Friday, February 7, 2020

Top 10 Kirk Douglas Western Movies You Need To See

By Carrie Aulenhbacher, WMD Managing Editor

With the recent passing of film icon, Kirk Douglas, we wanted to take a quick look at ten western films that he starred in over the years. With more than 90 films to his credit and a career spanning five decades, it is hard to single out even a top three of his most iconic films. Many point to Spartacus or Champion and even Lust For Life, however one must not forget his great contribution to cowboy and western films.

Such greats as are listed below are suggested at a fun website so be sure to let us know if we have mentioned your favorite film below. Comment as to some of the other great Kirk Douglas films we may have missed as well. Part of his legacy not only spans these films but includes ten novels and memoirs and a fantastic bit of philanthropy which covered more than 40 countries around the world.

When you get a chance, be sure to check out some of the great films below and even take a look at some of Kirk's blog posts, such as this interesting take on his own favorite films from his career. keeps them cataloged for posterity and this one mentions some of what we are going to highlight!

1. Gunfight At The OK Corral: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a 1957 American Technicolor Western film starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday, loosely based on the actual event which took place on October 26, 1881. The picture was directed by John Sturges from a screenplay written by novelist Leon Uris. Continue Reading

2. Lonely Are The Brave: Lonely Are the Brave is a 1962 American dramatic Western film adaptation of the Edward Abbey novel The Brave Cowboy. The film was directed by David Miller from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo. It stars Kirk Douglas as cowboy Jack Burns, Gena Rowlands as his best friend's wife and Walter Matthau as a sheriff who sympathizes with Burns but must do his job and chase him down. It also featured an early score by composer Jerry Goldsmith. Douglas felt that this was his favorite film. Continue Reading

3. The War Wagon: The War Wagon is a 1967 American Western film directed by Burt Kennedy and starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. Released by Universal Pictures, it was produced by Marvin Schwartz and adapted by Clair Huffaker from his own novel. The supporting cast includes Howard Keel, Robert Walker Jr., Keenan Wynn, Joanna Barnes and Bruce Dern. The picture received generally positive reviews. Filming took place in Sierra de Órganos National Park in the town of Sombrerete, Mexico. Continue Reading

4. Last Train From Gun Hill: Last Train from Gun Hill is a 1959 Western in VistaVision and Technicolor by action director John Sturges. It stars Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones, and Earl Holliman. Douglas and Holliman had previously appeared together in Sturges' Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), which used much of the same crew. Continue Reading

5. The Big Sky: The Big Sky is a 1952 American Western film produced and directed by Howard Hawks, based on the novel of the same name. The cast includes Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Elizabeth Threatt and Arthur Hunnicutt, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Though not considered among Hawks's major achievements by most critics, the film was chosen by Jonathan Rosenbaum for his alternative list of the Top 100 American Films. Continue Reading

6. The Man From Snowy River: The Man from Snowy River is a 1982 Australian Western and drama film based on the Banjo Paterson poem "The Man from Snowy River". Released by 20th Century Fox, the film had a cast including Kirk Douglas in a dual role as the brothers Harrison (a character who appeared frequently in Paterson's poems) and Spur, Jack Thompson as Clancy, Tom Burlinson as Jim Craig, Sigrid Thornton as Harrison's daughter Jessica, Terence Donovan as Jim's father Henry Craig, and Chris Haywood as Curly. Both Burlinson and Thornton later reprised their roles in the 1988 sequel, The Man from Snowy River II, which was released by Walt Disney Pictures. Continue Reading

7. Man Without A Star: Man Without a Star is a 1955 American Technicolor Western film directed by King Vidor starring Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor and William Campbell. It was based on the novel of the same name, published in 1952, by Dee Linford. A remake was made for television in 1968 entitled A Man Called Gannon. Continue Reading

8. The Indian Fighter: The Indian Fighter is a 1955 American CinemaScope and Technicolor Western film directed by Andre de Toth and based upon an original story by Robert L. Richards. The film was the first of star Kirk Douglas's Bryna Productions that was released through United Artists. The film co-stars Elsa Martinelli, Walter Matthau, Kirk Douglas's ex-wife Diana Douglas and Walter Abel. Continue Reading

9. Along The Great Divide: Along the Great Divide is a 1951 American Western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Kirk Douglas, Virginia Mayo, John Agar and Walter Brennan. It was Kirk Douglas's first Western, a genre that served him well during his long career. Continue Reading

10. The Last Sunset: The Last Sunset is a 1961 American Western film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, and Dorothy Malone. The film was released by Universal Studios and shot in Eastman color in Mexico. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was adapted from Howard Rigsby's 1957 novel Sundown at Crazy Horse. The supporting cast features Joseph Cotten, Carol Lynley, Neville Brand and Jack Elam. Continue Reading

About the Author
I absolutely love all sorts of old TV – if you’re looking for a fan of Mad Men, Supernatural, Sons Of Anarchy, Brotherhood, or classics like Dr. Quinn and the Dukes, I’m your gal! I love watching all sorts of genres as I find that you can learn from good writers, no matter what they’re writing!

Learn more about Carrie: Click Here!

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