8. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
A remake of the 1957 Glenn Ford and Van Heflin film, which was based on Elmore Leonard’s short story of the same name, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma sees director James Mangold creating a grand Western. The film stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in the lead roles, with supporting performances by Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Ben Foster, Dallas Roberts, Alan Tudyk, Vinessa Shaw, and Logan Lerman. 3:10 to Yuma revolves around Dan Evans (Christian Bale), the owner of a drought-stricken ranch, who volunteers to escort outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) on a train bound for justice. Along the journey, a grudging respect forms between the men, but danger looms at every turn, with Wade’s gang in pursuit.
It’s rare that a film is remade and actually surpasses the quality of the previous adaptation, but that’s indeed the case with Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma. The standout here is the complex relationship between the two central characters, with excellent performances from both Crowe and Bale. Despite being an excellent Western, 3:10 to Yuma was only a modest box office success, earning just $70 million on a $55 million budget.
7. Dances with Wolves (1990)
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 epic Western film starring, directed, and produced by Kevin Costner. After Union army Lieutenant John Dunbar (Costner) is transferred to the army’s most distant outpost, Fort Sedgewick, he arrives to find the post deserted and in disrepair, but chooses to stay nonetheless. Dunbar sets about restoring the fort, and he keeps a journal of his experiences and activities, which involve him befriending a tribe of Lakota Indians and the local wildlife. The film was applauded for its authenticity, as much of the dialogue is spoken in Lakota with English subtitles. In 2007, Dances with Wolves was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Dances With Wolves won widespread admiration as well as seven Academy Awards, including that for Best Picture in 1990. The film was a massive financial success for Orion Pictures earning over $400 million on a $22 million budget, making it one of the highest grossing Western films of all time.