GIMME FIVE: Westerns for people who don’t like westerns

This list of westerns is for those of you who think westerns are all cowboys, horses and sand.

Well, those things are all in westerns. But in honour of the recent release of The Lone Ranger, here are five awesome alternative westerns for people who claim to dislike westerns.

5) An American Tail: Fievel Goes West 

Westerns - Fievel

This sequel to An American Tail stars our old friend Fievel, a curious little mouse who gets lost on his way to the Wild West. He befriends a cat and a dog named Wylie Burp (voiced by Jimmy Stewart!). This cartoon western is great because it can poke fun at the genre without getting in trouble.

4) Blazing Saddles

Westerns - Blazing

If someone told you Mel Brooks made a western, would you believe it? Wel,  he did! Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, Blazing Saddles is more about race than western-y times. but it still counts. One of Brooks’ best films and one of the best (if not the best) western comedy of all-time.

3) Once Upon A Time In The West

Westerns - Once Upon

I snuck this one in on purpose. If you want to see a less stereotypical, but still incredibly beautiful, true-to-the-genre western, get on this one. Directed by spaghetti western’s godfather, Sergio Leone, this film is epic in the truest sense of the word.

2) Dead Man

Westerns - Dead man

Starring Johnny Depp and directed by weirdo (that’s a compliment) Jim Jarmusch, Dead Man is a total 180 from most westerns. It’s pretty hard to describe because it takes a lot of standard western themes and flips them, but it also relies on western archetypes. It’s a very slow, strange movie that’s very much worth the watch. Also, Neil Young did the soundtrack.

1) Seven Samurai/Yojimbo

Westerns

I picked these two super important Kurosawa directed samurai movies because they were hugely influenced by ’40s westerns and then in turn,  helped define the ’50s/’60s resurgence of the genre. Also, both had English remakes (Magnificent Seven and Fist Full of Dollars) that were super successful.

Kurosawa changed the face of westerns, opening the genre up to every type of frontier, not just the Wild West. Both these films star Toshiro Mifune who originated that recognizable western hero character: the lone traveler type. Kurosawa’s samurai westerns are some of the most important films ever, but on a more basic level they’re exciting, interesting and unique.

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