Autry National Center

What Is a Western? Film Series

The American West is a combination of history and myth, fact and fiction. The ambiguity surrounding the West is due in large part to the countless films that have been made about the region. More than any other factor, movies have shaped perceptions of the American West around the world.

What Is a Western? is an ongoing film series that examines a variety of movies about the American West. The majority of the films are traditional Westerns set in the nineteenth century; however, nontraditional Westerns and films outside of the Western genre that provide unique insights into the region are also featured.

The series is curated by Jeffrey Richardson, Gamble Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms, who leads a discussion of the film’s history and its place within the Western genre prior to each screening.

The schedule for 2014 includes groupings of films that explore influential people and topics related to the West. The first block highlights the collaboration between actor John Wayne and director Howard Hawks, and the second explores the onscreen evolution of historic outlaw Jesse James. The third grouping features movies related to Route 66, and the final two films spotlight the onscreen depiction of Native Americans. The series concludes with the audience-selected Fan Favorite. 

See the entire 2014 schedule.

Upcoming Screenings

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4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462 Phone: 323.667.2000

© 2014 Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.