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Movies on the Radio: Best In The Western

A promotional still with John Wayne and Claire Trevor from the 1939 American Western film 'Stagecoach'.
Wikimedia Commons

A gun-slinging cowboy on a mission of revenge takes down the enemy in a quick-draw duel.  He then rides off on his trusted steed with the setting sun casting long shadows on the rugged landscape. This is one of the iconic narratives in Western film, a genre which has gone through a massive evolution since its “good versus evil” and “cowboys versus Indians” days.

In this episode of Movies on the Radio, listeners discuss their favorite Western films. Host Frank Stasio talks with experts Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about the how Westerns have evolved from the lone-ranger narrative, to a platform for critiques about race, gender, and capitalism. Here are some of the films discussed in today's show:

Stagecoach, 1933

High Noon, 1952

The Professionals, 1966

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 1966

Once Upon A Time In the West, 1968

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969

The Frisco Kid, 1979

Unforgiven, 1992

Bad Girls, 1994

Serenity, 2005

Hell or High Water, 2016

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Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.