10 Classic Western Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen

6. The Alamo (1960)

John Wayne stars as Davy Crockett in this epic film about the Battle of the Alamo. However, this is not a typical John Wayne vehicle. This was a film of epic proportions. The sizable production would need a strong producer and director at the helm. Apparently, there was only one man for the job – John Wayne himself. He would take on the challenge of both positions in addition to starring in the film. This would be the first of two films that Wayne would receive directing credit. The other being The Green Berets eight years later. There were a few other films Wayne is an uncredited director on, made around the same time as The Alamo. One wonders if Wayne wanted to take a seat in the director’s chair like fellow movie star Clint Eastwood.

The Alamo would receive seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture for Wayne as Producer. It would only win for Best Sound, but that doesn’t devalue the work Wayne accomplished. In the same year of this film, Wayne would receive his richly deserved star on the Walk Of Fame. The Alamo was remade in 2004 with John Lee Hancock directing who previously made the awe-inspiring film The Rookie with Dennis Quaid. The remake did not grab audiences as it initially had in 1960. That version stands the test of time because of the man in front and behind it – “The Duke” John Wayne.


7. The Three Burials Of Melquides Estrada (2005)

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Tommy Lee Jones not only stars, but also directs his first theatrical film about a rancher who promised his best friend he’d make sure to bury him properly in his hometown. After his best friend is murdered, that’s exactly what he does. But it’s not going to be that easy. Even though Jones has been acting for decades, as a director his acting performance is strong as always. In fact, he won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. Though his directing style is just as strong.

The film was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes which is equivalent to Best Picture at the Oscars. A lot of famous actors naturally go into directing, but most don’t succeed. Hopefully, Jones can direct a few more films that contain the same masterful filmmaking as this one.


8. The Missing (2003)

The Missing (2003)

One of the most talented and versatile directors of our time, Ron Howard, brings us a unique story of a father who goes with his estranged daughter to find his abducted granddaughter. The father is played by Tommy Lee Jones who can easily step into any role, but here the step seems easiest compared to other roles. Cate Blanchett plays the daughter in the early part of her arduous career that only proves she never phones it in. Her daughter is played by Evan Rachel Wood in one of her earliest roles. This film was released just three months after her breakout performance in Thirteen proving her talents. In a very early performance, Elizabeth Moss appears in the film. Also in the cast are the versatile Aaron Eckhart and the beloved Val Kilmer.

This film was the follow-up to Howard’s Oscar-Winning film, A Beautiful Mind. Throughout the 2000s, he decided to make more thought-provoking films. Following this was Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code and Frost/Nixon. However, The Missing was his darkest and most intriguing film to date.


9. The Homesman (2014)

In the third film on this list that stars Tommy Lee Jones and second directed by him, he plays a man by the name of George Briggs who is one small step from death. When a woman named Mary Bee Cuddy played by Hilary Swank offers to save him in exchange for his help to escort three insane women to safety, he agrees. They then take off on this dangerous journey.

These two Oscar-Winning actors fill the screen with a kind of gusto not often seen in films. Jones has been a staple in movies for decades and always delivers a solid performance. Even if the material doesn’t match him, but in this case it does. Swank has carefully chosen roles throughout her career and comes up with some very intriguing characters including the self-sufficient Mary Bee Cuddy. Jones not only starred and directed, but on this film he co-wrote the screenplay based on the book of the same name.


10. Forsaken (2015)

Much like The Long Riders featuring real-life brothers playing brothers in the film, Forsaken features a real-life father and son, Donald and Keifer Sutherland playing father and son. Keifer is an irate gunslinger who tries to make peace with his estranged father and needs his help to rid their town of merciless land-grabbers.

As far as father-son collaborations, there have been many that starred prestigious actors. However, by the time the legendary older actor comes to agreement with their established son, they don’t land on the best scripts. Though Forsaken goes down as one of the better ones. Another solid father-son collaboration is Martin and Charlie Sheen in Wall Street. At the other end would be It Runs In The Family which stars two Hollywood Icons – Kirk and Michael Douglas. The cast of Forsaken stays strong with the talented Demi Moore and the always powerful Brian Cox. Even though westerns are sparse these days, this is one of the recent ones that stand out as unmissable.