Top 10 Classic Western Films to Tip Your Hat to

Top 10 Classic Western Films to Tip Your Hat to

Saddle up your horse, throw your cowboy hat on and get your lasso swinging, because these top 10 most popular western movies to watch right now certainly aren’t messing around.

Keep an eye on this list as it is updated with the latest and greatest western movies so you can be sure you’re in the loop. From The Sons of Katie Elder to Big Jake, this list will help fans of the wild, wild west stay up to date on the most popular western films available. 

What are you waiting for? Giddy up!


Let’s get started. Here are the trending western movies that movie-watchers are enjoying right now, with all the information you need to check them out for yourself.

1. ‘The Sons of Katie Elder’

↑ 427 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for western movie "The Sons of Katie Elder"In the heart-tugging tribute to western classics, The Sons of Katie Elder, wayward sons converge at their Texas hometown for their mother’s funeral. Powerful performances from John Wayne and Dean Martin create a dynamic duo as the older brothers John, a notorious gunfighter, and Tom, a reckless gambler.

Together, they unearth the calamitous truth that their father wagered away their family ranch – a move that cost him his life. Steered by wrath and a yearning for justice, they choose to confront their father’s killers, the nefarious Hastings clan, risking an explosive feud with the local sheriff. Underneath gritty showdowns and soul-stirring spurs, lies a poignant story about brotherhood and redemption.

2. ‘The Cowboys’

↑ 269 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for western movie The CowboysEmbarking on a voyage across the time-honored American West, The Cowboys revolves around the tenacious spirit of veteran rancher Wil Andersen, portrayed by John Wayne. When his crew is lured away by the glitter of gold, Wil is left to wrangle a motley crew of schoolboys for a challenging cattle drive.

The transformation of these young lads from novices to cowboys forms the heart of this iconic narrative. Yet, destiny throws them another curveball when the cunning Long Hair (Bruce Dern) has his eyes on their valuable herd. Intense, captivating and deeply emotional, The Cowboys is more than just a western flick; it’s about indomitable will and the relentless pursuit to fulfill a promise against all odds.

3. ‘Tombstone’

↔ vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for the western movie TombstoneRevisit the wild west in the action-packed and dramatic Tombstone. Step into the boots of Wyatt Earp, masterfully portrayed by Kurt Russell, in this riveting tale of blood feuds and brotherhood. Stand alongside his brothers and the inimitable Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) as they take on the lawless cowboy gang in the infamous town of Tombstone, Arizona.

This classic western, steeped in engrossing performances and high-stakes action, will have you on the edge of your seat, echoing the gunshots ringing through the wild frontier.

4. ‘The Hanging Tree’

↑ 306 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for the western movie The Hanging TreeImmerse yourself in the gripping and dramatic narratives of the Old West through the 1959 classic The Hanging Tree. The film showcases the life of Joseph “Doc” Frail, a doctor with a mysterious past who saves a man named Rune (Ben Piazza) from the gallows.

Settling down in a Montana mining camp, Frail finds solace in becoming the town doctor and in the arms of Elizabeth, a young woman stricken by shock. But the tranquility is shattered when Elizabeth is assaulted, compelling Frail to intervene, landing them both in a perilous situation. This western flick pushes the boundaries of love, honor and redemption beyond limits.

5. ‘The Hateful Eight’

↑ 6 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for the western movie The Hateful EightQuentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is an enthralling western thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Set in a post-Civil War Wyoming blizzard, the film unfolds around eight strangers taking shelter in a stagecoach stopover.

As the storm rages outside, tensions mount and dark secrets come to light, revealing unexpected connections among them. Featuring Tarantino’s signature sharp dialogue and dramatic twists, The Hateful Eight is a masterful blend of suspense and narrative depth.

6. ‘The Westerner’

↑ 30 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for the western movie The Westerner

Venture back to 1960 as The Westerner takes you on a thrilling ride through the untamed wild west. Gary Cooper stars as an unwavering cowboy who’s not afraid to cross paths with a ruthless judge, played by the scene-stealing Walter Brennan.

In a world dominated by lawlessness and violence, Cooper’s character finds himself caught in a fiery feud that threatens to engulf the whole western frontier. Sprinkled with action, suspense and drama, The Westerner is a classic tale of grit and justice in a brutal world that has no room for weakness.

7. ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’

↓ 4 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for western movie The Outlaw Josey WalesThe Outlaw Josey Wales is a classic tale of grit and determination set in the tumultuous backdrop of the Civil War. Renowned actor Clint Eastwood brings the gruff yet honorable protagonist, Josey Wales, to life in this journey of vengeance and self-discovery. After his loved ones are brutally murdered by Union soldiers, Wales leaves behind his peaceful farming life and turns into an outlaw.

A stirring chronicle of resilience, betrayal and the quest for justice, this film is a riveting fusion of exhilarating action, complex personalities and a candid exploration of the human spirit during one of America’s most polarizing eras.

8. ‘Shane’

↑ 248 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for western movie ShaneShane is a movie that will upend your assumptions about classic westerns. Shane, a mysterious gunslinger played by Alan Ladd, rides into a peaceful Wyoming town with dreams of a tranquil life as a farmhand. Employed by Joe Starrett, a local homesteader, Shane finds himself intertwined in a lethal conflict between the townspeople and an unscrupulous cattle tycoon.

His growing affection for Starrett’s wife, Marian, and Starrett’s son, Joey, pushes Shane towards a life-altering decision to confront Ryker’s machinations. This is more than just a classic gunslinging tale – it’s a deep examination of loyalty, love and the fight for justice.

9. ‘High Plains Drifter’

↑ 21 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for western movie High Plains Drifter

A classic western from 1973, High Plains Drifter stars the iconic Clint Eastwood as a nameless drifter who comes upon the small, tight-knit town of Lago. Initially, he finds himself unwelcome – until his unparalleled skills with a pistol become known.

The scared townspeople, terrorized by a vicious band of criminals, see him as their unlikely savior. The man with no name agrees to assist, harboring a secretive motive of his own. Icy cold as the high plains and bristling with tension, this movie intertwines suspense, action and mystery for a spectacular cinematic experience.

10. ‘Big Jake’

↑ 2 vs. Prior Week

Promotional image for western movie Big JakeIn the wild west, where justice is quick and merciless, we find Big Jake, a thrilling John Wayne classic that breathes new life into the western genre. Wayne stars as the hardened and solitary Jacob McCandles, lured back into his past when his grandson is kidnapped by a ruthless gang.

In a world where honor and duty mean everything, McCandles embarks on a thrilling mission to rescue his kin, sparking a conflict filled with intense gunfights and dramatic showdowns. Big Jake brings grit, revenge and a familial bond that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

And there you have it: the top 10 western movies to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Stay tuned for updates to come so you can keep up with the best content available right now.

For those who aren’t DIRECTV customers, make the switch today! Get all the best channels, shows, movies and more. And with four unique packages, there’s something for everyone.

And for even more insight into the top shows and movies to watch right now, check out these other lists:

The content is featured on is editorial content brought to you by DIRECTV. While some of the programming discussed may now or in the future be available affiliates distribution services, the companies and persons discussed and depicted, and the authors and publishers of licensed content, are not necessarily associated with and do not necessarily endorse DIRECTV. When you click on ads on this site you may be taken to DIRECTV marketing pages that display advertising content. Content sponsored or co-created by programmers is identified as "Sponsored Content" or "Promoted Content."