The Western is far from becoming a stagnant genre. From Westworld and The Revenant to the recent Magnificent Seven remake, most of us enjoy a good gunslingin’ adventure. Westerns also tend to be longer than your average film, which is good, because boy do we have a long wait until Red Dead Redemption 2 comes out.
So dim the lights, grab some popcorn, and pour a little whiskey. Here are 5 Westerns that’ll get you ready for Rockstar’s next big epic.
1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
It’s the granddaddy of classic Spaghetti Westerns: Sergio Leone, Ennio Morricone and Clint Eastwood laid the foundation for what a Western film could be, and in doing so created one of the greatest films of all time. From Morricone’s soaring soundtrack to Eastwood’s nomadic, cigar chewing gunslinger, pop culture continues to reference The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to this day.
Rockstar isn’t subtle about it’s source material, either: Red Harlow from Red Dead Revolver is a pretty blatant rip off of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name (and Marston isn’t that far removed himself).
2. True Grit (2010)
A precocious teenager, a drunk U.S. marshall and a righteous Texas ranger set out to track a killer that’s fled into Indian territory. The result is surprisingly comedic, touching, suspenseful, and yes — gritty. We recommend the Coen Brothers’ 2010 remake because Jon Wayne’s slapstick rendition of Marshall Rooster Cogburn doesn’t come close to Jeff Bridge’s surly performance, which transforms the Dude into a fallen hero that’ll put his life on the line for a child.
3. Tombstone (1993)
Val Kilmer steals the spotlight as Doc Holliday, and Kurt Russell does a fantastic job bringing Wyatt Earp to life, but let’s not forget poor Bill Paxton (RIP) as the the ill-fated brother Morgan Earp. Tombstone is chock full of memorable lines and characters, and will sate your appetite for olde timey Western saloons and heroic duels.
4. Westworld (2017)
Okay, sure, Westworld isn’t exactly a Western — it’s an interactive videogame wrapped in a Western wrapped in a sci-fi drama wrapped in Groundhog Day. But there’s plenty to be said about HBO’s latest blockbuster, from random NPC encounters that send you on trivial treasure hunts, to layered quests that increase in difficulty and intensity the longer you play. Hell, it might even be one big advertisement for Red Dead Redemption 2! Plus it’s chock full of beautiful scenery begging to be explored. RDR fans will feel right at home.
5. There Will Be Blood (2007)
We know what you’re thinking: There Will Be Blood isn’t a Western either! Well, not in the traditional sense. But hear us out. P.T. Anderson’s acclaimed adaption of John Updike’s novel Oil! is regarded as a Revisionist Western — a term used to describe post-WWII movies that depicted morally ambiguous protaganists, as opposed to the black and white, good vs. evil, cowboys vs. bandits. And anyone whose played a Rockstar game knows that their main characters aren’t exactly upright citizens themselves.
TWBB takes place in the early 20th century, and its brooding atmosphere is a perfect way to gear up for the suspense of RDR2.
And So The Wait Begins…
This list is completely subjective but we’re just trying to bide our time here! Tell us which Western movies we should watch before Red Dead Redemption 2 comes out.