Western Film Analysis

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Fitting a film into a class, like the western genre, presumes that we have some general knowledge about it. Western films are more or less expected to be set in the western United States, sometime between 1860 and 1900, and include a conflict involving the east and the west. The western genre in particular is known for it’s traditional, crucial conventions—”ritualistic gunfights, black and white clothing corresponding to good and bad distinctions, revenge themes, typed villains and many many more.” (Tudor 5) What the western genre is not as famously noted for is the thematic paradigm it introduces for other genres to later imitate and create what are now known as disguised westerns.
Real-life westerner Buffalo Bill Cody said, “I stood between
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He is often resistant to women/marriage which is meant to highlight their distrust of civilization. We see them as free and adventurous however they give off a sense of danger and loneliness. In films that follow the thematic paradigm this character is foiled with another character we’d call the official hero. This person would embody the best attributes of an adult demonstrating sound reasoning and judgement. Their wisdom and sympathy usually coming from their extensive experience. This character is comfortable in society, unlike the latter, which can represent safety and comfort but also boredom and the entanglements of life. As these two characters can clash it’s usually the work of both these characters that save the day. In most cases the outlaw hero is driven by a moral detachment, i.e., a girl he can never have or revenge, while the official hero is driven by the want to do a good deed for society. The outlaw hero becomes the interest center while the official hero is fulfils the moral …show more content…
Here we have ex-convict Rocky Sullivan as the outlaw hero and Father Jerry Connolly as the official hero. Much like Stagecoach as Curly first identifies Ringo as the enemy, there is rivalry between Rocky and Father Connolly. However when Father Connolly’s life is threatened, Rocky protects his old friend amidst their own trials. Rocky’s bravery yet refusal to “die a coward” complies with the ideas of an outlaw hero as they are more comfortable with life as an outlaw. When Rocky finally pleads for mercy we can easily see a parallel to the outlaw heroes of a western film who might end up with a woman or finally accept the growth of civilization. Rocky’s noble death is similar to Ringo’s end as he rides off with Dallas. We are able to see that in both films the official hero at last has to rely on the actions of the changed outlaw hero to “save the day.” Robert Ray sums this up by saying, “the movie provided the audience with a means of displacing the nagging anxieties about ruthless ambition and individualism. By suggesting that the individual, although ultimately sacrificed, had supplied the key contributions to a society's success.” (Ray

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