17 Finest Hollywood Western or Cowboy Movies of All Time

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.

Rajeesh Nair is a true Gizmofreak and an addictive movie buff. He blogs at LifeBlender.com – a lifestyle Blogzine which focuses on general life related topics of the 21st Century.