The movie opens with an orange sky silhouetting a simple house and a man toiling the soil under a leafless tree. The name of the movie is Unforgivien, one of the most popular Western movies that has been released and its just became available to watch on Netflix.
After watching Unforgiven, again, last night on Netflix I was curious to see what other great Western movies were available to watch but unlike my last article on this topic I wasn’t going to limit myself to free services, but rather the more popular services that are available on almost any streaming device. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon as well as the free ones like Tubi and Crackle.
The rules were simple, it needed to be available to watch for free or part of the subscription, so in the case of Amazon Prime and Vudu to make it onto this list you didn’t need to pay extra for watching it.
10. City Slickers
Not a western in the literal definition of the genre, I contend this still qualifies.
Three men going through a mid life crises to go to a dude ranch where they pay to take a heard of cattle cross country like during the days of the old west and along the way the ‘City Slickers’ find out what they are made of when their trail boss dies.
You can watch City Slickers as well as City Slickers II on Vudu for free.
I’ve yet to see this movie despite its appearance on several “best of lists”, but will be checking it out on Hulu once this article is written. Joan Crawford plays a saloon owner who gets accused of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob.
You can join me as I watch it for the first time on Hulu or Amazon.
Another popular movie with lovers of the Western genre and easy to find on Roku if not other streaming devices. John Wayne had been making B western movies for several years before this movie came out, but John Ford felt that Wayne was ready to be a star. A group of individuals on a stagecoach are being chased by Indians.
7. The Sons of Katie Elder
Ranking as one of my favorite John Wayne movies, this is the story of four brothers who arrive in their Texas town for their mothers funeral. After arriving they discover that their mom had lost the ranch due to what looks like shady dealings by the Hastings family and resulted in the death of their father. My favorite scene is with Dean Martin and Michael Anderson in the bar, one of the funniest movie scenes I’ve ever watched.
The Sons of Katie Elder is available on Amazon Prime
6. Young Guns
You can watch Young Guns on Hulu and Netflix, Young Guns II is also available on Hulu.
Released in 1985, Keven Costner was given his role to make up for all of his scenes in The Big Chill (he played the guy who committed suicide resulting in all of the friends gathering together to morn his death. Some flashback scenes were filmed with him in it) ending up on the cutting room floor. This was his first Western movie in a long list of successful Westerns including “Dances with Wolves” which got him several Oscars.
Four individuals who’s paths cross while on the way to Silverado end up joining together to fight the bad guys in the town.
You can watch Silverado on Netflix
4. The Shootist
Wayne plays an aging gunslinger who is told that he has cancer so he goes to a doctor friend of his for a second opinion. When the diagnoses is confirmed he is given medication to help with the pain and is content in living out his final days reading a newspaper he purchased all the way through sitting in a rocking chair at a boarding house, but the town sheriff isn’t quite pleased having him in town and some of the individuals he managed to alienate as well as people wanting to make a name for themselves have other plans for him.
This was John Wayne’s final film as he died of cancer three years after this film was released.
You can watch The Shootist on Amazon Prime.
A small Mexican village being terrorized by some bandits ask a man to help them purchase some guns but he suggests they hire gunmen to defend the town instead. Loosely based on the Japanese movie The Seven Samurai, this classic movie was remade here in the United States as a western, not once, but twice.
2. High Noon
You’ll find this 1952 B&W classic movie on every single favorite western movie list, and for good reason too. Gary Cooper is a sheriff in a small town who has just wed Grace Kelly only to find out that a gang of killers is coming into town. He attempts to get the men in the town to help him but none of them are willing. All of the action is in the last five minutes when the gunfight takes place, but the real tension of the movie is knowing that the train is due at noon and the leader of the pack is on it so he scrambles to get his help while looking at the clock knowing how much time he has left.
You can watch High Noon on Amazon Prime and Hulu
Clint Eastwood’s last western movie to date and is often near the top on favorite western flicks list. A former gunslinger who had a reputation for “killing women and children” has spent the past several years trying to live the life of a farmer and ‘turn away from his wicked ways’ due to the love of his deceased wife but gets convinced by a young kid to go after the bounty placed on two cowboys who cut up a prostitute. This is the type of movie that spends all of its time in an ethical gray area, the sheriff is clearly abusive but hes trying to maintain law and order in his community, the prostitutes who put out the bounty the two cowboys ain’t exactly what one would call the pillars of the community so justice eludes them causing them to go out and extract it themselves and William Munny’s (Clint Eastwood) former side kick, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman), goes with him on this venture and discovers that he no longer has what it takes to end a mans life while Munny clearly has reservations taking on this last job.
Unforgiven can be seen on Netflix
The Proud Rebel, Charro and McLintock can be watched on The Roku Channel even without a Roku. Other well known and popular westerns are also available on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime for the viewing if you subscribe to those services.