I had a great time compiling, co-writing and editing this Stuff.tv movie list of the 25 best Western movies ever – an opportunity to make use of all that work I did on the UCD MA in Film Studies course.
Naturally, it’s going up to mark the UK release of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, due out this week – which its director insists is actually a “Southern” rather than a Western, given its unconventional setting of the antebellum South. But we figured, what the hell, it’s got cowboy hats and horses and six-guns in it.
With Django Unchained, Tarantino’s drawn inspiration from further afield than the classic Westerns I’ve highlighted in the Stuff.tv list – for those wanting to dig a little deeper into the Italian spaghetti Westerns that influenced QT, this New York Times article is an excellent place to start.
Hopefully, Django Unchained will spur Hollywood into reviving the genre – at the moment the only other Western on the horizon is Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp’s popcorn actioner The Lone Ranger (which I’m actually rather looking forward to, despite the naysayers). Maybe the long-delayed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian will finally get off the ground.
One thing’s for sure, though – the Western has been written off time and time again, only to return with a vengeance. This uniquely American genre is definitely not riding off into the sunset any time soon.