While it was once one of cinema’s most popular genres, there have not been many films that can be called the ten best recent western movies. There are a handful, though, and when a new western is done right it is a beautiful thing. There are not many John Wayne’s and John Ford’s anymore, but these movies are entertaining all the same.
- “3:10 to Yuma” – Russell Crowe and Christian Bale star in one of the best recent western movies. Crowe stars as a bandit, a wanted criminal who is finally arrested. Bale is a rancher paid to help transport him to Yuma for his arrest. The movie is a remake of a 1957 western classic.
- “Unforgiven” – Clint Eastwood directed this homage to all the great western films from the past and earned an Oscar for his work, creating one of the best recent western movies. Eastwood is a retired outlaw and Gene Hackman plays a mean spirited sheriff who wants to bring him in.
- “Wyatt Earp” – Kevin Costner stars as the legendary lawman in one of the best recent western movies. He is joined in the cast by Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday. The movie follows the life of Wyatt Earp from childhood to the shootout at the O.K. Corral.
- “Tombstone” – Another version of the Wyatt Earp story, this is a more entertaining film and one of the best recent western movies. Unlike “Wyatt Earp,” which played out like a biopic, “Tombstone” was meant to be a fun western and focused on the actual gunfight with the cowboys.
- “Shanghai Noon” – This comedy western is one of the best recent western movies released in 2000. Jackie Chan stars as a member of the Chinese guard who sets out to find a princess abducted and taken to America. There, he meets a pulp western writer and the two search for her in the wild west.
- “Open Range” – Kevin Costner directs and stars in this best recent western movie from 2003. The movie is set in 1882 and follows the range wars between the men who believed in an open range and the men who put up fences to block cattlemen from moving their herds.
- “The Proposition” – John Hillcoat directed this dark, violent addition to the best recent western movies. Guy Pierce is a leader of a gang who battles police, leaving only him and his younger brother alive. He is told he will be set free if he finds and murders his older brother by Christmas Day.
- “The Assassination of Jesse James” – This is one of the most beautifully shot of the best recent western movies. Brad Pitt stars as Jesse James and Casey Affleck is Robert Ford, the man who killed him. The movie is a slow hypnotizing drama that pays off patience with a fantastic story.
- “Appaloosa” – Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris star in this addition to the best recent western movies. An evil rancher who kills the marshal and his deputies overruns a small western town. The town hires a new lawman and deputy to come in and help save the town.
- “Sukiyaki Western Django” – One of the strangest of the best recent western movies, this is directed by Japanese auteur Takashi Miike. Miike casts Japanese actors to play western characters in homage to the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. Quentin Tarantino has a cameo role.
– Shawn Lealos