Best of 10: AFI releases top-10 genre film lists
1. “The Searchers,” 1956.
2. “High Noon,” 1952.
3. “Shane,” 1953.
4. “Unforgiven,” 1992.
5. “Red River,” 1948.
6. “The Wild Bunch,” 1969.
7. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” 1969.
8. “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” 1971.
9. “Stagecoach,” 1939.
10. “Cat Ballou,” 1965.
Leaving Unforgiven on the list because it's an Academy Award winner, here's my tentative top 10 Westerns:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Dances with Wolves
Little Big Man
Once Upon a Time in the West
They Died with Their Boots On
Note that my list has five movies that feature Indians, not merely two. That's because our "cowboys vs. Indians" legends offer the richest vein of stories to mine. As Frederick Jackson Turner suggested in his Frontier Thesis, the West is synonymous with Indians.
Sadly, there aren't that many great Westerns. It's hard to making a gripping drama out of people shooting at each other from behind doors or rocks. Most of the movies on my list are about the characters, not a big gunfight at the OK Corral (or wherever).
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.