“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
“All right, I’m coming out. Any man I see out there, I’m gonna shoot him. Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only gonna kill him, but I’m gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down.”
The Western might just be the most American of all movie genres. It might be decades since its heyday, but we still get westerns every few years, and every few years, we get pretty good ones. There are arguments to be made for things like The Searchers or The Wild Bunch to take the title of greatest western of all time, and they’re good arguments. While I’d never say The Unforgiven is the greatest of all time, I can’t think of a single western that’s come since that would rival it. So having said that, what makes The Unforgiven the last great American Western?
In the slightly more than one horse town of Big Whiskey, a drunken cowboy doesn’t just get too handsy with a local whore, he gets too knifey. With the girl scarred for life, the local sheriff (Gene Hackman as Little Bill) demands the cowboy and his mate deliver a few horses to the whorehouse owner as reparations. When they decide that a few ponies don’t quite cut the mustard as far as punishments, the whores pool their money and put the word out, they’ll pay $1,000 to anyone who kills the blade happy cowboys. (more…)