One of the classic American film genres. The genre was born in literature with "The Virginian", and a was a distinct literary genre before the rise of motion pictures.
But a genre in which description and dialogue are lean, and the landscape spectacular is clearly better suited to a visual medium. Western movies, usually filmed on location in desolate corners of Arizona, Utah, Wyoming or Colorado, made the landscape not just a vivid backdrop but essentially a character in the movie.
In film, the western traces its roots back to "The Great Train Robbery" directed by Edwin S. Porter. In the United States, the western has had an extremely rich history that spans many genres (comedy, drama, tragedy, parody, musical, etc.)
During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a considerable revival with the "Spaghetti Westerns" or "Italo-Westerns", most notably those directed by Sergio Leone. These tended to be fairly low-budget affairs, shot in locations principally chosen for the cheapness of shooting film, and are characterised by high-action and violent content. Clint Eastwood became famous starring in these films, although they were also to provide a showcase for other such considerable talents as Lee van Cleef, James Coburn, and Klaus Kinski.
- Stage Coach
- Red River
- High Noon
- Destry Rides Again
- Annie Get Your Gun
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- Once Upon a Time in the West
- Heaven's Gate
Famous Western Actors: