The western has gone in and out of popularity with movie audiences numerous times over the years. It’s one of those genres though that actors, directors, and audiences keep coming back to in hopes of finding new stories in the genre. We’ve gathered some of the best westerns of TV and film, from yesterday and today for streaming. Even better, many of the entries on our list you can watch without a subscription.
So tie up your horse, kick off your boots, and get ready for some rough-riding action with this round up of the best westerns now available to stream.
Few westerns are action-packed enough to stand out among the big budget summer blockbusters, but this 2016 remake pulled it off. The movie follows a group of gunmen who come to a small town to help its residents fight off a band of brutal thieves. Both Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington are in top form and the movie is sure to have you yelling “Yee-haw!” by the time the credits roll.
The first of director Sergio Leone’s “man with no name” trilogy with Clint Eastwood, the film helped popularize the term “spaghetti western.” The film doesn’t have a lot of dialogue — at least not from Eastwood anyway — but Leone expertly ramps up the drama with an iconic musical score and fantastic camera work as he tells the story of a gunslinger who comes to a western town that has been divided by greed.
Based on the 1969 John Wayne film, this Coen Brothers remake blends both elements of humor and high-stakes action. Jeff Bridges is fantastic as the grumpy gunslinger Rooster Cogburn who agrees to help a young girl track down her father’s killer. Upon its release it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards including the coveted “Best Picture.”
There’s no rule that says all westerns must take place in the American West, and this 1990 film sends Tom Selleck into the Australian Outback. Believing that he’s been hired to kill dingoes, Quigley (Selleck) takes job only to find that his employer has a far more sinister job he wants fulfilled. Proving that he can convincingly play any villain under the sun Alan Rickman won “British Actor of the Year” for his performance.
A sequel of sorts to another great western (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) the late Sam Shepard plays Butch Cassidy who is now living in Bolivia of all places. Looking for one last good time before old age gets the best of him, Cassidy sets out for riches rumored to be in an abandoned mine.
An Army Captain is given orders to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family across enemy territory back to his home in Montana. We’re gonna be blunt, this movie is gut-wrenchingly depressing and may not be for everybody. That said, it’s an incredibly powerful movie that zeroes in on the complicated relationship between the U.S. Army and Native Americans of the late 1800s.
It’s kind of surprising that with the deep Texas accent and perpetual squint, Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t do more westerns. This film which co-stars Cate Blanchett follows a frontier doctor in 1880s New Mexico who goes out in search of her daughter who has been taken hostage by the Apaches.
Arguably Clint Eastwood’s greatest western, this film about a former gunslinger who takes one last job to delivers some much needed justice is as gritty as it gets. The movie which was also directed by Eastwood and co-stars Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman one numerous Oscars and is a must-see movie of the western genre.
John Dutton (Kevin Costner) has his hands full fighting off numerous enemies who want to take his million dollar property, the Yellowstone Ranch. This modern take on the old western story cliche of cowboys versus Indians is full of melodramatic family strife, and is one of the best television dramas of 2018.
Based on the 1970s sci-fi film of the same name, this HBO series is anything but your standard western. Sure, it’s got saloon shootouts, but the real story is what’s happening after the gunfire ceases. Tourists are invited into a fictional world of the late 1800s that was created by scientists and slowly begins to unravel.