Westerns have long been a cornerstone of American culture. The “Wild West” as a concept was born through pulpy novels and adventure stories that greatly exaggerated the qualities of frontier life—there is, for instance, very little, if any, evidence that “duals” in town squares took place—and Westerns became one of the premiere film genres of the 1950s.
Of course, Westerns remain a popular genre to this day, buoyed by both unique original films and surprisingly great remakes of classic movies. Some may squirm away at the mention of “remake,” but these modern Western remakes are well worth checking out.
10 Wild Wild West (1999): 38
Put Wild Wild West in the “so bad it’s good” category; it’s certainly not a good movie—at least by most objective standards—but it has developed quite a strong cult following throughout the years, earning a distinction for being a good bad movie.
It’s based on an old TV series called The Wild Wild West, which aired for four seasons on CBS between 1965 and 1969. The movie earned horrible reviews, resulting in a 38 on Metacritic and five Razzie awards, including Worst Screen Couple for Will Smith and Kevin Kline and Worst Picture.
9 The Alamo (2004): 47
The Alamo serves as a remake of the 1960 film of the same name starring legendary Western actor John Wayne. It tells the story of the Battle of the Alamo, an 1836 skirmish between the Republic of Texas and the Mexican Republic, resulting in an estimated 2,000 casualties and a Mexican victory.
The remake was distributed by Disney and starred the likes of Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton. It received decent reviews (resulting in a 47 on Metacritic) but it was greatly overshadowed at the box office by The Passion of the Christ.
8 The Magnificent Seven (2016): 54
If anything, 2016’s The Magnificent Seven contains an all-star cast. It includes Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, and Vincent D’Onofrio, among many others. It’s a remake of the 1960 classic of the same name which follows a group of outlaws who are tasked with defending the small village of Rose Creek from a gold tycoon.
It received decent reviews from critics, resulting in a Metascore of 54. However, it was more positively received by general movie viewers, as evident by its 6.5 user score and 6.9/10 IMDb score.
7 Rio Lobo (1970): 55
Rio Lobo was a collaboration between long-time creative partners John Wayne and director Howard Hawks. Released in 1970, Rio Lobo served as Hawks’ final movie before his death in 1977 at the age of 81. The two had previously collaborated on classic Westerns like El Dorado and the similarly-titled Rio Bravo. In fact, many consider Rio Lobo a loose remake of Rio Bravo.
The movie has only accumulated seven reviews on Metacritic, sitting at 55. Unfortunately, it served as a disappointing swan song for the iconic Hawks-Wayne duo, even though there are certainly things to like within it.
6 Ned Kelly (2003): 56
Starring Heath Ledger as the legendary Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly is both a remake of the 1970 original (starring Mick Jagger of all people as Kelly) and an adaptation of the 1991 novel Our Sunshine.
The original film was not a success, proving a critical and commercial disappointment and being disowned by both the director and Mick Jagger. The 2003 remake was a bit more successful, grossing over $6 million at the box office and earning decent reviews, resulting in a 56 Metascore and two wins at that year’s Australian Film Institute Awards.
5 Maverick (1994): 62
Starring James Garner, Mel Gibson, and Jodie Foster, Maverick is a Western comedy about a con man who tries collecting money (through various means) to enter a poker game. It’s based on the comedy-drama TV series of the same name, which aired five seasons on ABC from 1957 to 1962.
The film was positively received, scoring 62 on Metacritic and earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design. It also grossed over $180 million worldwide, making it a certified box office success.
4 A Fistful Of Dollars (1964): 65
Now considered a classic, A Fistful of Dollars was both the first entry in the iconic Dollars Trilogy and the first movie to star Clint Eastwood. The movie was a huge success upon its release in 1964, popularizing Eastwood as an actor and launching the Spaghetti Western genre in America.
While not an official remake, many fans and critics agree that A Fistful of Dollars bears a huge resemblance to Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. In fact, the company behind Yojimbo won a lawsuit against A Fistful of Dollars, delaying its release in North America and winning an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.
3 The Magnificent Seven (1960): 74
As good as the 2016 remake is, it has nothing on the 1960 original. Like A Fistful of Dollars, the 1960 Magnificent Seven was a remake of an Akira Kurosawa film. Unlike A Fistful of Dollars, this one earned permission and was not subjected to a lawsuit.
The Magnificent Seven is a Wild West-style remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, which is often regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made. It has a higher Metascore than its 2016 counterpart at 74.
2 3:10 To Yuma (2007): 76
When it comes to modern Western remakes, it doesn’t get much better than 3:10 to Yuma. The movie stars Russell Crowe as a psychotic outlaw and Christian Bale as a poor farmer who delivers him to the titular 3:10 to Yuma train in exchange for an exorbitant sum of money.
It’s a remake of the 1957 film starring Glenn Ford, itself based on the Elmore Leonard short story “Three-Ten to Yuma.” It received positive reviews from critics, scoring 76 on Metacritic and earning Oscar nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Original Score.
1 True Grit (2010): 80
There’s really no going wrong with the Coen brothers. While technically an adaptation of Charles Portis’s novel, True Grit is also a remake of the 1969 original starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell, and Kim Darby. Not only is True Grit the greatest Western remake, but it’s also one of the greatest modern Westerns, period.
It earned great reviews (80 on Metacritic) and was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Actress (Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld), Best Director, and Best Picture.
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