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The Western genre is a group of films set in a very particular place and time-specifically, the American West in the last half of the nineteenth century. These films include the typical "cowboys and Indians" films, with their horses, gunfights, saloons and dusty little towns. The genre also includes more modern Westerns. In these, the culture of the Old West is considered in more realistic and nuanced ways, and films set in the contemporary West but written in the spirit of classic Westerns.

Westerns were popular in the silent-film era, but they fell out of favor in the 1930s, when they were seen as low-brow entertainment. By the end of the 1930s, however, some new Westerns-most notably the work of director John Ford-were produced and promoted by the big studios and were able to bring the genre back to mainstream popularity. Ford's work made the dramatic landscape of the West a familiar sight for movie-goers, and the new Western made stars out of actors such as John Wayne.

The Western declined again in the 1960s, but a series of low-budget Western produced in Europe helped to bring about a modest revival of the genre in the late 60s and 1970s. These films, dubbed "Spaghetti Westerns" because of their Italian directors, were violent and gritty, and they are most well-known for giving a significant boost to the careers of actors such as Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson.

Modern Westerns have engaged in a fair amount of genre-mixing. Contemporary Westerns like the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men melds the Western spirit with a crime thriller, and Cowboys and Aliens combines science fiction with a Western-style plot, a tradition dating back to 1973's Westworld. Joss Whedon's Serenity goes a step further, transplanting a very Western-esque story into outer space.

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    Quigley Down Under

    Tombstone

    Tombstone

    Support Your Local Sheriff!

    Support Your Local Sheriff!

    Young Guns

    Young Guns

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    8 Seconds

    8 Seconds

    Django Unchained

    Django Unchained

    The Man from Snowy River

    The Man from Snowy River

    Valdez Is Coming

    Valdez Is Coming

    The Magnificent Seven

    The Magnificent Seven

    The Outlaw Josey Wales

    The Outlaw Josey Wales

    Once Upon a Time in the West

    Once Upon a Time in the West

    Dances with Wolves

    Dances with Wolves

    Rio Bravo

    Rio Bravo

    Jeremiah Johnson

    Jeremiah Johnson

    Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

    Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

    Cowboys and Aliens

    Cowboys and Aliens

    My Name is Nobody

    My Name is Nobody

    Legends of the Fall

    Legends of the Fall

    Lawless

    Lawless

    Lawman

    Lawman

    Open Range

    Open Range

    The Revenant

    The Revenant

    Old Yeller

    Old Yeller

    The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    Mackenna's Gold

    Mackenna's Gold

    For a Few Dollars More

    For a Few Dollars More

    Blazing Saddles

    Blazing Saddles

    Trinity Is STILL My Name!

    Trinity Is STILL My Name!

    Chato's Land

    Chato's Land

    Buck and the Preacher

    Buck and the Preacher

    Shane

    Shane

    The Magnificent Seven

    The Magnificent Seven

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    Little House on the Prairie: The Last Farewell

    Little House on the Prairie: The Last Farewell

    Broken Trail

    Broken Trail

    The Outpost

    The Outpost

    Dust

    Dust

    The Fastest Gun Alive

    The Fastest Gun Alive

    High Plains Drifter

    High Plains Drifter

    The Night of the Grizzly

    The Night of the Grizzly

    A Million Ways to Die in the West

    A Million Ways to Die in the West

    Big Jake

    Big Jake

    Little Big Man

    Little Big Man

    A Man Called Horse

    A Man Called Horse

    The Wild Bunch

    The Wild Bunch

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    Young Guns II

    Young Guns II

    Western

    Western

    The Apple Dumpling Gang

    The Apple Dumpling Gang

    Maverick

    Maverick

    Five Fingers for Marseilles

    Five Fingers for Marseilles

    Pale Rider

    Pale Rider

    Silverado

    Silverado

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

    Tom Horn

    Tom Horn

    El Dorado

    El Dorado

    The Sons of Katie Elder

    The Sons of Katie Elder

    Lone Wolf McQuade

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    Hidalgo

    Hidalgo

    True Grit

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    A Fistful of Dollars

    A Fistful of Dollars

    Horse Soldiers

    Horse Soldiers

    Paint Your Wagon

    Paint Your Wagon

    The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger

    Cat Ballou

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    High Noon

    High Noon

    The Electric Horseman

    The Electric Horseman

    Hondo

    Hondo

    3:10 to Yuma

    3:10 to Yuma

    Two Mules for Sister Sara

    Two Mules for Sister Sara

    The Missouri Breaks

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    Tickle Me

    Tickle Me

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Rio Lobo

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    The Frisco Kid

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    Walker

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    The Comancheros

    The Comancheros

    The Shadow Riders

    The Shadow Riders

    Crossfire Trail

    Crossfire Trail

    Unforgiven

    Unforgiven

    True Grit

    True Grit

    The War Wagon

    The War Wagon

    American Outlaws

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    Hour of the Gun

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    Hell or High Water

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    The Westerner

    The Westerner

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    The Big Country

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    Duel at Diablo

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    Giant

    Forsaken

    Forsaken

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    BloodRayne 2: Deliverance

    BloodRayne 2: Deliverance

    All the Pretty Horses

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    The Alamo

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    Last Train From Gun Hill

    Last Train From Gun Hill

    Flaming Star

    Flaming Star