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15 Best Western Movies On Netflix [August 2021]

Whether you want rattling spurs, struggling ranches, risky rodeos, gunfights, or just as many horses as you can possibly fit on a screen, Westerns have you covered. The Western is one of Hollywood's oldest genres, so there are plenty of classic, must-see films out there, and others are getting made — or getting rediscovered — all the time.

But with a lot of streaming services to juggle, it can be hard to figure out what's available where. We want to help you out by doing some of that research for you and keeping track of the 15 best movie Westerns currently on Netflix. Grab yourself a glass of sarsaparilla, put on a cowboy hat, and get ready to choose tonight's film.

Updated on July 26, 2021: As Netflix changes its selection, we'll keep this list updated to reflect the changes in its streaming catalog. Picture us riding herd on a bunch of Westerns and lassoing them for you so you'll always have a current account of the best Netflix has to offer.

Badland

"Badland" deals with familiar Western subjects — bounty hunters, Pinkertons, and Reconstruction era tensions — in a way that satisfies. Matthias Breecher is a Pinkerton detective who, at the request of one of the first Black senators, agrees to hunt down Confederate war criminals. It's a tough job, and it comes with a lot of complications. Some of these men have families, and Breecher grows to care about one war criminal's daughter. Others have gained a lot of power and clout, and they're more than willing to use it to put Breecher in the ground. "Badland" doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's a good way to get your Western fix.

  • Starring: Kevin Makely, Mira Sorvino, Bruce Dern

  • Director: Justin Lee

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 117 minutes

  • Rating: TV-14

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Dances with Wolves

Epic and beautifully shot, "Dances with Wolves" is the story of John Dunbar, an Army lieutenant whose placement at a lonely frontier fort leads to him getting to know the local Sioux people. As Dunbar and his neighbors become better acquainted, they strike up a real rapport and friendship founded on Dunbar's respect for their culture. He even embarks on a romance with Stands with a Fist, a white woman who's been raised with the Sioux after her family died.

Dunbar eventually chooses to abandon the Army outpost and go with the tribe, but the ongoing white settlement of the West hangs over it all. We know what happened on the frontier, and the characters themselves can see the tragedy coming ... so it's no surprise when hostilities finally erupt. "Dances with Wolves" captures an individual story in the middle of a major transformation in history, and it has considerable impact.

  • Starring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

  • Director: Kevin Costner

  • Year: 1990

  • Runtime: 181 minutes

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

In a Valley of Violence

"In the Valley of Violence" brings charismatic drifter Paul — and his adorable, spirited dog, Abbie — into a classic fix. He's gotten on the wrong side of some young troublemakers, and wouldn't you know it, the leader of the gang is the son of the local marshal. It pits Paul against the town, especially since venomous roughneck Gilly won't let their conflict go ... and escalates it in a horrific fashion. Luckily, Paul has at least one ally, a charming teenage widow who wants to find a better life. But will that be enough when the bullets start flying? A strong cast helps seal the deal.

The Hateful Eight

"The Hateful Eight" takes the coziness out of the locked-room mystery. Quentin Tarantino takes a cast of vicious, amoral characters and strands them in the middle of a snowstorm. The circumstances are suspicious, and post-Civil War tensions are running unbelievably high — and then people start dying. Someone in this isolated outpost isn't who they say they are. Instead, they're here to free outlaw Daisy Domergue, who's bound for the hangman's noose, and they don't mind leaving a trail of bodies behind them. Full of tense standoffs and visceral violence, "The Hateful Eight" is an exciting movie that also demonstrates the volatility — and surprising alliances — of frontier America.

  • Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh

  • Director: Quentin Tarantino

  • Year: 2015

  • Runtime: 167 minutes (213 minutes in the "Extended Version")

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok is one of the most iconic figures of the Old West. Countless actors have portrayed him over the years, and here, Luke Hemsworth has a go at the role. The story is effectively Wild Bill versus a dissolute, lawless town that he's under orders to clean up. That's a familiar Western plot, and there probably won't be many surprises here for experienced genre fans, but "Hickok" knows how to serve up cinematic comfort food. In particular, the supporting cast offers good performances that flesh out their simple roles.

  • Starring: Luke Hemsworth, Trace Adkins, Kris Kristofferson

  • Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.

  • Year: 2017

  • Runtime: 88 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Concrete Cowboy

"Concrete Cowboy" offers an unusual and intriguing angle on the modern Western. Cole, a young teenager from Detroit, winds up finding a new purpose in life when his mom sends him to stay with his father in Philadelphia. Cole's dad, Harp, introduces him to riding and the joy of taking care of horses. The horses offer hope, and their loyal riders provide a sense of community, but the prickly and estranged relationship between father and son still needs work. And more pressingly, drug deals and the possibility of violence still lurk in the background, threatening to shatter everything.

The Ballad of Lefty Brown

"The Ballad of Lefty Brown" takes a stock figure of classic Westerns — the loyal but slightly goofy sidekick — and treats him dramatically instead of comedically. Lefty Brown is the longtime friend and partner of Edward Johnson, an up-and-coming new senator. Johnson seems typecast as the destined hero, but when he's murdered, Lefty commits himself to finding justice. He seems ill-suited for the job, but he may be more capable — and worthier — than anyone is giving him credit for being. This clever upending of a familiar character type leads to a thoughtful and entertaining movie. Maybe no one used to sing the ballad of characters like Lefty Brown, but you might be tempted to start.

  • Starring: Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel

  • Director: Jared Moshé

  • Year: 2017

  • Runtime: 111 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

The Wind

Westerns are known for their lonely expanses of landscape. And what inspires awe can also create horror, as we see in "The Wind." Here, the isolation of a New Mexico homestead makes it vulnerable to supernatural forces, and Lizzy Macklin is plagued by the loneliness of her prairie and by unsettling horrors. (Or is she? Her husband doesn't believe the demons she fears are real.) The arrival of another couple, Gideon and Emma, only makes things worse. With all the paranoia, chloroform, adultery, jealousy, pregnancy, and the constantly howling sound of the wind, the film shows how many terrors — real or imagined — could lurk out on the frontier.

  • Starring: Caitlin Gerard, Ashley Zukerman, Julia Goldani Telles

  • Director: Emma Tammi

  • Year: 2018

  • Runtime: 88 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Quigley Down Under

"Quigley Down Under" brings the Old West across the ocean to the Outback. Cowboy Matthew Quigley answers a newspaper ad requesting a sharpshooter, and his impressive aim wins him the job. When he gets to Australia, though, he finds that the work he's being offered is murder, plain and simple. Rancher Elliot Marston wants to hire him to kill Aboriginal Australians. Quigley refuses, setting off a deadly feud. Add in a romantic subplot with Cora, a tough but traumatized Texan, and you have a classic and compelling setup.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

When Josey Wales' wife and son are murdered by Captain Terrill's Redlegs — pro-Union guerrilla fighters — he turns into a Confederate bushwhacker driven entirely by grief and a desire for revenge. His inner war rages on even as the country starts knitting itself back together, and he refuses to surrender. The movie takes on real emotional warmth as Josey starts making friends almost despite himself, gathering up a kind of new family he could settle down with ... if he can ever let go of the war. Combining a revenge plot with a look at the lasting effects of trauma makes this one a classic.

  • Starring: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke

  • Director: Clint Eastwood

  • Year: 1976

  • Runtime: 135 minutes

  • Rating: PG

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Rango

Westerns have a lot of flexibility. Want an example? Try "Rango," an animated Western where Johnny Depp voices a pet chameleon who becomes the unprepared sheriff of a desert town of animals. Rango starts off the movie as a mere lost pet — the impressive gunslinging deeds he boasts of haven't really happened. Even his "epic shootout" with a hawk succeeds only by luck. But when he starts uncovering the sinister reasons behind the town's water shortage, he gets in over his head, and he has to find real courage in order to make a difference. Boasting a stacked cast, a barrage of pop culture references and Easter eggs, and some striking animation, "Rango" is a Western like no other.

The Stand at Paxton County

Based on a true story, "The Stand at Paxton County" focuses on Army veteran Janna Connelly's attempt to save her father's ranch. His horses have been seized for reported animal abuse, but the claim is exaggerated and really just a pretext for a greedy sheriff to snatch up whatever property he can. Janna finds herself drawn back into her father's life as she faces down the corruption and legal loopholes. While some of the issues may be oversimplified, this is an interesting look at modern small ranches and potentially a good conversation-starter.

There Will Be Blood

"There Will Be Blood" is grim and grand in equal measure. The story follows Daniel Plainview, a hard man who cares about nothing but amassing oil claims — and, at rock bottom, amassing power. His need for dominance at any cost leads him to butt heads with the differently but equally power-hungry Eli Sunday, a young preacher who yearns to establish his own kind of clout. Meanwhile, the higher Daniel climbs, the crueler and more ruthless he gets, and his few human connections begin to fall away. Sooner or later, there has to be some kind of reckoning.

One of the finest films of the 2000s, "There Will Be Blood" is bleak, violent, and engrossing, and the central performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano give it a nearly Shakespearean power.

  • Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor

  • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

  • Year: 2007

  • Runtime: 158 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Lawless

"Lawless" delves into Prohibition-era backwoods bootlegging. The three Bondurant brothers make and sell moonshine, and they're unwilling to give up a cut of the profits in order to buy off the law. Their refusal to pay for protection wins them the respect of a famous local gangster, but it pits them against the corrupt officials, especially a ruthless U.S. marshal. Based on real historical accounts, "Lawless" is a vivid, dark, and lively look at a bygone era and some of the larger-than-life characters who occupied it.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" is an anthology film that tells six separate Western stories, most darkly comedic and with brutal but sharply written punchlines. Over the course of the movie, we're introduced to a singing cowboy who's also a supernaturally good shot (and pretty blithe about the trail of carnage he leaves behind), a condemned man who can't seem to meet or escape the hangman's noose, a grim traveling show that's rivaled by a mathematically gifted chicken, an uncomfortable stagecoach ride where philosophical musings may drift into the supernatural, and more. None of the stories wear out their welcomes, and the twists of humor and viciousness add some seasoning to familiar story elements.