Joel and Ethan Coen aren’t just great filmmakers, they’re world-class cinephiles as well. Take a look at their filmography and you’ll find movies that are love letters to Old Hollywood gangster flicks (Miller’s Crossing), film noir (Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn’t There), screwball comedies (The Hudsucker Proxy), and even Wallace Beery wrestling pictures (Barton Fink). For True Grit, their first foray into the sagebrush-and-saddle territory of John Wayne, EW reached out to the brothers Coen to find out their picks for their favorite Westerns. Here, in their own words, are their all-time faves:
1. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, PG-13) “Sergio Leone movie. Good hat brims.”
2. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976, PG) “Clint Eastwood movie from the 1970s, when the major studios were, on the evidence here, less uptight.”
3. Greaser’s Palace (1972, R) “Robert Downey Sr. movie. The Putney Swope of Westerns.”
4. Doc (1971, PG). “Frank Perry movie, written by Pete Hamill. We haven’t actually seen this one but saw a clip of the first scene, and the opening gag makes us suspect the movie belongs on the list. Stacy Keach fights consumption, dust, and bad men as Doc Holliday. This movie is for you if you like to watch people cough. Stacy was warming up to play one of cinema’s great lawmen in the Cheech and Chong movies.”
5. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972, PG) “Interestingly, it turns out that most of the best Westerns were made in the ’70s, hardly our expectation when we started the list. This one has another great opening scene — again with Stacy Keach, this time as Bad Bob. Admittedly this John Huston movie is, apart from the opening scene, less swinging than the others on the list, but it has Paul Newman with his limpid blue eyes. “
What do you think of Coen’s list, pardners? What Westerns would make your list?