GIANT (1956)

This sweeping story of a huge Texas cattle ranch over several decades lives up to its name, but I think falls short of its clear ambition to be “Gone With the Wind, but as a Western.”

DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990)

Probably the best known movie about Native Americans, directed by and starring a very laconic white guy who I’m not sure can actually act. But I think it mostly works?

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)

This extremely affable western about a couple of outlaws on the run feels like the direct ancestor of your average Marvel movie.

SHANE (1953)

A (very) widescreen western about the consequences of violence, or something, which I would’ve enjoyed more if not for the super-whiny little kid.

HIGH NOON (1952)

A western parable in which Gary Cooper is very convinced he is right and everyone else is wrong. He would have fit right in on Twitter.

THE WILD BUNCH (1969)

A violent, nihilistic revisionist Western that changed how violence was shown on-screen.

THE SEARCHERS (1956)

John Wayne drags a handsome guy around the American West because he is so racist. It’s kind of like the Odyssey.

BLAZING SADDLES (1974)

Mel Brooks takes a western pastiche and pushes the boundaries of comedy about racism. Oh, and it’s super funny.