From the classic outlaw adventures of John Wayne and the Clint Eastwood gunslinging of the sixties, to the antihero bounty hunter antics of Jonah Hex and the recent dramatic thrills of Westworld, the Western genre is still just as popular as it ever was.
With their simple tales of morality, those Hollywood Westerns from the mid-20th century are still a joy to revisit time and time again.
However the more recent American Old West movies have modernised the genre, holding onto the definitive characteristics and themes but delivering them in slicker, more stylish cinematic ways.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Sergio Leone or someone who’s looking to expand their watch-list with a little Wild West action, Netflix – as usual – has got you covered.
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
You can’t call yourself a cinephile if you’ve never watched George Roy Hill’s Academy Award-winning 1969 western.
Starring the iconic duo that is Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid follows the renowned outlaws as they try to evade the town sheriff and his posse after a train robbery goes awry.
Simply put, it’s one of the all-American greats.
For A Few Dollars More
Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood are two names synonymous with Spaghetti Westerns.
The second film in Leone’s Dollars Trilogy sees Eastwood as a bounty hunter who joins forces with his rival to capture the crazed outlaw leader El Indio.
If you were under the impression that bounty hunters were anything but cool, For A Few Dollars More will set you straight.
Tarantino’s Django Unchained is at once an ultra-stylish tribute to the Italian Westerns of old and the most perfect example of a modern anti-Western.
Jamie Foxx plays freed slave Django, who travels across the Deep South with a German bounty hunter to free his wife from Leonardo DiCaprio’s cruel plantation owner.
Violent and tense with Tarantino’s trademark visual flair, this is one of the best movies to come out of 2012.
Kurt Russell and Patrick Wilson star in S. Craig Zahler’s film about a sheriff and a posse who set out to rescue a group of kidnapped settlers from cave-dwelling cannibals.
The brutal horror element puts a gruesome twist on the classic Western story, making this the type of movie that you’ll come away from feeling equally impressed and disturbed by.
The Magnificent Seven
Adapted from John Sturges’ 1960 western of the same name, Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is a rootin’ tootin’ Wild West spectacle.
Okay, so it doesn’t exactly rewrite the genre rulebook, but it’s simple entertainment bolstered by a charismatic cast that includes Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio as a band of merry gunslingers opposing a murderous industrialist.
Inspired by the classics but aimed at a modern audience, it thrills with its fast-paced and skilfully choreographed gunfights.
Directed by and starring Kevin Costner, 2003’s Open Range follows four ranchers who run into trouble with a greedy and corrupt lawman.
Featuring a shootout scene that’s widely considered one of the best of all time, the film explores peace-seeking characters who don’t want violence but are forced to take up arms for the greater good.
It might be Costner’s film but it’s Robert Duvall who steals the show, giving a powerful and memorable performance as Boss Spearman.