Sonny and Jed (1972)

While Sergio Corbucci has illustrated a knack for blending westerns and comedies with films like Compañeros, Sonny and Jed is difficult to handle. There have been missteps in the past, like with the exasperating The Hellbenders, but not every movie can or has to reach the same heights as Django or The Great Silence to […]

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Compañeros (1970)

Sergio Corbucci’s Compañeros is a boisterous spaghetti western from 1970 and one of the most explicitly revolutionary of the Zapata films. While many westerns were subtler in their political themes, Corbucci’s picture is a brazen critique of greed and American imperialism. That it manages to have a great time doing it speaks to the filmmaker’s […]

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The Hellbenders (1967)

The Hellbenders is a difficult film. The 1967 Sergio Corbucci western features a screenplay by producer Albert Band and writer Ugo Liberatore, with Enzo Barboni’s cinematography making the most of the desert vistas. The project appears to be based on William Cook’s novel Guns of North Texas, which also influenced Band’s 1965 western The Tramplers.

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Minnesota Clay (1964)

Sergio Corbucci enters the spaghetti western fray with Minnesota Clay, his first solo picture as director and his first western after co-directing 1964’s Grand Canyon Massacre with Albert Band. From a screenplay by Corbucci and Adriano Bolzoni, this 1964 outing was released around the same time as Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars and seems […]

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The Canadians (1961)

Burt Kennedy’s directorial debut is quite the curiosity, to say the least. The Canadians, a 1961 western that seems loosely based on the history of the Northwest Mounted Police. The ragtag Canadian police force eventually became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and it’s up to Kennedy to wrangle the yarn into something resembling cinematic magic.

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Stagecoach (1939)

Stagecoach is often described as the movie that made two careers and that’s certainly an accurate way to look at it. John Ford discovered his avenue with this 1939 western and John Wayne found his way after running as a stuntman, an extra and a B-player. The emergence of both men in this adaptation of […]

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Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Gavin O’Connor directs Jane Got a Gun, a 2016 western based on a screenplay by Brian Duffield, Joel Edgerton, and Anthony Tambakis. While the Mandy Walker’s painterly cinematography is certainly lovely, the film lacks inherent spark and doesn’t have a whole lot to say. Without a strong point-of-view to cling to, it tends to drift.

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Unforgiven (1992)

One of the finest westerns ever made is Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. Based on a screenplay by David Webb Peoples, this 1992 film serves as the encapsulation of the icon’s work and as a distillation of Old West mythology. It’s powerful and evocative as a genre picture and it’s also a hauntingly personal expression for the […]

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Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)

Burt Kennedy’s Support Your Local Sheriff! is an often hilarious western comedy from 1969. The movie features a screenplay by William Bowers and takes a zany, kitchen sink approach to the genre. There’s a clip-clopping score by Jeff Alexander that adds to the fun with its sheer gall, plus the Harry Stradling Jr. cinematography captures […]

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Hannie Caulder (1971)

Burt Kennedy directs Hannie Caulder, a western revenge picture from 1971. This is actually a British-made western, complete with a screenplay by someone known as Z.X. Jones. Word around the campfire is that Kennedy actually rewrote the script, but he doesn’t own any writing credits. Peter Cooper is responsible for the story.

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Big Jake (1971)

George Sherman helms Big Jake, a 1971 John Wayne vehicle that really does appear to be a labour of love for the Duke. The picture features a screenplay by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink, who would go on to write Cahill United States Marshal. It also stars two of Wayne’s sons and even […]

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Hondo (1953)

Based on the Louis L’Amour short story “The Gift of Cochise,” John Farrow’s Hondo is a surprisingly modest western. It features John Wayne in one of his most realized roles. He cracks off multiple lines about his life’s philosophy and embodies the self-governing spirit of the sentimentalized West, delivering his typical brand of grand charm […]

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Chisum (1970)

Andrew V. McLaglen’s Chisum is a stuffed and mounted western from 1970. It’s based on Andrew J. Fenady’s short story and is loosely based on the 1878 Lincoln County War, which was fought over the control of dry goods and cattle interests in the New Mexico Territory. The film pits two sturdy capitalists against each […]

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The War Wagon (1967)

Directed by Burt Kennedy with Clair Huffman adapting his novel for the screenplay, The War Wagon is one of those rousing, good-natured westerns that still follows the bad guy as he does bad guy things with a song in his heart. The movie even opens with a tune by Ed Ames, complete with Dimitri Tiomkin’s […]

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Bone Tomahawk (2015)

A scorching, patient, sometimes gruesome western, S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk is a long slow ride behind the sun. The 2015 film was also written by Zahler, with cinematographer Benji Bakshi scanning the broad dry vistas with a lens that never shies away from the blood-and-guts reality. Along the way, Zahler effortlessly fuses elements of […]

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A Pistol for Ringo (1965)

Duccio Tessari helms A Pistol for Ringo, one of the more successful of the Italian westerns to follow the trail of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars. This 1965 picture takes a hard turn from the strong, silent types depicted in many genre pictures, however, and it presents an upbeat and comedic character with more […]

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Navajo Joe (1966)

Sergio Corbucci’s Navajo Joe features an interesting twist on the western genre, as it features a Native American as the avenging hero. Now sure, Burt Reynolds plays the titular character and that takes a lot of getting used to. Word it that he wasn’t overly pleased with his Italian western experience, which makes it all […]

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