Django Unchained

Django Unchained

During the fifties and sixties there was no bigger movie genre than the Western as names such as John Wayne, Yul Brynner and Glenn Ford starred in some of the most high profile movies.

While the Western never really disappeared from cinemas its success and popularity waned. However the noughties has seen a resurgence in this genre with films such as 3:10 To Yuma, The Proposition and No Country For Old Men being just some of the movies that have been released and enjoyed success.

This week sees the Western return to the big screen as Quentin Tarantino, who was inspired by the likes of Sergio Leone, tackles this genre for the first time.

The early noughties saw movies such as The Proposition and Open Range hit the big screen but it was 2007 where there was a real resurgence.

3:10 to Yuma was a remake of the 1957 classic and saw Russell Crowe and Christian Bale team up to lead the Western back to the top of the U.S. box office.

While we saw the traditional Western enjoy success there was also a new strand of this genre as the films that were released moved into more contemporary surrounding.

Perhaps the most famous of these is Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain the film was a romantic-drama film that depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two men in the American West from 1963 to 1983.

Despite some controversy surrounding the film it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor for Heath Ledger and Best Supporting Actor for Jake Gyllenhaal with Ang Lee winning Best Director.

Other contemporary Westerns include Tommy Lee Jones' The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and more recently the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men.

The latter is one of the most critically praised film of the last few years as the Coen brothers delivered a tour de force in directing with the likes of Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem giving knockout performances.

Since then we have seen a range of different interpretations of this genre with animation and science fiction getting in on the act with the likes of Rango and Cowboys & Aliens.

We may have seen the Western take on a more contemporary feel in recent years but Django Unchained turns that on its head this week as it is a Spaghetti-style Western set in the Southern frontier.

Jamie Foxx leads an all star cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington.

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained follows Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Waltz).

Together the pair set to out rescue Django’s wife from a brutal plantation owner.

The Western has provided some of cinema's most classic movies and characters and helped launch the careers of many stars, including Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, and today studios have realised that there is still an audience for these movies.

The Western has always been one of the greatest movie genres and it is great to see it back on the big screen and enjoying success.

Django Unchained is out now

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