The classic era of the Western movie genre ran from 1920 to 1960, but the very first Western was a 10-minute one-reel film made in 1903. The real birth of Westerns as we think of them today started in 1939 with the debut of “Stagecoach,” which put John Wayne in his breakthrough role. The next 10 years of Westerns would define the genre and inspire countless future Western films and television series. The Western shaped the industry and came to define the quintessential Hollywood movie, with The New York Times arguing that no genre has been more important to Hollywood than the Western.
Stacker compiled IMDb data on all feature-length Westerns released between 1940 and 1949 and ranked them according to user rating. To qualify, the film had to be listed as “Western” on IMDb and have at least 1,000 votes. Ties were broken by votes.
Any Western aficionado is well-versed in the films from the 1940s, but there were many that were a cut above the rest. Read on to discover the best Western films of the ’40s. Did your favorites make the cut?
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