Westerns, arguably more than most other cinematic genres, tend to be geared towards captivating and compelling main characters who dominate the screen. Typically featuring A-list actors in anti-hero roles as they battle and struggle through anarchic environments against a litany of fearsome foes, rugged tracks are almost always the most alluring element of movies. vast period images they inhabit, but not always.
Throughout the history of the iconic genre, there have been many times when audiences have found themselves drawn to the appeal of supporting characters. Whether they caught our eye as suave companions, comedic cowboys, or even vile villains, these supporting acts have outstripped some of history’s greatest movie stars to steal the show in those famous westerns. .
“The Alamo” (1960)
John Waynethe first official film of, The Alamo is a dramatic account of Davy Crockett’s last battle against the invading Mexican army in 1836. Wayne also stars in the film with a performance that was considered by critics to be far more compelling than his direction, and yet it wasn’t not Wayne himself who shone brightest on screen.
Playing the Tennessean soldier named Beekeeper, Theodore “Chill” Wills made a lasting impression and earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his efforts. It might be seen as an unsurprising achievement for Wills, as he’s made a career out of being a sidekick to some of the biggest western movie stars ever seen.
“Blazing Saddles” (1974)
A scandalous comedy from the Hollywood legend Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles remains a true classic of the genre almost 50 years after its release. While there are plenty of jokes that make current audiences blush, there’s no denying that the film is full of great supporting characters who make each scene their own appearance.
Following a black sheriff appointed by a corrupt politician to bring down a town in the Old West, the biting satirical western features some of comedy’s greatest supporting characters. From cowboys who fart and eat beans to more central characters like Gene Wilderthe drunken armed bandit Jim and the incredibly strong Mongo (Alex Karras), Blazing Saddles offers the best figures of Western comedies.
“The Lone Ranger” (2013)
Throughout its many film and TV iterations and even the radio show it originated from, The Lone Ranger has always been firmly focused on its titular hero. Verbinsky MountainsThe 2013 version of the story deliberately gave Tonto (Johnny Depp) a bigger role though, and it saw the character become a scene-stealer.
While the family-friendly action-adventure western failed to appease most critics, Depp’s performance as the iconic sidekick was warmly received. Even though some viewers criticize the film’s depiction of Native Americans and their struggles throughout history, Depp’s performance remains one of the film’s most famous elements.
Morgan FREEMAN is certainly no stranger to playing a supporting role and making it the main attraction, doing so in renowned classics like The Shawshank Redemption and Million dollar baby. This ability seamlessly transcended the Old West when he starred as Ned in unforgiven.
With Clint Eastwood Directing the film and starring in it, he featured a brutal and violent spin on the American West as former gunman Will Munny (Eastwood) works with his former associate Ned to bring a bounty to a man who disfigured a female worker. of sex. The revisionist Western classic displays a world-weary bitterness that Freeman thrives in, dissecting much of what made the genre so iconic in its heyday with his signature grace and glorious vocals.
The starry ensemble capable of dominating a scene made tomb stone so captivating. Kurt Russell played the role of Wyatt Earp, with people like Booth powers, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxtonand Michael Beihn among the supporting cast, but it was Val Kilmerthe performance of his right-hand man Doc Holliday that is best remembered.
The alcoholic gunslinger and saloon dweller struck a chord with audiences at the time, earning the actor numerous awards, with many believing he could be an Oscar contender. Although a nomination eluded him, a long-standing legacy as one of the greatest cowboys of the 1990s did not, with Kilmer’s Doc Holliday still considered one of the best Western characters in the time.
‘Bone Tomahawk’ (2015)
As fantastic as Kurt Russell is, tomb stone wasn’t the only time he was upstaged in a Western, with his starring role in the ultra-violent bone tomahawk to be eclipsed by Matthew FoxJohn Brooder, the magnetic gunslinger. The Lost star shares the screen with the likes of Richard Jenkins and Patrick Wilson as a small group ventures into a dangerous valley to rescue three townspeople from a tribe of cave-dwelling cannibals.
To be fair, the entire ensemble cast is a steady climax of slow-paced Western horror, making the dialogue pop off the screen throughout. It is Fox who is remembered most fondly by fans of the film, however, with his sleek badass a constant scene-stealer throughout.
‘Django Unchained’ (2012)
Inspired by spaghetti westerns of the 60s and 70s, Quentin Tarantinoaction revenge blockbuster Django Unchained used the full extent of the genre’s penchant for style to bolster the film’s collection of captivating characters. While Django (Jamie Foxx) is anything but boring, the film does not lack secondary characters who challenge us even more.
Both Christopher Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio earned Oscar nominations for their performances as a German bounty hunter and ruthless plantation owner respectively, with Waltz winning his second Oscar for the role. There was also Samuel L. Jacksonthe famous character as well as Don Johnson and the Ku Klux Klan streak still fondly remembered for its ridiculous comedy.
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)
Although best known for its iconic music, epic story and gripping tension, The good the bad and the ugly is made so endlessly re-watchable thanks to its excellent characters. Whereas Cline Eastwood‘Blondie’ (which serves as The Good’) is the film’s lead, anyone who’s seen the western classic will no doubt see Eli Wallach‘s Tuco (the Ugly) as the star who steals the stage.
The unkempt, immoral, thief, and murderous gunslinger becomes Blondie’s uneasy sidekick when they realize each of them knows a clue to the whereabouts of stolen Confederate gold. With the film’s comedic presence, it would have been easy for Tuco to ruin the film, but Wallach’s performance ensures he remains one of the defining aspects of its greatness.
“No country for old people” (2007)
The Coen Brothers‘ gritty neo-Western masterpiece is one of the most recent classics the genre has produced. A punishing thriller There is no country for old people takes place in 1980 and follows hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) who comes across the aftermath of a cartel shootout and picks up a briefcase containing $2 million.
As great as Llewelyn is to watch, he’s nothing compared to Javier BardemAnton Chigurh, a psychotic hitman, is hired to recover the stolen money. Not only did Chigurh dominate every scene he appeared in, but he also became one of cinema’s greatest and most terrifying villains of all time.
‘Rio Bravo’ (1959)
It wasn’t often that John Wayne was overshadowed on the big screen, but in howard hawks‘Western classic Rio Bravo it’s not just one actor who steals the show but three. Sheriff Chance (Wayne) arrests a notorious gunslinger only to have the criminal’s brother declare he’s willing to break him out of jail if necessary.
dean martin and Ricky Nelson Play as the town drunk and a baby-faced cowboy respectively, both conscripted to take up positions until reinforcements arrive. To add Angie Dickinsontough Widow Feathers too, and there are plenty of scene-stealing secondary characters who do Rio Bravo the classic it is today.
NEXT: The Best Westerns of All Time, According to IMDb
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10 Westerns With Secondary Characters That Steal The Scene – GameSpot