7 Highest-Rated Westerns to Watch on Netflix in December 2023
From gunslinging to psychodrama, it's all here!
Cowboys are cool. It's a fact of life, and it explains why we all love a good Western. If you're in the mood for a bit of Hollywood gunslinging this festive season, here are the top 7 highest-rated Westerns currently available on Netflix, according to Rotten Tomatoes:
7. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
If you like Tarantino movies, you'll love this one, which features his trademark mix of violence, humour and great storytelling.
When a bounty hunter and his captive run into bad weather on their way to Red Rock, they end up staying at a stagecoach stoppover with 6 other men. Each has his own story to tell, and none of them is particularly trusting of the company they're now forced to keep.
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It's essentially a western murder mystery that was generally well received, but has also been called one of Quentin Tarantino 's worst films.
6. Silverado (1985)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
Despite being arguably one of the greatest film eras of all time, the 80s didn't produce too many top-notch westerns. But with Silverado, they nailed it.
It has everything you want in a cowboy movie – gunfights, a ragtag band of cowboys taking on corrupt officials and a good dose of revenge. Kevin Costner, Danny Glover and Kevin Kline star alongside Scott Glenn, but for many critics it was the setting that really brought the film to life.
5. The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Lefty Brown may not have always seen eye to eye with his lawman partner's methods, but he's fiercely loyal. When the sheriff is shot dead by an unknown sniper, Lefty vows to avenge his late friend.
The film keeps the audience guessing and has a great twist, but has been criticised in some quarters for a weak script and poor acting.
4. The Harder They Fall (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Outlaw Nat Love has waited a long time to take revenge on Rufus Buck – the man who killed his parents. When he hears that Buck is about to be released from prison, Love gathers his gang and sets out to set things right. But Buck has his own gang of gun-toting hard men.
This film has all the classic western tropes, but with the added luxury of Idris Elba. Director Jeymes Samuel won a BAFTA in 2022 for this film.
3. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Classic Coen brothers. This movie features six vignette westerns that work together to form a cohesive narrative. It contains the signature blend of black comedy and drama.
Each of the six short films is very different from the others and has its own mood and tone. The film has been described by some as the Coen brothers' worst film, while others have praised it as an interesting modern take on a legendary film genre.
2. The Furnace (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Set in the Australian Outback rather than the American Wild West, this film is still considered a Western. It follows two Afghan cameleers and an Aborigine during the Western Australian goldrush of the 1890s.
The two cameleers, Hanif and Jundah, meet Woorak, who has 'acquired' two gold bars and is trying to find an illegal furnace in which to melt them down while evading the Gold Squad.
It's a gripping watch that feels authentic, but it has come in for some criticism for some, at times, disjointed storytelling.
1. The Power of the Dog (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
This movie is far from your classic Western. It's more of a revisionist version of the genre, examining modern issues in a Western setting. Rather than an all-action cowboy film, it's a psychological thriller that follows the lives of two wealthy brothers, Phil and George, who own a ranch in 1925 Montana.
When a widow and her teenage son come into George's life, the brothers' relationship is put to the test. It's a bit of a slow burner, but there's a lot going on. Critics loved it and it's been described as one of the best films of the century.