While watching Hostiles (check that review out here), I began to think about the state of the Western genre. What better way to do discuss this than a Top 10 list? While it did in fact begin to die out in the ’70s, the western has made quite the turn in the last couple decades. While there are fewer movies in the genre made now, many that come out tackle deep themes and are great movies, though they are different than their predecessors. Here are my favorite modern westerns, with the cutoff being after the year 1990.
10. The Magnificent Seven (Remake)
While this is not a great movie by any means, or even close to as good as the original (my favorite western), there is something undeniably entertaining about this movie. I can’t help but put it on the list.
9. Open Range
This one features easily one of the best shootouts in any of the movies on the list.
8. True Grit
I have trouble choosing between this and the original, which is saying something.
7. 3:10 to Yuma (remake)
It is a much deeper movie than it appears to be on the surface. It is also filled with great performances from all involved.
Back to back Christian Bale westerns? That’s an odd sentence but there is no doubt this one deserves its spot on the list. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.
5. Dances with Wolves
This one might define what we consider the modern western to be. It’s full of deeper themes and one of Costner’s best performances.
4. Hell or High Water
No it’s not the stereotypical “old west” western, but it very much fits in the genre. It is literally about cowboys and robbers.
Clint Eastwood turns the genre that made him a star on its head and we get an amazing movie because of it.
2. Django Unchained
Does is get silly and over the top at times? Yes. But there is no denying the script and entertainment value of Quentin Tarantino’s first exploration of the genre.
1. The Revenant
The criticisms of this movie are all correct. It is slow, overly long, and a vehicle for DiCaprio’s Oscar. But it is also a beautiful, entertaining, and brilliant take on the western genre.
Honorable Mentions: While many consider Logan a western, it just doesn’t quite get there for me but I’ll give it an honorable mention, Slow West, Tombstone, The Hateful Eight