Riding into the Sunset: Mexican Western Classics Image

Riding into the Sunset: Mexican Western Classics

By Film Threat Staff | March 13, 2023

The Western genre has been a cornerstone of the film industry for decades, giving us some of our most beloved movies. From Sergio Leone to John Ford, Clint Eastwood, and Sam Peckinpah, the genre has evolved over time, but the Wild Wild West isn’t the only place where Westerns have been set. Mexican Western Classics are movies produced in Mexico but filmed in the Western style, with a distinct look and sound. These feature rugged landscapes, intense gunfights, and a mix of Spanish and English, making them even more exciting. If you’re looking for a movie night filled with Westerns from outside the US, here are some of the most iconic.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The Magnificent Seven is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and it is considered one of the best Western movies ever made. The movie tells the story of seven cowboys that get hired as guardians of a small Mexican village. The mission is to defend the inhabitants against a group of bandits. The movie stars Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn in an exceptional, action-packed film.

The movie’s soundtrack, composed by Elmer Bernstein, is one of the most recognizable themes in the film industry. Even though the action takes place in Mexico, the movie was actually shot in the US states of New Mexico, Louisiana, and Colorado. 

The Wild Bunch (1969)

The Wild Bunch is a Sam Peckinpah movie that tells the story of a group of aging outlaws who plan one last heist. Even though shot still in the early days of cinematography, the movie is known for its violent and graphic depiction of the Old West. The Wild Bunch stars William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Robert Ryan.

The movie’s cinematography is exceptional, and it captures the brutality of the Old West. Furthermore, it was shot in Mexico, more exactly at the Hacienda Cienaga del Carmen situated deep in the desert between the cities of Torreon, Coahuila, Rio Nazas, and Saltillo. 

Three Amigos (1986)

Three Amigos is a comedy movie that parodies the Western genre. The movie stars Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short as a group of silent movie actors who are mistaken for real-life heroes. The three protagonists are hired to protect the village from a gang of bandits, and there are countless funny moments coming out of this serendipity. The movie is a hilarious take on the Western genre, and it has become a cult classic.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Another western classic to complete our top is “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. A movie by John Huston tells the story of three men who search for gold in the mountains of Mexico. The movie stars Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, and Tim Holt and doesn’t really need further introductions after seeing the cast. 

The movie’s plot is centered around the corrupting influence of money, and it explores the lengths people will go to get rich. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is also one of the first Hollywood productions that were shot on location outside the US, in the state of Durango, and scenes from Tampico.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

One of the more special western movies is A Fistful of Dollars. Directed by Sergio Leone, the film stars Clint Eastwood as a lone gunman who arrives in a small town torn apart by two rival factions. The movie is known for its innovative use of close-ups, extreme long shots, and an iconic soundtrack.

Another aspect that makes A Fistful of Dollars unique is that it was shot entirely in Spain. Most of it is near Hoyo de Manzanares (close to Madrid).  The movie’s plot is a loose adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, and it became such a huge success that stood the test of time it was adapted by software provider Saucify into a Spanish casino game

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

For a Few Dollars, More is the second movie in Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. A sequel to the above-mentioned A Fistful of Dollars, this one also stars  Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as two bounty hunters who team up to capture a notorious bandit. 

Just like the first movie, it enjoyed a warm welcome from movie fans and critics alike. So much so that Sergio Leone went ahead and did the third part as well – called The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, released in 1996. This one was filmed in Rome but contained filming locations from Spain, and Mexico as well. 

Final Thoughts

Mexican Western Classics have been thrilling audiences for decades and they have remained a staple of the film industry. These movies provide us with a unique take on the Western genre, combining exhilarating action with rugged landscapes and a Spanish twist. Whether you’re a fan of Sergio Leone, John Ford, or Sam Peckinpah, you’re sure to find something special in Mexican Western Classics.

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