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The Best Western Movies of the 1950s

Updated March 26, 2020 22.1k votes 1.8k voters 37.8k views63 items

List RulesVote up your favorite Western films that were released in the 1950s.

Sometimes you just need a little bit of the old heroes. The old American film heroes before rock 'n roll took over and changed how heroes, and masculinity in general were portrayed on screen. These are the best 1950s Western movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best 50s Western movies have a fairly wide array of plots for movies that are all tied to the same genre. Some great 1950s Westerns featured lone riders saving the day, while other good 50s Western movies included elements of comedy. A few top 1950s Western movies even featured romantic love stories.

What are some of the movies that you will find on this best 50s Western movies list? Man of the West, starring the great Gary Cooper, has to be one of the best Westerns of the 1950s or any era. Fun Fact: Cooper did his own horse-riding scenes in this classic film. John Wayne's Hondo is another good Western that was released in the 1950s.

The Western became a musical event when Oklahoma! came out in 1955. Other great films that you will find on this top 1950s Western movies list include The Searchers, High Noon, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Which '50s Western do you think belongs at No. 1 on this list? Give your favorite movies a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.
  • 1

    The Searchers

    John Wayne, Natalie Wood


    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Searchers is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, and starring John Wayne as a middle-aged veteran who spends years...  more

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  • 2

    High Noon

    Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper


    Directed byFred Zinnemann

    High Noon is a 1952 American Western film directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Gary Cooper. In nearly real time, the film tells the story of a town marshal forced to face a gang of killers by...  more

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  • 3


    Jack Palance, Jean Arthur


    Directed byGeorge Stevens

    Shane is a 1953 American Technicolor Western film from Paramount. It was produced and directed by George Stevens from a screenplay by A. B. Guthrie, Jr., based on the 1949 novel of the same name by...  more

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  • 4

    3:10 to Yuma

    Glenn Ford, Van Heflin


    Directed byDelmer Daves

    3:10 to Yuma is a 1957 American western film starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin and directed by Delmer Daves. The film was based on a 1953 short story by Elmore Leonard. In 2012, the film was...  more
  • 5

    The Man from Laramie

    James Stewart, Jack Elam


    Directed byAnthony Mann

    The Man from Laramie is a 1955 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, and Cathy O'Donnell. Written by Philip Yordan and Frank Burt,...  more
  • 6


    John Wayne, James Arness


    Directed byJohn Farrow, John Ford

    Hondo is a 1953 Warnercolor 3D Western film starring John Wayne and directed by John Farrow. The screenplay is based on the July 5, 1952 Collier's short story "The Gift of Cochise" by Louis L'Amour....  more
  • 7

    The Gunfighter

    Gregory Peck, Karl Malden


    Directed byHenry King

    The Gunfighter is a 1950 western film starring Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell and Karl Malden. This film was directed by Henry King. It was written by screenwriters William Bowers and...  more
  • 8

    Winchester '73

    James Stewart, Rock Hudson


    Directed byAnthony Mann

    Winchester '73 is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, and Stephen McNally. Written by Borden Chase and Robert L. Richards,...  more

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  • 9

    Seven Men from Now

    Lee Marvin, Gail Russell


    Directed byBudd Boetticher

    Seven Men from Now is a 1956 Western film directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Randolph Scott, Gail Russell, and Lee Marvin. The film was written by Burt Kennedy and produced by John Wayne's...  more
  • 10

    Rio Bravo

    John Wayne, Dean Martin


    Directed byHoward Hawks

    Rio Bravo is a 1959 American Western film produced and directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, and Ward Bond. Written by Jules...  more

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  • 11

    The Big Country

    Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck


    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    The Big Country is a 1958 American epic Western film directed by William Wyler and starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston and Burl Ives. The supporting cast features...  more

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  • 12

    The Naked Spur

    James Stewart, Janet Leigh


    Directed byAnthony Mann

    The Naked Spur is a 1953 Technicolor American western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Janet Leigh, and Robert Ryan. Written by Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom, the film is...  more
  • 13

    Day of the Outlaw

    Tina Louise, Burl Ives


    Directed byAndré de Toth

    Day of the Outlaw is a 1959 Western film starring Robert Ryan, Burl Ives, and Tina Louise. It was directed by André De Toth; this was his last Western feature film....  more
  • 14

    The Tall T

    Maureen O'Sullivan, Randolph Scott


    Directed byBudd Boetticher

    The Tall T is a 1957 American Western film directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Randolph Scott, Richard Boone, and Maureen O'Sullivan. Adapted by Burt Kennedy from the short story "The Captives"...  more
  • 15

    Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

    Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper


    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a 1957 American film starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday, based on a real event which took place on October 26, 1881. The picture was...  more

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  • 16

    The Fastest Gun Alive

    Glenn Ford, Jeanne Crain


    Directed byRussell Rouse

    The Fastest Gun Alive is a 1956 western film starring Glenn Ford, Jeanne Crain and Broderick Crawford....  more
  • 17

    Rio Grande

    John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara


    Directed byJohn Ford

    Rio Grande is a 1950 Western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. The picture is the third installment of Ford's "cavalry trilogy," following two RKO Pictures...  more

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  • 18

    Last Train from Gun Hill

    Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn


    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Last Train from Gun Hill is a 1959 Western by action director John Sturges. It stars Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones and Earl Holliman. Douglas and Holliman had previously appeared...  more
  • 19

    The Horse Soldiers

    John Wayne, William Holden


    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Horse Soldiers is a 1959 film that was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne, William Holden and Constance Towers. John Lee Mahin and Martin Rackin produced the movie and wrote its...  more

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  • 20

    The Far Country

    James Stewart, Walter Brennan


    Directed byAnthony Mann

    The Far Country is a 1954 American Western Technicolor romance film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Ruth Roman, and Walter Brennan. Written by Borden Chase, the film is about a...  more
  • 21

    Vera Cruz

    Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster


    Directed byRobert Aldrich

    Vera Cruz is a 1954 American Western theatrical film starring Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster, and featuring Denise Darcel, Sara Montiel, Cesar Romero, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and Jack Elam....  more
  • 22

    Ride Lonesome

    James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef


    Directed byBudd Boetticher

    Ride Lonesome is a 1959 Western film directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, Lee Van Cleef, and James Coburn in his film debut. This Eastmancolor film...  more
  • 23

    Man of the West

    Gary Cooper, Lee J. Cobb


    Directed byAnthony Mann

    Man of the West is a 1958 western film starring Gary Cooper and directed by Anthony Mann. The screenplay, written by Reginald Rose, is based on the novel The Border Jumpers by Will C. Brown....  more
  • 24

    River of No Return

    Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum


    Directed byJean Negulesco, Otto Preminger

    River of No Return is a 1954 American Western film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. The screenplay by Frank Fenton is based on a story by Louis Lantz....  more
  • 25

    Bend of the River

    James Stewart, Rock Hudson


    Directed byAnthony Mann

    Bend of the River is a 1952 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, and Rock Hudson. Based on the 1952 novel Bend of the Snake by Bill...  more