The 10 Greatest Westerns of the 21st Century

…According to WhatCulture:

  1. True Grit (Coen/Coen, 2010)
  2. The Revenant (Iñárritu, 2015)
  3. Hell or High Water (McKenzie, 2016)
  4. 3:10 to Yuma (Mangold, 2007)
  5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Dominik, 2007)
  6. No Country For Old Men (Coen/Coen, 2007)
  7. There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)
  8. Brokeback Mountain (Lee, 2005)
  9. Slow West (Maclean, 2014)
  10. Django Unchained (Tarantino, 2012)

No idea what my top ten would be, but one thing is for sure…none of the above.

No Country For Old Men… I can see why it’s there, as it has western themes, but it isn’t really a “western”. Neither is Brokeback Mountain (my opinion though). I can’t really think of any movies to fill those two places though. Overall this is a pretty good list for films in the 21st century.

1000 Way’s To Die In The West maybe? :wink:

I agree with The Revenant’s placing though. That movie was absolutely stunning, and is among one of my most favorite films I’ve seen in the past several years.

According to me:

  7. GOLD

I’d like to put THE RAVENOUS on the list too as I thought it was early 00s, but I saw that it was a '99 one. Need to watch a few more titles to make my list more final, so some changes are bound to happen.

My ten:

  1. The Proposition (Hillcoat, 2004)
  2. True Grit (Coen/Coen, 2010)
  3. The Revenant (Iñárritu, 2015)
  4. 3:10 to Yuma (Mangold, 2007)
  5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Dominik, 2007)
  6. The Hateful Eight (Tarantino, 2015)
  7. Slow West (Maclean, 2014)
  8. The Homesman (Jones, 2014)
  9. Django Unchained (Tarantino, 2012)
  10. Bone Tomahawk (Zahler, 2015)

If The Proposition doesn’t count because it’s Australian, everything moves up one place and Rango (Verbinski, 2011) crashes in at no.10. If Rango doesn’t count because it’s contemporary, anthropomorphic and animated, In a Valley of Violence (West, 2016) takes its place.

I can’t believe that anybody has such an incredibly idiotic film as the 3:10 to Yuma remake in his list …

And these 3 are no real westerns imo:

No Country For Old Men (Coen/Coen, 2007)
There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007) (this one definitely not)
Brokeback Mountain (Lee, 2005)

Otherwise these 3 would top my western list.

Thinking about it, there were several good westerns since the year zero, but none of them got me really exited like No Country, which is a 10er. The best of the “real” westerns are probably not higher than 8/10 on my entertainometer, which is still pretty good.
Maybe the Jesse James Coward film after a re-watch.

And the films I had the highest expectations in were all ok, but far less good than expected. The 2 QTs and the Coen’s True Grit

For my money 5 out of that original list’s 10 are not really westerns but I am somewhat of a purist in this regard.

I still haven’t seen a few of the most recent flurry of westerns we have recently been treated to but for those I can remember I think the below would be close to right although in particular order.

The Salvation
Seraphim Falls
The Assassination of Jesse James
Bone Tomahawk
The Hateful Eight
The Revenant
True Grit
Open Range

I also enjoyed: The Missing, Slow West, Sweet Vengeance,Jane Got a Gun and The Homesman well enough without placing them in the top 10.

On the whole I think we have done reasonably well for westerns this century although they seem to have come in a couple of intense bursts in terms of quantity. Good to see we are in the middle of one of those bursts currently.

Yes, Hell or High Water is probably also not really a western, which is the 5th? The Revenant?

I should have said 4. Although The Revenant’s historical time frame would also disqualify it for me normally. I guess I’m feeling generous today. :wink:

This ten would easily be my top ten of the 2000’s.

  1. The Hateful Eight (2015) Director: Quentin Tarantino
  2. Sweetwater (2013) Director: Logan Miller
  3. The Duel (2016) Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
  4. Appaloosa (2008) Director: Ed Harris
  5. Traded (2016) Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.
  6. Bone Tomahawk (2015) Director: S. Craig Zahler
  7. In a Valley of Violence (2016) Director: Ti West
  8. Diablo (2015) Director: Lawrence Roeck
  9. The Timber (2015) Director: Anthony O’Brien
  10. Forsaken (2015) Director: Jon Cassar
    10 The Magnificent Seven (2016) Director: Antoine Fuqua

Yeap, this is "Fake’ too, but whatever.

What do you mean?

Well, in my view it’s not a genuine list. To me (Hell or High Water, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood and Brokeback Mountain) are not real Westerns to me. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word ‘Fake’, but I did, oh well.

This always comes up whenever folk list westerns. It always divides as to what a western actually is or should be. I’m one of the worst for this I have to admit. All the examples you give above are set in the west but none are westerns in my book. Haven’t seen Hell or High Water but all the other three are fine films. Just not westerns as I understand them to be. Not sure why these things matter to me so much. I can’t think of another genre which I would argue the definition of in the same way but there you are.

It is genuine, it’s just one with which you don’t agree.

Well, there’s no maybe about it. It’s definitely not fake (English is your first language, isn’t it? My apologies if it isn’t, I just always thought you were an American).


The question of what constitutes a “western” is as old as cinema itself, probably. Personally I think people fall into two trains of thought here: Those who insist that a western may only be a western if it meets a couple of fairly straightforward but inflexible geographical and historical criteria (set in the North American West, circa approx 1850-1915), such as our man @Phil_H for example, and those who think of the western more thematically and are more amenable to the concept of the western being displaced in space and/or time whilst still remaining a western, fundamentally. That’s fine of course - I subscribe to that opinion myself - but then, once you’re blurring those borders of where a western ceases to be a western any more, I think you have to accept that a million different people will likely posit a million differing criteria, all justifiable to at least some degree. This of course can become a real f*cking headache when compiling any sort of western-themed chart, list or other consensus. Is Star Wars a western, is Reservoir Dogs a western, is Seven Samurai a western etc. etc. So with that in mind, I feel some some manner of criteria needs to be adhered to when compiling many lists into one - and Phil’s borderlines are really better than anyothers for this purpose since they’re the least open to interpretation - but, for purely individual lists, people should be led by their own “feeling” on each film as to whether or not it’s a western.

I’m taking that as a long winded way of saying that Phil is right. :wink:

EVERYTHING I say is a long-winded way of saying that Phil is right. :slight_smile:

Great list.
Never saw Slow West but will watch soon.
Brokeback Mountain is not something I ever intend to see.
Don’t enjoy romance films.

By the way - why no mention of Bone Tomahawk?

Well, since Brokeback Moutain is set in the 1960s-70s and has absolutely nothing to do with guns, Indians, gold, revenge or any of the western themes, it’s most certainly not a western. Everyone here knows what a western is. It’s not just a movie set in the west of America. Which there seems to be a lot of films set 1950s onwards on people’s lists. Western’s are set before (sometimes during, around or just after) the First World War, before the railroad was built in America. Including films set after saaay the 1920-30s is like including any film set in the west of America. Basically, if it doesn’t have guns it’s not a western. Good western’s don’t really exist in the 21st century but here’s my attempt at a list:

  1. The Revenant.

But damn that’s set in the midwest of America, 1820s, does it count? I still need to watch Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight then I’ll come back to this.

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YES see them!. Tarantino’s Hateful Eight was shot in Ultra Panavision, and the first ten minutes are breathtaking to watch, maybe the best opening in any of his films. It is both theatrical and dangerous, filled with a great cast, haunting score, tons of close ups, foul language, wonderful special effects, plenty gunfire, and yes, that one unforgettable scene ( think Channing Tatum ladies and Gentleman). Anyway I won’t give the film away but it is must see! and even Django Unchained reminded me more of a Blaxploitation flick, dealing with social issues and isn’t quite as memorable. It’s still a good flick, with a wonderful performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jamie Foxx. Its soundtrack reminded me of the Blaxploitation film soundtracks of the 70’s. You have some excellent viewing ahead of you.

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