(Jack Arnold, USA, 1959): A stranger named John Gant (Audie Murphy) rides into town from the surrounding hills, and the citizens get jumpy: Gant is a professional killer with a legendary m.o. He always goads his prey into drawing first, always staying inside the law. And...

(Terrence Malick, U.K./U.S.A., 2005-8): Eden is frolicked through and fallen in each of Terrence Malick's first four movies, but never with quite the lavish determination and crashing portentousness that it does here, in Malick's gorgeous but taxing endurance test of a costume epic. He's telling the...

(Anthony Mann, U.S.A., 1953): As livid, brutal and terse as the Mickey-Spillane-goes-west title suggests, The Naked Spur re-configures Treasure of the Sierra Madre as a technicolor mountain melodrama in which the stakes are bounty instead of gold and nary a door is ever passed through nor...

(Henry Hathaway, USA, 1965): Hugely popular when released and almost never mentioned anymore, Henry Hathaway's prequel to Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers takes the backstory of the character Max Sand (inspired, apparently, by silent cowboy star Ken Maynard) and boils it into a vengeance-hardened nugget. But it's...

(Sergio Corbucci, Italy, 1966): Burt Reynolds, always amusing but never the best judge of his own career, used to have a field day ridiculing this early Sergio Corbucci western on talk shows. He'd claim he went to work for "the wrong Sergio", and that it...