Entertainment

The Greatest Western Movie Stars  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
237k votes 15.5k voters 621.3k views 167 items

List Rules Vote up and add all of your favorite Western movie stars of all time.

All the greatest Western movie stars of television and film in one list of the best cowboy actors. Some of these top Western characters were featured in the greatest Western movies ever made, while others starred in classic TV series and mini-series. Whatever the medium, these are the best of the West(ern characters).

The TV Western series, a now almost-dead genre of entertainment that was once all the rage, attracting some of the biggest stars in Hollywood to roles where a horse was the supporting actor. These stars were some of the biggest and brightest, not only on TV, but in films as well. From Clint Eastwood (perhaps the biggest Western star of all time) to Steve McQueen (a true outlaw through and through), this list of famous old cowboys brings together the best of the genre in one Western stars list.

Who were the greatest Western movie stars? Who are the classic cowboys (and cowgirls) in Westerns? It's time to vote and find out! Vote up your favorite Western TV and movie stars, and vote down the ones you think should be run out of town. If your favorite Western movie star isn't on the list, make sure to add him or her.
list ordered by
1
John Wayne is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
mch418 added Dec. at 72 (1907-1979)
Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor, filmmaker, and Presidential ...more

More John Wayne

#112 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the Worldfeaturing The Best John Wayne Movies of All Time, Rankedlisted on Actors You May Not Have Realized Are Republican

2
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
age 89
Clinton Eastwood Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor, filmmaker, musician, and politician. After achieving success in the Western TV series Rawhide, he rose to international fame with ...more

More Clint Eastwood

#24 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the Worldfeaturing The Best Clint Eastwood Movieslisted on Actors You May Not Have Realized Are Republican

3
Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
RodneyBlair added Dec. at 60 (1901-1961)
Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American actor. Known for his natural, authentic, understated acting style and screen performances, Cooper's career ...more

More Gary Cooper

#15 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #104 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everlisted on Actors You May Not Have Realized Are Republican

4
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
mch418 added Dec. at 89 (1908-1997)
James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an American actor and military officer who is among the most honored and popular stars in film history. Known for his distinctive drawl, ...more

More James Stewart

#6 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing Every James Stewart Movie, Ranked Best to Worstlisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

5
Charles Bronson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added Dec. at 82 (1921-2003)
Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky; Lithuanian: Karolis Dionyzas Bučinskis; November 3, 1921 – August 30, 2003) was an American actor. He was often cast in the role of a police ...more

More Charles Bronson

#93 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #41 of 337 The Coolest Actors Ever #180 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

6
Lee Van Cleef is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added Dec. at 64 (1925-1989)
Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr. (January 9, 1925 – December 16, 1989), was an American actor best known for his roles in Spaghetti Westerns such as For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and ...more

More Lee Van Cleef

#135 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #89 of 337 The Coolest Actors Ever #370 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

7
Lee Marvin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added Dec. at 63 (1924-1987)
Lee Marvin (February 19, 1924 – August 29, 1987) was an American film and television actor.Known for his distinctive voice and premature white hair, Marvin initially appeared in supporting ...more

More Lee Marvin

#56 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #63 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everfeaturing The Best Lee Marvin Movies

8
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added age 88
Robert Selden Duvall (; born January 5, 1931) is an American actor and filmmaker whose career spans more than six decades. He has been nominated for seven Academy Awards (winning for his ...more

More Robert Duvall

#43 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #42 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Todayfeaturing The Best Robert Duvall Movies

9
Randolph Scott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
RodneyBlair added Dec. at 89 (1898-1987)
George Randolph Scott (January 23, 1898 – March 2, 1987) was an American film actor whose career spanned the years from 1928 to 1962. As a leading man for all but the first three years of his ...more

More Randolph Scott

#508 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #1,185 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment Historyfeaturing The Best Randolph Scott Movies

10
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added Dec. at 77 (1905-1982)
Henry Jaynes Fonda (May 16, 1905 – August 12, 1982) was an American film and stage actor with a career spanning five decades. Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in ...more

More Henry Fonda

#14 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #137 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everlisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

11
James Garner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 86 (1928-2014)
James Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner; April 7, 1928 – July 19, 2014) was an American actor, producer, and voice artist. He starred in several television series over more than five decades, ...more

More James Garner

#152 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #39 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everfeaturing Unbelievably Macho Tales Of James Garner From His Heyday

12
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
RodneyBlair added Dec. at 78 (1918-1996)
Ben "Son" Johnson Jr. (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) was an American stuntman, world champion rodeo cowboy, and Academy Award-winning actor. The son of a rancher, Johnson arrived in ...more

More Ben Johnson

#535 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #649 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

13
Steve McQueen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 50 (1930-1980)
Terrence Stephen McQueen (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980) was an American actor. McQueen was nicknamed "The King of Cool", and his antihero persona developed at the height of the ...more

More Steve McQueen

#47 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing The Best Steve McQueen Movieslisted on Famous Left Handed People

14
James Arness is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 88 (1923-2011)
James Arness (born James King Aurness, May 26, 1923 – June 3, 2011) was an American actor, best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon for 20 years in the CBS television series Gunsmoke. ...more

More James Arness

#659 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #798 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History #309 of 505 The Best TV Actors of All Time

15
Walter Brennan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
mch418 added Dec. at 80 (1894-1974)
Walter Andrew Brennan (July 25, 1894 – September 21, 1974) was an American actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1936, 1938, and 1940, making him one of only three male ...more
16
Glenn Ford is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
IrinaGinger79 added Dec. at 90 (1916-2006)
Gwyllyn Samuel Newton "Glenn" Ford (May 1, 1916 – August 30, 2006) was a Canadian-American actor whose career lasted more than 50 years. Although he played many different types of ...more

More Glenn Ford

#159 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #412 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment Historylisted on Actors You May Not Have Realized Are Republican

17
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
age 99
Maureen O'Hara (born Maureen FitzSimons; 17 August 1920 – 24 October 2015) was an Irish and American actress and singer. O'Hara was a famous redhead who was known for playing fiercely passionate ...more

More Maureen O'Hara

#155 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #21 of 938 The Best Actresses in Film Historylisted on Actors You May Not Have Realized Are Republican

18
Alan Ladd is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
slaft added Dec. at 51 (1913-1964)
Alan Walbridge Ladd (September 3, 1913 – January 29, 1964) was an American actor and film and television producer. Ladd found success in film in the 1940s and early 1950s, particularly in ...more

More Alan Ladd

#478 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #298 of 337 The Coolest Actors Ever #484 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

19
Robert Mitchum is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 80 (1917-1997)
Robert Charles Durman Mitchum (August 6, 1917 – July 2, 1997) was an American film actor, director, author, poet, composer, and singer. Mitchum rose to prominence for his starring roles in ...more

More Robert Mitchum

#24 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #52 of 337 The Coolest Actors Ever #68 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

20
Sam Elliott is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
age 75
Samuel Pack Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His lanky physique, thick moustache, deep and resonant voice and Western drawl have led to frequent roles as cowboys and ranchers. ...more

More Sam Elliott

#175 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #9 of 337 The Coolest Actors Ever #1,044 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

21
Kurt Russell is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
slaft added age 68
Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor. He began acting on television at the age of 12 in the western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–1964). In the late ...more

More Kurt Russell

#125 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing The 25+ Best Kurt Russell Movies of All Time, Rankedlisted on Actors You May Not Have Realized Are Republican

22
Jack Elam is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Jack Elam Dec. at 83 (1920-2003)
William Scott "Jack" Elam (November 13, 1920 – October 20, 2003), was an American film and television actor best known for his numerous roles as villains in Western films and, later in ...more

More Jack Elam

#530 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #413 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History #22 of 29 Celebrities Who You Never Knew Were Partially Blind

23
Slim Pickens is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 64 (1919-1983)
Louis Burton Lindley Jr. (June 29, 1919 – December 8, 1983), better known by his stage name Slim Pickens, was an American rodeo performer and film and television actor. During much of his ...more

More Slim Pickens

#243 of 337 The Coolest Actors Ever #246 of 432 Famous Tall Men Over 6'2

24
Kirk Douglas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
JasonWrayAnderson added age 103
Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch; Yiddish: ישור דניאלאָװיטש‎; December 9, 1916) is an American actor, filmmaker, and author. A centenarian, he is one of the last surviving stars of the film ...more

More Kirk Douglas

#50 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #68 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everfeaturing The Best Kirk Douglas Movies

25
Eli Wallach is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added Dec. at 99 (1915-2014)
Eli Herschel Wallach (; December 7, 1915 – June 24, 2014) was an American film, television and stage actor whose career spanned more than six decades, beginning in the late 1940s. Trained in ...more

More Eli Wallach

#133 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #97 of 337 The Coolest Actors Ever #397 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History