Over the past century, the Western ranged from being by far the most popular genre to almost dying out completely. But as often as it has been pronounced dead, it has been resurrected. One of the genre's key resurrections was Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992), which emerged almost instantly as a masterpiece and a landmark film, but, despite that, actually went on to win four Oscars. After Unforgiven (and a previous Oscar-winner, Dances With Wolves), the Western had a minor resurgence; by one count, there were more Westerns produced in the 1990s than in the 1970s and 1980s combined. This year three excellent Westerns have been released, prompting many writers to use phrases like "the best Western since..." or, more specifically, to measure the landmarks. Here, to put the record straight, are the seven best Westerns sine Unforgiven.
1. Dead Man (1996, Jim Jarmusch)
Jim Jarmusch's brutal, black-and-white poem of a movie was, like Unforgiven, as well as Ride the High Country and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a Western death-rattle, but it was something entirely unique as well, like a dream or a primal odyssey. Johnny Depp stars as William Blake, not the poet, who comes to the town of Machine for a job but winds up shot and dying in the woods, aided by an American Indian called Nobody (Gary Farmer). The great Robert Mitchum co-stars -- in one of his final roles -- as a monstrous town boss who sends out a band of killers after Blake.