Russ and I are addicted to streaming Westerns. When we're having dinner, working, or just sitting around imagining what it'll be like when we become pioneers in the vast span of forests and prairies somewhere... somewhere... These are in order of most favorite to least favorite-of-my-most-favorite. There are tons of terrible westerns out there, and then some that are so terrible that I love them. Note: I am not a "movie person" or a "film buff." By no means is this an exhaustive list of the best Western Movies available. I'm sure I've missed many amazing films and I'd appreciate it if you would leave them in the comments so I can post an addendum at a later time.

1. Once Upon A Time In The West

once upon a time in the west Summary: A very badass harmonica player (yes, you read that right) and a slimy bad guy team up to protect a woman of questionable virtue against a gang operating in the interests of a greedy railroad tycoon. Why I like it: First, it's a Sergio Leone movie, so it is a very WESTERN western. It includes all the things we've come to associate with Westerns, but has the additional plot points of history, greed, and a woman who does what she has to do. Second, it reminds me that my life isn't all that difficult. I'm not getting shot in the stomach or raped by murderers. I might get an occasional lye burn and starting a business is a horrible emotional roller coaster, but it's nothing like showing up to what I thought was going to be my dream life with a man I loved and finding out that he has been murdered and a bunch of bad dudes are trying to ruin me. Why I don't like it: A harmonica player? This is your hero? Really?  

2. The Three Amigos

The Three Amigos Summary: Three movie actors get summoned to a small Mexican village who needs heroes. Why I like it: This is probably the first Western I ever saw, so it does hold a very special place in my heart. But even aside from the special place in my heart, it's a truly amazing movie. It manages to exercise all the absurd conventions of Westerns, while also maintaining a really engaging plot. Why I don't like it: There is nothing about this movie that I don't like.  

3. Thelma & Louise

Thelma and Louise Summary: Two women leave their regular lives for a weekend and end up becoming outlaws for the rest of their lives. Why I like it: YOU SHUT UP, YOU WITH THE JUDGY "THAT'S NOT A WESTERN" LOOK ON YOUR FACE. It's totally a Western, it just not a "guys throwing guns around" Western. My best friend Teresa and I probably watched this movie a hundred times when we were in High School. It's the quintessential "freedom of the west" movie. Why I don't like it: I can't tell you what I don't like about this movie without spoiling the ending, so ... there you go.  

4. Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles Summary: Some sneaky politicians send a black criminal to be the Sheriff of a small town in order to ruin the town, but the new Sheriff turns out to be the savior of the town. Why I like it: It's hysterical. I'd dare to say it's probably the only Mel Brooks film that I like. Overall, I find Mel Brooks to be really unwatchably stupid, justifying more groans-per-minute than Ed Wood. BUT somehow it all works out in Blazing Saddles. Why I don't like it: It's a lot of race jokes. My mom and I rented this movie when I was a kid and she turned it off because she thought it was too racist... but really, she just thought it was dumb. It isn't her sense of humor. And it is dumb, but it's also charming.  

5. Magnificent Seven

Magnificent Seven Summary: The only answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, x 7. Why I like it: The last days of the "Wild West" are dawning, and the desperado lone gun types are starving to death. The law men maintain the law in all but the furthest corners of civilization, and the rogue good guys don't have work. When some guys come north from a small farming village to find heroes, they find a harried band of drifters. It's a beautiful movie. And it has Yul Brynner. If I had a boy, I would have named him Yul. Why I don't like it: There's nothing I don't like about this movie.  

6. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Summary: Three guys are on the search for a treasure and they don't like each other very much. Why I like it: This is an iconic Western. Everyone knows the theme (ayayayaaaa bung, bung, bung.... ayayayaaaaa bung, bung, bing), everyone knows the characters, and it's beautiful. Really beautiful. I like the character development of all three, and I really like how they're kind of corks on the water of  history... they're climbing over the turmoil of the nation (it's set during the civil war) -- sometimes literally -- to achieve their goals. And their goals offer a shallow victory. Why I don't like it: It drags at times.  

7. Tombstone

Tombstone Summary: The Earp brothers collect in Tombstone, AZ, along with their huckleberry, Doc Holliday, and try to clean up the town. Why I like it: I like it because of Val Kilmer. I am not a Val Kilmer fan in general, but there is nothing about his role in this that doesn't nail it. Why I don't like it: It's not a very balanced view of the Earps, who were actually kind of dicks.  

8. True Grit (the new one)

True Grit Summary: A young girl looks to hire someone to hunt down the guy who killed her father. She hires a US Marshal. The Texas Ranger already tracking the killer doesn't particularly want company, and neither of them want the company of the girl. Why I like it: Ah, I'd love to watch this movie again. The biggest reason that I like this movie is because of Betty Ross, the farm girl. She is AMAZING. And I don't just mean her acting, which is fucking epic, but her character overall. Why I don't like it: Snakes. I don't like snakes. I really don't like snakes.  

9. The Good, The Bad, and the Weird

The Good, The Bad, and the Weird Summary: A comedic, Korean remake of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." Why I like it: It's ... really unspeakably awesome. Since "Magnificent Seven" is an American remake of "The Seven Samurai" (so I've heard... I haven't seen it -- don't judge me!), it only make sense that the Koreans would remake one of our most iconic westerns. And they have done it SO WELL. Oh, and the cinematography, characters, and music is great. It's very stylish. Why I don't like it: Nothing. I can't think of anything I don't like about this movie either.  

10. Bad Girls

Bad Girls Summary: A group of prostitutes are run out of town and go off to seek their fortune in Oregon, but meet some setbacks. Why I like it: It's an adventure movie. It has absolutely zero basis in reality and is just kind of a fanciful take on women in the west. I first watched it in the bath, with chocolate soap, candles, and good bourbon on the rocks. I think that's the way it is best appreciated. Why I don't like it: Ah, where to begin... It's really a dumb movie on so many levels. But it's also a beautiful adventure.



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Danielle Vincent Danielle Vincent
After more than 10 years as a corporate Digital Product Manager for such sites as Oprah.com, ABC.com, and ABCFamily.com, Danielle quit her career and pulled up her rubber gloves to make a living making and selling handmade soap as Outlaw Soaps.