August 5, 2016

Five Favorite Westerns~Legends of Western Cinema Week

Hello all! As you may know, a fun blog party called Legends of Western Cinema Week is going on, courtesy of Emma Jane and Olivia. Although my immersion in the Western world is sorely lacking (I HAVE watched a lot of John Wayne movies, though!) I do love the genre. The sweeping plains, rugged mountain ranges, thrilling gun fights, majestic horses, handsome cowboys (cough)....what's not to love? Scattered throughout these kinds of stories are powerful relationships--friendships, romances, betrayals and the ever-classic relationship between the "good guy" and his enemy.
But, that's enough of me trying to convince you all that I do know what westerns are about. Today I wanted to share with you FIVE of my favorite western films.

Rio Bravo (1959)
Rio Bravo / HU DVD 7326 /
Although this has a great plot, what I love most about this movie is the characters. Dude, especially. He starts out the film as an alcoholic *spoilers!* but by the end of the film, he's a hero. He learns to fight his temptations and become a better man because of it. *end spoiler* There's also Stumpy, a hilarious old cowboy who has a grumpy, snarky response to everything. John Wayne plays the hero of the story (of course) and, well. He's John Wayne. Brave, smart, daring, all those wonderful cowboy qualities rolled into one. (But Dude is more interesting. Therefore I like him better.)  Even Ricky Nelson as a pretty boy cowboy (okay, I'm sorry, he's not that bad. He just seems a little out of place.) is okay. One character I can't stand is "Feathers", played by Angie Dickinson. She's annoying and her character remains so throughout the whole film. Not to mention her last "outfit". Like...honey, don't wear that. It's a bathing suit. Just...ugh. -moves on to the next film to keep myself from ranting-

The Comancheros (1961)

I just saw this one for the first time awhile back and LOVED it. Texas Rangers, Comanche Indian attacks, a violent gun and whiskey smuggling gang who captures our heroes...I found it a really exciting movie. :) John Wayne plays the hero (of course).  There's also Paul Regret, a rogueish gambler wanted for the death penalty. I actually found his romance with the questionable Pilar really cute. And *spoilers* I'm glad they were able to start a new life together. Thanks, John Wayne. *end spoilers* I really recommend this film. It's colorful and fun, while still retaining plenty of action and realism.

(And guys. Patrick Wayne is in this! I'd never seen him in anything before this and...yeah. I like Patrick. ;))  (*spoilers* He dies. Of course. Why?!? *spoilers end*)

They Died With Their Boots On (1941)
Okay, so I'm not sure if this truly counts as a western, but I had to include at least one Errol Flynn film and I think this one is my favorite of all his "out West" ones. He's not a cowboy in this (sniff), but he plays General George Custer and the movie follows him through West Point all the way to his famous last stand. I've read that the film isn't historically accurate, but whatever. I still like it.
Olivia De Havilland and Errol Flynn are one of my favorite screen couple, and this was their last film together.  There's a sad parting scene between them (before he leaves for the last time) where they both know there's a big possibility of his dying, but neither want to say it. I found it doubly sad since it was, in a way, their parting scene of being together in movies. :(

Giant (1956)
I love movies that span many years, and this is one of them. Family drama, betrayals, racial inequality, one unlikely man's rise to power and subsequent's all there and it's SO good. There's no gun fights in this one, and no cowboys who save the town. It's not a classic western, but I feel like it fits in that category because it's still about people who lived and conquered in the West, after the days of the cowboys.

Big Country (1958)
Jean Simmons & Gregory Peck ~ "The Big Country", 1958. A wonderful western with one of the best ever movie scores and splendid photography.:
Unfortunately I have NOT seen this one in a veeeerrry long time, but it was really good when I first saw it. Quite possibly one of the most tense, exciting Westerns I've ever seen. And it has GREGORY PECK as the hero. You know I love Gregory Peck. :)
(Looking up a photo for this movie made me reeaaalllly want to see it again. I need to do it. Soon.)

That's all! Honorary mentions include The Redemption of Henry Myers, some of the Love Comes Softly movies, Little House on the Prairie (especially the stand-alone movie they made with Erin Cottrell as Ma. That's a good one.), and...I don't know. Does When Calls the Heart count? It happens out Canada. :P

Thank you so much for this fun week, Emma, and Olivia! It's been great and I'm so happy to have been able to participate. :) For those of you who are interested, please do check out their blogs! There's tons more western themed blog posts over there, and some exciting giveaways. :D

What are some of your favorite Westerns? 
Do you have any recommendations for me?


  1. None of these I've seen...but all of them I want to! I especially loved what you wrote about "They Died With Their Boots On". It sounds like a goodie. :-)

    1. Oh, I hope you can see them soon, Emma! I'd love to hear your thoughts when you do. Thanks! It is. :D

  2. Hooray! A good old favorites list! And you are completely right, what's not to love? NOT A THING! :)

    RIO BRAVO IS ON YOUR LIST!!! *shrieks* That story is right up there with High Noon in my heart. Dude's character is simply suburb in the way it's shown and he is definitely one of my very favorite movie heroes. Besides which, Ricky Nelson is simply splendid as cool-headed Colorado. Honestly, every time I watch him I'm simply stunned at how "chill" he is no matter what is happening! And I love how -- though John Wayne is a terrific friend and support -- he is not exactly "the best" at everything, which actually makes me like him more than usual. :) The one thing, however, is the matter of the booby-trap... wouldn't he have been more cautious coming down the stairs? Honestly, I'm never quite sure what to think about Feathers, on one hand I think she fits with John Wayne really well, but on the other, I just can't decide. So yes, I'm about 50/50 on her.

    I'm greatly familiar with the last three, though I have yet to see them, but I've never heard of the The Comancheros and now I REALLY want to!

    1. So glad you liked it. :)

      You like that movie, too?? Eek, I had no idea! I'm SO glad you've seen it and love it. :D
      Dude is a spectacular character. Oh, I'm just so happy you like him. That is a good point about Ricky Nelson's character. :) And yes, exactly! It's nice seeing how they all complement each other. It's not John Wayne being perfect and his "sidekicks" tagging along.
      Heehee, my family said the same thing about the stairs! It seems rather unwise to barrel down like that. Maybe the adrenaline made him lose his head.

      I hope you can see the rest! :D Thanks so much for your comment, it made me really happy!

  3. Suggestions?

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . watch "Hidalgo."

    You'll like it. ;-)

    1. Heehee, thanks! I'll have to check that one out. :)

  4. I've only seen Rio Bravo out of all of these (I miiight have seen some of the other ones with John Wayne as well, because I've got no idea how many of them I've seen and I mix them all up). And I, err, can't remember much about Rio Bravo. :P I've seen it several times (I know the title!) but I am not a fan of John Wayne, so I... yeah. ;)

    Ooohh, recommendations! Definitely these two: "The Magnificent Seven" and "Hidalgo". <3

    ~Miss Meg

    1. Haha, does your family love John Wayne? I have to wonder how you've seen multiple movies with him in it if you don't like him. ;)

      I have seen "The Magnificent Seven"! It was really good. Hmm, everyone is recommending "Hildago". I'm definitely intrigued. :)

    2. Heh, yep. :P My elder sisters went through a phase for years where almost every western we saw was a John Wayne one. (They played them on TV on Sunday afternoons, and we'd have to watch every one of them. *shudder* Of course, I DID sit there and watch most of them, merely for the sake of watching something. How could you think otherwise? ;P) Fortunately the girls are past that stage, and their enthusiasm has decreased a bit.

      Oh, you have! Yay. I'm glad you think so. ;D Haha, I think you'll love Hidalgo. It's not like most westerns and it's pretty action packed, but also has some soft, darling moments. Also, Viggo Mortensen plays the main cowboy, so... yeah. ;D (Wait, you HAVE seen the Lord of the Rings movies right??? If you haven't then I'll fill you in - he plays Aragorn!)

      ~Miss Meg

    3. Haha! I understand about watching things with your family for the sake of watching something...even if you can't stand the film. :P

      VIGGO MORTENSEN IS IN IT?! Okay, you and Jessica convinced me. (And I watched the trailer and it looked completely epic!) I requested "Hidalgo" at the library. Yes, I have seen the LOTR movies and Aragorn....he's my favorite. I love him!!!

      ps. Reading the "parents guide" on Imdb had me so confused. It made it sound like one female character wore horribly low-cut gowns (and you know, I wanted to make sure the film was okay for my younger brother to watch!), but when I researched the movie on other websites and I watched the trailer everything was fine. Just to make sure, there isn't anything indecent in the movie, right? I read that one lady wants to seduce Frank, but nothing "wrong" is shown and he doesn't give in to her. Is that all?

    4. (Sorry I only just saw your comment. It's a bit hard been an Anonymous person - you have to manually check everything. :P)

      YES! I'm sorry, that should have been the first thing I mentioned, haha. ;D
      (I KNOW. Aragorn = <3)

      Oh... well, first off, let me say that I haven't seen the movie for a long while (although I've seen it quite a lot) so my memory is a little rusty. But from what I can remember, there wasn't anything too bad in it... Yes, there IS one lady who kind of tries to 'seduce' Frank, but he has none of it. (That always makes me so proud of him. He makes her look so foolish. :P) Nothing is shown in regards to inappropriate stuff (y'know, with a lady and a man), and it's not overly violent (although there are a couple scenes that make you grimace a little)... and I don't remember there being any terribly low cut dresses! (For the most part, the women were very modestly dressed! Especially because the standards are high in that country (most of the women wear veils even). I'm sorry, but I can't remember super clearly what her dresses were like... nothing absolutely AWFUL, I know, (I would have remembered if there was), but she may have had one that was a bit too low cut. I'm sorry, I don't know if this is much help. :/ It depends on your own standards as well, but for me, this movie is really quite clean!)

      ~Miss Meg

    5. Oh, don't worry about it at all. Eek, I understand. I used to be an anonymous comment-er myself. ;) It IS hard. :(

      Hahaha! A movie with Aragorn in it will always greatly interest me. :D

      Thanks SO much. Yup, something definitely must have been off in the description on Imdb, because it certainly sounded "worse" there. :P I think it sounds great, though. I will have to tell you what I think of it! I'm hoping to see it soon. :)

  5. What a fun list! The two John Wayne films are most certainly favorites of mine!

    The Comancheros is not only a grand action packed western with great characters and relationships, but it is one of the VERY best westerns I've see as far as the matching of truly grand music flawlessly with magnificent scenery! It is breathtaking.

    In Rio Bravo it is the characters and their stories that draw me as well. The dialogue is another one of the well crafted elements of this film.
    Dude is the one I root for and love the most. Every one of the trio (Dude, Stumpy, and Chance) are so well developed as the story unfolds, and each struggle they face is so achingly real.
    It is one of those stories that sticks with you. Once you see it you won't likely ever forget it.

    Oh, and Big Country sounds great!

    1. Thank you, Annie! So glad you like those movies, too. :)

      I agree. The scenery and music in that film is amazing!

      So true. The dialogue is great, the characters are great... I really love it. :) And yes, Dude is my favorite, too!

      Thanks so much for your comment!! :D

  6. I recommend "War Wagon." A western with John Wayne, many other famous actors, great funny lines and a armored stagecoach with a machine gun!

    1. I've heard of that, and it sounds great!! I have it requested at the library right now. :) (An armored stagecoach with a machine gun? Haha! Sounds exciting! :D)

  7. I've never seen "They Died with Their Boots On," but I'm actually hoping to watch it this week! What a coincidence. The other four of these, I LOVE. Especially "Rio Bravo" and "Giant." I grew up watching "Giant," and that thing where Bic tells Leslie that, if he lives to be 90, he's never going to figure her out -- as a kid, I decided that was the coolest thing ever, and I was going to be the kind of woman a husband could never quite figure out. (Turns out men as a whole can't quite figure out woman as a whole, so I needn't have tried so hard.)

    If you love Patrick Wayne, have you seen "The Searchers" or "McLintock!" or "Shenandoah" or "Big Jake" or "The Alamo" yet? He's veddy, veddy nice to watch in all of those.

    1. Oh, how cool!! I really hope you enjoy it. I'd love to hear your thoughts once you see it. :)
      And yay!! So glad you love the other ones I listed! Haha! That's such a cute story. ;)

      Ooooh, no, I haven't! (Except for "The Alamo", which I didn't really care for, but now want to watch again just for him.) Thanks SO much for the recommendations. I was just thinking the other day that I really wanted to see more movies with him in them. Ahem. ;) Thanks again! I'm going to go look up all those titles now. :D

    2. AND he doesn't die in several of those! But I'm pretty sure he does in at least one.

    3. :D :D Yay!! Oh well. One is better than all.

    4. It's funny, because I'd totally forgotten that the first few things I saw him in when I was a teen, he died in, and I used to sort of make bets with myself on whether he would survive when I discovered he was in a new-to-me movie. I was always so happy when he made it to the end credits!

    5. Haha! That's such a fun story. Having a favorite character make it to the end credits is always such an exciting thing. :D


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