Western Movies – Sub-genres

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Western Movies – Sub-genres

Western Movies – Sub-genres turns out to be a large subject History Riders, perhaps more than many of us knew. Here is a relatively complete listing of the numerous Sub-genres and some examples of the movies that belong to them. Most of the movies noted here, are not on the Movies page in the References Section. I doubt everyone will agree with all of it, but this will give us a place to start. If you come up with a new genre or a movie that you think should be listed here, let me know… – Doc
P.S. There are some true jewels noted here… and some real trash as well. – Doc

Acid Westerns
such as:
The Shooting
 (1966)directed by Monte Hellman
El Topo
(The Mole) (1970) directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Greaser’s Palace (1972) directed by Robert Downey Sr.

Australian Westerns
Often featuring Indigenous Australians in the role Native Americans.
such as:
Robbery under Arms (1957) directed by Jack Lee.
Inn of the Damned (1975) directed by Terry Bourke.
Journey among Women (1977) directed by Tom Cowan.
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) directed by Fred Schepisi.
The Proposition (2005) directed by John Hillcoat.

Sweet Country (2018) directed by Warwick Thornton
see also:
Meat pie Westerns – below

Charro, Cabrito or Chili Westerns
A standard feature of Mexican cinema since the 1930s. Usually about horsemen in rural Mexican society, displaying a set of cultural concerns very different from the Hollywood narrative (1930′ – 40’s). However, in the 1950’s – 60’s, the overlap between these films and American Westerns became more apparent. Charro Westerns, often feature musical stars as well as action.
such as:
Los cuatro Juanes
(1966) directed by Miguel Zacarías.
El pistolero desconocido (1967) directed by Miguel M. Delgado.
El tigre de Santa Julia (1973) directed by Alejandro Gamboa.

Comedy Westerns
such as:
Along Came Jones (1945) directed by Stuart Heisler
in which Gary Cooper spoofed his Western persona.
Wk. 09, 03/02/1987 – Gary Cooper
The Sheepman (1958) directed by George Marshall
with Glenn Ford poking fun at himself.
Wk 32, 08/07/1957 – Glen Ford
Cat Balou (1965) directed by Elliot Silverstein
with Lee Marvin in an Oscar winning dual role.
Wk. 35, 08/29/1987 – Lee Marvin

Contemporary or Neo-Westerns
such as:
Brokeback Mountain (2005) directed by Ang Lee
No Country for Old Men (2007) directed by Ethan and Joel Coen
Rango (2011) directed by Gore Verbinski

Electric Westerns
Featuring multiple performing rock bands in an otherwise American West setting.
such as:

Zachariah (1971) directed by George Englund
Hate Horses (2017) directed by Joe Black and Joe O’Neil

Epic Westerns
These are the best of the best, the trend setters and mold breakers. Some of ’em will also be found on other lists.
such as:
(1939) directed by John Ford
The Ox-Bow Incident
(1943) directed by William A Wellman
High Noon
(1952) directed by Fred Zinnemann
Shane (1953) directed by George Stevens
The Searchers (1956) directed by John Ford
The Magnificent Seven
(1960) directed by John Sturges
Ride the High Country
(1962) directed by Sam Peckinpah
Once Upon a Time in the West
(1968) directed by Sergio Leone
(1992) directed by Clint Eastwood
see also:
Wk. 35, 08/31/1973 – John Ford
Wk. 52, 12/28/1984 – Sam Peckinpah
Wk. 18, 04/30/1989 – Sergio Leone

Western genre films made in Western Europe.
Sometimes, but not necessarily, includes the Spaghetti Western subgenre (see below).
Sometimes Sauerkraut Westerns because they were made in Germany and shot in Yugoslavia
such as:
The Savage Guns (1962) directed by Michael Carreras
The Salvation (2010) directed by Kristian Levring
Brimstone (2010) directed by Martin Koolhovenand
The Dark Valley (2010) directed by Andreas Prochaska 

Pornographic Westerns
Using the Old West as a background for stories primarily focused on erotica.
Fortunately, the rarest of the Western subgenres. – Doc
such as:
Wild Gals of the Naked West (1962) directed by Russ Meyer
A Dirty Western (1975) directed by Joseph F. Robertson
Sweet Savage (1979) staring Aldo Ray

Fantasy Westerns
Westerns including fantasy or mythology as background settings or themes.
such as:
The Stand (1994) TV miniseries (4 episodes) directed by Stephen King
Kino’s Journey(2003) TV series) directed by Keiichi Sigsawa

Florida Westerns
aka: Cracker Westerns
Set in Florida during the Second Seminole War
such as:
Distant Drums (1951) directed by Raoul Walsh, starring Gary Cooper.

Greek Westerns
aka: fasolada Western (Greek: φασολάδα = bean soup, i.e. the so called national dish of Greece).
Blood on the Land (1966) directed by Vasilis Georgiadis

Horror Westerns
An old but still developing subgenre…
such as:
La vampira indiana
(1913) directed by Roberto Roberti in Italy – b&w, silent.
Curse of the Undead (1959) directed by Edward Dein
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966) directed by William Beaudine
Near Dark (1987) directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
From Dusk till Dawn (1996) directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Vampires (1998) directed by John Carpenter.
Ravenous (1999) directed by Antonia Bird
The Burrowers (2008) directed by J. T. Petty
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) directed by Timur Nuruakhitovich Bekmambetov
Bone Tomahawk (2016) directed by S. Craig Zahler

Martial arts Westerns  (Wuxia Western)
such as:
Billy Jack (1971) directed by Tom Laughlin
Red Sun (1971) directed by Terence Young
with Charles Bronson, ‎Ursula Andress and Toshiro Mifune (Ninja Western)
Kung Fu (1972-75) TV series on ABC
The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) directed by Tom Laughlin
Shanghai Noon (2000) directed by Thomas Ridgeway “Tom” Dey
staring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson (Comedy)

Meat pie Westerns
The Meat pie Western (a play on “Spaghetti Western”)
Western-style movies or a TV series set in Australia, especially the Australian Outback or the Australian Bush.
such as:
Rangle River (1936) directed by Clarence G. Badger
The Kangaroo Kid (1950) directed by Lesley Selander
The Sundowners (1960) directed by Fred Zinnemann
Ned Kelly (1970) directed by Tony Richardson
The Man from Snowy River (1982) directed by George T. Miller
The Proposition (2005) directed by John Hillcoat

North Westerns
The Northern genre is a subgenre of Westerns taking place in Alaska or Western Canada.
such as:
The Spoilers (1930) with Gary Cooper.
The Spoilers (1942)  with Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott and John Wayne.
The Far Country (1954) with James Stewart.
North to Alaska (1960) with John Wayne.
Death Hunt (1981) with Charles Bronson.
The Grey Fox (1983) with Richard Farnsworth.

Ostern Westerns
“Red Westerns” (Osterns), produced in Eastern Europe, were popular in Communist Eastern European countries. They usually portrayed the American Indians as oppressed people fighting for their rights, in contrast to American Westerns of the time, which frequently portrayed the Indians as villains. Frequently featuring Gypsies or Turkic people in the role of the Indians, due to the shortage of authentic Indians in Eastern Europe. Said to be a particular favorite of Joseph Stalin. American actor and singer Dean Reed, an expatriate who lived in East Germany, also starred in several Ostern films (Reed went to school at my high school in the 1950’s. – Doc.)
such as:
Die Söhne der großen Bärin (1966) directed by Josef Mach and starring Gojko Mitić.

Pornographic Westerns
Rarest of the Western subgenres, using the Old West as a background for stories primarily focused on erotica.
Nudie Cutie (1960) directed by Russ Meyer.
Wild Gals of the Naked West (1962) directed by Russ Meyer
A Dirty Western (1975) directed by Russ Meyer
Sweet Savage (1979) directed by Ann Perry and Charles Samples
staring Aldo Ray.

Ramen Westerns
Used to describe Western style films set in Asia.
The term is play on words using a national dish (Japan) as a prefix like Spaghetti Western or Meat Pie Western.
such as:
Tampopo (1985) directed by Juzo Itami (Japan)
Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) directed by Takashi Miike (Japan)
The Good, the Bad and the Weird (2008) Kim Jee-woon (South Korea)

Revisionist Westerns
Questioning and changing many traditional elements of Westerns.
Increasingly positive representation of Native Americans.
Giving women more powerful roles.
Questioning the simple hero-versus-villain dualism.
Questioning the morality of using violence to test one’s character or to prove oneself right.
such as:
Westward the Women (1951) directed by William A. Wellman
The Last Wagon (1956) directed by Delmer Daves
Ride the High Country (1962) directed by Sam Peckinpah
The Wild Bunch (1969) directed by Sam Peckinpah
A Man Called Horse (1970) direct by Richard Harris
Soldier Blue (1970) directed by Ralph Nelson
Man in the Wilderness (1971) directed by Richard C. Sarafianed
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) directed by Clinton Eastwood Jr.
Dances with Wolves (1990) directed by Kevin Costner
Dead Man
 (1995) directed by Jim Jarmusch

Science fiction Westerns
The science fiction Western places science fiction elements within a traditional Western setting.
such as:
The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956) directed by Edward Nassour
featuring cowboys, and dinosaurs done in stop-motion by Ray Harryhausen.
I cut school to go see this one! – Doc
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966) directed by William Beaudine
The Valley of Gwangi (1969) directed by Jim O’Connolly
featuring cowboys and dinosaurs.
Futureworld (1976) directed by Richard T. Heffron (sequel to Westworld)
Back to the Future Part III (1990) directed by Robert Zemeckis
Wild Wild West (1999) directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Cowboys & Aliens (2011) directed by Jon Favreau
Westworld (2016)  TV series (28 episodes)

Space Westerns
The Space Western or Space Frontier is a subgenre of science fiction which uses the themes and tropes of Westerns within science fiction stories. Subtle influences may include exploration of lawless frontiers in deep space, while more overt influences may feature literal cowboys in outer space who use ray guns and ride robotic horses.
such as:
Star Trek (1966) (TV show)
Gene Roddenberry originally pitched the concept as a “Wagon Train to the stars”.
Star Wars (1977) directed by George Lucas
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) directed by Jimmy T. Murakami and Roger Corman
a remake of The Magnificent Seven
Outland (1981) directed by Peter Hyams
a remake of High Noon)
Brave Starr (09/1987 – 02/1988) TV series – Qubo, Retro Television Network
Firefly (2002) TV series by Joss Whedon.
Serenity (2005) directed by Steven Knight
based on the Firefly TV series).
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) directed by George Lucas
Star Wars (2019) directed by J.J. Abrams
The Mandalorian (2019) Star Wars TV series

Singing Cowboy Westerns
such as:
Numerous offerings by Gene Autry, Eddie Dean
and Roy Rogers
Wk. 40, 10/02/1998 – Gene Autry
Wk. 27, 07/04/1999 – Eddie Dean
Wk. 27, 07/06/1998 – Roy Rogers

Snow Westerns
Set in the U.S. during mid to late winter.
such as:
The Great Silence (1968) directed by Sergio Corbucci
The Hateful Eight
(2015) directed by Quentin Tarantino

Spaghetti Westerns
Italian Western or Macaroni Western (mostly in Japan). Founded and heavily influenced by the style and multiple box-office successes of Sergio Leone*, a new, broad subgenre** of Western films emerged in the mid-1960s. The term was used because most of these Westerns were produced and directed by Italians and usually produced in Italy
such as:
Riffle Bill, le roi de la prairie
(1908) directed by Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset
French production. Silent, b&w, 5 episodes.
Girl of the Golden West/Una signora dell’Ovest (1942) directed by Carl Koch – Italy – b&w
Buffalo Bill a Roma (1950) directed by Giuseppe Accatino – Italy
Villi Pohjola (1955) directed by Aarne Tarkas – b&w – Finnish production
Juanito/3 Kerle geh’n durch dick und dünn (1960) directed by Fernando Palacios
Spanish/Argentine/West German production.
A fistful of Dollars (1964) directed by Sergio Leone
which starred American actor Clint Eastwood.
A Few Dollars More (1965) directed by Sergio Leone (sequel)
which starred American actor Clint Eastwood.
see also:
*Wk. 18, 04/30/1989 – Sergio Leone

Weird Westerns
The Weird Western subgenre blends elements of a classic Western with other elements.
Der Kaiser von Kalifornien/The Emperor of California (1936) directed by Luis Trenker – Nazi Germany
Western Religion (2015), by writer and director James O’Brien
introduces the devil into a traditional wild west setting.

For other entries on Western Movies in Old West Daily Reader
The Pretenders Index – Movies
Quotes Index – Movies and TV Quotes

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