Ok, I’ve loved the Western genre since childhood. I find it to be a genre not used enough today in Hollywood. So here are my Top 5 Westerns:
1) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: John Wayne + Jimmy Stewart = great movie. One of John Ford’s more philosophical films, this movie has very interesting comments on the formation of political societies, the basis of law, and the nature of America’s regime. Echos of Lincoln and Aristotle can be heard rustling in the wind.
2) Unforgiven: Clint Eastwood’s last Western proved his deepest. Books could be written on this film, but central to it is the nature of total depravity. However much we think we’ve reformed ourselves, apart from Christ our old lives remain ever-ready to take hold again.
3) The Searchers: Another John Wayne/John Ford combo. Here questions of civilization, hatred, and family ties mix to form a troubling plot and a terrific movie.
4) High Noon: Gary Cooper is perfect in this role that underscores the necessity of virtue, especially courage, in any free society. The Church takes a hit in the film, at least the one in the story. The film also contains a subplot that rejects pacifism in an interesting manner.
5) High Plains Drifter: Maybe the darkest work on this list, Eastwood tells a ghost story in the form of a Western. Humanity’s ability to descend to depths of evil and to endure heights of tyranny are shown with unflinching realism (and a touch of dark humor).
So, what do you think?