He’s closely tied to the genre, but how many Clint Eastwood Westerns are there? During the so-called “Golden Age” of the Western, the genre made up around half of Hollywood’s annual output. This speaks to how sharp the decline would prove in later years, where during the ’60s they soon became increasingly rare.
Eastwood got one of his earliest breaks as an actor with Western series Rawhide and was later offered the chance to play the lead in a low-budget Italian Western. This turned out to be Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars, which is credited with inventing the “Spaghetti Western” subgenre and making Eastwood a movie star. The actor followed up the Dollars movie trilogy with several more Westerns, which only reinforced his ties to the genre.
In contrast to the likes of John Wayne’s Westerns, Eastwood’s output was often much darker, cynical and violent. The Spaghetti Westerns lacked the gloss and heroism of Hollywood’s output. Whereas Wayne shot an estimated 80 Westerns during his career, Clint made far less.
Clint Eastwood Made 15 Westerns (& Directed 4)
In total, Clint Eastwood had made 15 Western movies. This includes some he made very early in his career, including playing an uncredited ranch hand in Star In The Dust. It also excludes some of his later work like Bronco Billy or Cry Macho, which had many Western tropes and themes but featured more modern-day settings.
From the early ’70s onwards, Eastwood increasingly became both the star and director of his projects. He stepped behind the camera on four of his Westerns: High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider – the only film where Clint plays a supernatural character – and Unforgiven.
Every Western Clint Eastwood Starred In
Eastwood may not have the volume of stars like Wayne, but what he lacked in quantity he made up for with quality. Following the Dollars trilogy, many of his Westerns like The Outlaw Josey Wales or Unforgiven are considered genre classics.
- Star in the Dust (1956)
- The First Traveling Saleslady (1956)
- Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958)
- A Fistful Of Dollars (1964)
- For A Few Dollars More (1965)
- The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966)
- Hang ‘Em High (1968)
- Paint Your Wagon (1969)
- Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
- The Beguiled (1971)
- Joe Kidd (1972)
- High Plains Drifter (1973)
- The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
- Pale Rider (1985)
- Unforgiven (1992)
Why Clint Eastwood Stopped Making Westerns After Unforgiven
While Clint Eastwood’s Western output was fairly consistent during the ’60s and ’70s, he slowed down significantly following The Outlaw Josey Wales. He only made one Oater in the ’80s and the ’90s, with Unforgiven being his most acclaimed. Eastwood read this script in the ’80s and decided to wait nearly a decade to make it since he felt the character needed to be older.
This paid off, with the film being both a financial success and winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood. The star had always pictured Unforgiven – which is one of Clint’s favorites of his own – as his last word on the Western genre, with the film being a deconstruction and demystification of the West itself. That’s why – outside of neo-Western Cry Macho in 2021 – Unforgiven is the final Clint Eastwood Western; for now, at least.