Any list of this sort is subjective, whether movies, books, or television. Whether westerns, action, comedies, thrillers, musicals. The next person’s list would have to be different as a matter of course. We all have our own criteria for selection based on what has gone on in our lives.
I’ve been around a long time and don’t pretend to have seen all westerns ever made. Catch me on another day and the list might be, likely will be, different.
Here, in no particular order are my top ten at this moment. Plus a few honorable mentions.
1: THE SEARCHERS
Possibly my favorite Wayne western. Either this or the next one.
2: THE SHOOTIST
Wayne’s last western when he was affected with cancer. John Books, his character, was also dying of the same thing.
3: THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY
The third of Leone’s Dollar westerns, it really cemented Eastwood’s status as a star, though the first two had sent him nicely on his way.
4: THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES
My favorite Eastwood film period
My third favorite Eastwood film with a stellar cast.
6: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST
Leone’s best western from a group of good ones. Another great cast.
7: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
The gold standard in theme music, perhaps the best known by any listener.
8: BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
A lot of action, humor, and just plain fun by three actors among the best.
I’ve enjoyed most every version of these events I’ve seen. Though I liked Costner’s Wyatt Earp out about the same time, this one did it the best.
10: DANCES WITH WOLVES
This one holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. A damn good western among many that Costner’s made. He’s one of the few actors today not afraid to venture in the western genre. It was also my late sister’s favorite movie.
This is my list for the moment. Honorable mentions include STAGECOACH(the 1939 John Wayne version), THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, SILVERADO, THE WILD BUNCH, SHANE, OPEN RANGE, 3;10 TO YUMA(both versions), and HIGH NOON. The next time I try such a list any, or all of them, could be on it.