Westerns: These are 20 of the best cowboy movies of all time


Here we go again, another 20 of the best lists and we are once again going to get hit in the comments on social media. We know it is impossible to narrow things down to 10, 15, 20, or even 50. There are so many best of everything, but these lists are fun and they get you all talking! So let’s take a look at Westerns.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The Western genre has a timeless allure that has captivated audiences for decades. The sweeping landscapes, rugged characters, and tales of lawlessness and justice have left an indelible mark on the world of cinema.

From classic black-and-white films to modern reinterpretations, the Western genre has produced some of the most iconic and memorable movies in cinematic history. In this article, we will journey through 20 of the best Western movies of all time, celebrating their impact and influence on both the genre and the world of filmmaking.

20 Of The Best Westerns

Westerns: These are 20 of the best cowboy movies of all time

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

Sergio Leone’s masterpiece starring Clint Eastwood is a quintessential spaghetti Western that epitomizes the genre’s style and flair. With its unforgettable score and intense standoff scenes, this film has become a benchmark for all Westerns to follow.

“True Grit” (1969)

John Wayne’s portrayal of Rooster Cogburn earned him an Oscar in this adaptation of Charles Portis’ novel. The film’s blend of adventure, humor, and genuine emotion has cemented its place in Western history.

“Unforgiven” (1992)

Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, “Unforgiven” offers a gritty and realistic portrayal of the Wild West, challenging traditional Western tropes. It earned four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

“The Magnificent Seven” (1960)

Based on Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” this film follows a group of hired guns defending a Mexican village. Its ensemble cast and thrilling action sequences continue to captivate audiences.

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968)

Another Sergio Leone classic, this film boasts a star-studded cast and a haunting score by Ennio Morricone. Its slow-burning tension and grand storytelling make it a cinematic treasure.

“Shane” (1953)

“Shane” is a poignant exploration of the clash between civilization and the Old West. Its themes of heroism and sacrifice have made it a revered classic.

“High Noon” (1952)

Starring Gary Cooper, “High Noon” is a real-time suspenseful Western that masterfully builds tension as a marshal prepares to face a deadly foe alone.

“Django Unchained” (2012)

Quentin Tarantino’s take on the Western genre is a unique blend of action, drama, and dark humor. Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of a freed slave turned bounty hunter is riveting.

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)

Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s charismatic performances elevate this buddy Western. Its mix of humor and drama showcases the complex lives of outlaws.

“The Searchers” (1956)

John Ford’s epic tale, starring John Wayne, delves into themes of racism and redemption as a man embarks on a quest to find his kidnapped niece.

“A Fistful of Dollars” (1964)

The film that kickstarted the Spaghetti Western craze, this Clint Eastwood-led project is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” set in the American West.

“Tombstone” (1993)

Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday steals the show in this retelling of the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

“The Wild Bunch” (1969)

Sam Peckinpah’s groundbreaking film revolutionized the portrayal of violence in Westerns. It remains a raw and influential entry in the genre.

“3:10 to Yuma” (2007)

This modern remake of the 1957 classic features strong performances from Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and explores themes of morality and survival.

“No Country for Old Men” (2007)

Though not a traditional Western, the Coen Brothers’ film captures the essence of the genre within a modern setting, delivering a gripping and tense narrative.

“Open Range” (2003)

Kevin Costner’s return to the Western genre is a slow-burning tale of revenge and justice, featuring a memorable shootout scene.

“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007)

Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Jesse James and Casey Affleck’s turn as Robert Ford delve into the complexities of hero worship and jealousy.

“Dances with Wolves” (1990)

Kevin Costner’s directorial debut explores the relationship between a Civil War soldier and a tribe of Lakota Sioux. It offers a nuanced depiction of cultural clashes.

“The Outlaw Josey Wales” (1976)

Clint Eastwood’s iconic performance as a Confederate soldier seeking vengeance is a testament to his lasting impact on the Western genre.

“Silverado” (1985)

This ensemble Western offers a modern take on the genre’s tropes, featuring a charismatic cast and exciting action sequences.

Honorable Mentions

  • “The Magnificent Seven” (2016)
  • “Appaloosa” (2008)
  • “Open Range” (2003)
  • “The Homesman” (2014)
  • “City Slickers” (1991)
  • “Westworld” (1973)
  • “Pale Rider” (1985)
  • “Blazing Saddles” (1974)
  • “True Grit” (2010)


From the spaghetti Westerns that redefined the genre to the modern reinterpretations that continue to captivate audiences, these 20 films represent the very best of Western cinema. With their captivating storytelling, iconic characters, and exploration of themes ranging from justice and morality to friendship and sacrifice, these movies have left an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape, reminding us of the enduring appeal of the Old West and the timeless stories it has to offer. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual viewer, these films are a testament to the power of storytelling and the magic of the silver screen.

What are your favorite Westerns? Please share your thoughts on any of the social media pages listed below. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network. And subscribe to our RUMBLE channel for more trailers and tech videos.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2024.


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