We continue our survey of the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s, click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1940s, click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1930s click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1920s click here.
5. Ride the High Country, 1962.
“All I want is to enter my house justified,” says Steve Judd (Joel McCrea) an ex-lawman, hired to transport a shipment of gold through dangerous territory.
Judd enlists Gil Westrum (Randolph Scott) his old sidekick, to help move the gold. This is the central plot for an elegy to the old West, a film that might be the most profoundly touching Western ever produced. It is, most certainly, director Sam Peckinpah’s most fully realized film, a masterpiece that transcends genre.
Just as the Medieval romance was created as the fictional ideal of the Middle Ages, the Western is the proscenium for the classic American moral fable where virtue defeats evil. We root for the heroic sheriff, hiss the greedy cattle baron, adore the virtuous schoolmarm, cheer as the cavalry rides to the rescue, and experience conflicting emotions as the wild frontier gives way to civilization.