Joe’s AS Work : Practice Project

Western Genre Research


  1. What is a western film?


Western films are films that revolve around stories that are mostly set in the late 19th century in the American old west. Most Westerns are set between the American civil war (1865) and the early 1900s.


  1. What are the key codes and conventions of a western?



  • Stetson hats
  • Sheriff badges
  • Stock horses
  • Winchester Rifle
  • Smith and Wesson revolver
  • Barrels
  • Whips



  • Sheriff
  • Hero
  • Sidekick
  • Gunslinger
  • Outlaw
  • Indians
  • Bartender
  • Lady


Setting- The western has as its setting the immense plains, rugged tablelands, and mountain ranges of the portion of the United States lying west of the Mississippi River, in particular the Great Plains and the Southwest.

The setting also often has a lack of people in the surrounding area.


Narratives- generally good vs evil (maintaining law and order), where in the end the evil is defeated by the hero in a final shootout. There is often a woman that the hero saves at some point in the film.


Camera techniques:

  • Tracking shots
  • Close ups
  • Longshots
  • Tilt shots
  • Eye level
  • Birds eye view



Editing techniques:

  • Jump cuts
  • Flash backs


Messages- generally the message comes from the moral aspect of the storey such as the ides of maintaining law and order and good overcoming evil.


  1. Name 3 key western films made in the last 50 years. Why are they key?



Butch Cassidy and The Sundandce Kid

The Good The Bad and The Ugly


  1. Name 2 westerns made in the past 5 years. How were they received?


Cowboys & Aliens- not very well received averaging a rating of 5.6/10 by critics on the website Rotten Tomatoes.

The Homesman- mostly positive reviews from critic’s average rating of 7.2/10 on the website Rotten Tomatoes.


  1. Name 3 key iconic western actors. Why are they key?


John Wayne- famous for his accent and the way that he spoke.

Clint Eastwood- known for being tough.

Gary Cooper-  known for his natural and authentic acting style.


  1. Name 3 key iconic western directors/producer. Why are they key?


Anthony Man- directed El Cid (a famous western film)

John Ford- directed Stagecoach (often considered one of the best westerns ever made).

Clint Eastwood- he was known for both directing and starring in westerns.


  1. Why do westerns seem to appeal to audiences? -3 reasons


  1. Westerns made good stories. The idea of good vs evil is very appealing as there is a lot of anticipation regarding the outcome of the film (will the evil be defeated).
  2. They appealed a lot to American audience because they were rapidly leaving behind rugged individualism and moving towards a more modernised identity. Therefore, watching westerns brought back a nostalgic feeling of living off the land and fending for themselves.
  3. They represented an idealised version of the lonely life of someone living in those times.



  1. Why did the genre fall out of favour?


  1. The idea of “cowboys” is often dismissed as being childish meaning that people become very reluctant to buy into the genre.
  2. Well done westerners can be expensive to create.


  1. Why do you think it has a resurgence in recent years?


People could be missing the idea of fending for themselves without all of the technology we have today. Just living in the most basic way possible with little to no distraction.


Western Storyboards


Health and Safety Summary

Hazard Risk Safety Measure
Filming from the bridge Camera falling over the side onto somebody. Making sure that someone is next to the camera at all times.
Filming near the road Tri-pod being blown over if a large vehicle drives past. Make sure that someone is holding onto the tri-pod while it is near the road.
Wet/slippery ground. Risk of slipping over. Not running & taking care while walking around the wet/slippery areas of the ground.
People walking near to the road. Being hit by a car. Keeping on the pavement.
Tree roots on the ground Tripping over had injuring yourself Being careful when walking around
Sharp objects left on the ground Cutting yourself Look out for these objects and if you see them put them into a bin
Bricks on the ground from the fire pit Tripping over and injuring yourself Making sure not to walk through/over the old fire pit.

 Final Film – Death in the Woods








Burford School Media Arts