20 Western Movies You Must See Before You Die

"Howdy, partner."

It's often thought that there is no place left for the western genre within the realms of today's cinema scene: for many, the genre has been worked every way that it can, and has been left only suitable for the likes of parody. To that, we say: "No freakin' way." After all, the western genre has gifted us with some of the best and most famous movies of all-time - and going by recent motion pictures like True Grit and Django Unchained, there's still life left in the old girl. Which is to say, the western genre is to be appreciated, no deplored, for its contributions to cinema. After all, a western is rarely just "a western" - filmmakers have been using the genre as a means of exploring social issues of all kinds ever since the first one came along, merely using the time frame as a backdrop. For a period, the western genre was the most popular genre in Hollywood, after all; people would flock to the theatres, inspired by the scope, the danger and the adventure, to watch big names like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Join us, then, as we look back across the span of the western genre to bring you our picks for the essential 20...

Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.