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BOT's Top 50 Westerns of All Time: or Cowboy films any westerner at heart must see BOT edition (Closed, reveal starts later this week)

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I am back to host a new list. In the past I've asked you to send me your all-time favorite films, boffy ballots, lists through history and a list through comic book pages. After all of that, I was planning to take some time off of the list making for BOT, but one screenrant movie list infuriated so much that it inspired me to come back into the fray.

 

WANTED: Dead or Alive

Screen-Rant-Underground-Podcast-Header.j

https://screenrant.com/cowboy-movies-for-westerners-wild-west/amp/

A much better list from BOT than this piece of shit!

 

You all know the drill. Send me a list of your top Westerns, I'll score them and reveal them. Reminder: Most of the best westerns are pre-90s, something screenrant apparently did not realize. As the genre is loosely defined, feel free to ask in the thread if something borderline should be eligible. The general rule will be if enough people think something is eligible and good enough that it makes the list, then it's fine with me (unless that movie is Uncle Drew or something).

 

Scoring will go as follows:

 

Spoiler

1. 30 Points

2. 23 Points

3. 19 Points

4-5. 15 Points

6-10. 12 Points

11-15. 9 Points

16-20. 6 Points

21-25. 4 Points

26-35. 2 Points

36-50. 1 Point

Happy listing!

 

Edited by The Panda
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  1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
  2. Django Unchained
  3. The Hateful Eight
  4. Once Upon a Time in West
  5. Sholay
  6. A Fistfull of Dollars
  7. A Few More Dollars
  8. The Revenant
  9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  10. True Grit

 

I have watched some 15 Western movies per IMDb. These are Top 10.

 

 

Edited by charlie Jatinder
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1 hour ago, titanic2187 said:

I don't think I can submit a list. My western library just isn't big enough. And I still don't really get the definition or scope of western genre, like how Dances with wolves or the revenant a western?

 

Western primarily classifies a movie based off its setting and tone. I'll pull a through quotes from the wikipedia article just to give a vibe on what you would look for, as it is a much more expansive genre than one would originally think.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_(genre)

 

Under the strictest definition: "Western is a genre of fiction set primarily in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th century in the Western United States, which is styled the "Old West"." ie. entirely about the setting.

 

However, when people use the term Western as a genre they tend to be much more expansive than this strict setting. Usually it's characterized by a setting that is almost a character of itself, ie. harsh nature and a sense of individualism, "every man for himself" type of vibe.

 

"Westerns often stress the harshness of the wilderness and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape of deserts and mountains. Often, the vast landscape plays an important role, presenting a "mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West." Specific settings include ranches, small frontier towns, saloons, railways, wilderness, and isolated military forts of the Wild West. Many Westerns use a stock plot of depicting a crime, then showing the pursuit of the wrongdoer, ending in revenge and retribution, which is often dispensed through a shootout or quick-draw duel."

 

Notable Western Sub-Genres and Listed Examples (any film you choose should pretty much be able to cleanly fit into one or more of these sub-genres)

 

Classical Western - Tends to use the strict Western definition, although the time frame could expand earlier than 19th century.

Examples: The Searchers, The Magnificent Seven, The Horse Soldiers

 

Acid Western - "Acid Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, such as Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the counterculture of the 1960s. Acid Westerns subvert many of the conventions of earlier Westerns to "conjure up a crazed version of autodestructive white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins"."

Examples: The Shooting, The Seventh Seal, El Topo

 

Australian Western or Kangaroo Western - Takes the Classical American Western and applies to an Australian Outback setting. 

Examples: The Tracker, The Proposition

 

Contemporary/Neo-Westerns - "For the most part, they still take place in the American West and reveal the progression of the Old West mentality into the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This subgenre often features Old West-type characters struggling with displacement in a "civilized" world that rejects their outdated brand of justice. Taylor Sheridan's filmography can be used as a template to identify what being a neo-Western film means,[30] with three identifying themes. First is the lack of rules, with morals guided by the character's or audience's instincts of right and wrong rather than by governance. The second is characters searching for justice. The third theme, characters feeling remorse, connects the neo-Western film to the broader Western genre, reinforcing a universal theme that consequences come with actions."

Examples: No Country for Old Men, Midnight Cowboy, Sicario, Hell or High Water, Brokeback Mountain, Once Upon a Time in Mexico

 

Dacoit Western - Westerns in an Indian/Bollywood setting.

Examples: Mother India, Gunga Jumna

 

Epic Westerns - "The epic Western is a subgenre of the Western that emphasizes the story of the American Old West on a grand scale."

Examples: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, The Wild Bunch, Once Upon a Time in the West, Dances with Wolves

 

The Northwestern - "The Northern or Northwestern is a genre in various arts that tell stories set primarily in the later half of the 19th and early 20th centuries in the north of North America, primarily in western Canada but also in Alaska. It is similar to the Western genre, but many elements are different, as appropriate to its setting. It is common for the central character to be a Mountie instead of a cowboy or sheriff. Other common characters include fur trappers and traders, lumberjacks, prospectors, First Nations people, settlers, and townsfolk."

Examples: The Revenant, Togo, The Call of the Wild, The Spoilers

 

Revisionist Western - "After the early 1960s, many American filmmakers began to question and change many traditional elements of Westerns, and to make revisionist Westerns that encouraged audiences to question the simple hero-versus-villain dualism and the morality of using violence to test one's character or to prove oneself right."

Examples: Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Ride the High Country

 

Spaghetti Western - "Many of these films are low-budget affairs, shot in locations (for example, the Spanish desert region of Almería) chosen for their inexpensive crew and production costs, as well as their similarity to landscapes of the Southwestern United States. Spaghetti Westerns were characterized by the presence of more action and violence than the Hollywood Westerns. Also, the protagonists usually acted out of more selfish motives (money or revenge being the most common) than in the classical Westerns."

Examples: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight

 

Weird West - The combination of the Western Genre with another genre, such as fantasy, science fiction or horror.

Examples: Rango, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Back to the Future Part III

 

Hope this helps in giving a feel of the scope of what covers a Western!

Edited by The Panda
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1 hour ago, TalismanRing said:

@The Panda   Midnight Cowboy?  I know Westerns are far ranging but it takes place in 1960s NYC and is about  prostitute and his ailing pimp friend. :lol:

 

Idk, I was using the examples from the page for each Sub-genre.

 

I'd say the main case for it would be that it does offer a deep deconstruction of the Cowboy trope. But again, given the expansive nature of the genre and how the borders of what qualifies as a western is very loose my approach here will mostly be

 

"If enough people think it qualifies that it makes the list, then I'll (in general) allow it"

 

If there's something that's controversial on whether it should be allowed, make a good case for why it does (or does not) fall into one the main sub-genres mentioned above. 

 

In general, I expect most people's lists will primarily pull from the Traditional, Spagetti and Revisionist sub-genres with a few Neo-westerns thrown in, as those tend to consitute what somebody would think of as a western the most.

Edited by The Panda
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13 hours ago, The Panda said:

 

Western primarily classifies a movie based off its setting and tone. I'll pull a through quotes from the wikipedia article just to give a vibe on what you would look for, as it is a much more expansive genre than one would originally think.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_(genre)

 

Under the strictest definition: "Western is a genre of fiction set primarily in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th century in the Western United States, which is styled the "Old West"." ie. entirely about the setting.

 

However, when people use the term Western as a genre they tend to be much more expansive than this strict setting. Usually it's characterized by a setting that is almost a character of itself, ie. harsh nature and a sense of individualism, "every man for himself" type of vibe.

 

"Westerns often stress the harshness of the wilderness and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape of deserts and mountains. Often, the vast landscape plays an important role, presenting a "mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West." Specific settings include ranches, small frontier towns, saloons, railways, wilderness, and isolated military forts of the Wild West. Many Westerns use a stock plot of depicting a crime, then showing the pursuit of the wrongdoer, ending in revenge and retribution, which is often dispensed through a shootout or quick-draw duel."

 

Notable Western Sub-Genres and Listed Examples (any film you choose should pretty much be able to cleanly fit into one or more of these sub-genres)

 

Classical Western - Tends to use the strict Western definition, although the time frame could expand earlier than 19th century.

Examples: The Searchers, The Magnificent Seven, The Horse Soldiers

 

Acid Western - "Acid Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, such as Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the counterculture of the 1960s. Acid Westerns subvert many of the conventions of earlier Westerns to "conjure up a crazed version of autodestructive white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins"."

Examples: The Shooting, The Seventh Seal, El Topo

 

Australian Western or Kangaroo Western - Takes the Classical American Western and applies to an Australian Outback setting. 

Examples: The Tracker, The Proposition

 

Contemporary/Neo-Westerns - "For the most part, they still take place in the American West and reveal the progression of the Old West mentality into the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This subgenre often features Old West-type characters struggling with displacement in a "civilized" world that rejects their outdated brand of justice. Taylor Sheridan's filmography can be used as a template to identify what being a neo-Western film means,[30] with three identifying themes. First is the lack of rules, with morals guided by the character's or audience's instincts of right and wrong rather than by governance. The second is characters searching for justice. The third theme, characters feeling remorse, connects the neo-Western film to the broader Western genre, reinforcing a universal theme that consequences come with actions."

Examples: No Country for Old Men, Midnight Cowboy, Sicario, Hell or High Water, Brokeback Mountain, Once Upon a Time in Mexico

 

Dacoit Western - Westerns in an Indian/Bollywood setting.

Examples: Mother India, Gunga Jumna

 

Epic Westerns - "The epic Western is a subgenre of the Western that emphasizes the story of the American Old West on a grand scale."

Examples: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, The Wild Bunch, Once Upon a Time in the West, Dances with Wolves

 

The Northwestern - "The Northern or Northwestern is a genre in various arts that tell stories set primarily in the later half of the 19th and early 20th centuries in the north of North America, primarily in western Canada but also in Alaska. It is similar to the Western genre, but many elements are different, as appropriate to its setting. It is common for the central character to be a Mountie instead of a cowboy or sheriff. Other common characters include fur trappers and traders, lumberjacks, prospectors, First Nations people, settlers, and townsfolk."

Examples: The Revenant, Togo, The Call of the Wild, The Spoilers

 

Revisionist Western - "After the early 1960s, many American filmmakers began to question and change many traditional elements of Westerns, and to make revisionist Westerns that encouraged audiences to question the simple hero-versus-villain dualism and the morality of using violence to test one's character or to prove oneself right."

Examples: Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Ride the High Country

 

Spaghetti Western - "Many of these films are low-budget affairs, shot in locations (for example, the Spanish desert region of Almería) chosen for their inexpensive crew and production costs, as well as their similarity to landscapes of the Southwestern United States. Spaghetti Westerns were characterized by the presence of more action and violence than the Hollywood Westerns. Also, the protagonists usually acted out of more selfish motives (money or revenge being the most common) than in the classical Westerns."

Examples: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight

 

Weird West - The combination of the Western Genre with another genre, such as fantasy, science fiction or horror.

Examples: Rango, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Back to the Future Part III

 

Hope this helps in giving a feel of the scope of what covers a Western!

My idea of western is equivalent to cowboys character. That is why Brokeback mountain is belong to western genre IMO but the explanation you gave here seem suggest otherwise .  

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6 hours ago, titanic2187 said:

 

My idea of western is equivalent to cowboys character. That is why Brokeback mountain is belong to western genre IMO but the explanation you gave here seem suggest otherwise .  


I’d probably think of it as “Cowboy movies” are westerns but they’re not the only type of western (although they make up a large majority of them).

 

Kind of like how most famous comic book films are superhero films but certainly not all of them.

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