As confirmed by director James Mangold himself, Logan draws its influences from Westerns, and this was made evident in both the movie's desert setting and themes of classic #Western movies, which all helped set the distinct tone of Logan's final story.
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Here's a short list of Westerns that every Logan fan should place at the top of their must-see list after watching Hugh Jackman's final ride as James "Logan" Howlett, aka #TheWolverine.
- Year Of Release: 1953
- Directed By: George Stevens
It doesn't get any more obvious than this. At one point in the movie, the characters in Logan sit in front of a television and watch the classic Western #Shane. As famous as Shane is, it's a lot more relevant to the themes of Logan outside of being an Easter Egg for those familiar with Western movies.
Shane deals with the titular drifter (played by Alan Ladd) who knows that his time as a legendary gunslinger is nearly over. When ranchers threaten to encroach on the Starrett's land, Shane is forced to resort to his old ways to protect his newfound family even if it will cost him a chance at a peaceful future.
Watch the trailer for Shane below.
Shane was a hit at the time of its release, leading to many films being influenced by it or just outright copying the plot. The entire middle act and the familial themes of Logan owe a lot to Shane, and the classic's influence on Wolverine's third film helped turn it into a character study rather than a traditional superhero movie.
2. The Wild Bunch
- Year Of Release: 1969
- Directed By: Sam Peckinpah
If there's one movie that is credited for killing the traditional cowboy movie, it would be #TheWildBunch. Set in the final days of the Wild West, The Wild Bunch follows aging bandits who go on one last heist before their way of life is snuffed out from the frontier landscapes for good.
The Wild Bunch is an incredibly violent and cynical take on the typical cowboy movie, since the characters here are a far cry from the simple heroes and villains who wielded six shooters. Instead of protecting helpless folk from roving gangs, The Wild Bunch focused on a gang of unchanging men who don't know what to do in the changing times.
Watch the trailer for The Wild Bunch below.
Age, regret and the futility of one's actions are all major themes in The Wild Bunch, making it a compelling tale of mortality. Peckinpah's demolition of the Western did its job so well that cowboy legend John Wayne complained that the movie basically "destroyed the Western."
3. The Shootist
- Year Of Release: 1976
- Directed By: Don Siegel
The Shootist served a dual purpose by being the finale for both a fictional character and the actor's ownership of said role. In The Shootist, Wayne portrayed a dying gunslinger who wants to die in a blaze of glory instead of passing away on a bed.
Watch the trailer for The Shootist below.
This was symbolic because both the character and Wayne himself were dying. Wayne was suffering from multiple ailments at the time and felt that the his brand of heroics was on its way out. He then used The Shootist as a grand finale for the traditional Western and the archetype he defined. The Shootist was John Wayne's final movie, and he died three years later.
- Year Of Release: 1992
- Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Where John Wayne defined the idealistic American hero, #ClintEastwood did the same for the generation of jaded but noble anti-heroes that followed. But like Wayne, Eastwood knew that he couldn't portray the cynical badass forever.
Eastwood starred in and directed #Unforgiven, which centered on an aging gunslinger being forced out retirement. Unforgiven was Eastwood's farewell to his famous Western anti-hero (specifically the Man With No Name) by showing this kind of character in his senior years and trying to live with the consequences of his murderous past. The actor and director also dedicated this swan song to Western film legends Don Siegel and Sergio Leone; men he credits as his mentors.
Watch the trailer for Unforgiven below.
Unforgiven won four out of nine Oscar nominations in 1993, including one for Best Picture, Best Actor for Clint Eastwood and Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman. At the time, Unforgiven was considered to be the last true Western, and this proved to be true for a while. It should also be noted that #HughJackman cited Unforgiven among other movies as an influence for Logan.
5. Blood Father
- Year Of Release: 2016
- Directed By: Jean-François Richet
Though it's more of a modern day neo-Western than a traditional one, #BloodFather bears similarities to Logan in both face and thematic values. Not only do the movies focus on a jaded hero with a beard, but they both feature a father/daughter relationship set against a barren, violent backdrop.
Controversial actor and director #MelGibson stars in Blood Father, and proved that he still has what it takes to pull off a compelling performance despite being absent from mainstream Hollywood for quite a while. Both Gibson and Link from Blood Father were on a quest for redemption, leading some to theorize that this personal connection is what helped give the movie its strong critical reception.
Watch the trailer for Blood Father below.
Alongside his first directorial effort in a decade, #HacksawRidge, Blood Father is seen as Gibson's cinematic comeback and return to form after many troubled years. Gibson's future after his successful return is still uncertain, but fans of the man can only hope for the best after his most recent successes.
Logan is like no other superhero movie before it. At a time when almost every superhero movie is just a set-up to another movie, Logan chose to tell a smaller yet more personal story. Director James Mangold's decision to ditch the familiar superhero-film formula in favor of a movie that follows in the footsteps of Hollywood's classic westerns has made Hugh Jackman's final big-screen adventure as Wolverine a satisfying one.
What other westerns can you recommend after seeing 'Logan?'