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 2015 schedule includes groupings of films that explore key themes and topics related to the West and the Western genre. The first block highlights a popular film and its equally popular yet strikingly different remake. The second block includes two important but often overlooked films from director William A. Wellman. The third block showcases Western comedies from different eras, and the final block features movies related to the Civil War. The series concludes with the audience-selected Fan Favorite.

See the entire 2015 schedule.

Upcoming Screenings

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

© 2015 Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.