Stories about outlaws have been on screen since the advent of cinema, frequently taking place in the American Mid-West or West and typically in western films. They mostly honour men’s courage to act in defiance of authority and pursue their goals. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 outlaw films, and you must watch them.
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3:10 to Yuma (1957)
What it’s about: After an outlaw leader named Ben Wade is apprehended in a small village, his gang of outlaws doesn’t stop posing threats. Rancher Dan Evans is compelled to transport Wade to the closest town with a train station while maintaining secrecy. He will be transported to Yuma court. The soon-to-be revealed secret will force Evans and Wade to demonstrate which of them has the greatest guts and willpower.
The reason you should watch it is because it’s a great outlaw western. In particular, the main protagonist and antagonist, played by Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, as well as the connections between the characters in general, will be recognised for their excellent characterization. It is a classic among gangster films, and a remake was released in 2007.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
What it’s about: Clint Eastwood portrays Joe, a vagrant who travels to San Miguel, a small Mexican town near the US border, where he makes friends with Silvanito, the proprietor of the neighbourhood bar. He learns that two gangsters with their own gangs are in charge of the town. When offered to join the other gang after killing four members of the first one, Joe declines and soon finds himself working for both groups and pitting them against one another.
Reasons to watch it: This is one of Leone’s earliest films, and while there was space for development that he refined in his later films, it is nevertheless a classic among western films and has one of the most well-known outlaws ever.
Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969)
What it’s about: In this biographical crime thriller from the 1900s, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, the leaders of a band of outlaws, are introduced to us in Wyoming. They decide to travel to Bolivia because they are on the run following a failed train heist.
Why you should see it: Every movie enthusiast should watch this classic outlaw film. Knowing that it was based on actual occurrences makes it even more intriguing and exciting.
Django Unchained (2012)
What it’s about: A bounty hunter named King Schultz asks Jamie Foxx’s outstanding performance as Django, a slave, for assistance. Following Django’s assistance, the two stick together as they search for Django’s wife Broomhilda. Django and Schultz come up with a strategy to get close to the proprietor of the Mississippi-based plantation after learning where she was taken.
Why you should watch it: If you enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s direction, you should definitely watch this film. It features an intriguing plot, excellent screenwriting, even better casting, and introduces us to an outlaw who stands apart in some way from the norm.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)
What it’s about: Eastwood plays Blondie, The Good, a skilled shooter looking to make a few bucks. As long as he is paid, Van Cleef—also known as Angel Eyes, The Bad—is a true professional hitman. And Wallach plays Taco, The Ugly, a wanted criminal who teams up with Blondie after learning about the gold that has been concealed in a nearby graveyard. Given that Angel Eyes was the one who knew about the money but was unaware of its location and that they all now want to possess gold valued at $200,000, their odd partnership will make them Angel Eyes’ enemies.
Reasons to watch it: This action western starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach is one of Sergio Leone’s best films and biggest hits. It is one of the most enduring and adored outlaw films ever made and has influenced other subsequent films that deal with a related subject.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
What it’s about: Senator Ransom Stoddard shares his life narrative in this book, which began many years ago when he first moved to his hometown of Shinbone. He came back to attend his friend’s burial and is now beginning to recall what happened when he was asked to represent Valance, a local outlaw who had been terrorising the town at the time.
Why you should watch it: This is a classic western that served as a setting for films in which good triumphs over evil and strong characters are introduced. This one is especially well-known for the outstanding performances by James Stewart and John Wayne.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
What it’s about: Missouri farmer Josie Wales joins a Confederate guerilla but soon finds himself on the run from Union soldiers who massacred his family. Clint Eastwood directed and played in the lead role of this western.
Why you should watch it: This classic western, which depicts actual life, is one of the best ever made. As soon as we anticipate the end of the story, another surprise is delivered, and we are reminded that even if we are watching a movie, the situation is incredibly realistic and comparable to events that occur every day in our surroundings.
The Wild Bunch (1969)
What’s it about? This action western is about “the wild bunch,” a gang. They create the people of this age when the old American Old West is disappearing in 1913. They plan to travel to Mexico to complete their final task after an unsuccessful train office heist. In a little Mexican hamlet, they ultimately must make a dangerous last stand against their adversaries.
Reasons to watch it: In this film, character traits like honesty and loyalty are honoured. The plot is remarkable, and William Holden in particular gives a superb and unforgettable performance. It demonstrates the value of friendship and the necessity of always looking out for our friends.
What it’s about: This is the tale of a scarred prostitute seeking justice, and her coworkers are searching for the perpetrators of this horrifying act. The sheriff of the town, “Little Bill” Dagget, decides on a bounty for the killers’ heads. With his band of sidekicks, his former crime associate Ned Logan, and the young shooter “Schofield Kid,” Kansas hog farmer William Munny sets out on a mission to find them. Even while Munny is conscious that he is reverting to his former habits as a notorious bandit, he is also aware that he alone is responsible for his motherless children.
Reasons to watch it: This outstanding western film, directed by Clint Eastwood, tells the story of the intriguing events that occurred in Big Whiskey, a hazardous town in Wyoming. Another well-known outlaw film that consistently appears on lists about the subject.
Young Guns (1988)
What it’s about: The story takes place in New Mexico in 1878, when we meet a group of young shooters who are forced to work on John Tunstall’s ranch in an effort to civilise and teach them to read. They plan to exact revenge on him once he is dead, but Billy the Kid’s ambition and drive soon push them too far, turning them into the hunted.
Reasons to watch it: With an iconic cast of then-young and upcoming performers like Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, and many more, this is one of the most thrilling and enjoyable modern westerns. It serves as a wonderful memory of the prime time for American westerns.
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