Western Icon Clint Eastwood’s Best Films Aren’t Actually Westerns

The mythology of the Western genre would be left unrealized if not for Clint Eastwood.

The legendary actor-director, who remains active in the field into his 90s, serves as a one-two punch with John Wayne as the figure who shaped the iconography of the American frontier, with Eastwood more willing to expose a darker underbelly of the genre.

He deconstructed the genre and the traditional cowboy protagonist with Westerns that spanned decades, from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, to ones which he also directed, including High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Unforgiven.

For as groundbreaking as he was in this genre, Eastwood was at his most refined, meditative, and creative when he stepped outside the Wild West.

After making Westerns for decades across television and film, he utilized the layered and timeless themes of the genre in diverse settings.

The combination of Western ideas in non-Western

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