GENERAL TOPICS > Books & Movies

Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies

(1/3) > >>

Coal Creek Griff:
It’s kind of an idle mental discussion, but I thought that it might be interesting.

I was suffering from a bout of insomnia recently and I was thinking through the western movies that I know and trying to decide which are the most “accurate”.  Of course, “accurate” can be hard to define, but I was thinking in terms of clothing/equipment as well as attitudes and behavior of the characters.  For example, there are some western movies from, say the 1960s, where the characters have definitely ‘60s attitudes and perspectives which would have been unthinkable in the 1880s.  There are many fine western movies where the female characters wear men’s clothes (e.g. trousers) without comment, when in reality it would have been considered at least scandalous and morally corrupt if not illegal.  And, of course, we all know the movies set in the 1860s when the characters are using 1890s-era firearms.

Some excellent movies combine many aspects that are not historically accurate.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid comes to mind: clothing wrong, gunleather wrong, hairstyles wrong and attitudes most certainly wrong.  It’s a fun movie, but wouldn’t make my list of “accurate”.

Movies, by nature, often include events or characters which would be at least highly unlikely, but a truly, completely accurate film would probably be rather boring – farmers farming, cowboys cowboying, lawmen rattling doorknobs at night.  We have to allow the film makers the opportunity to “spice it up” a little to add interest.

With all of that in mind, what would you suggest as being some of the most “accurate” western films?  Here are a few that I came up with.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford with Brad Pitt.  They seemed to try hard to capture the feel of the time, even showing how cold it could be inside a house in the winter time.  I’m not usually a huge Brad Pitt fan, but I thought that his portrayal of Jesse James was chilling.

Will Penny with Charlton Heston seems fairly accurate (except for the roving family of psychotic, Bible quoting killers).  Again, I have to give the film makers some license in making an interesting story.

The Big Trail with John Wayne.  Certainly, the wagon train portions are pretty impressive in capturing what it must have been like.  Most of the weapons and equipment seem correct to the time period.  The clothing and styles seem right, for example the married women wear their hair up and don’t wear trousers.

Conagher with Sam Elliott seems like a possibility.  The characters and pacing seem right, as does the plot of the woman and children being stranded with the unexpected death of the husband/father.  Again, I have to excuse a few attitudes; when the bad guys have a chance to kill the hero, they decide to let him live and instead leave the area because they have so much respect for him.  I suspect that bad guys in the old west would have taken advantage of the opportunity, but it kind of ruins the movie if the hero dies halfway through the story.  Katherine Ross wears the wrong hairstyle, I believe, and I don't think that she would be so quick to enter a saloon as portrayed at the end of the film.  Overall, though, I feel that it ranks pretty highly.

There must be more, but these come to mind immediately.  What other westerns would you consider to be particularly “accurate” in some way?

Oddly, a few days after I was thinking about this, Google suggested an article on nearly the same subject.  Frankly I haven’t really read the article, but I was interested to scroll down through the movies that they suggested.  There is a little overlap with my short list above and I don’t necessarily agree with all of their choices, but I’ll include the link for interest:

Hopefully some of you have suggestions -- maybe we'll find out about movies that we haven't seen!


Major 2:
True Grit, the one by the Coen Brothers

Coal Creek Griff:

--- Quote from: Major 2 on January 27, 2024, 04:32:13 PM ---True Grit, the one by the Coen Brothers

--- End quote ---

That's a good one.  I should probably have included Tombstone too; they certainly made an effort with costumes and props as well as dialogue, although the attitudes of the "Josie" character seem anachronistic to me.



River City John:
"The Long Riders" was a good one, too.

Black River Smith:
For me it would be:

The Missouri Breaks


Lonesome Dove

Unforgiven - (not the best as a likely story line)

Riders of the Purple Sage -  Very good all the way around

For Characters, clothing and accessories


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version
Powered by SMFPacks Ads Manager Mod
Powered by SMFPacks Likes Pro Mod
Powered by SMFPacks Menu Editor Mod