The stories of cowboys and their exploits have become the stuff of modern mythology. These myths have fueled some of the greatest classics in the history of film. Cowboy movies are a rarity in modern cinema, but the influence of older ones is very evident in new films. From iconic showdowns between rough gunslingers and fearless lawmen to antiheroes searching for meaning and a place in this world, these are the 10 Best Hollywood Cowboy Movies.
- "High Noon." The strong silent type. That's Gary Cooper in "High Noon," a film that has generated more films from its influence than any other cowboy movie. Even the title has cemented its place in popular culture as a common phrase.
- "Hombre." This Paul Newman classic comes from a novel by Elmore Leonard, the king of westerns before he set his eye on creating gritty crime thrillers. The grit is wonderfully showcased here with excellent characters and great dialogue.
- "The Searchers." As with "High Noon," "The Searchers" also had a great impact on the future of cinema, but mainly with films that are not of the same genre. Instead, its influence comes from timeless themes that went on to evoke resonance in classics like "Star Wars" and "Taxi Driver." Featuring what could just be John Wayne's best performance, "The Searchers" is cinema royalty.
- "Rio Bravo." You can't have this list and showcase just one John Wayne movie. "Rio Bravo" cannot be neglected, with another of the Duke's most popular roles.
- "Shane." A classic with an ending that leaves viewers perplexed as to the demise of the titular character. The fact is, his fate is truly left up to the viewer and considering everything that has transpired, a lack of closure only adds another dimension to this rich classic. We will forever hear those words echo through the channels of time: "Shane, come back!"
- "Unforgiven." Alright, like John Wayne, another name stands at the top in the world of cowboy flicks, and that name is none other than Clint Eastwood. This isn't your standard cowboy movie though. With brutal characters and nihilistic revelations, all you can do is stare in astonishment as the end credits punctuate the vast sea of darkness and existentialism that has been unleashed without bounds.
- "Pale Rider." Another Clint Eastwood classic that is more of a standard cowboy flick, but face it, a standard Clint Eastwood movie is still equal, if not better, than even a great film from anyone else.
- "The Outlaw of Josey Wales." Yes, I know this is the third Clint Eastwood title. The fact is, the man can have a category all unto himself.
- "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." The image of Robert Redford and Paul Newman just standing together, yet alone, jumping from a cliff into a gorge of water, is as iconic an image as the movies have seen.
- "The Magnificent Seven." Now this is a cowboy movie! Adapted from the great Kurosawa film, Seven Samurai (samurais were like the cowboys of Japan), you've got a host of legends including Yul Brennar and the great Eli Wallach as the villain. There were also a few sequels, but the original is always going to be king.
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