here as “Joe”), the character he’d spin variations on in the film’s two (loosely connected) follow-ups. A drifter and gifted gunslinger, he strolls into a town controlled by two warring factions and proceeds to play them against each other to his own benefit, saying as little as possible and letting them make assumptions about his plans. Though he ultimately takes a stand for good, the Man With No Name seems happily amoral for much of the film, less a white-hatted good guy than a disillusioned anti-hero with no interest in propping up a corrupt system or the men who how the west was won movie theme it. It’s no wonder the ’60s embraced him and Leone’s irreverent, thrilling take on the genre, one scored by Ennio Morricone’s equally groundbreaking music. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Playing older than his years, John Wayne stars in the middle chapter of John Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy (sandwiched between Fort Apache and Rio Grande) as a soon-to-retire captain whose final days in service find him reflecting on what it all meant as he tries to prevent a new outbreak of fighting in the days after Custer’s defeat at Little Bighorn. Shooting in stunning Technicolor in his favorite location, Utah’s Monument Valley, Ford fills the film with lyrical passages while valorizing a soldier whose primary concern is preventing bloodshed rather than facilitating it. Short on plot but no less memorable for it, the film inspired critic Dave Kehr to call it “perhaps the only avant-garde film ever made about the importance of tradition.” (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    The fundamental conflict at the heart of the classic Western pits civilization against lawlessness and the notion that might makes right against order and justice. But not all those who how the west was won movie theme to make the West safe ulta fresno ca store hours law-abiding citizens got to live in the world they helped shape. Characters who realize they have no place in the changing West float through many of the greatest Westerns (including a bunch further up, and atop, this list).

    If there’s an archetypal version of that character, it’s Shane, the hero of George Stevens’s film of the same name. Played by Alan Ladd, Shane has a past he’d rather not talk about but sees the possibility of a better future in the Wyoming Territory, where settlers find themselves harassed by a land baron with no respect for their legal claims on the land. It’s there Shane befriends a local family (headed by Van Heflin and Jean Arthur) and tries to put his gunfighting ways behind him but is forced to call upon his old skills for the sake of his new friends and the life they’re trying to forge.

    Stevens makes beautiful use of location photography while asking whether it will be a plough or a gun that defines the West in the years that come. A veteran of World War II, Stevens returned from the conflict determined never to make movies that glorified violence. Even while making Shane’s choices seem unavoidable, Ladd brings a tragic heaviness to his defense of the settlers and a sense that even necessary violence goes against what’s best in the human spirit. The final shot is one of the Western’s most famous images — and one of its saddest. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    A similar conflict between a desire to live a quiet, settled life and the need to do whatever it takes to survive plays out in Delmer Daves’s 3:10 to Yuma (the first walmart money card balance espanol of an Elmore Leonard story that inspired a strong remake in 2007). It even shares a cast member with Shane, Van Heflin, who plays Dan, a rancher who witnesses a stagecoach robbery but just wants to stay out of it. He’s desperate for money, however, and thus susceptible to the promise of a reward for helping ensure that Ben Wade (Glenn Ford, leering but charming) doesn’t escape before boarding a train that will take him to jail for his crimes. As they wait for the train, and the arrival of henchmen determined to set Wade free, the film explores the nature of justice and morality in an untamed land and the possibility of redemption for even the worst of men, all building to an explosive finale that takes some unexpected turns. (Available on Peacock.)

    One of the most divisive of all the classic Westerns, High Noon inspired Howard Hawks to make Rio Bravo because he “didn’t think a good town marshal was going to run around town like a chicken with his head cut off asking everyone to help.” (You’ll find Hawks’s film a little higher on this list, but don’t take that as a slight to High Noon.) Others’ reasons for disliking it were more complicated, wrapped as they were in the politics of the day, which led screenwriter Carl Foreman to leave the country for Britain before its release, rightly assuming he’d soon be blacklisted for failing to cooperate with HUAC. That same political environment undoubtedly inspired the film, in which Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper), just as he’s about to retire, discovers that no one will help him against a gang of outlaws out for revenge. Letting the action unfold in something close to real time, director Fred Zinnemann builds the tension slowly, letting Kane’s mounting desperation, rather than gunfights and acts of heroism, push the film along. By the climax, it’s become a drama about a brave man — never mind Hawks’s reading — who learns just how cowardly everyone else can be when they have something to lose, and how quickly a nice town can revert back to savagery no matter how much work has been put into taming it. (Available on Amazon Prime Video.)

    Director Samuel Fuller loved big emotions and shocking imagery. Forty Guns unites those passions, pitting a former gunslinger named Griff (Barry Sullivan) against a local landowner who holds power by controlling a cadre of men, the 40 guns of the title. It’s a classic Western setup complicated by the landowner being the commanding and beautiful Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck), who inflames Griff’s passions and he hers. Fuller fills the film with heated drama and bold flourishes — like a dinner table where Jessica shares a meal with all 40 of her enforcers — as well as some deeply Freudian gun talk with a beautiful gunsmith, a tracking shot that seemingly runs the length of a town, and a showdown filled with extremely tightly close-ups. (Leone was doubtlessly taking notes.) It’s brash and satisfying on every level, from the action scenes to the complex, sexually charged central romance. (Available to purchase on DVD on Amazon.)

    Then again, when it comes to sexual chemistry and fluid gender roles, Forty Guns looks pretty tame compared to Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar, released a few years earlier. Joan Crawford plays Vienna, a saloon owner who dominates everyone she meets with her imperious attitude. (“I never met a woman who was more man,” her bartender says.) Well, almost everyone. The film puts Vienna up against Ward Bond’s John McIvers, but McIvers mostly seems to act as a cat’s-paw to Emma (Mercedes McCambridge), who hates and obsesses over Vienna. It’s all quite overheated even before the arrival of the eponymous Johnny Guitar what time does pickup close at walmart Hayden), when director Nicholas Ray turns up the heat even further — almost literally in a fiery climax. The film confused audiences at the time, but it’s rightly emerged as one of Ray’s most daring attempts to push the boundaries of film drama via heightened emotions and brash visuals. In a 2008 appreciation, Roger Ebert dubbed it “one of the most blatant psychosexual melodramas ever to disguise itself in that most commodious of genres, the Western.” Ray discovered just how beautifully the two could fit together. (Available on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.)

    Westerns tell some stories again and again, few as often as the confrontation between the Earps and the Clantons at Tombstone’s O.K. Corral. Though John Ford claimed to have based the fight on Earp’s account, an account Ford heard from Wyatt Earp himself, My Darling Clementine fudges a lot of the details in the interest of good storytelling. Starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp, Ford regular Ward Bond as his brother Morgan, and Victor Mature as “Doc” Holliday, it’s very much a “print the legend” version of the Tombstone story, to borrow a phrase from a later Ford film.

    But what a legend: In Ford’s hands, Earp’s story embodies the clash between order and chaos at the heart of the Western, a tale in which the courage of a few brave souls makes the West safe for civilization. Ford shapes it into a film filled with rousing sequences, but also lyrical asides and gentler moments that establish why the struggle matters. The title reveals a lot. Where other versions of the story bear names like Tombstone and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Ford’s emphasizes the character who symbolizes civility and the possibility of a better world to come, even if that world might have no place for men like Earp in it. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Some films were even more explicit about how changing times left some with nowhere left to call home. Released at the end of a tumultuous decade and deeply concerned with how eras end, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid brings a light touch to a story of a pair of outlaws who find themselves headed toward a dead end they didn’t see coming. Butch (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) have grown accustomed to living well as renegades but find that the closing of the frontier and the arrival of powerful businessmen with the deep pockets to fight back against outlaws have limited their options. Directed by George Roy Hill from a script by William Goldman, it’s a film so charming — those stars help a lot — that its fatalism sneaks up on you. (Available on Starz.)

    The final entry in Leone’s Dollars trilogy takes everything that’s come before and makes it bigger, bolder, meaner, and even more breathtakingly exciting. Telling the story of three men — played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach — who alternately team up and betray each other in the hunt for a fortune, the film finds Leone seeing how far he can take his trademark aesthetic. Sometimes it plays like a pop-art Western, reducing the genre’s iconography to its splashiest imagery. Sometimes it plays like the Western as opera, building arias of violence and suspense with editing timed to the rhythms of Ennio Morricone’s score. It’s also ridiculously entertaining from start to finish, packing seemingly everything Leone ever wanted to do with the Western into one movie. Leone wasn’t quite done with the genre, however, as this list will attest. (Available on Amazon Prime Video.)

    John Ford made all sorts of movies, but he kept circling back to the Western. Maybe that’s because he kept finding more to say with the genre, and finding more ways to express himself through it. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance feels like no other Ford film. A return to black-and-white photography on soundstages, it’s a more intimate, psychological drama than Ford’s other Westerns. The choice suits the material, a study in contrasts between two men trying to tame the West: Ranse Stoddard (James Stewart), an idealistic young lawyer, and Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), a tough rancher. Both find themselves at odds with local cattle barons who hire the blackhearted gunfighter Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) to prevent Stoddard’s attempts to earn statehood for the unnamed Western territory that serves as the film’s setting. The film lets Ford pair two of the Western’s most iconic stars as they play their personas off one another while considering how the stories that shape our understanding of history get written, and who gets forgotten in the process. (Available on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.)

    Kelly Reichardt’sradically unromantic tale of survival on the Oregon Trail sweats the details, focusing on the arduous day-to-day routines involved in moving across the Oregon high desert in search of a better life. It’s a tough existence even when things are going well, and in Meek’s Cutoff they’re not going well at all. A party led by Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) starts to suspect that their leader doesn’t know what he’s doing but does nothing until the situation has already started to spin out of control. Reichardt makes their lives look exhausting, conveying the high stakes that play into every decision and the panic that sets in when those decisions seem to be leading everyone astray. In her second collaboration with Reichardt, Michelle Williams delivers a complex performance as Emily, a woman who seemingly has no say in her fate — at least at first. Reichardt’s film works both as the story of a specific wrong turn with terrible consequences and as an expression of the awful feeling created by following leaders who seem to have lost their way. (She wasn’t done with the genre, either: Reichardt returned to the West just this year with the excellent FirstCow, a story of friendship and hardship among two marginal characters watching civilization take over the far frontier.) (Available on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.)

    In Anthony Mann’s The Naked Spur, Ralph Meeker plays a character dishonorably discharged from the cavalry on the grounds of being “morally unstable.” (That’s a label that might easily apply to most of the characters in the film, not to mention Mann’s other Westerns.) Meeker plays one of several characters drawn into bounty hunter Howard Kemp’s (James Stewart) attempt to collect an enormous bounty on Ben Vandergroat (Robert Ryan), a murderer and rapist wanted for killing a marshal. Vandergroat’s awful, but Kemp’s no less twisted up inside, driven by revenge, manipulating others into helping him, and unsure what to do about his attraction to Vandergroat’s companion Lina (Janet Leigh), who has conflicts of her own. No one’s purely on the side of good here, and the characters torture each other as Kemp’s obsession grows more intense and his chances to start over begin to dim. Mann and Stewart made eight raw, psychologically complex Westerns together, but none quite match The Naked Spur in intensity, or embody so thoroughly how Mann’s ’50s work transformed the genre. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Howard Hawks worked in virtually every imaginable film genre, but in each he tended to favor stories about camaraderie between disparate groups of people united for a common cause. In Rio Bravo he found a story he liked so much that he more or less remade it two more times, as El Dorado and Rio Lobo, both of which also starred John Wayne and both scripted, like Rio Bravo, by Leigh Brackett. Here, Wayne plays the wonderfully named Sheriff John T. Chance, whose defense of his drunken friend Dude (Dean Martin) pits him against some less-than-law-abiding ranchers. The film builds to an exciting climax but takes its time getting there, letting Chance and Dude rebuild their relationship as Dude crawls out from under the bottle; bringing in colorful supporting characters played by Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, and others; and occasionally pausing the action for a song or two. Yet Hawks never wastes a moment. It’s the time spent getting to know Rio Bravo’scharacters that lets us worry about their fates, and that reveals what matters most to them in the life they’re fighting to protect and the laws they’re determined to uphold. (Available on HBO Max.)

    Released the same year as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a far more genial if no less doom-laced story of outlaws facing the end of the road as the Old West era draws to a close, Sam Peckinpah’s landmark Western attracted controversy for its graphic violence, some of it depicted in agonizing detail through slow motion. Was he making audiences consider the ugliness of taking a life? Making bloodshed look disturbingly beautiful? Could he be doing both at once? Ugly, brutal, but not without its dark allure, this was the vision of the West that Peckinpah had been building toward since Ride the High Webster 5 bank login he populates the film with a band of outlaws, led by William Holden and Ernest Borgnine, charming enough to make it easy to forget — at least for long stretches — how they make their living and why they’ve victoria f bachelor dui into such dire straits as they try to make one last score before calling it a day. Yet beneath the violence and gritty atmosphere — bank of the west alameda ca phone number of the film that would be much imitated in the years that followed — The Wild Bunch builds a story about how honor matters even to those on the wrong side of the law, and the ways even bad men can be haunted by the moments during which they’ve let greed and fear overwhelm their sense of duty. (Available on HBO Max.)

    Like Rio Bravo, Red River is a film only Howard Hawks could have pulled off. Set largely during a long, troubled cattle drive from Texas to Abilene, the film stars John Wayne as Thomas Dunson, a cattle rancher with a tragic past who grows increasingly stern and unforgiving as the drive progresses. As he threatens to turn into an Old West Ahab, his adopted son Matt (Montgomery Clift) grows increasingly concerned, and more resistant to his authority, until a confrontation becomes inevitable and a tragedy the likely outcome. Ultimately, however, Hawks has other plans, and it’s Red River’s humanity — in addition to its sweeping action — that makes it extraordinary. Hawks plays with Wayne’s persona, drawing out the shadows beneath his heroic persona while also emphasizing its tender side via Dunson’s relationship with Matt. It’s one of the most complex characters Wayne would ever play, and here he gets to play it against a backdrop of tremendous danger that threatens to destroy everything he’s built — or push him to tear it apart himself. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Many of Robert Altman’s films, particularly in his first run of success in the early ’70s, find him putting his own spin on famous genres, be it the detective film or the war movie. With McCabe & Mrs. Miller Altman turned his attention to the Western and made one like no other before, a wistful, funny, heartbreaking film about one man’s doomed pursuit of happiness in the remote Washington town of Presbyterian Church. Warren Beatty plays McCabe, a drifter and fast-talker who falls in with, and falls in love with, Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie), a madam who offers to improve business at his low-rent brothel. They find success, but their newfound wealth attracts the attention of a mining company that initially wants to buy him out but uses even stronger tactics to take what it wants. Filmed in snowy Vancouver and set to some of the most melancholy songs Leonard Cohen ever recorded, the film lets a sense of fatalism hang over even its lightest moments. Beatty plays McCabe as a character too charming to lose all the time, but destined to lose big when he does. His short time on top in Presbyterian Church captures the freedom and possibilities of the American frontier, and the promise of America itself. His fate suggests that there might be less to that promise than advertised. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    Is there such a thing as a perfect movie? If not, Stagecoach comes pretty close. John Ford’s film made a star of John Wayne as the Ringo Kid, a fugitive from the law who’s called upon to protect a stagecoach traveling through dangerous territory. That it contains nothing less than a cross section of Old West humanity — from an alcoholic doctor to pregnant Army wife to a prostitute and so on — suggests that Ford has ambitions beyond merely staging an exciting story. Stagecoach works first as just that, but it brilliantly weaves its characters’ personal journeys into the action as the journey becomes ever more perilous. This was Ford’s first trip to Monument Valley, which would become his favorite Western location, and his first important collaboration with Wayne, whose onscreen presence he’d help shape and change over the years, giving him more complicated characters as he aged. Here he lets him play the white-hatted hero to tremendous effect in the middle of one of the most influential Westerns ever made, a tremendously entertaining, richly realized film that laid the groundwork for Ford’s future efforts in the genre and inspired countless others to take the Western in new directions. (Available on Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and The Criterion Channel.)

    After completing the Dollars trilogy, Leone returned to the Western minus his signature star but with a renewed sense of ambition, twisting together an epic story of greed and revenge bigger than anything he’d attempted before. Charles Bronson plays a gunslinger known only as Harmonica (thanks to his musical instrument of choice) who’s locked into a battle of wills with Frank (Henry Fonda), a merciless hired gun with whom Harmonica has a mysterious history. Without losing his trademark dark humor, Leone couples the stylistic bravado of the film’s predecessors to a sense of tragic somberness, focusing on the sacrifices asked by the West and what gets lost as history moves on. He also brings a sense of patience, letting the story play out at a stately pace (at least in the director’s preferred cut) and giving space to co-stars Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards to develop what might otherwise have been stock characters. It’s audacious, too, casting Fonda as not just a bad guy how the west was won movie theme a sadist and opening with a wordless showdown for which the term “slow burn” is an understatement. It’s Leone’s masterpiece, the film in which he packed everything he wanted to say about the West and its myths. (Available on Amazon Prime Video and The Criterion Channel.)

    In his Best Picture–winning 1992 film, Clint Eastwood plays William Munny, a gunfighter who, inspired by his late wife, has abandoned his old ways for the righteous life of a farmer. Financial troubles compel him to again take up bounty hunting so he can collect a reward posted by a group of prostitutes, who are seeking justice after a pair of ranch hands mutilate one of their own. Working from a screenplay that he’d held on to until he had aged enough to play Munny, Eastwood delivers a meditative, morally complex Western filled with characters who sometimes commit awful acts for righteous reasons, those who commit horrific crimes for no reason at all, and those who just do what they have to do to survive. Munny has been, at varying points, all of the above, and he’s haunted by each experience. It’s left him wondering what all the killing he’s seen and done means, if it means anything at all. Eastwood dedicated Unforgiven to the two directors who’d most shaped his career: Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, neither a stranger to this list. But while their influence can still be seen in Unforgiven, it’s an Eastwood film in every frame, the culmination of his career-long relationship with the genre, and his mixed emotions about the way it mixes heroic iconography, violence, and the sense that a man with a gun can deliver justice. (Available to rent on Amazon.)

    John Wayne and John Ford made great movies — together and apart — after The Searchers, but that doesn’t make it any less of a culmination. Both had worked in, and thought about, the Western for years by the time they shot this haunting film. Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a man driven by a hate that’s inflamed when Comanches murder Ethan’s brother and other members of his family before kidnapping his two nieces. Ethan and his companions soon find one, Lucy, dead. The other, Debbie (Natalie Wood), they can’t find at all, leading Ethan to scour the West for her as he becomes increasingly twisted by his rage.

    Wayne delivers a terrifying performance as a lost soul who uses revenge to excuse the darkness and prejudice already inside him. Through that prejudice, Ford began to address the genre’s treatment of Native Americans, not by softening the actions of the Comanches but by having Ethan respond to monstrous acts with even more monstrous behavior. In one chilling scene, he mutilates a corpse, thus condemning his victim, by Comanche belief, to travel the afterlife blind. But as Martin Scorsese observes in his documentary A Personal Journey Through American Movies, Ethan is just placing his own curse on the corpse because “he’s a drifter, doomed to wander between the winds.”

    Can a hero so awful really be called a hero at all? A few years later, Ford would contribute a segment to the Cinerama omnibus film How the West Was Won, but The Searchers, and Ford’s best films, and the most enduring Westerns made by anyone treat that title less as a statement than a question. How was the West won? What did it mean? What can we learn from it? Who profited? Who suffered? How did the stories we created from it shape our understanding of it all? They’re questions that lead to no answers, only more questions, and that’s part of the reason why the Western has proved so enduring. It’s a place where searchers go. (Available on HBO Max.)


    The 50 Greatest Western Movies Ever MadeИсточник:

    The Way West,a big-budget western film that wasuniversally panned by critics, brought Hollywood stars to Oregon in the spring and summer of 1966. Using natural landmarks as iconic locales, the film tells a story of immigrants challenged during a wagon train crossing of the Oregon Trail. Produced by Harold Hecht and based on A.B. Guthrie’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Way West, the movie starred Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark, Lola Albright, and Sally Field in her motion picture debut. It was part of a resurgence of western movies made during the mid-1960s, when domestic film locations vied for Hollywood dollars with European competitors, particularly the spaghetti westerns made in Italy.

    Hecht, who had produced the Academy Award-winning movies Marty (1955) and Cat Ballou(1965), purchased the rights to Guthrie’s book in 1953 and wrote the film in collaboration with Ben Maddow and Mitch Lindemann. Location scouting began in June 1965, with director Andrew McLaglen on hand to select sites for filming in central Oregon. McLaglen, a protégé of director John Ford, had filmed in Oregon before, including shooting scenes in Lane County for Shenandoah a year earlier and episodes of the television series Have Gun–Will Travel on the Deschutes River in 1960 and 1961. William H. Clothier, a two-time Oscar nominee, was McLaglen's director of photography.

    The plot focuses on the personal dramas among the protagonists as they struggle across the difficult landscape of the Oregon Trail. Douglas plays Senator William Tadlock, who has become disillusioned with politics and brings his son and slave with him to create a utopian settlement in Oregon. He is joined by a guide (Mitchum) and several farming families, among them Lije Evans (Widmark) and his wife Rebecca (Albright). A series of incidents roil the group, including the murder of a Sioux Indian, a hanging, an affair, an unintended pregnancy, a deadly stampede, and a power struggle over the management of the wagon train. Just as the remaining travelers reach the western homestead, a distraught member of the group murders Tadlock for hanging her husband and flees into the high desert. The rest of the wagon train begins a new life in Oregon, living out Tadlock's unfulfilled dream in his stead. 

    The filming of The Way West began in June 1966 near Eugene, where set designers replicated 1840s Independence, Missouri. Using 225 extras hired by the production company, the film crew shot a scene of a wagon train crossing the McKenzie River. In early July, the production moved operations to the Bend area, where it filmed scenes at Mount Bachelor and at a replica of Fort Hall that had been built at Camp Abbot, which had been used for earlier projects.

    Production soon focused on the Christmas Valley area. A daily caravan of more than seventy vehicles, including wagons, trucks, buses, and limousines—“longer by far than the biggest wagon train ever to roll on to Oregon," one newspaper reported—carried actors and crew members to locations that included Fort Rock, which doubled as Independence Rock in Wyoming, and the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, which stood in for a desert in the Great Basin.

    McLaglen’s policy of having the thirty principal actors always on the set and in costume led to exhaustion for many by the end of August, as filming continued on the Crooked River Ranch and near Smith Rock. Outside Burns, the production company filmed its last scene: a wagon train escaping into a dramatic stampede of 450 bison.

    The film's publicized $6 million budget included $1 million spent in the Eugene area and $1.5 million in eastern Oregon. According to the studio's press representative, “the overhead is $25,000 a day, with 300 or more local people hired as extras and helpers….The feed bill is $10,000 a week; lodging, $12,000 or more; set construction, $150,000; salaries for 185 regulars $100,000 a week—NOT including the big stars.” The $30,000 that Oregon's tax system collected from production crew wages was controversial and led to calls for tax reform. “It's the little people,” the Oregonian’s Leverett Richards editorialized, “who do the hard work and can't afford the double bite who swear they won't work in Oregon anymore.” 

    United Artists released The Way West in New York City on May 24, surprising the Eugene Junior Chamber of Commerce, which had expected to host the premiere in their city. Days later, United Artists canceled plans to participate in a conciliatory Northwest premiere in Eugene on June 13, citing “adverse publicity”—principally the film’s poor reception by critics. And poorly received it was. "What they [the cast] have to go through to reach Oregon,” the New York Times reviewer harped, “is nothing to compare to what an old Western fan has to go through to keep from getting up in the middle and walking out." An Oregonian editor observed: "The reviews were not even criticisms, really, but denunciations implying that it might be the worst western ever made….On the plus side, it must be said that Oregon does look very nice in the movies.”


    Film / How the West Was Won

    "Stride by stride—they tamed the savage prairie land
    Nothing stopped them—no wind nor rain nor sun!
    Side by side—these pioneers from every land:
    All pulled together—That's how.the West was won!!!"

    How the West Was Won is a 1962 epic Western film by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The last major feature filmed in the classic three-strip Cinerama widescreen format, it tells the story of the westward-bound Prescott family through four generations and many events in American history. Famously, the cast boasts more than twenty big-name stars of the era, including Jimmy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Eli Wallach. In fact, there were probably more big-name stars with major roles in this film than any other in the history of Hollywood. The film also had three directors, although one of them, Henry Hathaway, helmed three of the five stories. The other two were John Ford and George Marshall. The epic music score, by Alfred Newman, is also pretty famous.

    There was a television show loosely based on the movie in the late '70s. Moderately successful in America, but a huge hit in Europe, where it's still well-known.

    This film contains examples of:

    • Adult Fear: Being crushed to death by buffalo is bad enough, but when your toddler child outlives you, and has no one to turn to? Terrifying.
    • Animal Stampede: After learning of King's plans, Zeb has the Arapahos stampede a group of buffaloes to destroy the railway camp.
    • Artistic License – History: How does anyone manage to explain the background for the American Civil War without mentioning the slavery issue at all? It's likely that the film is Manifest Destiny propaganda, and so deliberately glosses over the issue altogether.
    • Bandit Clan: "The Rivers" segment features Walter Brennan as "Alabama Colonel" Hawkins, the leader of a clan of river bandits who prey on unsuspecting settlers moving westward into the Illinois Country.
    • Bayonet Ya: After realizing that the Confederate deserter is going to kill Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, Zeb uses his musket's bayonet to stab the deserter in the gut.
    • Big Damn Heroes: Linus Rawlings arrives just in time to save the Prescotts from the river pirates.
    • Big Eater: Linus Rawlings enjoys dinner with the Prescotts.

      Linus Rawlings: Thank ya, ma'am. That's right tasty.

      Rebecca Prescott: You've only ate four plates, I was beginning to think you didn't like it.

      Linus Rawlings: No, well, it don't pay to eat too much on an empty stomach, ma'am.

    • Cassandra Truth: Ultimately subverted concerning Gant; the town marshal initially doesn't believe Zeb when he claims that Gant is trying to cause trouble but later agrees to help his attempt to ambush Gant during a planned train robbery.
    • Comic-Book Adaptation: A comic book version was published in conjunction with the film's release, as was the practice back then with all family and children's films. In the comic book, when Sheriff Ramsay tries to prevent Zeb Rawlings from going after Gant, Rawlings whacks Ramsay over the head with his rifle and knocks him unconscious, which explains the bandage on Ramsay's forehead in the next scene. No such explanation is offered in the film; it is as if somebody had edited something out.
    • Dark Is Evil: Charlie Gant wears mostly black.
    • Dark Is Not Evil: The Sheriff played by Lee J. Cobb also wears dark colours.
    • Dawn of the Wild West: The first part of the movie involves the migration of the Prescott family through the wilderness of Illinois country during the 1830s.
    • Death by Despair: Eve, after her husband is killed in the Civil War.
    • Designated Girl Fight: Lilith takes on the only female in the pack of river pirates when they fight.
    • Determined Homesteader: The Prescott family.
    • Disappeared Dad / Missing Mom: Lilith and Eve's parents, as well as one of their brothers, is killed in the first act.
    • Due to the Dead: Being a pious man, Zebulon believes that everyone deserves some sort of funeral and a spot in Heaven, no matter what they did in life, so after he and his party (including Linus) defeat the Indian rustlers that tried to ambush them, they burn the casualties in a funeral pyre made from the rustlers' portable trading post and, at the end of a brief prayer led by Zebulon, intercede for the rustlers. Later, after he himself dies trying and failing to save his wife during a deadly trip along the rapids, their remains, upon recovery, are buried under a nearby tree.
    • End of an Age: In the last segment, there's a running theme that the days of hot-shot gunslingers and train-robbing outlaws are almost at an end, with all the most famous examples of each having died already. The big showdown between Marshal Zeb Rawlings and outlaw Charlie Grant is portrayed as one of the last of its kind as the West loses its wildness.
    • Epic Movie: With an epic scope that spans decades of American history, an all-star cast, gigantic (for the time) action scenes involving hundreds of extras, and even real animals, the film lives up to the idea of an epic movie.
    • Fake Shemp: For unknown reasons, John Ford refused to let James Stewart play his character's dead body. Rather than use a dummy, he used a double who looked nothing like Stewart.
    • Faux Affably Evil: Gant. Being played by the very likable Eli Wallach helps.
    • Fish-Eye Lens: The entirety of the film was shot through two paired fisheye lenses, a purposeful choice by John Ford to show the open, sweeping landscape of the West. It works beautifully for its intended purpose, but when used for close-ups inside buildings. not so much.
    • Generational Saga: The film follows the Prescott family and the next three generations of their descendants from 1839 to 1889 as they move increasingly further west to the Pacific Ocean.
    • Grave-Marking Scene: Eve talks to her parents' graves as Zeb goes off to war.

      What could I do, Pa? He's Linus' boy. Always was more Linus' blood. I guess that's why I love him so much. But you've got to help me pray, Pa. Help me pray.

    • Hell-Bent for Leather: The trope name is used as a Precision F-Strike in the title song.
    • Improbable Infant Survival: Averted with one of the Prescott boys dying as a child. Played straight with Zeb's children, who are kept safely out of the way with their mother and great aunt while Zeb deals with Gant.
    • In the Back: Linus kills one of the river pirates by throwing an axe at his back.
    • An Immigrant's Tale: The film begins in the early 1800s with a group of settlers from the east encountering the hazards of the wilderness, both natural and human, and traces their families through to the later part of the century.
    • Large Ham: The performances in this movie (most noticeably from Gregory Peck) tend to be "bigger" and broader than what one generally expect from the genre. This is because the Cinerama photography made close-ups impossible, so the actors felt they had to "play up" their roles and emotions in order to make up for it.
      • Charlie Gant easily out-hams everyone else in the entire movie, with the possible exception of Zebulon Prescott.
    • Ms. Fanservice: Lilith in her showgirl years.
    • Narrator: Spencer Tracy narrates the film.
    • Out-Gambitted: Gant didn't know Zeb's friend would agree to help ambush his gang during the attempted train robbery.
    • Overprotective Dad: Zebulon, who becomes suspicious the next morning when he thinks his daughter slept with Linus Rawlings.
    • Pony Express Rider: Referred to:

      Even while North and South were being torn apart, East and West had been drawn together by the Pony Express, the most daring mail route in history. Eighty riders were in the saddle at all times, night and day, in all weather. Half of them riding east, half riding west between Missouri and Sacramento, carrying mail cross-country. Unarmed, they rode to save weight. Five dollars a letter, the mail cost, and on thin paper, too. It was courage, skill and speed against hostile Indians, bandits, hell and occasional high water. Even as they rode, men were already building a faster message carrier across the country, the Overland Telegraph.

    • Precision F-Strike: In the title song, yet!

      Hell-Bent for Leather, that's how the West was won.

    • Professional Gambler: Cleve Van Valen, who joins a wagon train to avoid paying his debts. The fact that Eve has inherited a gold mine also contributes.
    • Scenery Porn: Big, sweeping, gorgeous landscapes.
    • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At the end of "The Railroad", Zeb decides to leave the Army for good after the Arapahos use the buffaloes to destroy Mike King's camp.
    • The Smurfette Principle: There's only one woman in the gang of river pirates.
    • Sophisticated as Hell: The settlers (including mountain man Linus Rawlings) triumph over a gang of Indian rustlers that nearly robbed them, or worse than merely robbed them. As the survivors burn the casualties in a massive funeral pyre, Zebulon and his party offer this humble prayer to the Most High:

      Zebulon Prescott: And now, let us pray: O Lord, we thank Thee for our salvation. We commit the souls of our dead to Thy gentle keepin'. We pray for the speedy recovery of our wounded. And now, another matter: O Lord, without consulting with Thee we have sent Thy way some souls whose evil ways passeth all understanding. We ask Thee humbly to receive them. whether You want 'em or not. Amen.

    • Stalker with a Crush: Mr. Morgan. Cleve to an extent, both for Lilith.
    • Stock Footage: The film utilised footage from other epics, none of which were in Cinerama. It took the Mexican army maching past the Alamo from The Alamo (1960), a Civil War battle and shots of a riverboat from Raintree County and (then) present-day America from This is Cinerama.
    • Title Drop
    • To the Tune of.: The English folk song "Greensleeves" is rewritten as "A Home in the Meadow", which recurs throughout the film as a song sung by Lilith.
    • What the Hell, Hero?: Zeb to the Confederate "deserter" he had befriended before being forced to kill him to protect Generals Grant and Sherman.

      Zeb Rawlings: Why did you make me do that?

    • While You Were in Diapers: The film ends with Zeb and his family riding off and Lilith starts singing "A Home in the Meadow":

      Prescott Rawlings: Aunt Lilith, do you know that song? That's our song!

      Lilith: Your song? I sang that song long before your pa was ever born.

    • Would Hurt a Child: Gant threatens to kill Zeb's children.
    • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Zeb says goodbye to his mother before heading off to war.

      Zeb: Mother, I.

      Eve: Why'd you call me that? It's always been Ma before.

      Zeb: I don't know. All of a sudden. Ma didn't seem enough somehow.


    Alfred Newman

    2-CD SET



    This set presents the complete original Alfred Newman soundtrack music to the 1962 epic-western film How the West Was Won, one of the last “old-fashioned” epic movies made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to enjoy great success. Set between 1839 and 1889, it follows four generations of a family (starting as the Prescotts) as they move ever westward, from western New York state to the Pacific Ocean. The film is divided into sections directed by Henry Hathaway, John Ford, and George Marshall.

    The picture was filmed in the curved-screen three-projector Cinerama process and starred Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, Eli Wallach, John Wayne, and Richard Widmark, with narration by Spencer Tracy.

    The score was listed at #25 on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores. In 1997, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The film won three Academy Awards for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay (James R. Webb), Best Film Editing, and Best Sound (Franklin Milton).

    Music composed and conducted by ALFRED NEWMAN
    The MGM Studio Orchestra / Vocals by Debbie Reynolds, The Whiskeyhill Quartet & The Ken Darby Singers.
    Recorded in Hollywood, April 30, 1961-July 20, 1962.

    Joe Pass (12 string-g), John Pisano (rhythm-g), Charlie Haden (b), Larry Bunker (d).


    CD1: TOTAL TIME 70:41

    15 WANDERIN’

    CD 2: TOTAL TIME 71:17

    02 MR. LINCOLN
    03 HE’S LINUS’ BOY
    09 WORKIN’
    17 NO GOODBYE #2
    19 FINALE
    28 WAIT FOR THE HOEDOWN [long]

    Data sheet CD

    LABEL CODE606376

    More info


    Posted by: | on October 2, 2012
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