I now love the old-fashioned, traditional Westerns of Ford, Hawks, and Walsh, but it was the works of Peckinpah and Leone that as a kid first turned me on to the genre. Their work was excessively violent and stunningly cinematic. Darkly magical, cynical, and at times nihilistic, it was all just the right exciting to suck a young geek in. (I remember when finally getting the director's cut of THE WILD BUNCH and PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID were big deals, and finally seeing THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY in Widescreen was a breathtaking revelation) Once the door was open to the genre, and the filmographies of both was explored, hunting down the more obscure titles (thanks to videostore and cable) became an obsession.
So, fellow geeks, what are the best of the best and your personal favorites?
1. The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (1966) d. Sergio Leone
The best directed film of all time, just a blast of pure cinema. It's epic, exciting, and hilarious. With Eastwood at his most iconic, Van Cleef at his most sinister, and Eli Wallach delivering a funny performance that I'd put up against any comedian's for laugh out loud quotient. Arguably the ultimate geek film.