The heyday of the Hollywood Western may have been over a half-century ago, but the genre has never truly gone away. If anything, recent years have given more prestige to cowboy movies. Though fewer Westerns have been produced over the past decade, their quality has generally been higher so as to justify their continued existence in a landscape filled with superhero movies and other special effects extravaganzas. As a result, the 2010s produced a number of Westerns that will no doubt go down as some of the greatest in the history of the genre, as you’ll see below in our picks for the ten best Westerns of the 2010s.
1. True Grit (2010)
The Coen Brothers’ remake of the 1969 John Wayne film is arguably better than the original, having garnered an impressive ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
2. Rango (2011)
Yes, it’s a cartoon about a lizard. It also happens to be an extremely well-done classic Western tale with the distinction of being one of only two non-Disney/Pixar films in the decade to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
3. Django Unchained (2012)
If you like your Westerns violent, look no further than this anti-slavery revenge opus from Quentin Tarantino.
4. Bone Tomahawk (2015)
If you thought Django Unchained was too violent, then you won’t want to go anywhere near this ultra-gory Kurt Russell vehicle. Despite its grotesque nature, however, this horror-Western was still very well-received and is one of the most inventive examples of the genre in recent memory.
5. The Hateful Eight (2015)
This was the decade in which Tarantino fell in love with the Western, as exemplified by this film, his follow-up to Django. It’s an entirely different type of film from its predecessor, however, trading Django‘s vengeance-driven action for a tense and twist-filled slow-burn.
6. The Revenant (2015)
Gorgeously-filmed with some of the most incredible-looking scenes of any film in the decade, this survival-Western fittingly won the Oscars for both Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu) and Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), though it is best remembered for finally netting star Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar win for Best Actor.
7. Slow West (2015)
This movie definitely flew under the radar compared to most (if not all) of the other entries on this list, but it shouldn’t be discounted. It is simultaneously the most traditional Western on this list and one of the most inventive, thanks to its use of humor.
8. Hell or High Water (2016)
This film may be set in the modern-day as opposed to the Old West, but its story about a pair of outlaw bank robber brothers on the run from an over-the-hill lawman is as Western as it gets.
9. The Sisters Brothers (2018)
A brilliantly-acted and well-cast classic Western tale with a modern edge, people are going to be talking about The Sisters Brothers as a modern classic very soon — if they aren’t already.
10. Deadwood: The Movie (2019)
The acclaimed HBO Western series returned for a sequel movie in 2019, and it was well worth the wait. Clearly, there need to be more Westerns on TV (like the Weekly Western on CHARGE!, check your local listings here).