(Sergio Leone, Italy/Spain/West Germany, 1964): "There's money to be made in a place like this." So speaks the stranger (Clint Eastwood) of the desert shithole he's just ridden into on the back of a mule. The town, pretty much two rows of bleached buildings facing...

(S. Craig Zahler, USA, 2015): In a more reasonable world, the novelist, musician and screenwriter S. Craig Zahler's first feature Bone Tomahawk might have had something like the visibility and profile of The Hateful Eight and The Revenant, Christmas season 2015's most conspicuous contemporary Westerns, and we might have had the...

(Kristian Levring, Denmark/UK/South Africa/Sweden/Belgium, 2014): Pinned somewhere between the mythic and miniature, Kristian Levring's scraped-to-the-bones revenge saga The Salvation shares many of the same essentialist ambitions as Alejandro Innaritu's The Revenant but none of its epic sweep. At 90 or so minutes, it gets its job done so quickly you...

(Terence Young, France/Italy/Spain, 1971): Looks count for almost everything in Red Sun, Terence Young's international post-spaghetti western that corralled stars of The Magnificent Seven (Charles Bronson), The Seven Samurai (Toshiro Mifune), Le samourai (Alain Delon) and Young's own Dr. No (Ursula Andress) into one big open Spanish range only to hope everybody looked good enough --...

(Note: this originally appeared in The Globe and Mail in December, 2012.) The things one loves in life are the things that fade. – The poster tagline for Heaven’s Gate By the time my friends and I took our seats in the University theatre in Toronto for the Canadian...

(Sam Peckinpah, USA, 1973): Of all the events recounted in such frustrating, fascinating and near-forensic detail in Paul Seydor's The Authentic Death and Contentious Afterlife of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, the hardest one to digest is this: seven months after the film had opened to...

(Giulio Petroni, Italy, 1966): Before it was named as such, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was lurking in the Hollywood western in all those movies about remorseful gunslingers and Civil War vets struggling to stay peaceful in the face of mounting provocation, but in the Italian western...

(Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu, USA, 21015): In this meticulous, sprawling and visually ravishing telling of the tale of the mid-19th century mountaineer Hugh Glass, who was last left for dead after being ripped up by a bear in the 1971 Richard Harris movie Man in the Wilderness, the ordeal of crawling...

(Quentin Tarantino, USA, 2015): More ornery than a cornered rattler and crazier than a snakebit dog, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight runs with such furious, runaway locomotive force against everything sensible you want to love it just for being so brazenly batshit. I mean, a 70-mm three hour epic...

(Richard C. Sarafian, USA, 1971): Properly planted and nurtured in the soil of the American frontier, a tale could grow as tall as a century was long, and the story of mountaineer Hugh Glass had roots 150 years deep by the time The Man in the Wilderness got...