In the lead up to the 10th anniversary of There Will Be Blood (2007), now seems like an appropriate time to revisit other Revisionist Western films that have held up well, trying to reach the same great heights in more recent years.
According to a recent New York Times article, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood has been cited as the best film of the 21st century so far.
The film belongs to a sub-genre of the traditional Western, known as the Revisionist Western – or simply as the Anti-Western. It differs from its older counterpart in depictions of good and evil being much more complex and morally grey, as opposed to portraying events in a black and white fashion. The line between hero and villain is blurred in order to question what society may interpret as being right and wrong.
Its roots are deep, and the post-WWII era which proved pivotal for this kind of film was the middle of the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s. Some notable examples from this period include The Wild Bunch (1969) and Man in the Wilderness (1971).
It comes as no surprise then that Australians have featured heavily in this type of setting. Our colourful history with notorious bushrangers and famous southern landscapes depict many versions of good and evil. The likes of director John Hillcoat (Lawless, The Proposition) come to mind for these kinds of stories, as well as the actor John Jarratt (Australia, Wolf Creek) as well.
A setting that has become irrelevant but somehow remained, only to be revitalised numerous times is intriguing to say the least. These types of films have managed to retain their impact and quality, and there is no shortage of them to revisit. Check out the gallery below for nine more recent entries to get you well on your way.
Let us know your favourites in the comments below and if there are any other you would add to the list.