Entertainment

The Best 1940s Western Movies  

Ranker Film
10.8k votes 1k voters 11.9k views 50 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite Western films that were released in the 1940s.

The Western genre is truly what took movies to new heights, and in the '40s, Western movies took over cineplexes as a form of escapism during a tumultuous time in global politics. These are the best 1940s Western movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. Some of these great 1940s Westerns featured lone riders saving the day, some of the other classic films on this list leaned more towards comedy rather than drama.

What movies can you expect to see on this best 40s Western movies list? Though he'd been acting for decades, some of John Wayne's most popular films came out in the 1940s. Dark Command and A Lady Takes a Chance are two great Wayne Westerns that were released in the decade. My Darling Clementine is another great Western from the 1940s. The Wild West got the funny treatment when The Marx Brothers starred in the 1940 film, Go West. Other good films that appear on this top 1940s Western movies list include The Ox-Bow Incident, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Blood on the Moon.

Do you have a favorite 1940s Western? Make sure to vote up your favorites!
list ordered by
1
My Darling Clementine is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Henry Fonda, Walter Brennan, Linda Darnell
My Darling Clementine, a 1946 film, regarded as one of the best Western movies made by Director John Ford, stars Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp during the period leading up to Gunfight at the OK ...more
2
Red River is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters
Red River is a 1948 Western film directed and produced by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, giving a fictional account of the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas ...more
3
The Treasure of the Sierra Mad... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
anne flynn added Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Barton MacLane
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is an American dramatic adventurous neo-western written and directed by John Huston. It is a feature film adaptation of B. Traven's 1927 novel of the same name, ...more
4
The Westerner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Dana Andrews
The Westerner is a 1940 American film directed by William Wyler and starring Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, and Doris Davenport. Written by Niven Busch, Stuart N. Lake, and Jo Swerling, the film ...more
5
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
John Wayne, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is a 1949 Technicolor Western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. The academy award winning film was the second of Ford's Cavalry trilogy films. With a ...more
6
Fort Apache is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Ward Bond
Fort Apache is a 1948 American Western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda. The film was the first of the director's "cavalry trilogy" and was followed ...more
7
The Ox-Bow Incident is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Margaret Hamilton
The Ox-Bow Incident is a 1943 American western film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews and Mary Beth Hughes, and featuring Anthony Quinn, William Eythe, Harry ...more
8
Blood on the Moon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston
Blood on the Moon is a 1948 RKO black-and-white "psychological" western directed by Robert Wise with cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca. The film, starring Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel ...more
9
Duel in the Sun is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Orson Welles, Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones
Duel in the Sun is a Technicolor 1946 Western film directed by King Vidor, produced and written by David O. Selznick, which tells the story of a Mestiza girl who goes to live with her caucasian ...more
10
Pursued is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
gerard flynn added Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Judith Anderson
Pursued is a 1947 film that combines western film noir and psychological melodrama. The picture was directed by Raoul Walsh and features Teresa Wright, Robert Mitchum, Judith Anderson and Dean
11
The Return of Frank James is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
anne flynn added Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Jackie Cooper
The Return of Frank James is a 1940 western film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney. It is a sequel to Henry King's 1939 film Jesse James. Written by Sam Hellman, ...more
12
Northwest Passage is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Spencer Tracy, Walter Brennan, Robert Young
Northwest Passage is a 1940 film in Technicolor, starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, Ruth Hussey, and others. The picture is based on a novel by Kenneth Roberts titled ...more
13
They Died with Their Boots On is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
anne flynn added Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, Anthony Quinn
This film is a 1941 American western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Written by Æneas MacKenzie and Wally Kline, the film is a highly ...more
14
Yellow Sky is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, Richard Widmark
Yellow Sky is a 1948 American western film directed by William A. Wellman. The story is believed to be loosely adapted from William Shakespeare's The Tempest. A band of outlaws flee after a bank ...more
15
Ramrod is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
iknowwhatawesternis added Veronica Lake, Joel McCrea
Ramrod is a 1947 Western film directed by André De Toth. This cowboy drama from Hungarian director De Toth was the first of several films based on the stories of Western author Luke ...more
16
3 Godfathers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
John Wayne, Ward Bond, Harry Carey
3 Godfathers is a 1948 American Western film directed by John Ford and filmed primarily in Death Valley, California. The screenplay, written by Frank S. Nugent and Laurence Stallings, is based ...more
17
The Outlaw is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Jane Russell, Walter Huston, Thomas Mitchell
The Outlaw is a 1943 American Western film, directed by Howard Hughes and starring Jane Russell. The supporting cast includes Jack Buetel, Thomas Mitchell, and Walter Huston. Hughes also ...more
18
Virginia City is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott
Virginia City is a 1940 American Western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, Randolph Scott, and a mustachioed Humphrey Bogart in the role of the real-life ...more
19
Santa Fe Trail is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Ronald Reagan, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn
Santa Fe Trail is a 1940 American western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey and Ronald Reagan. Written by Robert Buckner, the film is ...more
20
Angel and the Badman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey
Angel and the Badman is a 1947 American Western film written and directed by James Edward Grant and starring John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey and Bruce Cabot. The film is about an injured ...more
21
San Antonio is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
gerard flynn added Errol Flynn, Monte Blue, Alexis Smith
San Antonio is a 1945 Western Technicolor film starring Errol Flynn and Alexis Smith. The movie was written by W. R. Burnett and Alan Le May, and directed by David Butler as well as uncredited ...more
22
Western Union is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
Robert Young, John Carradine, Randolph Scott
Western Union is a 1941 American Western film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Robert Young, Randolph Scott, and Dean Jagger. Filmed in Technicolor on location in Arizona and Utah, Western ...more
23
Colorado Territory is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
anne flynn added Dorothy Malone, Virginia Mayo, Joel McCrea
Colorado Territory is a 1949 American Western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, and Dorothy Malone. Written by Edmund H. North and John Twist, and based on ...more
24
Billy the Kid is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
gerard flynn added Robert Taylor, Gene Lockhart, Brian Donlevy
Billy the Kid is a 1941 American color remake of the 1930 film of the same name. The film features Robert Taylor as Billy and Brian Donlevy as a fictionalized version of Pat Garrett renamed ...more
25
Albuquerque is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 1940s Western Movies
iknowwhatawesternis added Lon Chaney, Jr., Randolph Scott
Albuquerque is a 1948 American Western directed by Ray Enright and starring Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton, George "Gabby" Hayes, and Lon Chaney, Jr.. Based on the novel Dead Freight ...more