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Film Genres

This guide highlights library resources for some of the more popular film genres.

Defining the western

An enduring film genre with worldwide popularity whose classic setting is the period of the winning and settling of the US western frontier between around 1865 and 1890. Mixing history and archetype, stories are typically told from the standpoint of the settlers, with key themes including cattle drives and cowboys, the building of railroads, farmsteading, Indian wars, and the rule of the settlers’ law. The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter, US, 1903) is widely, though not without dispute, credited as the earliest western. By the 1910s the cowboy picture was recognized by both exhibitors and audiences as a distinctive type of film, and in the US hundreds of ‘horse operas’ (among them Cecil B. DeMille’s The Squaw Man (1913)) were made during the silent cinema years. ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). western. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 Aug. 2021

Finding library resources for westerns

To find westerns in the Library's collections, you can click on one of the subject headings below:

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

Finding articles & journals

Articles and other writings about westerns can be found in many publications. We don't have journals that look exclusively at westerns. However, you can use Film & Television Literature Index to find relevant articles.

A Selected list of westerns

Find more westerns in the Library's collections.

Western Film Societies

Keeping up with Film Studies journal literature

Want an easy way to keep up with the journal literature for all facets of Film Studies? And you use a mobile device? You can install the BrowZine app and create a custom Bookshelf of your favorite journal titles. Then you will get the Table of Contents (ToCs) of your favorite journals automatically delivered to you when they become available. Once you have the ToC's, you can download and read the articles you want from the journals for which we have subscriptions.

You can get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Don't own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It's now available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.