10 Best Movies To Watch Like Tombstone

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Summary

  • Tombstone is a classic action/adventure Western film with complex and relatable characters, making it a great entry point to the genre.
  • Unforgiven is a dark and complex film that critiques the Western genre, perfect for fans of Tombstone who appreciate complex characters like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
  • Heat is an action-packed crime epic with complex characters, similar to Tombstone, that fans of the Western genre will enjoy.

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Tombstone is a classic action/adventure film and a great entry point to the world of Westerns. The 1993 film stars Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, following Russell’s Wyatt Earp as he attempts to lay down his gun and settle down in Tombstone, Arizona. Unfortunately, trouble finds Wyatt, as he crosses paths with a gang of Cowboys who threaten the town. Wyatt must take up arms once again to defend himself, and his family, and to restore order to the town.

While there are many great Westerns worth viewing, there are also films in other genres that have a similar appeal. Tombstone is referred to as a “revisionist Western,” a sub-genre of the Western film that subverts the mythology of classical Western films, creating characters that are more human and complex, as opposed to the larger-than-life heroes of good in the traditional Western. These complex characters are more relatable and often appeal more to modern audiences, and there are plenty of films that explore similar ideas, some of which are arguably among the best movies of all time.

10 Unforgiven

Will Munny with a rifle in Unforgiven

Unforgiven is the definitive revisionist Western, and one of the darkest and most complex films in the genre. Clint Eastwood directs and stars in the film, along with Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Gene Hackman. Unforgiven is directly critical of the Western genre, and the types of ‘heroes’ the films would usually explore, instead exposing the film’s gunslingers for being child murderers, cowards, and cruel fearmongers. For fans of Tombstone who love the complexity of Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday, Unforgiven is a great next step.

RELATED: The 20 Best Westerns Ever Made Ranked

9 Wyatt Earp

Kevin Costner in Wyatt Earp.

The 1994 Western, Wyatt Earp, isn’t held in the same regard as Tombstone, but it explores a larger, biographical view of the life of the famed gunslinger, as well as other characters from the film. Instead of Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, it’s Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid who play Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, respectively. Gene Hackman and Jim Caviezel also play the other Earp brothers, in a Western with a 3-hour and 32-minute run time. For more of Earp’s story and the history of the events in Tombstone, Wyatt Earp is a fun continuation.

8 The Untouchables

The Untouchables isn’t a Western, but it is a film from the same era that sees a group of men become friends, bonding over their sense of justice, to take up arms against Al Capone. Like Sam Elliot’s Virgil Earp in Tombstone, The Untouchables is about men with a sense of patriotism, who want to uphold the law against corruption. While many other cops in prohibition-era Chicago have been bribed, this team that includes Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia, and Sean Connery, won’t be swayed by fear or greed. The film also has a great antagonist performance from Robert De Niro as Al Capone.

RELATED: Every Brian De Palma Movie Ranked Worst To Best

7 Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

Paul Newman and Robert Redford hiding behind a rock in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is an older Western from 1969 and is one of the few films in the genre that can match the charisma of Tombstone’s characters. While Tombstone has Russell and Kilmer, Butch and Sundance are played by the legendary Paul Newman and Robert Redford, a duo whose alluring screen presence together is unrivaled. Like with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, Butch and Sundance have a beautiful friendship, which is one of the ideas the film explores as the two outlaws make their run from the law. It features one of the best Robert Redford movie roles.

6 Once Upon A Time In The West

The three gunfighters confront Harmonica at the train station in Once Upon A Time In The West.

Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the greatest films ever, and one of the best in the Western genre. From Sergio Leone, this essential spaghetti Western is an epic about the changing historical time period in the Wild West, as railways began construction and the horse is about to become obsolete. Once Upon a Time in the West is a love letter to the genre, arriving perfectly at the time in 1968 when the popularity of the Western genre was about to end. For lovers of the Western myth, Sergio Leone’s films are all mandatory viewing.

5 Bone Tomahawk

Chicory uses a spotting scope while Franklin and Brooder watch in Bone Tomahawk

Kurt Russell has only been in a few Western films, but Bone Tomahawk is definitely his most unique. The film is as much an ensemble Western as it is a disturbing horror film, with some intense and gruesome moments. Bone Tomahawk stars Russell alongside Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins, a group of men on a mission to rescue missing people from a group of cannibals.

Related: Every Kurt Russell Western, Ranked Worst To Best

4 The Outlaw Josey Wales

Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales

Before Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood was exploring the revisionist Western with The Outlaw Josey Wales, a film he directed and starred in which was released in 1976. Josey Wales is a man in Civil War times who sees his family murdered by Union soldiers, causing him to enlist in the Confederate Army, and follow a path of revenge. Like Tombstone, The Outlaw Josey Wales explores ideas about revenge, with complex characters set in a Western period.

3 Heat

Heat De Niro Kilmer action scene

Heat is another film that isn’t a Western, but may have similar appeal to fans of Tombstone. Heat is a crime epic about a detective, played by Al Pacino, in pursuit of a professional criminal, played by Robert De Niro. Among De Niro’s crew is a character played by Val Kilmer, who was also one of the actors in Tombstone. Heat is an action-packed film with complex characters, great moments of dialogue, and attention to detail that those who liked Tombstone will surely appreciate.

2 Young Guns

Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid pointing a gun in Young Guns II

Young Guns is a Western action movie that arrived shortly before Tombstone, starring Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, and Kiefer Sutherland as young cowboys set on a path of revenge after their mentor is gunned down. Young Guns tells the story of Billy Kid’s adventures during the Lincoln County War in the later 1870s and is actually considered to be quite historically accurate. While its characters are younger than those of Tombstone, the action and adventure deliver a similar appeal.

1 True History Of The Kelly Gang

Russell Crowe in True History of the Kelly Gang

Starring George MacKay, Nicholas Hoult, Charlie Hunnam, Thomasin McKenzie and Russell Crowe, True History of the Kelly Gang is a fantastic modern Western. The film actually takes place in Australia, following a criminal gang on the run from the law in the 1870s. True History of the Kelly Gang explores ideas of family and betrayal, from an opposite point-of-view from the law-men characters in Tombstone.