Vera Cruz is an incredibly influential Western from 1954 starring two of my favorite actors, Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper. Robert Aldrich directs the two greats in a story about an ex-Confederate soldier who teams up with a gunslinger and his gang to help escort a countess to the city of Vera Cruz. But when everyone finds out about the large amount of gold they’re secretly transporting it’s every man and woman for themselves.
While the film is tame by today’s standards, at the time it was one of the first Hollywood Westerns to really tap into the cynicism and amoral brutality of the old west. It was no doubt an influence to filmmakers like Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah, whose films a decade later would revolutionize the genre. With revolution, romance, and a hell of a shootout at the end, I’m not sure what more you need in a Western.