Red Dead Redemption 2 finally releases on Friday and the hype is reaching astronomical levels. The upcoming open-world game is set in 1899 during the dying days of the Wild West. We don’t get many games with a Wild West setting, especially open-world ones so it’s a delight when a game with said setting gets revealed.
Whilst there may not be a lot of Wild West games, there is a gargantuan amount of Western films. The Western genre was prominent between the 1940s and the late 1970s, where they dominated Hollywood and actors such as Clint Eastwood and John Wayne made a name for themselves.
With Red Dead Redemption 2 being pretty much here already, what better way to get hyped for the game than to watch some Western movies. I’ve come up with a list of five Westerns that you should watch to get yourself hyped for Red Dead Redemption 2. Keep in mind that this list is subjective and I have picked five of my favourite from the genre out of dozens.
Now with all that said, let’s hop on a horse and ride into the wilderness.
5. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
The Outlaw Josey Wales was one of the first Westerns that I ever watched and I picked one hell of a film to start off with.
The film follows Josey Wales (played by Clint Eastwood) who is hellbent on revenge after his wife and son are murdered by pro-Union militants. Wales joins a pro-Confederate group and fights in the American Civil War in the hope that he can get his revenge.
This film was pretty violent for its time and even watching it now, there’s still quite a large volume of chaos that happens compared to films today. A good number of Eastwood’s Westerns are quite violent and I’d put Josey Wales near the top. What I really like about this film is how well it does the action scenes and violence, it never seems to be too much and finds a good balance.
I have a soft spot for The Outlaw Josey Wales and it’s one of my favourite films. If you like Westerns or a good revenge flick, The Outlaw Josey Wales has you covered.
4. The Alamo (1960)
John Wayne is synonymous with the Western genre, he starred in over 100 films and over half of them were Westerns. It was quite hard to pick one film by “The Duke” but I have, The Alamo.
Often considered one of the best Westerns Wayne ever made, The Alamo is based around the Battle of the Alamo a major conflict during the Texas Revolution. Wayne plays Colonel Davy Crockett who is tasked alongside other military men, Colonel Jim Bowie and Colonel William Barrett Travis to defend the Alamo Mission (fort).
The film feels like an old-school “epic”, fantastic set pieces and brilliant action scenes that help drill home how violent and brutal the conflict was. The acting is great, Wayne delivers yet another stern performance and the rest of the cast are good too.
After watching The Alamo, I think The Alamo is Wayne’s best Western. It’s a long film, clocking in at just under three hours so you’ll need to put some time aside to watch this. I’ll say this though, it’s a ruddy good three hours of Western goodness that won’t disappoint.
3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
There are few similarities between Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Red Dead Redemption 2. Both Butch and Sundance were outlaws on the run from the law after committing several crimes, much like Dutch’s gang (the gang you are a part of in Red Dead Redemption 2). Butch and Sundance head to South America to evade the law and start fresh. Again, Dutch’s gang are travelling to evade the law with the hope of starting afresh.
Enough of the similarities though, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a phenomenal film that is based on the real-life events of the aforementioned people. It’s good at building tension and drama and that is thanks to a great script and brilliant acting by Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Katharine Ross. All of the main cast play their roles perfectly which is expected given the talent involved.
It’s a must-see film regardless of whether you’re interested in the Western genre or not. The acting is sublime and some of the setpieces are fantastic. Oh and the ending, oh my the ending. You’ll understand what I mean when you watch it, it is outstanding.
2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)
What else is there to say about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly other than it is one of the best Westerns ever made. So many people have written and talked about this fantastic film that I would simply be repeating them.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is an iconic movie with a legacy and reputation that few pieces of media could only dream of achieving. It isn’t just one of the best Westerns, it is one of the best films ever made. All of the films in this list are worthy of a watch but this one is an absolute must. If you haven’t seen The Good, The Bad and The Ugly then I implore you to do so, you are missing out.
1. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Magnificent Seven was the first Western I watched and I can remember it well. It was 2000 during the summer holidays, at the weekend and I watched it with my dad and granddad, both of whom are huge admirers of the Western film genre. I also consider this to be one of my favourite films of all time as well, not just because it’s fantastic and because of the fond memories I have of it but also because it features one of my favourite actors, Yul Brynner.
The film is a “Wild-West” remake of Seven Samurai (arguably one of the best films ever created) and has a star-studded cast. Just look at the poster above, look at that cast. It’s rare that you get such a high calibre of actors all line up for one movie. The film is worth a watch just for the list of actors involved.
You could say that The Magnificent Seven are similar to Dutch’s gang in Red Dead Redemption 2 in the way that they work together. That’s really as far as the similarities go but I thought it would be cool to mention it.
I’ll stop talking about The Magnificent Seven otherwise I’ll start gushing over it. I can’t help but be a little bit biased towards this film given how close it is to my heart. It’s a brilliant film, fantastic acting by a magnificent cast and is unmissable.