When we think of westerns, our mind instantly associates it with movies where Clint Eastwood shoots Lee van Cleef. The golden age of westerns is far gone, but the stories of cowboys who had revenge in the middle of the desert are still alive and kicking.
The ballot of a lonely gunfighter is still as appealing as ever, and the last decade has seen its fair share of western movies hit the big screen.
This article will talk about the various Western films from the past decade and even going before that. With that being said, without further ado, let’s get into this!
2009 was the year to give the movie audience beautiful, subtle, yet very powerful performances in the voice of Hostiles.
Starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, this story revolves around an Army Captain Joseph Blocker who has to safely transport a native American war chief from New Mexico to Montana.
The plot revolves around the various instances, motives and feelings towards native americans all while being interesting in its pacing and action. According to Scott Cooper, Hostiles is one of the best rated modern western movies of the past decade. Click here to know more about it.
A common element in the western’s worth of salt is the American Civil war. This conflict saw brother pitted against brother in a harrowing fight for the future of America, and it also complicated the already harsh living conditions of people of the era.
In cold mountain, a wounded soldier retires away from the battlefields wanting to reunite with his beloved, of course. This is easier said than done, and he soon realizes that returning to North Carolina in the middle of a war is every bit as difficult as it sounds.
The life of a gunslinger is never easy. These lonely heroes are the main focus of western films, especially when their stories involve redemption. The open range sees a retired gunslinger trying to live an easy life taking care of his cattle.
Unfortunately for him, the local lawman isn’t as keen to let him retire in peace. Kevin Costner acted in and directed this movie in a role that he considered to be important for his career. Costner was so enamored with this role that he turned down the chance to play Bill in the Kill Bill series.
The movie generally received positive reviews and won the 2004 western heritage award.
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
This Oscar-nominated film reinforces the idea that it’s better not to meet your heroes. Robert Ford is a young outlaw who idolizes Jesse James and his legendary robbers, wishing to join him. Robert and his brother Charlie eventually find James and convince him to let them into his gang with a title like that.
You already know where this movie is going. The story sees Robert as he gets closer to James and eventually kills him to claim the reward on James’ head. The film was a smashing success, with critics, with Brad Pitt even confessing that this was his favorite.
Directed by the Coen brothers, this remake of the 1969 version builds on its source material masterfully, becoming a true classic on its own. True grit tells the story of a teenager whose father was murdered by an outlaw, looking for revenge.
The girl enlists the help of a gritty US marshal named Rooster Cogburn. After having worked with the Coens on the big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges returns as Cogburn. Bridge’s performance breathed life into the deadly wastes of the desert and ended up earning him a nomination for an academy award.
When Quentin Tarantino says he’s going to direct a western, you know it will be good. Also, you know it will be loaded with expletives and violence, but more on that later. Django unchained, sees Django, a freed slave, as he hones his skills as a gunslinger to rescue his wife from a plantation in true Tarantino fashion.
Django unchained doesn’t hold back any punches when it comes to its violence. Expect to see bucket-loads of blood. Whenever someone gets shot, there’s also a healthy dose of weighty banter and sly characters, all of the trademarks that let you know you’re watching a Tarantino flick.
The Hateful Eight
Tarantino wasn’t done with westerns yet, and after Django unchained, he directed the hateful eight. This film bears some resemblance to the classic whodunits of Agatha Christie in that we never know which characters are really who they say they are.
A group of shady characters are stranded in a cabin during a fiery snowstorm in the middle of a Wyoming winter. As the plot progresses, we begin to doubt certain characters’ motivations.
The tension between the people in the cabin increases by the second. Also worth mentioning, both this film and Django’s unchained feature music composed by Ani Morricone. The man behind the soundtrack of many classic spaghetti westerns like the good, the bad, and the ugly.
This modern classic by director Alejandro Inarritu tells the epic story of a trapper who fights for survival in the treacherous American frontier after being brutally mauled by a bear and left to die by his crew members. Hugh glass tests his metal against the elements and the wild.
The revenant, a harrowing tale of survival and betrayal, finally won Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar for best leading actor. Equally commendable is the film cinematography by Emmanuel lubezki, who devised some gorgeous long takes that help with the movie’s pacing.
No Country For Old Men
Another modern western classic by the Coens, no country for old men, is a violent story about a hidden treasure and the ultimate cost of greed in a world without mercy. Starring Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones, this is one of those movies that has become popular thanks to its fantastic antagonist. The undisputed star of the show is the diabolic Anton Chigurh. Javier Bardem portrays this antisocial villain with a menacing aura like no one else could. Anton Chigurh has left his mark in the film villain’s hall of fame as an all-around creepy man.
There Will Be Blood
There’s hardly an actor that’s better at his job than Daniel day-lewis. The character actor shines in this 2007 western where he plays a ruthless silver miner who decides that oil is a new gold and wants a part in that business no matter the cost. In this movie, blood runs black as oil.
As betrayal and broken morals become the game’s name, it’s a cruel portrayal of the early oil barons and their lifestyles in Southern California’s oil boom of the early 20th century.
This excellent drama received universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and it’s considered one of the all-time best western films ever produced. Currently, the movie scores an 8.2 on a scale of 10 on imdb.com and achieves an impressive meta score of 93 on Metacritic.