During the talk or discussion about some of the best westerner or cowboy films produced in Hollywood, the first couple of names that comes to my mind are John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.

John Wayne is said to be the first iconic legend in this genre as his Western films set up a whole new market for such films establishing himself as an anti-hero, who is tough, brave, and sometimes evil too. Whereas Eastwood rose to international fame with his role as Man With No Name in the Dollars Trilogy, a list of three Spaghetti Western films by Sergio Leone and since then he has worked in a number of western films, donning the role of a gunfighter, establishing a new benchmark for masculinity.

Although, there were western films produced before and after John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, they both dominated this genre during their prime and were definitely the icons and the list of the top Cowboy-themed Hollywood films or Western films can’t be complete without the mention of these two legendary stars of Western film genre as well as the overall Hollywood cinema.

However, this genre has been lost with the new trend of modern Sci-Fi based action flicks, yet these classic action movies based on the lifestyle of westerners are still loved by a huge number of fans.

Today, I have collected a list of best western Movies produced in Hollywood since from the beginning. These movies are sure enough to ignite the desire to become a cowboy once in your lifetime.

List of Best Western Movies of All Time

Stagecoach (1939)

Stagecoach 1939 Film on cowboy

Based on a 1937 short story, “The Stage to Lordsburg”, Stagecoach is film adaptation that is centered upon a group of strangers riding in a stagecoach through the dangerous Apache territory. The film also established the career of John Wayne as the most loved cowboys of the Hollywood cinema.

My Darling Clementine (1946)

My Darling Clementine 1946 film

A fictionalized version based on the Earp brothers and the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral, My Darling Clementine is a revenge story that leads up to the famous 30-second gunfight in the history of the American Wild West. The screenplay of the movie was adapted from Stuart Lake’s fictional biography of the Earp brothers, “Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal”.

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Red River (1948)

Red River film

Red River is yet another John Wayne movie that focuses on father-son relationship, their bonding as well their feud owing to the difference of opinions. The film is about a group of people traveling from Texas to Missouri and a feud between a father and his adopted son over the management of the drive. The film has so many dramatic elements that often keep you on the edge of your seat.

Winchester’73 (1950)

Winchester73 Hollywood films on cowboys

Winchester’73 is a 1950 American Western film that is centered on the pursuit of a cowboy in search of a murderous fugitive. While the plot of the movie focuses upon catching the fugitive, the film also displays the journey of a prized rifle from one owner to another which actually moves the story ahead. The film is a clear example of the American western culture of that era as well as the feud between the Americans and the Indians.

High Noon (1952)

High Noon film on cowboys

High Noon is a 1952 American Western film starring Gary Cooper, who plays a town marshal. The film is centered on the marshal’s quest against the gang of killers all by himself. Winning 4 Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards that year, the film was chosen among the other classic films in the United States National Film Registry by Liberty of Congress as being included in the “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” category.

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Shane (1953)

Shane 1953 film on cowboy

Shane is a 1953 American Western film, which is a film adaptation based on Jack Schaefer’s 1949 novel of the same title. The film talks about the story of its titular character, Shane played by Alan Ladd, who comes to the valley after the end of the civil war. In the valley, he begins a new journey, however, his mysterious past life doesn’t leave him behind as now he has to pick up a fight once again and win it to rescue the homesteaders from the evil Ryker.

The Searchers (1956)

The Searchers 1956 film

Yet another popular John Wayne and John Ford collaboration, The Searchers is a 1956 American Western film based on the Alan Le May’s novel of the same title. The film is about an American Civil War veteran, who is searching for his abducted niece for years along with his adoptive nephew. Till today, the film is considered among the greatest and most influential films ever made.

Rio Bravo (1959)

Rio Bravo 1959 film on cowboys

Let me tell you that you will be seeing a lot of John Wayne movies on the list as he was a pioneer in establishing a persona of a cowboy as a rugged, masculine, action hero in Hollywood Cinema. Rio Bravo is yet another American Western movie starring John Wayne, where he plays the sheriff of the town of Rio Bravo, Texas. The film tells us the story of the feud between the sheriff and the powerful local rancher and how the sheriff manages to fight off the rancher’s gang with the help of a cripple and a young gunfighter.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven, as the name suggests, is an American Western film about a team of seven gunfights, who is hired to protect a small agricultural village in Mexico from a group of bandits who regularly raid and loot the village for food and other supplies. The film is originally an Old West-style remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese-language film Seven Samurai, with the Samurais being replaced by the gunfighters in the Hollywood version.

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is an American Western film that tells us the story about the man who shot Liberty Valance. The film stars John Wayne, the one who actually kills the fearsome outlaw Liberty Valance to help an honest lawyer Ransom Stoddard, played by James Stewart, giving him the credit in order to establish justice in the town through his ethical ways. Although, the man who really shot Liberty Valance is erased from the history, Ransom Stoddard goes on to become a legend as the man who shot Liberty Valance.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966)

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

One of the earliest Spaghetti Western films, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly also happens to be the first Clint Eastwood film on our list. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is a film centered upon the three titular characters, Clint Eastwood as The Good, Lee Van Cleef as The Bad, and Eli Wallach as The Ugly. This movie was also the third and final installment of the highly popular Western film series known as Dollars Trilogy by Sergio Leone.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West is a 1968 American Western film directed by one of the best Spaghetti Western filmmakers in Hollywood cinema, Sergio Leone. The film was a part of and the first installment of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time trilogy, which also happens to be the final films of his career. The film is a typical Western film that focuses around feuds between gunfighters and bandits with lots of action and drama in addition to the charismatic direction of Sergio Leone.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

McCabe & Mrs. Millers

Based on a 1959 novel McCabe written by Edmund Naughton, McCabe & Mrs. Millers is an American Revisionist Western or Modern Western film released in 1971. The film tells us the story of John McCabe and Mrs. Millers, who are business partners and eventually end up in a tussle with a notorious mining company looking out to acquire their land to expand their business. The film is an anti-western film, which ignores many Western conventions set during the 50s and 60s.

Unforgiven (1992)

Unforgiven 1992 film on cowboy

Unforgiven is another Clint Eastwood film, which he has produced, directed and acted in. The film tells a story about William Munny, played by Clint Eastwood, an aging outlaw, and killer, who has left his past life behind but now need to go back for one more job. The film that was released in 1992 shares the uglier aspects of violence that one expects out of a pure Western film. It also turns out to be the last Western film of the legendary Eastwood.

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007)

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

Based on a 1983 novel of the same name authored by Ron Hansen, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a 2007 American Western film starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck in the titular roles as Jesse James and Robert Ford respectively. The film focuses on the lives of an outlaw Jesse James and a young Robert Ford, who is fascinated by Jesse James and other events that lead up to the titular assassination.


The Lone Ranger (2013)

The Lone Ranger johnny depp

The Lone Ranger can be considered as a modern-day Western film, a genre hugely popular between the 50s and 70s but lost in recent times. The film stars Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as John Reid, also known as The Lone Ranger. The film is about the quest of The Lone Ranger to control the immoral actions of the corrupt and bring justice in the American Old West with the help of his Native American friend Tonto. This film is on the list as it tries to revive this long-lost genre in the Hollywood industry.