The 10 Most Influential Westerns in Movie History, Ranked

The 10 Most Influential Westerns in Movie History, Ranked
Image credit: Legion-Media

Though some people will never admit it, the Western genre has had a huge impact on the evolution of cinema, introducing countless character archetypes, laying the foundation for action and adventure films, and launching a bunch of genius directors into stardom.

While the number of good westerns is dwindling, the old greats still influence the entire film industry, casting a long shadow over the films still being made.

Here are the 10 most influential westerns of all time:

Yes, this list tends to focus on the counterculture Westerns that began to appear in the early 1960's, and the fact that the hugely important productions from the 1950's and before were excluded is easily explained - those films are obviously great, but they lack the influence on the modern cinematic landscape that was much more influenced by directors like Clint Eastwood, Sergio Leone and George Roy Hill.

And if you think that Westerns are all about dirty, sandy towns, saloon fights and midday gunfights, you are sorely mistaken, as the true masterpieces of the genre mix all of the above with tender human stories that might actually help you learn a lot more about the brave men and women who ventured out west in hopes of a fresh start.

Westerns are an integral part of American history, and no one can change that!