Best Western Movies (Top Picks At A Glance)
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure here.
The western genre has proven to be one of the quintessential American genres, and over the years, Hollywood has produced some of the best and most iconic western movies. If you’re in the mood for the best western movies, then you’ve come to the right place.
This post will list out all the best westerns we have come across to scratch that western itch that’s been bugging you. So get ready for an epic night full of horseback chases and non-stop gun-slinging action!
1. True Grit
Where To Watch
True Grit Movie Description
They are joined by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), who is also tracking the murderer. The three of them venture into hostile territory to bring the killer to justice.
Unforgiven Movie Description
In Big Whiskey, Wyoming, when prostitute Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson) is disfigured by a pair of cowboys, her fellow brothel workers post a reward for their murder, much to the displeasure of sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman), who doesn’t allow vigilantism in his town.
Although he’s getting old, William Munny (Clint Eastwood), a former bandit leads one group of gunfighters while the other is headed by florid English Bob (Richard Harris). Both groups come to collect the offered reward and end up fighting each other as well as having problems with the sheriff.
3. The Searchers
The Searchers Movie Description
After the Civil War, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) returns home to Texas and learns that his brother’s family has been killed or abducted by Comanches. He sets out to track down his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood) and her adopted brother Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), journeying deep into Comanche territory.
Along the way, he gets word that Debbie is alive and finally finds her and her brother. However, the reunion is bittersweet as they know they must face the danger of the Comanche tribe in order to return home safely.
4. Hell or High Water
Where To Watch
Hell Or High Water Movie Description
Toby, a divorced father, is trying to make life better for his son. Tanner, Toby’s brother and an ex-convict with a short temper plans heists against the bank that’s about to foreclose on their family ranch.
Marcus, a Texas Ranger who is nearing retirement stands in their way. The siblings must rob the bank and also prepare for a showdown with Marcus.
5. 3:10 to Yuma
3:10 To Yuma Movie Description
The notorious Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) strikes terror in the hearts of 1800s Arizona settlers, particularly those associated with the Southern Railroad. After a lengthy search, authorities finally capture Wade and plans are made to bring him to trial.
The owner of a parched ranch, Dan Evans (Christian Bale), offers to escort Wade to the train that will take him east for his day in court. As they travel together across treacherous terrain, respect slowly builds between the two men, but they are constantly shadowed by danger as well as by Wade’s criminal cohorts who eagerly await their chance at revenge.
6. High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter Movie Description
Clint Eastwood stars as an anonymous drifter who arrives in a small town and quickly discovers that his gun-slinging abilities are highly desired.
Though the locals are initially skeptical of him, they soon come to realize that he may be their best hope for fending off a group of criminals who have been terrorizing the town. The drifter agrees to help, but he has ulterior motives.
7. The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Outlaw Josey Wales Movie Description
Captain Terrill and his Union men ride into Josey Wales’ life, viciously murdering his wife and child. In response, Wales joins the Confederate Army to get revenge. However, at the end of the war when all of his fellow soldiers go to surrender their weapons, Terrill kills them instead; this massacre fuels Josey’s desire for vengeance even further.
So he selectively guns down some of Terrell’s men before fleeing to Texas in hopes of a fresh start… only to find that there is still a bounty on his head which puts himself and his new surrogate family in danger yet again.
8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Movie Description
In the American Southwest during the Civil War, Joe (Clint Eastwood), a mysterious stranger, and Tuco (Eli Wallach), a Mexican outlaw, form an uneasy partnership. Joe turns in Tuco for the reward money but then rescues him just as he’s about to be hanged.
When one escape attempt goes awry and Tuco tries to have Joe killed, they re-team abruptly for a like-minded mission. They must find a way to beat a sadistic criminal and the Union army to find $20,000 that a soldier has buried in the desert.
9. Pale Rider
Pale Rider Movie Description
An enigmatic man named “Preacher” arrives in a small town where property owner Coy LaHood has been terrorizing gold miners into giving up their territory.
Preacher fends off the attacks and goes to LaHood to negotiate on behalf of the miners. When they refuse his terms, LaHood sends Marshall Stockburn after Preacher.
10. The Hateful Eight
Where To Watch
The Hateful Eight Movie Description
John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) is a bounty hunter racing towards the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming. He has a fugitive prisoner with him (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and they encounter another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson).
They also meet a man who says he’s the sheriff, and together, this group of eight travelers hopes to find shelter from an oncoming blizzard at a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. However, once they’re there, they realize that getting to their destination may not be possible after all.
11. Django Unchained
Where To Watch
Django Unchained Movie Description
In the two years leading up to the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, is tasked with accompanying Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), an unorthodox German bounty hunter on a mission to capture the vicious Brittle brothers.
They are successful in their mission and Schultz frees Django. From there, they travel together across the South hunting down criminals. Eventually, they end up at Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) infamous plantation where Django’s long-lost wife (Kerry Washington) is still enslaved.
12. The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven Movie Description
In the Old West town of Rose Creek, industrialist Bartholomew Bogue seizes control, using threats and violence to drive out the townspeople.
Desperate, they turn to bounty hunter Sam Chisolm for help. Chisolm gathers a group of skilled gunmen to stand up to Bogue and his men. When the showdown comes, they find themselves fighting for more than just money.
13. The Rider
The Rider Movie Description
After being left injured from a riding accident, a young cowboy is forced to find other meaning in his life.
14. The Power of the Dog
Where To Watch
The Power Of The Dog Movie Description
When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, a rancher initially responds with mockery and cruelty. However, things take an unexpected turn.
Where To Watch
Hostiles Movie Description
Captain Joseph Blocker is tasked with escorting a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their tribal land.
On their arduous journey, they encounter a young widow whose family was killed on the plains. The group must join forces to survive the hostile landscape.
16. High Noon
High Noon Movie Description
Will Kane is a former marshal who is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico with his new bride, Amy. However, he soon discovers that local criminal Frank Miller has been set free and plans to take revenge on the marshal who turned him in.
When Kane starts looking for deputies to help fight off Miller’s attack, he finds that none of the people in Hadleyville are willing to stand up against Miller and his cronies. This means that Kane will have to face them alone.
17. A Fistful of Dollars
A Fistful Of Dollars Movie Description
In the Mexican village of San Miguel, a power struggle exists between the three Rojo brothers and sheriff John Baxter. When Mexican soldiers transporting gold to purchase new weapons are robbed by the Rojo brothers, a stranger sees an opportunity to make some money. He begins selling information to both sides, causing even more chaos.
18. El Dorado
El Dorado Movie Description
Two men who dup others for a living find a map leading to the long-lost city of El Dorado. After sneaking onto one of the Spanish explorers Cortez’s ships, they eventually make it to the city.
A priest there (Armand Assante) announces them as gods in an attempt to take control of the city himself. The duo also meets a beautiful woman along their journey (Rosie Perez) who helps with their scheme.
19. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Where To Watch
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs Movie Description
This anthology contains six short films set in America’s post-Civil War Old West.
5 More Western Movies (Honorable Mentions)
While our top picks feature some of the most iconic and widely acclaimed Western movies, many other films also deserve recognition for their contributions to the genre.
From classic spaghetti Westerns to more modern takes on the Wild West, the Western film genre is vast and varied, offering something for every type of movie-goer. So if you have watched through all our top picks, make sure you add these next to your watchlist!
- Tombstone (1993)
- Old Henry (2021)
- The Professionals (1966)
- No Man’s Land (2020)
- The Ridiculous 6 (2015)