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9 Finest Western Motion pictures Of Latest Instances, Ranked In accordance To IMDb Scores

9 Finest Western Motion pictures Of Latest Instances, Ranked In accordance To IMDb Scores

When we talk about America’s contribution to pop culture, the influence of the Western movie genre is undeniable. Inspired by the Old West, the genre, which ruled the roost in American Cinema between 1940-1960, continues to find its presence in many modern-day works.

Dubbed as one of the most loved genres in the cinematic universe, Western movies capture the essence of the American frontier, rugged landscapes and the clash of cultures in a bygone era. These films come with a quick and easy formula, bringing to life tales of cowboys, outlaws, pioneers and adventurers.

However, in modern times, Westerners have evolved beyond the traditional tropes, embracing reimagined interpretations that challenge the romanticised ideals of the Wild West. Take, for example, Martin Scorcese’s latest release Killers of the Flower Moon. While the 2023 release might fall into the crime drama genre, it included strong undercurrents and elements of a classic Western film.

Evolving from the classic Clint Eastwood-style Unforgiven (1992), contemporary classics like Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained (2012) introduce a darker motif that portrays more fleshed-out characters confronting the complexities of the era’s social and cultural dynamics. Furthermore, movies like Hell or High Water (2016) and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) show the genre’s potential and adaptability, bringing fresh stories while retaining the essence of the Western spirit.

In case you are here after watching Leo in Killers of the Flower Moon or simply wish to delve deeper into this exciting genre, we have got you covered. Here is a list of the nine best Western movies, ranked according to their IMDb ratings and Rotten Tomatoes score.

An ultimate guide to the best Western movies in modern times

Django Unchained (2012)

Best Western Movies IMDb
Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Trantino’s Django Unchained is set in the Old West and the Antebellum South. The film presents a heavily stylised and revised homage to spaghetti Westerns, notably inspired by Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Italian film Django.

The plot tracks the journey of a slave, who teams up with a German bounty hunter, aiming to reunite with his wife after receiving training from his partner. Django Unchained manages to capture the essence of the classic Western movies — right from the characters, storytelling and dialogue delivery.

Hailed as one of the best films by Tarantino, the Westerner earned him the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 2013 Academy Awards.

IMDb rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

Unforgiven (1992)

Best Western Movies IMDb
Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Starring, directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven recounts the tale of William Munny, an elderly outlaw and former assassin who, despite having retired to a life of farming, decides to undertake a final job after many years. One of the best Western movies of all time, it was written by David Webb Peoples.

Eastwood solidified his presence in the Western genre, crafting numerous successful Westerners, and eventually stepping into directing with movies like Pale Rider, Bird, Heartbreak Ridge and Sudden Impact. Clint directed Unforgiven to pay one final homage to the Western genre, a symbolic goodbye before moving on from the iconic cowboy image.

IMDb rating: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

The Revenant (2015)

Best Western Movies IMDb
Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Drawing inspiration from Michael Punke’s 2002 novel of the same name, The Revenant chronicles the experiences of frontiersman fur trapper, trader, hunter and explorer Hugh Glass in 1823. After a brutal bear attack leaves Glass severely injured, his hunting team, led by John Fitzgerald, makes the difficult decision to leave him behind under the assumption that he won’t survive. The novel is itself based on the 1915 poem, The Song of Hugh Glass.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, the movie is dubbed as one of the best Western movies of the 21st century. The film received 12 nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won the Oscars for Best Director (Iñárritu), Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), and Best Actor (DiCaprio).

IMDb rating: 8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Best Western Movies IMDb
Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Evolving further from a regular Western film, The Hateful Eight was a Western mystery thriller set in post-Civil War Wyoming during a blizzard. The story revolves around a group of strangers seeking shelter from the storm at a stagecoach stopover called Minnie’s Haberdashery. As the storm rages outside, tensions rise among the inhabitants. Suspicions, hidden agendas and past grievances come to light, leading to a tense atmosphere filled with mistrust and betrayal.

The film’s signature Tarantino style blends elements of mystery, suspense and dark humour.

IMDb rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

Hell or High Water (2016)

Best Western Movies IMDb
Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: David Mackenzie

Penned by Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water is a modern Western crime drama that follows the story of two brothers, who resort to a string of bank robberies as a last-ditch effort to save their family ranch from foreclosure. Their heists draw the attention of two Texas Rangers. As the brothers continue their robberies, a game of cat and mouse ensues between the desperate siblings and the seasoned lawmen.

The film touches on themes like social hierarchy and disparity, the impact of financial hardships and morality through its characters and intense plot.

IMDb rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

True Grit (2010)

Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

True Grit is a classic Western film by the Coen brothers, based on Charles Portis’ 1968 novel of the same name that sees a young girl seeking justice for her father’s murder in the American West.

Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old farm girl recruits Cogburn, an alcoholic and quick-triggered lawman, to pursue an outlaw named Tom Chaney, responsible for her father’s murder. Joining them on this quest is LaBoeuf, a Texas Ranger seeking Chaney for the murder of a Texas state senator. As this trio embarks on a journey, their resilience is tested in different challenges, showcasing each person’s determination and grit.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominated the movie for 10 of its accolades, including Best Motion Picture. Additionally, it won the BAFTA for Best Cinematography in 2011.

IMDb rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Best Western Movies IMDb
Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Andrew Dominik

See Also

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford recounts the final years of the infamous outlaw Jesse James and his complex relationship with young admirer Robert Ford. As Jesse’s criminal exploits dwindle with the law closing in, Robert becomes part of Jesse’s gang. However, admiration turns to envy for Robert as he witnesses Jesse’s erratic behaviour and falls out of favour with the gang.

Based on Ron Hansen’s 1983 novel of the same name, the Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck-starrer is a revisionist Western film that has captured the signature elements of the genre through its story-building, visual style and strong characters.

IMDb rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Another Western classic by the Coen brothers, The Ballad of the Buster Scruggs comprises six distinct stories set in the Old West. Each story stands alone but is united by its overarching themes and setting. The tales vary in tone, ranging from darkly comedic to poignant and tragic, offering a diverse exploration of human nature against the backdrop of the American frontier.

The film features tales of a singing cowboy, a bank robber, a travelling showman, a prospector and a stagecoach journey. Each narrative of the Netflix original provides a glimpse into different aspects of life in the Old West, highlighting the struggles, humour, violence and the fragility of existence during that time.

IMDb rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

The Power of the Dog (2021)

Image credit: IMDb

Directed by: Jane Campion

The Power of the Dog makes an excellent addition to the Western film genre, especially in recent years. Set in Montana during the 1920s, the story revolves around two brothers, Phil and George Burbank who own a successful ranch. However, Phil displays deep hostility towards George’s new wife, Rose and her son Peter. As tensions escalate, the dynamics within the family become increasingly strained, revealing dark secrets and underlying resentments.

The themes of masculinity, repressed emotions and the complexities of human relationships are the highlights of the Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer and the character-driven plot explores the psychological intricacies of the characters, particularly Phil.

IMDb rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

(Hero and feature image credit: Courtesy IMDb/Django Unchained and Unforgiven)

The story first appeared on Augustman Singapore

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Which is the best Western movie according to IMDb rating?
According to IMDb ratings, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is the best Western movie of all time with a score of 8.8. In recent times, Django Unchained (2012) has been named the best Western movie with an IMDb rating of 8.5/10.

– Which is the best Western movie available to watch on Netflix?
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Power of the Dog, and The Harder They Fall are some of the best Western movies available to watch on Netflix.

Source: Prestige Online

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