The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 American Western film directed by John Sturges and starring Yul BrynnerEli WallachSteve McQueenCharles BronsonRobert VaughnBrad DexterJames Coburn and Horst Buchholz. The film is an Old West–style remake of Akira Kurosawa‘s 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. Brynner, McQueen, Bronson, Vaughn, Dexter, Coburn and Buchholz[4] portray the title characters, a group of seven gunfighters hired to protect a small village in Mexico from a group of marauding bandits (whose leader is played by Wallach).

  • This is a favorite film of many, including me.
  • The music score is well known and copied often, including in Marboro comercials.
  • It is the second most shown film in U.S. television history, behind only The Wizard of Oz.
  • The Seven get all the attention, but Eli Wallach was great as the leader of the bandits.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman. Based loosely on fact, the film tells the story of Wild West outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker, known as Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman), and his partner Harry Longabaugh, the “Sundance Kid” (Robert Redford), who are on the run from a crack US posse after a string of train robberies. The pair and Sundance’s lover, Etta Place (Katharine Ross), flee to Bolivia in search of a more successful criminal career.

  • This is a popular movie, and rightly so. It is very entertaining.
  • The movie is not a comedy, but it generates a fair amount of laughs.
  • Both Paul Newman and Robert Redford are great. They have great chemistry. In one sense, it is a buddy picture.

Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 American Revisionist Western film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford as the title character and Will Geer as “Bear Claw” Chris Lapp.

  • What an incredible movie to watch while sheltering in place. The movie has incredible vistas and beautiful mountains.
  • It is another Western with war in the back story, this time the Mexican war.
  • The movie contrasts living on the mountain with living in the flats. It is obvious that the mountain men love the mountain.

For a Few Dollars More

Today’s movie was For a Few Dollars More. For a Few Dollars More  is a 1965 spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. It stars Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as bounty hunters and Gian Maria Volonté as the primary villain. German actor Klaus Kinski plays a supporting role as a secondary villain. The film was released in the United States in 1967, and is the second part of what is commonly known as the Dollars Trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars and preceding The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The films catapulted Eastwood and Van Cleef into stardom.

  • This movie has all the Sergio Leone characteristics. Lots of closeups of faces. Long silences leading to quick violence.
  • Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef turned in fine performances.

A Fistful of Dollars

A Fistful of Dollars  is a 1964 Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood in his first leading role, alongside Gian Maria VolontéMarianne KochWolfgang LukschySieghardt RuppJosé CalvoAntonio Prieto, and Joseph Egger.

The Naked Spur

The Naked Spur is a 1953 Technicolor American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James StewartJanet LeighRobert Ryan and Ralph Meeker. The film is about a bounty hunter who tries to bring a murderer to justice, and is forced to accept the help of two strangers who are less than trustworthy. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay—a rare honor for a Western. This was the third Western film collaboration between Anthony Mann and James Stewart.

  • Even though the civil war is not part of the action, it plays a major part in the back story of Howard Kemp (James Steward).
  • The film is notable for having only 5 speaking parts.
  • Another film where good and bad are blended
  • The movie has dark heroes, savage emotion, and high drama

Cat Ballou

Cat Ballou is a 1965 American western comedy film starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual role. The story involves a woman who hires a notorious gunman to protect her father’s ranch, and later to avenge his murder, only to find that the gunman is not what she expected. The supporting cast features Tom NardiniMichael CallanDwayne Hickman, and Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye, who together perform the film’s theme song, and who appear throughout the film as a kind of musical Greek chorus and framing device.

The film was selected by the American Film Institute as the 10th greatest Western of all time in its AFI’s 10 Top 10 list in 2008.

  • Hard to believe this movie hit the top 10 list of the American Film Institute, but I would certainly consider it one of the top 10 comedy westerns. The movie made me laugh out loud multiple times.
  • Jane Fonda was clever throughout.
  • It is painful these days to see the effort to generate humor in drunkenness.

Ride the High Country

Ride the High Country  is a 1962 American Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Randolph ScottJoel McCrea, and Mariette Hartley. The supporting cast includes Edgar BuchananJames DruryWarren Oates, and Ron Starr.

  • This is another Western that emphasis the strong men of the west now older and out of sync. It is usually shown by their reaction to an automobile.
  • Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott both played outstanding roles of aging old friends working together after many years.
  • Sam Peckinpah’s usual themes are present here: loyalty, honor, and the difficulty of knowing right from wrong.
  • Going against tradition, at the end the good one was killed and the bad one lived.

This movie only appeared on one of the best westerns lists.

Winchester ’73

Winchester ’73 is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James StewartShelley WintersDan Duryea and Stephen McNally. The film is about the journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another and a cowboy’s search for a murderous fugitive.

  • This is a classic western. There are two brothers, one a good guy (James Stewart) and one a bad guy (Stephen McNally).
  • The good guy has a faithful sidekick ‘High-Space’.
  • The story is partially a quest for the Winchester ’73 rifle.
  • Movie characters include Wyatt and Virgil Earp and Bat Masterson. I wonder how many times Wyatt Earp makes an appearance in Westerns.
  • In the end, the good guy lives, gets the rifle, and gets the girl. The bad guy dies.
  • The movie is considered one of the first “psychological westerns”.

I am enjoying watching these Western films during my sheltering in place. The wide expanses of the West in these movies is most pleasing while staying indoors.

My Darling Clementine

My Darling Clementine is a 1946 American Western film directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp during the period leading up to the gunfight at the OK Corral. The ensemble cast also features Victor Mature (as Doc Holliday), Linda DarnellWalter BrennanTim HoltCathy Downs and Ward Bond.

The film is generally regarded as one of the best Westerns made by John Ford and one of his best films overall.

Director Sam Peckinpah considered My Darling Clementine his favorite Western, and paid homage to it in several of his Westerns, including Major Dundee (1965) and The Wild Bunch (1969).

  • The film is not historically accurate, but it is a fine film.
  • The movie is in black and white.
  • It is interesting to watch a film from the 40’s without a lot of jump cuts and frantic editing.
  • Many in the film are well dressed and clean shaven.
  • Henry Fonda was masterful.