After a lack of new cowboy movies in 2020, last year saw a boom in western releases, with many more on the way for 2022!
Westerns are as old as movies themselves, but they really had their heyday in the golden age of Hollywood during the 50s and 60s – does John Wayne ring any bells? In the late 80s and 90s, cowboy movies were thought to be a dying genre after fading in popularity. But at the start of the millennium, they started gaining traction again.
In the past decade or so, westerns have definitely seen a resurgence with popular releases such as True Grit, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. In 2021, there was an abundance of new western movies on Netflix and other streaming platforms, and many more are set to be released throughout this year. So it’s safe to say that cowboys are as popular as ever!
We’ve rounded up some new cowboy movies from the past year or so that you can watch right now, as well as a couple of upcoming releases to look out for.
Here are some of the best modern western movies you can watch now:
The following films, in our opinion, are some of the best cowboy movies that have been released over the past couple of years so far. Let’s take a look…
The Harder They Fall (2021)
The Harder They Fall is a Netflix original released last year that cost a staggering $90 million to make! Directed by The Bullitts, this modern western movie is full of Black historical figures portrayed in a fictional setting. The plot follows outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), who after learning that Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) has been freed from jail, goes to seek revenge for killing his family.
News of the World (2020)
Unrelated to the infamous UK tabloid newspaper of the same name, this cowboy movie is based on the 2016 novel by writer Paulette Jiles. Starring Tom Hanks, News of the World follows former Confederate officer, Captain Kidd, who must return a young girl taken in and raised by a Native American Tribe to her last remaining family members.
Fun fact: Believe it or not, News of The World is Tom Hanks’ first western movie!
This movie is classed as a modern-day western, as the plot follows Troy (Steve Zahn) who takes his 11-year-old transgender son Joe (Sasha Knight) on a journey across the wilds of Montana en route to Canada. However, Joe’s mother, Sally (Jillian Bell) believes that Troy has kidnapped their daughter Josie. Her refusal to accept Joe’s new identity serves as the catalyst for Troy’s actions.
This tale of rescue and family betrayal fits perfectly with the themes that are often explored within new western movies.
The Power Of The Dog (2021)
This new cowboy movie has already clocked up a dozen Oscar nominations, including best picture, best director and best actor for Benedict Cumberbatch.
The movie follows the latter as ranch owner Phil Burnbank in Montana during the mid-1920s. Cumberbatch’s character surrounds himself with young cowboys who idolise him for his skill and toughness, but when his brother George (Jesse Plemons) marries boarding-house owner Rose (Kirsten Dunst), Phil becomes threatened and jealous. Phil begins to take out his anger on Rose’s awkward son, Peter, who he’s taken under his wing as a cowboy at the ranch.
Concrete Cowboy (2021)
Concrete Cowboy is one of the few new western movies that is actually set in modern times. Starring and produced by Idris Elba, the movie follows a troubled black teen who is sent to live with his father and his subculture of ghetto cowboys in Philadelphia. The film has received a lot of praise from critics and fans alike, who have taken an interest in the real urban cowboy community that lives in the city.
One of the most anticipated western movies of this year is Jordan Peele’s one western-horror called ‘Nope.’
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Steven Yeun, the movie follows residents of an isolated town, where Palmer’s and Kaluuya’s characters run Hollywood’s only black-owned horse training ranch. Based on the trailer, the residents of the town witness a mysterious and abnormal event – which is rumoured to involve aliens.
‘Nope’ currently has a scheduled release date of 22nd July 2022.
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