A selection of westerns from the past and present now streaming at SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

27 Mar 2020 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 27 Mar 2020 - 11:53 AM

Need a perfect escapist remedy for the quarantine period? Try this assortment of westerns now streaming at SBS On Demand, featuring epic horseback treks across vast terrain, expansive scenic vistas, gunfights and showdowns... as well as relatable stories of self-isolation and self-sufficiency.

 

Once Upon a Time in the West

M
USA, 1968
Genre: Western
Language: English
Director: Sergio Leone
Starring: Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Jason Robards, Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale
What's it about?
Morton (Ferzetti), the power-hungry owner of a railroad company, hires Frank (Fonda), a gunfighter without a conscience, to kill anyone who stands in the way of the completion of the railroad. After Frank murders land owner Brett McBain (Wolff), McBain's widow (Cardinale) hires two killers of her own to protect her and gain revenge: a mysterious, harmonica-playing desperado (Bronson) and his rogue sidekick (Robards).  

Once Upon a Time in the West: Review (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

True Grit

G
USA, 1969
Genre: Western, Drama, Adventure
Language: English
Director: Henry Hathaway
Starring: John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper
What's it about?
The murder of her father sends a teenage tomboy (Darby) on a mission of justice, which involves avenging her father's death. She recruits a tough old marshal, 'Rooster' Cogburn (Wayne) because he has 'true grit', and a reputation of getting the job done. Remade by the Coen brothers in 2010.

The Proposition

MA15+
Australia, 2005
Genre: Western, Crime, Drama
Language: English
Director: John Hillcoat
Starring: Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Guy Pearce, Noah Taylor, Richard Wilson
What's it about?
In the harsh outback of 1880s Australia, the brutal Burns brothers are wanted for a vicious crime. When Charlie Burns (Pearce) is captured, the officer arresting makes a startling proposition in order to end the cycle of violence: Charlie must hunt down and murder his violent older brother (Huston), in order to save his youngest brother (Wilson) from the noose.

Let the Bullets Fly

MA15+
China, Hong Kong, 2010
Genre: Western, Action, Comedy
Language: Mandarin
Director: Jiang Wen
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Carina Lau, Ge You, Jiang Wen, Feng Xiaogang
What's it about?
Set in China during the warring 1920s, notorious bandit chief Zhang (Jiang Wen) descends upon a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, an identity that he had hijacked from Old Tang (Feng Xiaogang), himself a small-time imposter. Hell-bent on making a fast buck, Zhang soon meets his match in the tyrannical local gentry Huang (Chow Yun-Fat) as a deadly battle of wit and brutality ensues.

Slow West

M
UK, 2015
Genre: Action, Western, Comedy
Language: English
Director: John Maclean
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn
What's it about?
Set at the end of the 19th century, Slow West follows Jay (Smit-McPhee), a 17-year-old Scottish aristocrat who travels to American West to look for his former lover. Faced with the brutal frontier environment, he soon teams up with a rough and mysterious traveller named Silas (Fassbender), who soon discovers that Jay’s old flame has a price on her head. Together, they make their way through the wilderness, while trying to stay one step ahead of the bounty hunters.

Slow West: Review (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Red Sun

PG
France, Italy, Spain, 1971
Genre: Action, Western
Language: English, Spanish, Japanese
Director: Terence Young
Starring: Ursula Andress, Charles Bronson, Alain Delon, Toshirô Mifune
What's it about?
The Japanese ambassador is traveling through the Wild West by train, when gangsters hold up the train, to rob a gold shipment. They also carry an ancient Japanese sword the ambassador was carrying as a present for the US president. The ambassador's bodyguard (Mifune) will go after them, with the aid of one of the gang's leaders betrayed by his pals.

Red Sun Review

Gunman's Walk

M
USA, 1958
Genre: Western, Drama
Language: English
Director: Phil Karlson
Starring: Van Heflin, Tab Hunter, Kathryn Grant, James Darren
What's it about?
Ed Hackett (Hunter) is the son of gunslinger-turned-land baron Lee Hackett (Heflin). Out of respect (and fear) of his father, the hotheaded Ed is given a wide berth by the resentful townsfolk. The elder Hackett doesn't make things any better when he tacitly approves of Ed's violent behaviour, all the while giving short shrift to his law-abiding younger son Davy (Darren). Inevitably, Ed goes one step too far, forcing his father to make a devastating decision

Arizona Raiders

M
USA, 1965
Genre: Western, Action
Language: English
Director: William Witney
Starring: Audie Murphy, Michael Dante, Ben Cooper, Buster Crabbe, Gloria Talbott
What's it about?
An ex-Quantrill's Raider (Murphy) who's released from jail with his buddy (Cooper) are to be deputised as Arizona Rangers in order to hunt down the remnant of the gang, rumoured to he hiding out in a border town. Murphy and Cooper pretend to want to rejoin the gang, but the bad guys soon catch on...

Near Dark

MA15+
USA, 1987
Genre: Horror, Western
Language: English
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton
What's it about?
A mid-western farm boy (Pasdar) reluctantly becomes a member of the undead when a girl (Wright) he meets turns out to be part of a band of southern vampires (including Hendriksen and Paxton) who roam the highways in stolen cars. From Kathryn Bigelow, director of Point Break and The Hurt Locker.

David and Margaret review Near Dark (The Movie Show, Episode 18, 1988)
Forget The Lost Boys: the coolest vampire movie of the ‘80s is Near Dark

Lace Hendriksen, Jenny Wright and Bill Paxton in 1987's 'Near Dark'

Sweet Country

MA15+
Australia, 2017
Genre: Drama, History, Western
Language: English
Director: Warwick Thornton
Starring: Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Thomas M. Wright, Ewen Leslie
What's it about?
It’s 1929 on the vast, desert-like, Eastern Arrernte Nation lands that are now known as the Central Australian outback. Sam Kelly (Morris), a middle-aged Aboriginal man, works the land of a kind preacher, Fred Smith (Neill). After an ill-tempered bully (Leslie) arrives in town and Kelly kills him in self-defence, he and his wife go on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down. Warwick Thornton's acclaimed follow-up to 2009's landmark Samson & Delilah.

Warwick Thornton talks up his Venice award-winning film, 'Sweet Country'

The Tracker

M
Australia, 2002
Genre: Drama, History, Western
Language: English
Director: Rolf de Heer
Starring: David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Grant Page, Damon Gameau
What's it about?
Fanatic (Sweet) a government trooper who is heading an expedition to find an aboriginal man accused of murdering a white woman. Others in the expedition are the Follower (Gameau) a greenhorn trooper, the Veteran (Page), and the Tracker (Gulpilil, who won the AFI award for Best Actor in a Leading Role). Directed by Rolf de Heer, who would collaborate again with Gulpilil on Ten Canoes and Charlie's Country.

The Tracker: Review (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2)

Mad Dog Morgan

M
Australia, 1976
Genre: Drama, Action, Cult
Language: English
Director: Philippe Mora
Starring: Dennis Hopper, Jack Thompson, David Gulpilil
What's it about?
Daniel Morgan (Hopper) becomes a bushranger after hard times in prison and the Victorian goldfields. Saved by Billy, an Aboriginal outcast (Gulpilil), the two men terrorise southern NSW, killing policemen and raiding farms, until the price on Morgan’s head reaches 1,000 pounds. Crossing back into Victoria, Morgan’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, as detective Mainwaring (Thompson) closes in.

Jane Got a Gun

MA15+
USA, 2015
Genre: Action, Drama, Western
Language: English
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich, Nash Edgerton
What's it about?
After her outlaw husband returns home shot with eight bullets and barely alive, Jane reluctantly reaches out to an ex-lover who she hasn't seen in over ten years to help her defend her farm when the time comes that her husband's gang eventually tracks him down to finish the job.

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