My Favorite Western Movies with Cowboy Themes
Hollywood has produced a number of movies with a wild west theme. Some of them are discussed here
- The Wild West on Celluloid
- True Grit
- The Legend of the Lone Ranger
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- Mckenna's Gold
The Wild West on Celluloid
The Wild West was an era that is part of history and American folk-lore. It was an era that spawned the latter part of the nineteenth century after the end of the American civil war. This was a period when the settlers spread out to the west of the present USA and opened up that area. In this area where for a time the laws were lax and the gun ruled, legends grew up that have been put on celluloid by Hollywood.
The era has had more movies made than on any other period and I who have been a fan of western movies, have been greatly influenced by them. Some of my favorite western movies are discussed below.
This movie was made in the sixties and won an Oscar for its star John Wayne. I saw the movie much later in a re-run at Bangalore in 1983. But it’s a un forgettable movie. The story of a one-eyed marshal played by John Wayne who comes across a runaway girl is a superb depiction of the era.
The best scene is when the Marshal holding the reins of his horse in his teeth and gallops forward at the bandits with both guns blazing. John Wayne is no more, but he won the Congressional Medal of Honor and in my view there is no better cowboy star than him. He exuded an old world charm of a fearless and honest gunslinger and he plays his role to the hilt in True Grit. Definitely deserved an Oscar as the best actor
The Legend of the Lone Ranger
I saw this movie two decades back. The movie concerns a masked man named the Lone Ranger who has a Red Indian friend and companion named Tonto. The Lone ranger has a distinct character and a horse named silver and he uses only silver coated bullets.
The movie directed by William K Fraker had lesser known stars named Klinton Spilsbury as the Lone Ranger and Micheal Horse as the Red Indian Tonto. The lone ranger is one of my child hood favorites and I certainly loved this movie. In the movie the lone ranger and his side kick battle to save the President of the USA who has been taken hostage. Definitely worth seeing in a re-run or on a CD. Incidentally another version of the lone Ranger is slated for release in 2012
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
This movie was released in the early seventies, but it has been shown in re runs right till the present decade. It is the classical western and spawned new generation of a gunfighter who was good but had shades of the devil in him. The star is Clint Eastwood, who endeared himself to his fans as the cigar chewing gunslinger, who was very fast on the draw. Supporting him is another famous actor, Lee van Cleef and Eli Wallach. In the movie Clintwood plays the good guy, while Wallach is the bad guy and Lee is pure bad and evil.
The movie has scintillating music by Enio Morricone and its tunes are popular even today. The movie won no Oscars, but it created a wave and type cast Clint Eastwood as the perpetual gunslinger who fights evil. The background of the movie is the American civil war and I am sure even the younger generation will love it.
This is the evergreen western and though an imaginary story captures the spirit of the Wild West as in no other movie.
The lure of hidden Red Indian Gold and diamonds is the spur in the movie which stars the famous Holly wood star Gregory Peck as the Marshal Meckenna.Facing him in a magnificent role as the bandit and his gang is Omar Sharif. It a treat to see these two legends battle it out on the screen and at the end of the movie you cant decide who is the better actor. This is a movie one can see again and again. It’s a pity such a movie has not been made by holly wood again.
I love western movies and for long they were my staple diet. There are many more like the Fistful of dollars, outlaw Josey Wales, For a few dollars more etc. but the above in my view s are in the top bracket. The Wild West was also an age that brought out gallantry and chivalry in a man. I am glad such an age existed for it shows that life has many vicissitudes and colors and the Wild West is one of them.