ByRory O'Connor, writer at
Breathing movies. Humbly writing about them.
Rory O'Connor

Seth Macfarlane hopes to build on the success of his surprise smash Ted this weekend by filling us in on A Million Ways we might Die in the West.

We took a look at a Magnificent seven more.


The temperamental dynamite of the old west has been the scourge of so many a lowly frontiersman. There's a poorly accented Q.T. feeling its wrath at the end of Django Unchained.


If you come at the devil, you had best not miss. Cowards seem more ubiquitous in westerns than most other places and many a man has fallen victim to that particular cold hard knife in the back. As Brad Pitt's Jesse James did to Casey Affleck's Bob Ford.

Apologies to Roger Deakins for the quality of that GIF. We hang our heads in shame.

All Guns Blazing

Down on your luck and running out of options? Why not just go all Butch and Sundance and sacrifice everything in one last blaze of glory.

Watch out for them wild Injuns

The racism towards native Americans is a big glaring scab on the Western genre which doesn't show any sign of healing. It's probably why they're always out killing everybody, perhaps most famously when they slaughtered Ethan's family in John Ford's The Searchers. A tragic death which we never get to see.

Bravado camera angles, thunderous chords; George Lucas would recreate it twenty years later when Luke lost his family on Tatooine.

Bar room Brawl

Heading out west (or further away...) and want to end up in a shallow grave? Your best bet might be a good old bar room fist up. Many lives and limbs have been lost in these lawless joints, not least old Ponda Baba down there.

He really wasn't worth the effort.

Hang Em High, Leave em dry...

From the Man with no name shooting them down in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to Hillary Swank letting off Tommy Lee Jones in the Homesman last week, leaving some sorry soul strung up to a tree is not exactly a sure-fire kill. If you have the patience, however, it is a particularly nasty one. All that time to mull it over as the legs grow weak...

Perhaps the most epic of all was Charles Bronson up there in Once Upon a Time in the West. Ennio Marricone allegedly wrote the wailing electric guitars and tortured harmonica before a script had even been made.

The Mexican Stand-off

The shootout remains the greatest Western trope of them all but at the end of the 1960's Sergio Leone would take the well worn setup to another level entirely. Looking at Leone again-and not just for Once Upon a Time... The director became synonymous with these three man stand-offs, but perhaps none was better executed than with Clint and his pocketwatch in For a Few Dollars More.

The showdown would spread to the cinema of Japan and Hong Kong before coming full circle with- who else?- Quentin Tarantino and his Reservoir Dogs.

Can you think of some more for the week that's in it? Educate us all in the comments section below.

[A Million Ways to Die in the West](movie:774008) is in theatres now.


Most likely?


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