Let these favorite Western and horse movies help you get through social isolation. They’re Western Horseman staff favorites!
The Western Horseman crew has been hunting ways to help our own social isolation in these COVID-19 times. We passed around our recommendations for favorite Western and horse-related movies to watch.
We each listed our top five, and they fell into three categories: Western movies, documentary films and horse movies. Some were on everyone’s lists, some on just a few, but for each one someone said, “You’ve gotta see this!”
There were some it was painful to not include. So, keep checking back—we reserve the right to add to it.
Let us know your favorites at [email protected]!
All the Pretty Horses, 2000, Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz
Giant, 1956, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean
How the West Was Won, 1962, starring James Stewart, John Wayne
Jeremiah Johnson, 1972, starring Robert Redford, Will Geer
Lonesome Dove, 1989, starring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones
Open Range, 2003, starring Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall
Rio Bravo, 1959, starring John Wayne, Dean Martin
Silverado, 1985, starring Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover
The Big Country, 1958, starring Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons
The Horse Whisperer, 1998, starring Robert Redford, Kristen Scott Thomas
The Searchers, 1956, starring John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter
Tombstone, 1993, starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer
True Grit, both 1969, starring John Wayne, and 2010, starring Jeff Bridges
Western most listed by Western Horseman editors:
The Man from Snowy River (1982, starring Kirk Douglas, Tom Burlinson) has all the elements of a great Western, even though it’s set in frontier Australia—a timeless story of a young man overcoming the odds, including his own weaknesses, to make a name for himself and earn the heart of the woman he loves. On top of that, the horsemanship is the real deal.
Buck, 2011, directed by Cindy Meehl
Cowboys: A Documentary Portrait, 2019, directed and produced by Bud Force, John Langmore
Down the Fence, 2017, directed by M.J. Isakson
Ranch Album, 1987
The Gathering, 2011
The Highly Exalted: The Buckaroos of Northern Nevada, 1984
The West, 1996, executive producer Ken Burns
Documentary most mentioned by Western Horseman editors:
Unbranded (2015, starring Ben Masters, Jonny Fitzsimons) takes you along with five friends who adopt and train mustangs, and then ride and pack them through the backcountry and wilderness Rocky Mountains of the United States, from the border with Mexico, north to Canada. It’s an experience of friendship, amazing wilderness cinematography and gritty horsemanship set in the modern West—you won’t forget it.
National Velvet, 1944, starring Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor
Seabiscuit, 2003, starring Tobey MaGuire, Jeff Bridges
Secretariat, 2010, starring Diane Lane, John Malkovich
The Black Stallion, 1979, starring Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney
Horse movie most mentioned by Western Horseman editors:
Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (1991, starring Gabrielle Anwar, Michael Schoeffling) tells the Great Depression-era story of Sonora Webster and her white horse Lightning, who steal the stage at Doc Carver’s High Diving Show. With themes of love, overcoming challenges and a girl’s relationship with her horse, it tugs at the heart strings of any age. Even better, it’s based on a real story.