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Knowing I have been feeling under the weather, a friend suggested that we play the Top Ten Westerns game.  The truth is that I hate the Top Ten Westerns game. I don’t hate it in the same way I hate green beans.  I hate the game in the same way, well, that I used to hate going to the record store with only $20 in my pocket.  I never had enough money to buy all the albums I wanted and attempting to pare the list down to my budget was like to drive me insane.  The same is true of trying to choose my top ten westerns:  There are simply too many good films to choose from, too many actors to choose between, and too many instances where one is pressured to choose what is good over what is enjoyable.  You see? my list is always liable to change depending on what mood I am in and what was most recently on the westerns channel.

Because I hate the top ten westerns game, I decided not to play.  However, I am laid up with nothing else to do.  But I don’t want to add insanity to back pain, so I am not going to play by the top ten rules. Rather, I am going through my list of Western stars and choosing my top three or four favorite of their films.  I am deliberately choosing my favorites in order to avoid dry discussions about pacing, scene structure, or character development.

So, because I have nothing better to do, I offer you my list of my favorite three or four westerns by…

John Wayne

I always find it odd that Wayne is THE western film star and yet whenever I read top ten lists of western films, Wayne’s films are usually left off the list.  This version of the game is great for Wayne fans, as they get to discuss more than “the Searchers.”

  1. The Searchers
  2. True Grit
  3. El Dorado

Randolph Scott

This game is great for Scott fans, like myself, who will never see a Scott film on the top ten list

  1. The Tall T
  2. Buchanan Rides Alone
  3. Comanche Station
  4.  Ride Lonesome

Clint Eastwood

Eastwood gets more credit than I think he deserves, mainly because, most folks having discussions about westerns right now are my age and grew up with Eastwood and his man with no name.  I think my first Eastwood western was Hang ’em High.  My family went to the drive in movie to see that film and another feature, which I can’t recall right now.

  1. Hang ‘Em High
  2. Fist Full Of Dollars
  3. Outlaw Josie  Wales
  4. Pale Rider

Joel McCrea

  1. Ride The High Country
  2. The Virginian
  3. Ramrod

James Stewart

I really had trouble with this one as I believe the Anthony Mann series of Westerns with Stewart are some of the best ever made.  There were more than three Mann/Stewart westerns, so now I am faced with the record store dilemma: too many choices and not enough money.  Nevertheless…

  1. Naked Spur
  2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  3. The Man From Laramie
  4. Bend In The River

Henry Fonda

  1. The Ox-Bow Incident
  2. My Darling Clementine
  3. Warlock

Gary Cooper

  1. High Noon
  2. Along Came Jones
  3. The Westerner

There are a couple names missing on this list.  Glenn Ford is absent as is Lee Van Cleef. Gene Autry, one of my favorites, is also absent along with William Boyd.  I will save those for round two of this version of the Top Ten Westerns game.  Now it’s your turn.

About Author

Joseph C. Phillips

Joseph C. Phillips was born on January 17, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, USA as Joseph Connor Phillips. He is an actor, known for General Hospital (1994), The Cosby Show (1984) and Strictly Business (1991). He has been married to Nicole since 1994. They have three children.

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