Hollywood has provided wonderful entertainment over the years. In the early days, movies were too serious. As a child, I wasn’t drawn to dramas; I was drawn to comedies. School was serious, Sunday school was serious, and the adults were always watching the news. Viet Nam, Watergate, the economy and the Cold War made everyday life entirely too tense. Laughter broke up the tension.
I’d like to share my top ten western comedy movies for the whole family. If you are concerned about any of the content, watch first and then decide if you want your children to watch it with you.
The Three Amigos
Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short created three characters that have lived on in American Culture. The three play actors in the 1920’s film era and are stars. They play the famous “Three Amigos,” western hero characters dressed in elaborate caballeros costumes, who travel around righting wrongs and doing good.
I would tell you the rest, but it would be a spoiler. You really have to see this film to enjoy it.
Legendary actor Lee Marvin, Jane Fonda and others created a western comedy in 1965 that proves damsels are always helpless. Cat’s father is killed and the local land robber baron wants it. Cat enlists the help of an alcoholic ex-gunfighter and a ranch hand with only one thing on his mind, and it isn’t getting the ranch back, exactly.
This film features the funniest chase on horseback I’ve ever seen. It has made me laugh every time for over 40 years running.
In 1974, a moviemaker named Mel Brooks took on American audiences and made a film that has become a cult classic. He made fun of discrimination, westerns, designer fashion, stereotypes and just about everything in between. Mel appears as a politician in the film; he’s unforgettable. Every actor from Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn and Dom DeLouise does a magnificent job.
This 1979 film is my all-time favorite western comedy. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kirk Douglas and Ann Margaret turn in their funniest performances ever. Arnold plays Handsome Stranger, a dim-witted and good-looking hero whose idea of stopping a wagon he thought was a runaway got him into trouble. He has to keep Ann Margaret safe on the road, but the hot minx has ideas of her own. Throw in Kirk Douglas as Cactus Jack, the villain, who wants the gold he thinks Handsome Stranger is guarding. The movie plays like a live-action “Roadrunner and coyote” cartoon. It’s beyond hysterical- look for the campfire scene.
Paint Your Wagon
Who knew before this movie that Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood, Hollywood’s toughest screen gunfighters could sing? Both of them do in this hysterical laugh riot of a film. Two prospectors are trying to build a town and find a little gold. They kidnap prostitutes, make a lot of deals and manage to wind up being husband to the same woman. Parents should watch this movie first to see if it’s okay for the children. Some of the subject matter is a little racy.
Bob Hope and Jane Russell will have you laughing until your sides hurt in this classic offering. Jane plays Calamity Jane, a government agent who winds up married to “Painless” Potter, a correspondence school dentist (yikes). She’s looking for the gunrunners who are selling weapons to renegade Indians. He’s a through-and-through coward who winds up being heralded as a sharpshooting hero. From there, things get, well, it’s Bob Hope and it’s clean, sidesplitting fun.
Son of Paleface
In 1952, Bob Hope and Jane Russell returned, along with Roy Rogers and Trigger to make an even funnier sequel to “The Paleface.” Hope is Potter’s son, in town to claim an inheritance because he’s broke. Jane is a villain, the target of government agent Roy Rogers. You do not want to miss the scenes between Hope and Trigger- they’re unforgettable.
Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and the original Maverick, James Garner, created a sensationally funny western in 1994. Gibson needs to get a poker stake together and will do almost anything to raise the money. Foster is a beautiful con artist determined to get into the game and take the money. Garner is a marshal who wants to put Maverick away. Look for top country and western signers in this film such as Clint Black, Carlene Carter and Waylon Jennings.
Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson turn the Old West upside down in this movie. Jackie is Chon Wang, a member of the Chinese Imperial Guard, sent to rescue the princess. Owen is a bungling train robber, who winds up becoming his partner. You’ll never forget this laugh riot. There are stunts, martial arts, sharpshooting and jokes aplenty in this family-friendly film.
An untold number of people moved west during the 1800’s. What happened when a group of people decided they didn’t want to stay and wanted to take a wagon train east? John Candy, Richard Lewis, Robert Picardo and a host of other comedians show that all was not gold and glitter in the Wild West territories. Candy is a wagon train master who is hired to take the disgruntled settlers eastward. What ensues is classic comedy and a film that will always make you laugh.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and a consummate movie fan.