Kenneth Hite (princeofcairo) wrote,
Kenneth Hite

The New Westament

"The old masters -- by which I mean John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford."
-- Orson Welles, on which directors he most admired

A few years ago at GenCon SoCal, I was asked by someone (ptevis? macklinr?) to provide a basic "Westerns 101" list; the Westerns you needed to have seen in order to have done the reading. After the show, I wrote it up in an email, as the tenor of our conversation may have left us prone to ethylated amnesia on this, and other, topics. Ever since, I've had to go back and fish through my emails if I wanted to reference that question, so here it is, for my convenience and the edification of the interested, in the permanent glory that is an LJ post.

The Four Gospels:

High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952)
Shane (George Stevens, 1953)
The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)

The Two Commentaries:

Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks' 1959 response to High Noon)
Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood's 1992 response to Shane)

The Two Heresies:

The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976)

The Epistle From The Virtuous Pagan Samurai:

The Magnificent Seven (John Sturges, 1960)

The Weird, Hallucinatory Apocalypse:

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1967)

Note: This is not the Ten Best Westerns of All Time, although there is a good deal of overlap. This is a primer on the Western as art and myth. Advanced students will likely scoff good-naturedly or nitpick assiduously, as advanced students will when seeing an introductory curriculum in any subject.
Tags: film talk, lists, westerns
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