8 cracking Westerns in a box
In Pale Rider, Clint Eastwood returned to the saddle after nice years - and Western movies were riding high again. Here the star/director crafted an exciting film in the suspenseful tradition of Shane and High Noon.
The Wild Bunch:
By any standard, director Sam Peckinpah's film The Wild Bunch, a powerful tale of hangdog desperadoes bound by a code of honour, rates as one of the all-time greatest Westerns, perhaps one of the greatest of all films.
Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid:
They are fast friends and worse foes. One is Billy the Kid (Kris Krisofferson), a law unto himself. The other is the law: Sheriff Pat Garrett (James Coburn), who once rode with Billy.
On one side is an army of gunmen dead-set on springing a murderous sidekick from jail. On the other is Sheriff John T. Chance and his two deputies: one drunk, the other a cripple. Place your bets.
With The Searchers, John Wayne and director John Ford forged an indelible saga of the frontier and the men and woman who challenged it. One of the most influential movies ever made, The Searchers contains sequences that are "a brilliant fusing of editing, camera-work and performances as filtered through a master director's eyes" (Ted Sennett, Great Hollywood Westerns).
The Outlaw Josey Wales:
As The Outlaw Josey Wales, Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood is ideally cast as a hard-hitting, fast drawing loner, recalling his "Man with No Name" from his European Westerns. But unlike that other mythic outlaw, Josey Wales has a name - and a heart.
Chisum showcases John Wayne in the twilight of his remarkable 200+ film career. As John Chisum, a real-life cattle king determined to protect his empire against a land-grabbing developer (Forest Tucker). Wayne's no-nonsense persona snugly fits this lively reworking of the events of New Mexico's 1878 Lincoln Country War.
Clint Eastwood's film Unforgiven is an exciting modern classic that rode off with four 1992 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director. "The movie summarized everything I feel about the Western, "Eastwood told the Los Angeles Times. "The moral is the concern with gunplay".