It can be argued that Clint Eastwood, in his long association with and contributions to the Western, helped to carry the genre through the commercial “desert” for Westerns in the 1970s and 1980s. While there were important and interesting Westerns made during those two decades (including Eastwood’s own The Outlaw Josey Wales in 1976 and Pale Rider in 1985), the mainstream public was looking more to the screen for depictions of space and science fiction.
The success of Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves (1990) and Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992) – both of which won Oscars for Best Picture – reminded audiences of the power of the Western art form to help understand both North American history and the ongoing human condition. The ascendancy of the Western in recent years – be it film’s True Grit (2010), the video game Red Dead Redemption (2010), the TV series Hell on Wheels (2011 to present) – is again introducing a new generation to an artistic heritage that is now theirs to interpret and explore.
It is as a final post in this linear year of 2012, that westernsreboot turns to Eastwood for a final word on the Western before the paper calendars flip. In this American Film Institute-produced clip, Eastwood shares what he believes makes a good Western…there is wisdom here for both viewer and filmmaker alike:
Thank you to all who have visited this site in 2012. All the best to you and yours in the coming year.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)