,, Once Upon a Time in the West '' is a masterpiece and one of the best films ( not just westerns ) out there. Probably Sergio Leone's best overall work. Though ,, Once Upon a Time in America '' is also a strong contender.
However, last half of ,, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly '' is Sergio Leone at his absolute peak.
We watched The Long Riders again the other evening. Wonderful musical score as well as acting and direction. Many good Jesse James flics: John Ford's version with Tyrone Power is memorable as well as the ultra low-budget 1949 I Shot Jesse James.
We like Tombstone as well; too bad that Charlton Heston got sick, leading to the truncation of his role.
It isn't exactly traditional, a horror/dark comedy Western set in the Sierra Mountains and focusing on U.S. army troops over cowboys. It's odd, charming, well-acted, and comes with the most bizarre yet amazing soundtrack you could find. It also has a few unexpected deeper themes and philosophical moments, without being preachy or overly brooding. Colquhoun is definitely one of my top villains, up there with the likes of Sheev Palpatine. I've never seen such a take on the Wendigo myth either, eschewing the more common 'monster' archetype.
The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Rio Bravo, Red River, Rio Grande, My Darling Clementine, Stagecoach or The Unforgiven (the Huston picture from 1960). One of those is usually my favorite, depending from day to day.
High marks to Tombstone, Open Range and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Appaloosa too.
Best actor? Wayne when working for Ford and Hawks. Working for weaker directors he could be over the top. Ben Johnson was great in his supporting roles and was the best rider in the movies.