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I could not come up with just one best or favourite Western...and best v. favourite might be two different movies anyway! But I do have a new candidate, just having watched LONELY ARE THE BRAVE for the first time at 1 AM the other night...

Among the classical/golden age actors, I never cared that much for Kirk Douglas (SPARTACUS, oh no!). But this movie changed all that, he was superb...and this one is his own favourite. Also the supporting cast: Gena Rowlands, George Kennedy, plus Bill Bixby & Carroll O'Connor in their debut roles. Then Walter Matthau, who imo missed his calling with the comedy, he excelled in this dramatic role.

Beware, this theme is very noir...sh/be film noir except for the colour, the date 1962, and the Western genre...or maybe I am just feeling kinda existential these days? Anyway I loved this, and YouTube has a free posting, good quality too! 

So the Q? I am just asking for whatever you feel drawn to respond...(sigh) :D

3 Answers


Oh yes, I remember this movie (it was lately included in a special theme series); the ending was rather sad, and Kirk Douglas celebrated his 100th birthday last December, and he is believed to be the oldest celebrity blogger in the world.

Recently, they showed also "The Last Sunset":


Virginia Marianne

Marianne, yes I was pleased to see that Kirk Douglas is still with us, having turned 100 years last December!

I loved the write-up of THE LAST SUNSET, another stellar cast...Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone, Joseph Cotten...and Jack Elam is a marvelous character actor! Also, the same screenwriter as LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, being Dalton Trumbull - who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. 

A great find, thank you!

Marianne Marianne

You're welcome, Virginia; you are inspiring me, and I remember that quite a few celebrities were blacklisted during the McCarthy era and also later on.

By the way, talking of Westerns, there have been quite a few great movies with very popular actors and actresses, besides John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Humphrey Bogard, with Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Robert Mitchum, Alan Ladd, Robert Taylor, Dean Martin, Randolph Scott, Van Heflin, Glenn Ford, Ronald Reagan, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, etc., etc., which left lasting impressions. And if remembering the actresses, the list would be very long too: Jennifer Jones, Barbara Stanwyck, Maureen O'Hara, Virginia Mayo, Jane Russell, Yvonne De Carlo, Jane Russell, Grace Kelly, Julie London, Jean Arthur, Joan Crawford, etc., and, of course, Hailee Steinfeld, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, etc. - to cite just a few.

Oh, and to allow a break from all the tragedies, one of the less cruel mockumentary westerns was The Hallelujah Trail, maybe a bit silly, but so refreshing - lol.



Virginia Marianne

Marianne I thought I had seen LOTS of Westerns of the day, but somehow I missed THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL! It sounds wonderful...

Marianne Marianne


Yes, it was a parody mocking everybody and everything - including military strategists, drinkers and temperance activists - with a hilarious, cheerful issue, in spite of a number of bumps and bruises, hangovers and "wasted rolling stock and liquid products" - lol.

Here's a YouTube link for the full movie:

Virginia Marianne

Marianne, you found the movie in its entirety! Well I am putting it on my list to-watch, you bet...


I think that's one of Kirk Douglas finest films. I love almost all Westerns and I'm only going to post three of his great Westerns. So many great Western stars. This question is a hard one for me. The Big Sky was one of his first movies and a great watch.

Rooster Rooster

But I still think the best Western of all time is this one! 

Virginia Rooster

Rooster, I was having a good time looking at online lists of the best westerns...and THE SEARCHERS was consistently at the top!

I have not seen it yet, but I put it on my list in Blurtit days. Until I saw THE SHOOTIST, as you know I was like director John Ford about John Wayne..."I never knew the big son-of-a-b**** could act"...

And I was looking at trailers for THE SHOOTIST, and turns out it was John Wayne's last film! It makes the lists of great westerns, but never as high as THE SEARCHERS...so I have something to look forward to!

Rooster Rooster

Great story and great movie! He should have gotten an Oscar for his performance.

Marianne Rooster


Do you remember "The Unforgiven"?


A controversed, but also very poignant story!

Marianne Rooster


Yes, I remember this movie - excellent!


Virginia, that movie's ending was sooo sadI felt like crying.  :'(

There's another one with Kirk Douglas, a war movie called Paths of Glory, which is really excellent.

Virginia TheOtherTink

OtherTink, this film PATHS OF GLORY has Adolph Menjou, and he is playing a villain! Looks like a fine film, ty...

Rooster TheOtherTink

@Tink: I was almost going to post that one as it's a great movie and yes, very sad.

TheOtherTink TheOtherTink

@ Rooster,

The closing scene in Paths of Glory is unforgettable.

@ Virginia: Spoiler alertDon't watch this clip if you don't want to see the ending before you watch the movie!

Marianne TheOtherTink


Oh yes, it is really sad - but in spite of all these tears - the war goes on.

Virginia TheOtherTink

Other Tink I did watch your link, very touching.

Marianne TheOtherTink


Yes, it was very touching - and it might have raised a certain awareness about how the "weaker" were treated - and certain mentalities did not change.

By the way, I forgot about James Stewart!

TheOtherTink TheOtherTink

@ Marianne,

The scene was a remarkable juxtaposition of many aspects of human nature, portrayed by the initially crude soldiers, whistling and shouting lasciviously, the frightened innocent girl, who then moves the soldiers to tears, and then (as you said), back to the killing.

Marianne TheOtherTink

Yes, T(h)ink, the acting shown on the video was outstanding.