Last updated: 16/10/2022

Be very welcome! If you are a fan of one of the most traditional genres in cinema or want to get to know it more thoroughly, you have come to the ideal article! We will talk next about how to watch the best western movies!

The Western, also called Western by movie buffs or the popular nickname bang-bang, made its mark between the 1930s and 1960s. Below you will find information about classics and modern remakes.




Summary

  • Western movies have very defined characteristics. They take place in the so-called “old west” and bring together characters such as cowboys, Indians, bounty hunters and ruthless killers.
  • Netflix and Amazon Prime offer in their catalogues a satisfactory amount of modern westerns and even more highly regarded classics.
  • For those who want to get to know the genre and its classics more thoroughly, physical media may be the best option. There are great westerns on DVD and Blu-ray.

The best western movies: Our picks

What you need to know about the best western movies

Do you know what awaits you when you play a western? Let’s start the article with some of the most important information about the genre!

Imagem mostra uma cena do filme "Os Imperdoáveis".

“The Unforgivable” (1992), by Clint Eastwood. (Source: El Universal.com)

What makes up a western?

Westerns are films set in the so-called “old west”, the wild west side of the United States between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. They are stories that usually involve crime and have good guys and bad guys.

Besides the setting, there are several other striking features: Cowboys, gunfights, the soundtrack, the costumes, the saloons, the conflicts with Indians, the bounty hunters, the long journeys on horseback.

For many, many years, the Western was an established and dominant film genre. After falling into ostracism at the beginning of the 1970s, it gradually regained its modern versions and reinterpretations.

Did you know that the Italians also made several westerns, some of them very good, and that the genre became known as “spaghetti western”?

Is it worth watching westerns?

It all depends on your personal taste. If you want to know more about cinema, watch the great classics and understand the aesthetic and narrative basis of this art, the best western films are indispensable.

Westerns, however, can also be a lot of fun. The plots are not slow or existentialist, with adventure and chases often setting the tone.

It’s just not worth watching westerns if you don’t have the patience for older films or ones that lack the frenetic action of much of today’s blockbusters. Otherwise, give the genre a chance!

See a table of advantages and disadvantages of watching westerns:

Advantages
  • Many of the classics of cinema are westerns
  • It is possible to understand the history of cinema by watching westerns
  • There are extremely high quality films
  • They are not slow or stagnant
  • They have entertaining and compelling stories
Disadvantages
  • There is not the frenetic action of current blockbusters
  • Many of the most important films are old

The best western movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Netflix and Amazon Prime don’t feature many Western classics, but they’re good options for you who want to familiarise yourself with the genre from newer, still quality productions. Check out some tips:

Django Livre (2012)

Quentin Tarantino, one of the most established filmmakers of today, made in “Django Livre” his own retelling of the western. He used his references and memories as a film buff to produce a modern and excellent exemplar of the genre.

Reports from the World (2020)

One of the most recent releases in the genre, “Accounts of the World” features Tom Hanks in the lead role and was nominated for four Oscars. It revisits one of the most traditional western plots, with a veteran who protects a child.

Three Men in Conflict (1966)

Available on Amazon Prime, “Three Men in Conflict” is one of the most famous representatives of the “spaghetti western”. With its gripping plot and iconic soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone, it is a must-see work by Sergio Leone.

The best western movies on physical media

Those who collect physical media such as DVDs and Blu-rays have a much wider range of Western movies at their disposal. We’ve selected a few editions that will leave film buffs drooling:

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

The greatest of the spaghetti westerns, Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the masterpieces of the great Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone. He created a true dance of death, a tribute to the western genre that is on the list of the best films of all time.

Tracks of Hate (1956)

Those who are a fan of cinema or want to dive head first into the classic westerns need to know “Tracks of Hate”, one of filmmaker John Ford’s major works. Starring John Wayne, it’s a film that rethinks the relations between whites and natives in the Old West.

The Unforgivable (1992)

After years of ostracism of the Western, one of its main names, Clint Eastwood, decided to revive the genre. The result was “The Unforgivables”, an instant classic and winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

No Country for the Weak (2007)

“Where There’s No Place for the Weak” is another Best Picture Oscar winner. The Coen brothers’ film brings the western and its characteristics to the present time, since it is set in the 1980s. It is an excellent option for those who want to get started in the genre. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Summary

The Western is one of the most traditional genres in cinema and has produced several classics. Although it was forgotten for a few decades, it has been revived and today it is once again generating great films.

You can find modern westerns on Netflix or Amazon Prime and older classics on physical media. Works like “Django Livre” and “Where the Weak have no Voice” have been successful recently and can introduce you to the genre.

(Featured image source: cinefilosoficial.com)

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