Entertainment The Greatest Western Movie Stars  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
203.3k votes 13.7k voters 578.5k views 168 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.
Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page. Prices & inventory are accurate as of publish date.
list ordered by

1
5,432 1,058
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, better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director, and producer. An Academy Award-winner, Wayne was among the top box office draws for ...more

2
5,513 1,106
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
age 88
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. is an American actor, film director, producer, musician, and politician. He rose to international fame with his role as the Man with No Name in Sergio ...more

3
2,510 838
Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
RodneyBlair added Dec. at 60 (1901-1961)
Gary Cooper was an American film actor known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style and screen performances. His career spanned thirty-six years, from 1925 to 1961, and ...more

4
2,938 978
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
mch418 added Dec. at 89 (1908-1997)
James Maitland "Jimmy" Stewart was an American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive drawl voice and down-to-earth persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many ...more

5
2,524 905
Lee Marvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added Dec. at 63 (1924-1987)
Lee Marvin was an American film and television actor. Known for his distinctive voice, white hair and 6 ft 2 in stature, Marvin initially appeared in supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers ...more

6
2,581 1,002
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 "Lee" Van Cleef, Jr., was an American film actor who appeared mostly in Westerns and action pictures. His sharp features and piercing eyes led to his being cast as a ...more

7
2,495 1,035
Charles Bronson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added Dec. at 82 (1921-2003)
Charles Bronson was an American film and television actor. He starred in films such as Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Rider on the Rain, ...more

8
2,952 971
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
PeteBoyle added age 88
Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, six Golden Globes, and has multiple nominations and one win each of the BAFTA, Screen ...more

9
2,404 950
James Arness is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 88 (1923-2011)
James King Arness was an American actor, best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon in the television series Gunsmoke for 20 years. Arness has the distinction of having played the role of ...more

10
1,951 1,037
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 was an American film and stage actor with a career spanning five decades. He made his Hollywood debut in 1935, and his career gained momentum after his Academy Award-nominated ...more

11
2,196 763
Randolph Scott is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
RodneyBlair added Dec. at 89 (1898-1987)
George Randolph Scott was an American film actor whose career spanned from 1928 to 1962. As a leading man for all but the first three years of his cinematic career, Scott appeared in a variety ...more

12
2,238 969
Steve McQueen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 50 (1930-1980)
Terence Steven "Steve" McQueen was an American actor. Called "The King of Cool", his "anti-hero" persona, developed at the height of the Vietnam era counterculture, ...more

13
2,269 804
James Garner is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 86 (1928-2014)
James Garner was an American actor, voice artist, and comedian. He starred in several television series over more than five decades, including such popular roles as Bret Maverick in the 1950s ...more

14
2,097 659
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
RodneyBlair added Dec. at 78 (1918-1996)
Ben "Son" Johnson, Jr. was an American stuntman, world champion rodeo cowboy and actor. The son of a rancher, Johnson arrived in Hollywood to deliver a consignment of horses for a ...more

15
1,883 687
Jack Elam is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 83 (1920-2003)
William Scott Elam, known as Jack Elam, was an American film and television actor best known for his numerous roles as villains in Western films and, later in his career, comedies. His most ...more

16
2,401 566
Sam Elliott is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
age 75
Samuel Pack "Sam" Elliott is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers. ...more

17
1,732 852
Chuck Connors is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 71 (1921-1992)
Kevin Joseph "Chuck" Connors was an American actor, writer and professional basketball and baseball player. He is one of only 12 athletes in the history of American professional sports ...more

18
1,671 581
Walter Brennan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
mch418 added Dec. at 80 (1894-1974)
Walter Andrew Brennan was an American actor. Brennan is one of three men to win three acting Oscars, having won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1936, 1938 and 1940.

19
1,559 556
Glenn Ford is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
IrinaGinger79 added Dec. at 90 (1916-2006)
Glenn Ford was a Canadian-born American actor from Hollywood's Golden Era with a career that lasted over 50 years. Despite his versatility, Ford was best known for playing ordinary men in ...more

20
1,606 660
Robert Mitchum is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 80 (1917-1997)
Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was an American film actor, author, composer and singer. Mitchum rose to prominence for his starring roles in several classic films noir, and is generally ...more

21
1,619 762
Clint Walker is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
age 91
Norman Eugene Walker, known as Clint Walker, is a retired American actor. He is perhaps best known for his cowboy role as "Cheyenne Bodie" in the ABC/Warner Brothers western television ...more

22
1,629 702
Richard Boone is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 64 (1917-1981)
Richard Allen Boone was an American actor who starred in over 50 films and was notable for his roles in Westerns and for starring in the TV series Have Gun – Will Travel.

23
1,458 324
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
age 99
Maureen O'Hara is an Irish film actress and singer. She was first educated at the John Street West Girls' School near Thomas Street in Dublin's Liberties Area. From the age of 6–17 she trained ...more

24
1,716 786
Roy Rogers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
Dec. at 87 (1911-1998)
Roy Rogers was an American singer and actor. Known as the "King of the Cowboys", he appeared in over 100 films and numerous radio and television episodes of The Roy Rogers Show. His ...more

25
1,362 507
Kirk Douglas is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Western Movie Stars
JasonWrayAnderson added age 103
Kirk Douglas is an American film and stage actor, film producer and author. After an impoverished childhood with immigrant parents and six sisters, he had his film debut in The Strange Love of ...more