If you love classic cinema, then chances are that there’s at least one western in your list of all-time greatest movies. Here are three of our favorite moments from classic westerns.
Blazing Saddles – 1974
For true lovers of classic western movies, this movie pulls perhaps the most sublime inside joke of all time in the scene where State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) is recruiting a gang of thugs to drive the townspeople out of their homes. Everyone who’s recruited gets a badge, but one of the bandits rears up and yells, “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” It’s a tip of the sombrero to the classic scene in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” where a bandit snarls “I don’t have to show you no stinkin’ badges.” And speaking of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”…
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – 1948
This morality-play-meets-Wild West is tantamount to a Shakespearean drama set among the sagebrush, with gut-wrenching scenery chewing from Walter Huston and Humphrey Bogart. Greatest scene? Bogie’s magnificent mad scene (think King Lear or Macbeth). Eyes glittering with paranoia and wearing a western belt buckle that gleams threateningly in the firelight, he accuses partner Tim Holt with wanting to run off with the entire treasure, then pulls his gun on him. After being disarmed, he makes a bet as to which of them will fall asleep first that night — because, with a loaded gun and a madman on hand, the only way to stay alive is to stay awake.
Cat Ballou – 1965
Like Blazing Saddles, this movie has several of our favorite moments from classic westerns, including the scene where the horse, dead drunk, is leaning against the brick wall with his legs crossed. In real life, Smoky the horse won the Craven Award, the animal equivalent of the Oscar, for his leg crossing stunt, which his trainer taught him by bribing him with sugar cubes.