Yes, there are loads of bona-fide classic Westerns out there, with the bulk being from the ’50s and ’60s. That said, there new ones being made all the time. It’s a genre that continues to fascinate us as moviegoers.
And with these new stories, filmmakers are finding new ways to tell them and present them, and make them relevant for a modern audience. Here are some that I like to come back to whenever I can.
Open Range (2003)
Cattle herders Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall run into Michael Gambon’s despicable rancher. He takes a dislike to them coming to town with their cattle and the whole films builds to an almighty showdown. It’s a thoughtful, considered type of story though, with solid performances across the board.
3:10 To Yuma (2007)
Christian Bale and Russell Crowe were both on fine form in this story, one where Bale, an ex-rifleman, becomes the reluctant minder of Crowe’s notories outlaw. His mission: to get him onto the prison train to Yuma, all the while being pursued by his gang who are trying to free him.
The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
With cinematography from the great Roger Deakins and masterful performances from both Casey Affleck as Ford and Brad Pitt as James, this is both a critically acclaimed film and one overlooked by the general public. It’s worth your time, though.
Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, and a cast that also included Bill Paxton and Sam Elliott as good guys and Powers Boothe, Stephen Lang and Michael Biehn as the bad guys, what’s not to love? There’s even a scene where two characters insult each other in Latin.
Django Unchained (2012)
Originally, Tarantino wanted Will Smith in the lead role, however Jamie Foxx smashes it. It’s also heightened by a powerhouse performance from DiCaprio. Not that you would expect anything less.