Best Western Movies

At the turn of the century, the Western Writers of America compiled a list of the best westerns of the 20th Century. A panel voted on the best and they are listed in order of most to least votes.

 
Shane
A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler-rancher conflict forces him to act. Directed by George Stevens. Starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, & Van Heflin. Based on the book Shane by Jack Schaefer. NR
High Noon
A retired marshal's wedding is interrupted when he learns a killer he had sent to jail will return to town on the noon train to seek revenge. The townspeople refuse to help him, so he is forced to take up his badge and guns again, alienating his new bride, a Quaker who is opposed to violence. Directed by Fred Zinnemann.  Starring Gary Cooper. NR
Searchers
Ex-Confederate soldier Ethan Edwards is an Indian-hater who believes more in bullets than words. He's out to find his young niece, who's been taken captive by the renegade Comanches who massacred her family. He won't surrender to hunger, thirst, the elements or loneliness. And in his obsessive quest, Ethan finds something unexpected: his own humanity. Directed by John Ford.  Starring John Wayne. Based on the book The Searchers by Alan LeMay. NR
Dances with Wolves
Rewarded for his heroism in the Civil War, Lt. John Dunbar wants to see the American frontier before it is gone. He is assigned to an abandoned fort, where a Sioux tribe is his only neighbor. Directed by Kevin Costner. Starring Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, & Graham Greene. Based on the book Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake. PG-13
Red River
With no market for his herd, the master of a vast cattle ranch and his son decide to head the first cattle drive over the now famous Chisholm Trail, past the Red River , into Missouri. The path is filled with hardship and the drive looks hopeless as the men struggle to prevail. Directed by Howard Hawks. Starring John Wayne & Montgomery Clift. NR
The Shootist
Afflicted with a terminal illness, John Bernard Books, the last of the legendary gunfighters, quietly returns to Carson City for medical attention from his old friend Dr. Hostetler. Aware that his days are numbered, the troubled man seeks solace and peace in a boarding house run by a widow and her son. However, it is not Books's fate to die in peace, as he becomes embroiled in one last valiant battle. Directed by Don Siegel. Starring John Wayne & Lauren Bacall. Based on the book The Shootist by Glendon Swarthout. PG
Stagecoach
Nine disparate travelers are thrust together in a perilous journey, a ride on a stagecoach destined for Apache territory. Directed by John Ford. Starring John Wayne & Claire Trevor. Based on the story Stage to Lordsburg by Ernest Haycox. NR
 
Ride of the High Country
Two aging gunmen accept the job of transporting gold from a mining camp back to town. One views the commission as a means of regaining his self-respect. The other intends to steal the gold. The men eventually join forces to protect the gold shipment and a young woman from a brutal gang of brothers. Directed by Sam Peckinpah. Starring Joel McCrea & Randolph Scott. NR
Unforgiven
An ex-gunslinger is drawn back into his murderous past when a bounty is put out to avenge an attack on a frontier town prostitute. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, & Richard Harris. R
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
A western portraying the struggle between cattlemen and homesteaders in the town of Shinbone, telling about the encounter of a young eastern lawyer with the notorious gunman Liberty Valance. Directed by John Ford. Starring John Wayne & James Stewart. NR