The Good, the Bad and the Western

Cowboys chasing Indians, a betrayal, a gunfight or redemption. That smells like a Western. How do you like yours?


We at Boostyourfilm love the Western, that’s why it’s the theme of our Boostyour15pages competition

It’s the defining genre of America. The actor and director Clint Eastwood once said: “I always thought there were really only two American art forms: jazz and the Western.”

For me, the quintessential Western features John Wayne swaggering around the screen with his classic drawl, or a John Ford movie, such as The Searchers or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. But this genre is not limited to the big screen. I remember Sunday afternoons watching TV series such as Bonanza, Rawhide and Little House on the Prairie.

Plots were rarely complicated and involved cowboys fighting Indians, the construction of a railroad, outlaw gangs or revenge stories featuring a chase and-or somebody who has been wronged.

The genre has a grand scope and comes in many shapes and sizes. There is something for everyone. There’s the epic, which emphasizes the story of the American Old West on a grand scale. A great example of this is Once Upon a Time in the West, starring John Fonda and Charles Bronson.


Then there’s the classic Western, typified by films such as How the West was Won, a film following a family through several decades of Westward expansion in the nineteenth century – including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads. It won three Academy Awards.

If that’s not your bag there is the Curry Western – films made on the Indian subcontinent. Or even a sub-genre called the Meat Pie Western, sometimes called the Kangaroo Western. This is used to describe films made in an Australian setting.  If that’s not to your taste, there’s the Spaghetti Western.

But there’s no need to limit yourself to oldies. The genre lives. Remember Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, much detested by the Boostyourfilm president Daniel Anton? In contrast to this you have modern classics such as The Revenant, which won three Academy Award in 2015.

Simply the Best
For me, the best ever Western to come out in the cinema is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It was directed by the great Sergio Leone. It features a super script and has a kickass backing track. It is all set to the background of the American Civil War.  The cinematography is amazing. And it features cracking performances from Lee Van Cleef, Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach. What’s not to like? Here are my top five favourite Westerns.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

westernTwo Western bank and train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

True Grit

westernA drunken, hard-nosed US Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father’s murderer in Indian territory.

Blazing Saddles
In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black Sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary. OK, this may not be a classic in your eyes but it never fails to make me laugh.

Django Unchained
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

So over to you, what’s your best ever Western?

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Once Upon a Time in the West
Top three of
Daniel Anton, president of Boostyourfilm

For a Few Dollars More
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Hateful Eight
Top three of Boostyourfilm’s