•There are many different types of westerns includingtraditional, singing, outlaw, serial westerns and many more.•They were based on what America was actually like in the past years.•We now associate old western with the outlaw cowboy image it is perceivedas.
•They have been around for decades•They were some of the very first films to be made•The cowboy/outlaw image we think today was developed from them•There have been countless classic games and movies created from thisperiod of time
The Western Genre of films has been around for a long time and many havebeen made over the past 100+ years. The first time anybody had ever made afilm was in the late 1800‟s and the cowboy/western scene in America wasbeing established around the early 1800‟s, the reason for there being nowestern films made around this time being that the technology of film makinghad not been discovered yet. Until the 1870‟s where a film called „The Horse inmotion‟ by Eadweard Muybridge and as the name of the title says, it is just ahorse galloping continuously. Although this film has not got a cowboy in it ishighly related to western films as it kicked the film making off and thousandsmore have now been made.
The Great Train Robbery, made in 1903. The 12 minute long silent movieconsists of outlaws robbing a train with explosives, robbing passengers andescaping on horseback while pursued by a posse of lawmen, eventually agunfight formed and the good guys won (of course), the film is trying to sendout a message that crime does not pay. This film was paving the way forother movies in the long continuous genre of the “Old West”. This film was avery unique film as it was the first to have an actual storyline, with a plot andcharacter development. When the film was released by Edison Film Co. thepublic loved it and were obsessed with the lawmen and bandits involved.You can see from the trailer just how far films have come on. Near the end itmentions extreme violence and only a gunshot is fired.
There were lots of different western films within the 1910‟s mostly directed byD.W Griffith starring Blanche Sweet. There were films such as „The Cowboy andthe Lady‟ „Was He a coward?‟ „The last drop of water‟. Although these filmswere still not making much of an impact on the world as they were all fairlysimilar and most of them still silent movies, except the films now had switchingscenes included in them. The whole cowboy image still had not kicked off yet asthe outlaws and lawmen were not the main stars of the film. Griffith & Sweet
• Was an American Outlaw Western directed by John Ford in which three young men turn to outlaws and attempt to rob, misbehave etc. in the public towns/areas.• It was a silent film with slides with words on screen for the dialogue.There wasn‟t much movement in terms of storyline with this film asthe technology wasn‟t available and nobody had thought of doingsomething different until the 1930‟s
The western films in the 30‟s still consisted of the classic cowboy image buthad the same plots and storylines (the story lines were plain interpretations ofrobberies, gunfights etc. as the cost of these productions were too high forspecial effects and real effects. One of the main films of this time was „The Texas Rangers‟ In this film it displays an Outlaw and a Lawman coming together as friends, and the public loved this film as it was a twist on the classic story. And with colour and sound it made this film a big hit as it was nominated for best sound at the 1936 Oscar awards
Now that most of the world had adapted to their surroundings with newtechnology the western genre sky rocketed in popularity and hundreds werequeuing at cinemas/theatres to see the latest film. But still the similarstorylines were being told.In this film „Billy the Kid‟ it is a remake of the 1930‟s film featuring RobertTaylor as „Billy the Kid‟. Director David Miller decided to make this film as itwas based on the book. The Film had not been as well received as the 1930‟sversion but it turned out to only be an „widescreen experimental test‟
The 1950‟s similar to the 1940‟s had no massive hits just average similarstorylines other than the one film „Vera Cruz‟ which displayed the charactersviolent, rough and simply unacceptable behavior. It even included a scenewhere child hostages were threatened. To the public these scenes forregarded as shocking and was one of the first films to introduce moderatelybad language in films .
The decade of the sixties saw a massive increase in „spaghetti westerns‟which is where Italian film makers decided to make a series of classicAmerican westerns.This film was rated as an „epic‟ film and gave us the classic cowboy/outlawtheme tune we all associate with western.As you can see in the picture below and the clip next the Clint Eastwood‟scharacter has huge resemblance to a video game character from Red DeadRedemption released in 2010 (John Marston).
In this film we are introduced to see the first of the fantasy westerns inwhich…•The white buffalo is an abnormal sized monster•The characters Charles Bronson, Kim Novak, Jack Warden and SlimPickens take on a long adventure to find out if there really is a „beast‟•They come across Crazy Horses that tell them it killed the horses‟ daughter•Until they eventually track down the white beast and kill it.
In the 1980‟s western films were starting to die down as not many peoplewere interested in them much anymore, therefore only around 15 weremade compared to the hundreds made in previous decades.The film Pale Rider is an American Western produced and starring ClintEastwood. The films plot contains poor families searching for gold in the hillsuntil thugs turn up and start killing, a 15 year old girl Megan Wheeler‟s dogis shot and she prays to god for help.Eventually Clint Eastwood‟s character turns out to be aGod send to help the poor families and community gettingthe nickname of „The Preacher‟ Clint Eastwood eventuallyhelps everyone in the community and rides off into theSierra Nevada Mountains.
As we can see now the western genre is now expanding becoming morevaried in terms of storyline. In this film it is more based on a Sci-Fi genre butis slightly western too as in the film the characters time travel back to thetimes of the Old West.This film is all about time traveling as in the previous two films these twoCharacters Marty (Michael J. Fox) & Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) goforwards to the future but end up needing to come back because of a wrongdecision.
Brokeback mountain is an adaptation of the 1997book about two homosexual western American menfrom 1963 to 1983. These two characters Ennis(Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) first meetover the summer of 1963 herding sheep for a farmeruntil they fall in love. They then part ways after thesummer for years and go to marry their fiancés andstart families. After the years they eventually meet upand fall in love again, Jack asks Ennis whether hewants to create a small life together on a ranch butEnnis refuses after seeing gay men tortured when hewas younger.This film won the Golden Lion award honored withbest picture, Director. Also nominated for 8 academyawards winning three; Best score, best Director andbest adapted screen play. Ranking the 11th mostgrossing romance of all time
Cowboys vs. Aliens is a fantasy/sci-fi western Directedby Jon Favreau starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Fordand Olivia Wilde. In this film the characters are allcompletely different personalities. For example there isa cattleman (Ford), an outlaw (Craig) and a mysterioustraveler (Wilde) who need to find out why and how thelocal townsmen are being captured.On its release this film gained bad reviews and criticssaid „it didn‟t feel right mixing sci-fi with western‟