10 Best Outlaw Movies & Why You Should Watch Them

Movies about outlaws
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Very often set somewhere in the American Mid-West or West and usually in western movies, stories about outlaws have been present on screen since the beginning of cinema. They mostly celebrate men’s bravery to play against the rules and try to get what they want. In this list, we have chosen the 10 best outlaw movies you need to watch.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

the good the bad and the ugly

What it’s about: Eastwood is Blondie, The Good, a professional gunman who wants to earn a few dollars. Van Cleef is Angel Eyes, The Bad, and he is a hitman and a true professional as long as he is paid. And Wallach is Taco, The Ugly, a wanted outlaw who makes a partnership with Blondie after they find out about the gold hidden in a local cemetery. Their strange alliance will make them Angel Eyes’ adversaries since he is the one who knew about the gold but wasn’t aware of its whereabouts, and now all of them want to get ahold of 200 000.00 worth of gold.

Why you should watch it: One of Sergio Leone’s greatest movies and biggest hits is this adventure western with Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in leading roles. It is one of the most memorable and beloved outlaw movies ever and has an influence on many future movies that cover a similar topic.

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969)

butch cassidy

What it’s about: This biographical crime-drama is set in 1900s Wyoming, where we meet the leaders of a band of outlaws, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. After an unsuccessful train robbery, they find themselves on the run and decide to head to Bolivia.

Why you should watch it: This is another unforgettable outlaw movie that every movie fan should watch. It is adventurous and interesting and even more intriguing when you know that it was inspired by true events. 

Unforgiven (1992)

unforgiven

What it’s about: This is the story of retribution sought by a disfigured prostitute, and her co-workers want to find the men behind this gruesome crime. A bounty on the perpetrators’ heads is decided by the town’s Sheriff, “Little Bill” Dagget. William Munny, a Kansas hog farmer, embarks on a mission to find them, together with his group of sidekicks, his old partner-in-crime Ned Logan, and the young gunman “Schofield Kid.” Munny is aware that he was returning to his old ways when he was a famous outlaw, but he knows he is the only one responsible for his motherless children.  

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Why you should watch it: Clint Eastwood directed this brilliant western drama about Wyoming’s dangerous town of Big Whiskey and the interesting actions that took place there.  It is another well-known outlaw movie that always finds a place on any list regarding the topic.

The Wild Bunch (1969)

the wild bunch

What’s it about: This is an action western about a gang known as “the wild bunch.” It is 1913, and the traditional American Old West is dying, and they make the inhabitants of this era. After a failed railroad office robbery, they decide to head to Mexico to do their last job. They end up in a perilous last stand against their enemies in a small Mexican town.

Why you should watch it: This is a movie that celebrates human virtues, such as loyalty and honesty. It is a memorable story with magnificent and unforgettable performances, especially by William Holden. It shows us the importance of friendship and always having our friends’ backs. 

Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained

What it’s about: The movie talks about a bounty hunter named King Schultz who seeks the help of a slave, Django, brilliantly played by Jamie Foxx. After Django helps him, the two remain together in order to find Django’s wife Broomhilda. When they find out where she was taken, Django and Schultz devise a plan to get close to the owner of the Mississippi-based plantation.

Why you should watch it: If you are a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s directing, this is a must-see movie. It has an interesting story, with brilliant screenwriting and even better casting, and it gives us an outlaw that somehow differs from the usual.

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Yuma

What it’s about: Ben Wade is an outlaw leader who gets captured in a small town, but his gang of outlaws doesn’t refrain from threatening further. Dan Evans is a rancher forced to take Wade to the nearest town with a railway station, keeping everything secretive. He is to be taken to court in Yuma. Soon the secret gets out, and Evans and Wade will have to show who has the strongest guts and will.

Why you should watch it: This is an excellent outlaw western. It will also be remembered for outstanding characterization and the relationships between the characters in general, especially the main protagonist and antagonist, played by Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. It is a classic among outlaw movies, with a remake made in 2007.

Young Guns (1988)

young guns 1

What it’s about: The movie is set in 1878, New Mexico, where we meet a group of young gunmen who are taken to work on John Tunstall’s ranch, whose goal is also to teach them reading and civilize them. But after he is killed, they decide to revenge on him,  led by Billy the Kid, whose ambition and drive soon take them too far, and they become the hunted.

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Why you should watch it: This is one of the most exciting and entertaining modern westerns with an unforgettable cast of then young and prospective actors, such as Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, and many more. It is a great reminder of the golden age of American westerns. 

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

a fistfull of dollars

What it’s about: Clint Eastwood plays a drifter, Joe, who arrives in San Miguel, a small Mexican village at the border of the USA, where he befriends Silvanito, the owner of the local bar. He discovers that the town is led by two gangsters with their own gangs. After killing four men belonging to one of the gangs, he is asked to join the other one, but Joe decides to work on his own and is soon working for both sides, playing them against each other. 

Why you should watch it: This is one of Leone’s first movies, and even though there was some room for improvement which he perfected in his later movies, this is nevertheless one of the classics among western movies, with one of the most famous outlaws ever. 

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

liberty valance

What it’s about: This is the story of senator Ransom Stoddard who tells his story, which began many years ago when he arrived in his town of Shinbone. He returned for his friend’s funeral and is starting to remember what was going on back then when he was asked to represent Valance, a local ruffian who was terrorizing the town in those days.

Why you should watch it: This is a good old western that stood as background for those types of movies where good conquers evil and where we meet strong characters. This one is also famous for brilliant performances by John Wayne and James Stewart. 

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

outlaw josie wales

What it’s about: Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the leading role in this western about a Missouri farmer Josie Wales who becomes a member of a Confederate guerilla but soon ends up on the run from Union soldiers who killed his family.

Why you should watch it: This is one of the greatest westerns of all time, the one that shows us real life. As soon as we think everything will be resolved, we are served with a new shock and remember that, even though we are watching a movie, it is an extremely realistic story that can be compared to situations that happen every day around us.

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