- Mirror, The (1974)
- Fargo (1996)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Do The Right Thing (1989)
- Report (1967)
- Is "The Sting" The Best Gambling Film Ever Made?
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943), Or 28 Angry Men
- Rome, Open City (1945)
- Spring in a Small Town (1948)
- Drive (2011)
- Vinyl (1965)
- Seconds (1966)
- Rosemary's Baby (1968)
- A Hollywood Invasion of Casino Halls
- Thin Man, The (1934)
- In The Heat of the Night (1967)
- All In: The Poker Movie, Player’s Best Tricks
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- Lone Star (1996)
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
- Slacker (1991)
- Shame (2011) Or Who the Hell is Steve McQueen?
- Wicker Man, The (1973)
- Buffalo '66 (1998)
- Flaming Creatures (1963) Or Infantile Art-House Orgy
- Enter the Dragon (1973)
- I Walked With a Zombie (1943)
- Out of the Past (1947)
- Princess Bride, The (1987)
High Plains Drifter (1973) * Top Pick *
Genre: Western Drama Thriller
Starring: Clint Eastwood (Escape from Alcatraz; Where Eagles Dare); Verna Bloom (Animal House; The Last Temptation of Christ)
Directed By: Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby; Mystic River)
Overview: When a gunfighter drifts into the small mining town of Lago, the town hires him to defend them from the three outlaws who vowed they'd return to settle a score.
If you were asked to think of 'the best Westerns that exist', The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, Once Upon a Time In the West, and Unforgiven would most likely be some of the titles that come to mind. Even if you were to keep listing off the films you know, High Plains Drifter may well never make your list. For as much as the second feature directed by Clint Eastwood has earned its place in the annals of its genre, its popularity seems almost non-existent, and certainly nowhere near the degree that it deserves.
I do all I can to avoid spoilers and the better the film, the more cautious I become, so you'll have to pardon me for not going into detail about the plot's genius, but I can tell you that the musical score is a true tribute to the Western style we've all grown to appreciate, though it displays a darker, more haunting air, properly representative of the stranger whose moment in life we follow.
High Plains Drifter is a film that can be described as pure, rugged Western with a heavy streak of Film Noir, both in the cinematographic silhouetting as well as the exploration of the character as an anti-hero, and I believe that this film, though perhaps not as perfect as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, is a heavy-hitting tale that belongs in everyone's repertoire.
Isaiah 53:3-4, the verse written on the church wall, perfectly describes the trek this story takes and the dark waters in which this film travels: "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
Overall Rating: 90% (Sit A Spell)
In my experience, the Western isn't a popular genre. Women seem apprehensive to watch these rugged man-flicks, and guys who are new to them may find themselves resistant to a period piece, regardless of the guns and the action. I'll put it this way: if there are only three westerns that you ever see in life, make High Plains Drifter one of them. It's so dark in fact that the online rumour mills say John Wayne wrote a letter to Eastwood condemning the film, stating that the 'Spirit of the West' was tainted by this film.
Well kids, if nothing else had sold me to see this, that certainly would have.
Dug up from the archives for the 1001 Must See Movies Club. Originally written way back on July 7th, 2007.