The American Film Institute defines western films as those "set in the American West that embody the spirit, the struggle and the demise of the new frontier."
I like a good western. (Although I'm sooo not a John Wayne fan) It's very black and white. There are good guys and bad guys and the good guys win in the end. There are strong guys and floozy chicks and always some waify girl dying to be saved by the love of a good man. I sat in on a lecture at UCLA once where the professor said that modern cop movies are really just old school westerns with better technology and transportation.
I think I would have been a little more "Annie Get Your Gun" than saloon wench. Without further ado, my favorite western flicks:
1. Silverado - If you haven't seen this, you have to. It's early Kevin Costner, early Kevin Kline, early Danny Glover. Great performances from two of my favorite character actors Scott Glenn and Brian Dennehy. In case that wasn't enough Linda Hunt, Jeff Goldbloom and Lynn Whitfield round out the cast. Four guys really trying to mind their own business but are too nice for their own good get caught in the middle of a territory war and land grab. Battles commence. It's just well written, filmed beautifully and acted to perfection. Four My favorite line comes from Danny Glover, "That ain't right... and I'm tired of what ain't right." I probably say that about three times a week.
2. Tombstone - All right, y'all can beat me up for this one but I love this movie. Wyatt Earp, his brothers and his good friend Doc Holliday are minding their own business in a dusty Kansas town when a lawless band of ruffians make trouble for good innocent folk. They can't have that... Battles (including the infamous one at the O.K. Corral) commence. Kurt Russell and Dana Delaney star but the movie is postively stolen by Val Kilmer as the sickly drunk but talented Doc. My favorite line, "I'll be your huckleberry. That's just my game."
3. Blazing Saddles - Okay it's a comedy but it's a western comedy so I had to put it on my list. Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little with Harvey Korman and Mel Brooks in a comedy that is both over the top slapstick and tongue-in-cheek humor. Mel Brooks takes a satirical look at racial stereotypes in Hollywood (and elsewhere). Let's see greedy mayor wants to land grab and decides to tick off a town of good God-fearing folks by appointed a black railroad worker as Sheriff. Hilarity commences. My favorite line, "Where the white women at?"
4. Since Blazing Saddles is kinda whiffy, I have to tack on two Clint Eastwoods - Unforgiven and a classic - The Good, the Bad & The Ugly. Just add them to your "to watch" list if you haven't seen them.
I cannot be the only person with a few westerns in the DVD collection. Anybody, anybody? My dear departed Aunt Violet used to watch all those old school western re-runs on Saturday mornings - The Rifleman, The Virginian, Gunsmoke. Bless her heart. Anyway - Who's seen True Grit? Whatcha got today?