Rank ’em: Westerns

We haven’t done a Rank ’em in ages (it has been over a year, actually), so it is about time that we bring them back. Fun, superficial, and completely pointless – we always enjoy the banter that comes with trying to justify some sort of top ten list and then arguing about our opinions with others. With my recent re-watch of True Grit, what a better topic to cover than westerns?

Below is my list, based on my current mood, which I will surely be tempted to change in five minutes times. Be sure to share your own and feel free to tear into everyone else’s.

10. The Gunfighter (Henry King, 1950)
9. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
8. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
7. The Naked Spur (Anthony Mann, 1953)
6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1968)
5. The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976)
4. The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005)
3. The Great Silence (Sergio Corbucci, 1968)
2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966)
1. Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

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Once Upon A Time in the West usually gets the short end of the stick to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly when people talk about their favourite Leone western. The latter is more fun and enjoyable but Once Upon A Time in the West seems to be; for all its stylistic indulgences, epic proportions, and severity, the benchmark western.


1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
2. The Assassination of Jesse by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
3. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
4. Dead Man (1995)
5. Unforgiven (1992)
6. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
7. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
8. The Proposition (2005)
9. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
10. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)


This might be controversial, but Once Upon of Time in the West is far superior to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly(it’s still a masterpiece). I have yet to see a film that is more bad ass.

Bob Turnbull

Man, there are so many I still haven’t seen…

1. Ox-Bow
2. Rio Bravo
3. Man From Laramie
4. Red River
5. Once Upon A Time In The West
6. Forty Guns
7. Ride Lonesome
8. Decision At Sundown
9. Winchester ’73
10. My Darling Clementine

I have to catch up with more of Peckinpah’s westerns and a few more of the spaghetti variety (outside of Leone). Then there’s John Ford – that could take awhile…

Andrew James

I’m a sucker for the more contemporary westerns: Open Range, Unforgiven, Dances with Wolves, etc. Tombstone still being my current favorite. Is Desperado considered a western? If so that one kicks ass too.


There will be a few pissed at the lacking presence of Unforgiven :S

Ross Miller

I’ve not seen a whole ton of Westerns but The Assassination of Jesse James is easily my favourite that I’ve seen so far; it’s probably also my favourite movie of the last 10 years.

Jandy Hardesty

This’ll probably change next week, and I was kind of appalled at leaving a bunch off, but as of now, without thinking about it too much:

10 – McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971, Robert Altman)
9 – Winchester ’73 (1950, Anthony Mann)
8 – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962, John Ford)
7 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, George Roy Hill)
6 – The Man from Laramie (1955, Anthony Mann)
5 – The Searchers (1956, John Ford)
4 – Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks)
3 – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007, Andrew Dominick)
2 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)
1 – Once Upon a Time in the West (1969, Sergio Leone)

I traded out Stagecoach for Liberty Valance at the last second. I’m not sure about that. But I’m also not sure how Unforgiven, Red River, The Wild Bunch, etc. are not somehow in here, too. Ten is such a restrictive number. :p

Mike Rot

I really need to see The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

for me:

10 – Tombstone
9 – The Great Silence
8 – Unforgiven
7 – Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid
6 – Open Range
5 – Assassination of Jesse James
4 – Stagecoach
3 – Ride the High Country
2 – Rio Bravo
1 – The Searchers

Sergio Leone doesn’t do it for me, and for the most part I am far more a John Wayne guy than a Clint Eastwood one.

Surprised no one has mentioned True Grit, I thought it was well-loved around these parts.

David Brook

As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, Once Upon a Time in the West is pretty much my favourite movie of all time, so no complaints here. Not sure what the rest of my top ten westerns would be right now as it’s late and I’m tired, so I’ll get back to you.

Although I love the genre, I don’t think I’ve seen enough westerns actually. I’ve seen all the Leone ones and a healthy chunk of the contemporary ones, but only a handful of the classics and very few lesser known entries. I’m definitely going to pick out some of the titles you guys have mentioned and get them bought/rented.

Jandy Hardesty

I have to say other than Leone / Ford, I’m definitely most drawn to Anthony Mann’s 1950s westerns. I got two of them on there, but there were a few more lurking about in my head as I made the list.

Thanks, Bob, for mentioning Forty Guns – I haven’t heard of it, but Barbara Stanwyck in a Sam Fuller film? I gotta check that out for sure.