Best movies in the westBrowse more movies
Cowboys, sheriffs and innocents on the wrong side of the law. These western movies have all the action you could ask for.
The world is a bit too real at the moment – so it’s the perfect time for some escapism. Step back into simpler times with these brilliant western movies, to a world where cowboys ruled and pistol duels were a reasonable way to sort out a disagreement.
John C Reilly is better known for his slapstick comedy but he’s dourer and more serious in this black comedy opposite Joaquin Phoenix. The pair play outlaw assassin brothers Eli and Charlie Sisters who’re hunting down a pair of prospectors during the Gold Rush for their final job as hitmen. But each step of their journey is fraught with danger, be it from spiders, grizzly bears and even their mother who demands to know what her baby boys have been up to.
The movie also stars Riz Ahmed (Girls, Jason Bourne) as their target and Jake Gyllenhaal as a private detective.
Mute midwife Liz (Dakota Fanning) and her new family move west in search of pastures new in this 2016 western drama. Everything is going well until a new church minister arrives in town – the sound of his voice sends shivers down Liz’s spine, who can’t tell anyone who the man is or why she’s terrified of him. Turns out she’s on the run, having been falsely accused of a terrible murder and the new pastor wants to absolve her of her sins with a long drop and a short stop (in other words, he wants to hang her). Streaming from 30 April.
Seth MacFarlane’s 2014 comedy mixes pop culture into the wild west in an incredibly inventive way. His sheep farmer character Albert Stark goes about his normal life, unaware of the trouble walking into town: crack-shot gunslinger Anna (Charlize Theron). But falling for Anna is a problem for cowardly Al, because she’s married to a jealous outlaw named Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) who shoots anyone that even looks at Anna. The cast list is filled with stars (Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Jamie Foxx, Ryan Reynolds and more), the comedy is typical Seth, and scripting is genius to combine the modern world with 1882 Arizona.
This isn’t an easy watch – it’s set in the 50s when racial hatred was peaking – but it is an important one. It may not be a traditional western but its aesthetic and themes will certainly appeal to fans of the genre.
It’s written from a journalist’s viewpoint, recalling a hero hidden in the shadows who robs from the rich white farmers to help his oppressed community. It’s a poignant look inside the oppressive government and how there were rebels – like sheep thief John Kepe – willing to fight the cruel, unethical, immoral and violent system. Some of the scenes are graphic, but it is at its core a seriously good movie.
It’s directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka, who has mastered the craft of storytelling in cinema over decades in the business. And if you needed any more reason to stream it, it was SA’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Academy Awards.
This noir Western is set in the late 80s/early 90s and combines a mixture of genres into a melting pot of brilliance. Besides the stellar cast of SA acting superstars, the story it tells is more important in the current political climate than ever before.
It follows a small remote community that’s under siege from invaders who take everything in sight, from land to cattle, leaving decimation in their wake. Until the community fights back. A split timeframe sees the past and future, as the struggle against apartheid sparks the fight for a different kind of freedom.
An FBI agent and wildlife tracker work closely together to investigate the death of a young girl on the Wind River Native American Reservation. Starring Jeremy Renner (Avengers, Hurt Locker) and Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers, Captain America).
Chicago Sun-Times described it beautifully: “Writer-director Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River is a stark and beautiful and haunting 21st-century western thriller, filled with memorable visuals and poetic dialogue — and scenes of sudden, shocking, brutal violence. At times it reminded me of No Country for Old Men and Winter’s Bone and last year’s Hell or High Water, and (in the case of one character) it had me thinking about The Silence of the Lambs – but this near-masterpiece of mood and character study stands on its own as one of the very best movies I’ve seen this decade.”