Some post-World War II Western films began to question the ideals and style of the traditional Western. These films placed the context of the Native Americans and cowboys alike in a darker setting. They depicted a morally questionable world where the heroes and villains oftentimes resembled each other more closely than had previously been shown. The concept of right and wrong became blurred in a world where actions could no longer be said to be good or bad. Whereas in a majority of the classical western films the ethics were clear and defined in 'black and white', the Revisionist film looked to paint a moral 'grey' area where people had to adapt in order to survive. This led to depictions of outlaws such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where the heroes of the film are outlaw bank robbers.
Most Westerns from the 1960s to the present have revisionist themes. Many were made by emerging major filmmakers who saw the Western as an opportunity to expand their criticism of American society and values into a new genre. The 1952 Supreme Court holding in Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, and later, the end of the Production Code in 1968 broadened what Westerns could portray and made the revisionist Western a more viable genre. Films in this category include Sam Peckinpah's Ride the High Country (1962) and The Wild Bunch (1969), Arthur Penn's Little Big Man (1970) and Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971).
Beginning in the late 1960s, independent filmmakers produced revisionist and hallucinogenic films, later retroactively identified as the separate but related subgenre of "Acid Westerns", that radically turn the usual trappings of the Western genre inside out to critique both capitalism and the counterculture. Monte Hellman's The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind (1966), Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo (1970), Robert Downey Sr.'s Greaser's Palace (1972), Alex Cox's Walker (1987), and Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (1995) fall into this category. Films made during the early 1970s are particularly noted for their hyper-realistic photography and production design. Notable examples using sepia tinting and muddy rustic settings are Little Big Man (1970), McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) and The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972).
Other films, such as those directed by Clint Eastwood, were made by professionals familiar with the Western as a criticism and expansion against and beyond the genre. Eastwood's film The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) made use of strong supporting roles for women and Native Americans. The films The Long Riders (1980) and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) are revisionist films dealing with the James gang. Jeffrey Wright's portrayal of Black Confederate Daniel Holt riding with the Missouri Bushwhackers in Ride with the Devil tells the stories of the Missouri-Kansas Border War and Lawrence Massacre.
Foreign markets, which had imported the Western since their silent film inception, began creating their own Westerns early on. However, a unique brand of Western emerged in Europe in the 1960s as an offshoot of the Revisionist Western.
The Spaghetti Western became the nickname, originally disparagingly, for this broad subgenre, so named because of their common Italian background, directing, producing and financing (with occasional Spanish involvement). Originally they had in common the Italian language, low budgets, and a recognizable highly fluid, violent, minimalist cinematography that helped eschew (some said "de-mythologize") many of the conventions of earlier Westerns. They were often made in Spain, especially Andalusia, the dry ruggedness of which resembled the American Southwest's. Director Sergio Leone played a seminal role in this movement. A subtle theme of the conflict between Anglo and Hispanic cultures plays through all these movies. Leone conceived of the Old West as a dirty place filled with morally ambivalent figures, and this aspect of the spaghetti Western came to be one of its universal attributes, as seen in a wide variety of these films, beginning with one of the first popular spaghetti Westerns, Gunfight at Red Sands (1964), and visible elsewhere in those starring John Philip Law (Death Rides a Horse) or Franco Nero, and in the Trinity series.
The Ostern, or red Western, was the Soviet Bloc's reply to the Western, and arose in the same period as the revisionist Western. While many red Westerns concentrated on aspects of Soviet/Eastern-European history, some others like the Czech Lemonade Joe (1964) and the East German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (1966) tried to demythologise the Western in different ways: Lemonade Joe by sending up the more ridiculous aspects of marketing, and The Sons of the Great Mother Bear by showing how American natives were exploited repeatedly, told from the Native American rather than white settler viewpoint.
An antihero or antiheroine is a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes such as idealism, courage and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes perform actions that are morally correct, it is not always for the right reasons, often acting primarily out of self-interest or in ways that defy conventional ethical codes.Arthur Penn
Arthur Hiller Penn (September 27, 1922 – September 28, 2010) was an American director and producer of film, television and theater. Penn directed critically acclaimed films throughout the 1960s such as the drama The Chase (1966), the biographical crime film Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and the comedy Alice's Restaurant (1969). He also got attention for his revisionist Western Little Big Man (1970).
By the mid-1970s his films were received with much less enthusiasm. In the 1990s he returned to stage and television direction and production, including an executive producer role for the crime series Law & Order.Chato's Land
Chato's Land is a 1972 western Technicolor film directed by Michael Winner, starring Charles Bronson and Jack Palance.
In Apache country, the half-native Chato shoots the local sheriff in self-defence, and finds himself hunted by a posse of ex-Confederates, who rape his wife and leave her hogtied in the open as a bait to trap him. Ignoring the bait, Chato uses his superior fieldcraft skills to lure each of the posse to their death.
The film can be classified in the revisionist Western genre, which was at its height at the time, with a dramatising of racism and oblique referencing of the Vietnam war. The original screenplay was written by Gerry Wilson.Hang 'Em High
Hang 'Em High is a 1968 American DeLuxe Color revisionist Western film directed by Ted Post and written by Leonard Freeman and Mel Goldberg. It stars Clint Eastwood as Jed Cooper, an innocent man who survives a lynching; Inger Stevens as a widow who helps him; Ed Begley as the leader of the gang that lynched Cooper; and Pat Hingle as the judge who hires him as a U.S. Marshal.
Hang 'Em High was the first production of The Malpaso Company, Eastwood's production company.
Hingle portrays a fictional judge who mirrors Judge Isaac Parker, labeled the "Hanging Judge" due to the large number of men he sentenced to be executed during his service as District Judge of the Western District of Arkansas.
The film also depicts the dangers of serving as a U.S. marshal during that period, as many federal marshals were killed while serving under Parker. The fictional Fort Grant, base for operations for that district judge seat, is also a mirror of the factual Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Judge Parker's court was located.Hombre (film)
Hombre is a 1967 revisionist western film directed by Martin Ritt, based on the novel of the same name by Elmore Leonard and starring Paul Newman, Fredric March, Richard Boone, Martin Balsam, and Diane Cilento.
Newman's amount of dialogue in the film is minimal and much of the role is conveyed through mannerism and action. This was the sixth and final time Ritt directed Newman; they had previously worked together on The Long Hot Summer, Paris Blues, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, Hud and The Outrage.Joe Kidd
Joe Kidd is a 1972 American Technicolor western film in Panavision starring Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall, written by Elmore Leonard and directed by John Sturges.
The film is about an ex-bounty hunter hired by a wealthy landowner named Frank Harlan to track down Mexican revolutionary leader Luis Chama, who is fighting for land reform. It forms part of the Revisionist Western genre.List of Western films of the 1970s
A list of Western films released in the 1970s.List of Western films of the 1990s
A list of Western films released in the 1990s.List of Western films of the 2000s
A list of Western films released in the 2000s (decade).Meat pie Western
Meat pie Western, also known as Australian Western or kangaroo Western, is a broad genre of Western-style films or TV series set in the Australian outback or "the bush". Films about bushrangers (sometimes called bushranger films) are included in this genre. Some films categorised as meat-pie or Australian Westerns also fulfil the criteria for other genres, such as drama, revisionist Western, crime or thriller.
The term "meat pie Western" is a play on the term Spaghetti Western, used for Italian-made Westerns, relating in both cases to foods are regarded as national dishes.Ostern
The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western was a genre film created in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc as a version of the Western films that originated in the United States. The term refers to two related genres:
Proper Red Westerns, set in America's "Wild West" but involving radically different themes and interpretations than US westerns. Examples include Lemonade Joe (Czechoslovakia, 1964), or the East-German The Sons of Great Bear (1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Romania, 1981), or A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (USSR, 1987). These were mostly produced in Eastern European countries like East Germany and Czechoslovakia, rather than USSR.
Easterns (Osterns), set usually on the steppes or Asian parts of the USSR, especially during the Russian Revolution or the following Civil War, but presented in a style inspired by American western films. Examples of these include The Elusive Avengers (1966) and its two sequels, White Sun of the Desert (1969), Dauria (1971), At Home among Strangers (1974), The Burning Miles (1957), The Bodyguard (1979), and The Sixth (1981).While influenced by Westerns, Easterns form a specific and distinct genre. The word "Ostern" is derived from the German word Ost, meaning "East".
Red Westerns of the first type are often compared to Spaghetti Westerns, in that they use local scenery to imitate the American West. In particular, Yugoslavia, Mongolia and the Southern USSR were used. Some of the East German films were called Sauerkraut Westerns.Posse
A posse is a group of people summoned to assist law enforcement, or to constitute a search party.
Posse may also refer to:
Posse (surname), including a list of people with the name
Posse (1975 film), US Western film produced by, directed by, and starring Kirk Douglas
Posse (1993 film), US revisionist Western film directed by and starring Mario Van Peebles
Posse (horse), a thoroughbred racehorse
"Posse (I Need You on the Floor)", a 2001 single by German band Scooter
Posse, Goiás, a municipality in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Goiás
Posse cut, a type of Hip Hop song with four or more rappers, in which each verse is sung by a different person
Posse Foundation, a US nonprofit organization that identifies, recruits, and trains student leaders from public high schools to form multicultural teams
Posse mit Gesang, a form of German musical drama
POSSE project (Portable Open Source Security Elements), a software security initiative
Jamaican posse, a loose coalition of street gangsPosse (1975 film)
Posse is a 1975 Technicolor American revisionist Western Panavision film, produced by, directed by and starring Kirk Douglas. The screenplay was written by Christopher Knopf and William Roberts. The plot centers on a U.S. marshal with political ambitions leading an elite posse in pursuit of a notorious bank robber to further his political career. The film premiered in New York City on June 4, 1975, and in June the same year in Berlin at the 25th Berlin International Film Festival, where Douglas was nominated for the Golden Bear.Revisionism (fictional)
In analysis of works of fiction, revisionism denotes the retelling of a conventional or established narrative with significant variations which deliberately "revise" the view shown in the original work. For example, the film Dances with Wolves may be regarded as a revisionist western because it portrays Native Americans sympathetically instead of as the savages of traditional westerns.
Many original works of fantasy appear to retell fairy tales in a revisionist manner. The genre of "Arthurian literature" includes innumerable variations from themes of the classic tales of King Arthur. It is debatable whether any particular examples set out to create a revised view.Soldier Blue
Soldier Blue is a 1970 American Revisionist Western film directed by Ralph Nelson and starring Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, and Donald Pleasence. Adapted by John Gay from the novel Arrow in the Sun by T.V. Olsen, it is inspired by events of the 1864 Sand Creek massacre in the Colorado Territory. Nelson and Gay intended to utilize the narrative surrounding the Sand Creek massacre as an allegory for the contemporary Vietnam War.Released in August 1970, the film drew attention for its frank depictions of violence, specifically its graphic final sequence. Some film scholars have cited Soldier Blue as a critique of America's "archetypal art form [the Western]," with other interpretations ranging from it being an anti-war picture to an exploitation film.The Missing (2003 film)
The Missing is a 2003 American Revisionist Western thriller film directed by Ron Howard, based on Thomas Eidson's 1996 novel The Last Ride. The film is set in 1885 New Mexico Territory and is notable for the authentic use of the Apache language by various actors, some of whom spent long hours studying it. The film was produced by Revolution Studios, Imagine Entertainment, and Daniel Ostroff Productions and distributed by Columbia Pictures.The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 American revisionist Western DeLuxe Color and Panavision film set during and after the American Civil War. It was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood (as the eponymous Josey Wales), with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Sam Bottoms, and Geraldine Keams. The film tells the story of Josey Wales, a Missouri farmer whose family is murdered by Union militants during the Civil War. Driven to revenge, Wales joins a Confederate guerrilla band and fights in the Civil War. After the war, all the fighters in Wales' group except for Wales surrender to Union officers, but they end up being massacred. Wales becomes an outlaw and is pursued by bounty hunters and Union soldiers.
The film was adapted by Sonia Chernus and Philip Kaufman from author Forrest Carter's 1972 novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (republished, as shown in the movie's opening credits, as Gone to Texas). The film was a commercial success, earning $31.8 million against a $3.7 million budget. In 1996, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Josey Wales was portrayed by Michael Parks in the film's 1986 sequel, The Return of Josey Wales.True Grit (2010 film)
True Grit is a 2010 American Revisionist Western film directed, written, produced, and edited by the Coen brothers and executively produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the second adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel of the same name, which was previously released in 1969 starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell. This version stars Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross and Jeff Bridges as Deputy U.S. Marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn, along with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Barry Pepper.
Feisty 14 year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Steinfeld) hires Cogburn (Bridges), a boozy, trigger-happy lawman after an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Brolin) murders her father. The bickering duo are accompanied on their quest by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Damon) who has been tracking Chaney for killing a State Senator. As they embark on a dangerous adventure, each character has his or her "grit" tested in different ways.
Filming began in March 2010, and the film was officially released in the U.S. on December 22, 2010 after advance screenings earlier that month. The film opened the 61st Berlin International Film Festival on February 10, 2011. It was well received by critics, garnering a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Bridges), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Steinfeld), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing. However, it won none. The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 7, 2011.Unforgiven
Unforgiven is a 1992 American revisionist Western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and written by David Webb Peoples. The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job years after he had turned to farming. The film stars Eastwood in the lead role, with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris. Eastwood stated that the film would be his last Western for fear of repeating himself or imitating someone else's work.The film won four Academy Awards: Best Picture and Best Director for Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman, and Best Film Editing for editor Joel Cox. Eastwood was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, but he lost to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman. The film was the third Western to win the Oscar for Best Picture, following Cimarron (1931) and Dances with Wolves (1990).
Eastwood dedicated the film to directors and mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. In 2004, Unforgiven was added to the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
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