50. Lonesome Dove (1989)
Director: Simon Wincer
Cast involved: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover
Oh bury me not on the lone prairie
But, you cry, ‘Lonesome Dove’ is a TV mini-series, not a movie at all! Well, let’s look at the credentials. Adapted from a book widely considered the best ever written in the western genre, a book written by Larry McMurtry, author of ‘The Last Picture Show’ and ‘Terms of Endearment’, and starring not just Duvall in his prime, not just Jones and Glover on the verge of theirs, but a whole host of great movie character actors including Diane Lane, Frederic Forrest, Angelica Huston, Chris Cooper and William Sanderson, this is as cinematic as TV gets.
Sure, it was directed by a guy poised halfway between ‘DARYL’ and ‘Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man’, but we’ll let that slide: in its epic emotional sweep, in its breadth of landscape and action in its depth of character and awareness of history, ‘Lonesome Dove’ is every bit as artistically valid as half the movies on this list – and it’s a damn sight more entertaining than most of ’em. TH