Acid Westerns


THE SHOOTING (1966)
Arguably the first Acid Western, by director Monte Hellman and produced by star Jack Nicholson, borrowing from the Theatre of the Absurd to tell of two cowboys, a gunfighter, and a woman making an unexplained and ultimately futile journey into the desert.

RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND (1966)
The second of Monte Hellman's two existential Westerns, this one starring and scripted by Jack Nicholson, about innocent cowhands who must turn criminal when they find themselves on the wrong end of a posse.

EL TOPO (1970)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's legendary midnight movie, drawing from European avant garde theater and telling a metaphoric, mystical tale around a series of gunfights.

ZACHARIAH (1971)
Promoted as the first "Electric Western," the film tells of two hippie-like gunfighters, one played by Don Johnson, who travel through a West scored to rock music and often looking like a San Francisco acid rock poster.

THE LAST MOVIE (1971)
Dennis Hopper's legendary and almost career-killing follow-up to "Easy Rider," in which he plays a horse wrangler on a Western film in Peru who stars behind to witness the locals go mad on the Western set, and goes mad himself.

THE HIRED HAND (1971)
Peter Fonda also followed up "Easy Rider" with a Western, this one a moody, lovely meditation on male loyalties and romantic love in a West where settled towns exist within a short ride of brutal frontier towns.

ULZANA'S RAID (1972)
Robert Aldrich's film about an unprepared American military chasing Apache raiders was meant as an allegory of the Vietnam War, and it is about as bleak and cynical a Western as has ever been made.

BAD COMPANY (1972)
A revisionist Western so revisionist it barely resembles a Western, in which a gang of outlaws, made up of boys and led by Jeff Bridges, do a very poor job of surviving in a West that has barely been settled.

GREASER'S PALACE (1972)
An absurd, satiric Western by underground filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr., telling of a Christlike figure in a zoot suit that comes to a deranged Western saloon.

PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (1973)
Sam Peckinpah's revisionist version of the Billy the Kid story, featuring musicians in lead roles, a script by underground writer Rudy Wurlitzer, and a series of brutal set pieces where two people cannot meet in the West without shooting each other.

DEAD MAN (1995)
Art house filmmaker Jim Jarmusch tackles the genre with perhaps the most revisionist Western ever made, and the one that defines the Acid Western.

BLUEBERRY (2004)
The most literally acidic of the Acid Westerns, a in-name-only adaptation of the famed French Western comic book that replaces its antiracism storyline with a long hallucigonic trip that amounts to drug tourism among Indian communities.

Popular Posts