Best new Western movies in 2018 & 2017 (Netflix & Cinema List)

The Vore's Film staff selects the top best western movies of 2019 in cinema, DVD and Netflix. Are Tommy Lee Jones, Quentin Tarantino & Martin Koolhoven our new witch genre directors? The main focus is on international art house & American and British indie cinema.

Whoever thinks that the Western is long dead, is terribly wrong. Indeed, the genre is more alive than it has been for decades. It is no longer only Clint Eastwood who runs the game, it has become a genre with many new players, and with many new innovative plays on the genre. Comedies have realized the potential of the almost silly seriousness of these tough cowboys, and even horror filmmakers see opportunities for scary stuff taking place in the dusty Wild West. But we mainly see an increase in modern & slick genre films that feel like old-fashioned Westerns with shoot-outs and saloons, but feel undeniably new, and are perhaps a little bloodier and more violent (The Hateful Eight, Brimstone). From Tarantino to the Coen Brothers, we picked the very best neo-westerns of the last couple of years.
In the 2010's, the Golden Days of the Western Film have long been gone. Back in the days, certain directors were specialized in making them, most notable John Ford, Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. You don’t find this kind of highly specialized directors anymore. At its best, a modern Western film in 2014 is something a director, for once in his career, gives a shot at; a style exercise so to say. There’s often a strong hint of irony in these films. Everyone’s familiar with the archetypes of the genre, so let’s just blend in as many of these elements and then we’ll have nice piece of pastiche cinema!

In 1950 Hollywood produced over a 130 Western films. In 1960 not even 30. The film genre’s popularity decreased, which was largely the result of the rise of the Western TV series like Bonanza, Rawhide, Gunsmoke and The Rifle Man. They kept the audiences away from the cinemas and glued to their tubes. The genre as people knew it became worn out. Then Revisionist Western film makers like Sam Peckinpah and Alejandro Jodorowsky revitalized the genre. Their films didn’t just depict the white men as good and the Indians as evil and challenged the genre’s fixed aesthetics, to put it bluntly.

Some say the Western Film has been dead for quite some time now. That is not true, although, admittedly, pretty much of what happens today is indeed retro and pastiche. Or postmodern if you wish, that obnoxious, inevitable term. Well, what follows are the best Westerns of the 2010’s according to us.

New western movies in 2018

Top movies up for release in 2018

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    DIRECTOR: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
    CAST: Tim Blake Nelson, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown, Danny McCarthy

    More a collection of 6 short films than an actual feature film, this Netflix produced project by the Coen Brothers is somewhat a mixed bag. But the first chapter is so good that you have to watch this anyway. Read more

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  • The Rider

    DIRECTOR: Chloé Zhao
    CAST: Brady Jandreau, Mooney, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau

    A contemporary American drama western about a young cowboy who gets injured and has to find his new place in the world. A sensitive movie about the identity of men in America. Read more

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  • Birds of Passage

    DIRECTOR: Ciro Guerra
    CAST: Natalia Reyes, José Acosta, Jhon Narváez, Carmiña Martínez

    Described as a neo-Western, 'Birds of Passage' is an upcoming project from Colombian director Ciro Guerra ('El Abrazo de la Serpiente'). The story evolves around a family crumbling apart after the marijuana industry starts to set out in the Guajira Desert. Read more

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  • Damsel

    DIRECTOR: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
    CAST: Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

    David & Nathan Zellner, America's most interesting and innovative filmmaking brothers, are back. Starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowski, this western comedy evolves around a wealthy pioneer and a drunkard traveling across the Frontier. Read more

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  • The Sisters Brothers

    DIRECTOR: Jacques Audiard
    CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, Carol Kane, John C. Reilly

    The endless plains of Oregon in the 1850's. Eli & Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix), two of America's most infamous hitmen, hunt for a cunning gold prospector called Hermann Kermit Warm. When one of the assassins starts to doubt his career, Kermit Warm comes up with a great idea. Based on Patrick DeWitt's acclaimed western novel. Read more

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  • Sweet Country

    DIRECTOR: Warwick Thornton
    CAST: Bryan Brown, Luka Magdeline Cole, Shanika Cole, Matt Day

    ... Read more

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Best western movies of 2017

Top rated 2017 western movies

  • Hostiles

    DIRECTOR: Scott Cooper
    CAST: Rosamund Pike Christian Bale Ben Foster

    In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory. Read more

    RATING: 77/100

    RELEASE DATE: July 1st, 2017

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  • Brimstone

    DIRECTOR: Martin Koolhoven
    CAST: Dakota Fanning Kit Harington Carice van Houten

    Dutch director Martin Koolhoven worked seven years on what should be his dream come true and magnum opus; the epic, sprawling and violent Western flick 'Brimstone'. And it surely doesn't disappoint. Guy Pierce is astonishing as 'The Reverend', a devilish religious fanatic determined to hunt down innocent Liz, a young prairie woman. Westerns seldom get darker than thins one. Read more

    RATING: 85/100

    RELEASE DATE: March 1st, 2017

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Best western movies on Netflix or DVD in 2019

2010's best rated western movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon).

  • Django Unchained

    DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino
    CAST: Jamie Foxx Christoph Waltz Leonardo DiCaprio

    The word ‘pastiche’ almost seems to be invented for Quentin Tarantino’s films. Known as a cinephile extraordinaire, he pays homage to dozens of genres, films and directors within his work. But that doesn’t say it’s only a gimmick. Django Unchained is his first proper Western, although many of his earlier films borrowed a fair amount of the genres’ features. (Remember Inglorious Basterds’ brilliant opening scene?) The story is simple. Django is a former slave determined to revenge his former owners and to free his enslaved girlfriend. He’s helped by a peculiar bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz, which is another magnificent (and Academy Award winning role) by Christopher Waltz. Well, it’s not too hard to imagine what great things Tarantino can create with these ingredients. Read more

    RATING: 84/100

    RELEASE DATE: December 25th, 2012

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  • The Revenant

    DIRECTOR: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
    CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio Tom Hardy Will Poulter

    If you are looking for a truly immersive Wild West experience, than The Revenant delivers just that. The dreamy always moving cinematography, the amazing landscape, and the raw acting of the likes of Tom Hardy bring those times back to life. The story and film itself are actually quite meager, but that is not what it's about. It's an unique movie experience from the makers of Gravity. Read more

    RATING: 80/100

    RELEASE DATE: January 8th, 2016

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  • Hell or High Water

    DIRECTOR: David Mackenzie
    CAST: Chris Pine Ben Foster Jeff Bridges

    Starring Jeff Daniels (who else) as a soon-to-be-retired grumpy sheriff chasing two bank-robbing brothers through Texas, 'Hell or High Water' is a truly triumphant modern Western. Atmospheric, thrilling and darkly comic at times. An absolute must-see. Read more

    RATING: 77/100

    RELEASE DATE: August 26th, 2016

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  • Das Finstere Tal

    DIRECTOR: Andreas Prochaska
    CAST: Sam Riley Tobias Moretti Paula Beer

    Arrival of a solitary strangers in the high villages situated in Alps stirs ambiguity and suspicion in the hearts of locals as they feel an air of unease due to the... Read more

    RATING: 72/100

    RELEASE DATE: March 13th, 2014

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  • The Magnificent Seven

    DIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua
    CAST: Denzel Washington Chris Pratt Ethan Hawke

    This highly anticipated remake of the 1960 classic 'The Magnificent Seven' (which itself was a remake of Kurosawa's brilliant 'Seven Sumarai') slightly disappointed when we first saw it. But all the same, it's a very solid, entertaining and well-crafted western. Read more

    RATING: 70/100

    RELEASE DATE: September 23rd, 2016

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  • The Salvation

    DIRECTOR: Kristian Levring
    CAST: Mads Mikkelsen Eva Green Eric Cantona

    Mads Mikkelsen is a peaceful Danish settler who unleashes the anger of a mean gang leader after he kills the murderer of his wife and children. Mads Mikkelsen is always great. Read more

    RATING: 68/100

    RELEASE DATE: February 27th, 2015

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  • The Homesman

    DIRECTOR: Tommy Lee Jones
    CAST: Tommy Lee Jones Hilary Swank Grace Gummer

    In 2005 actor-turned-director Tommy Lee Jones surprised friend and foe with the surprisingly strong neo-Western The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. The genre suits Jones, so to say, as The Homesman is one of the most interesting films of 2014, and the definitely the best western of 2014 I’ve seen so far. Hillary Swank, in an impressive lead, is Mary Bee Cuddy, a somewhat quaint young unmarried woman who takes the task of escorting three mentally ill women through the vast and dangerous plains to the nearest asylum. Jones himself plays an opportunistic claim jumper who accompanies Marry Bee after a weird twist of faith. The Homesman is stunningly shot and succeeds wonderfully at shifting between hilarious, dark comedy and truly gripping drama. Tommy Lee Jones established himself as one of Hollywood’s most interesting directors with this outstanding feature film. Read more

    RATING: 66/100

    RELEASE DATE: May 18th, 2014

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  • Jauja

    DIRECTOR: Lisandro Alonso
    CAST: Viggo Mortensen Ghita Nørby Viilbjørk Malling Agger

    A captivating tale that depicts a Father's desperate search for his daughter as he ventures into an unknown desert in the enemy territory to look for her. Read more

    RATING: 64/100

    RELEASE DATE: December 27th, 2014

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