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What is the most iconic western?

Image of Robert Redford

The Old American West has always attracted cinema-goers in the UK. The iconic images of Cowboys, gunslingers and boots have all helped Westerns become one of our favourite film genres, but have you ever wondered which Western is the most popular?

To coincide with the premiere of Robert Redford’s American West, HISTORY has conducted a survey to find out.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? The Magnificent Seven? A John Wayne film? None of these came out on top.

HISTORY can reveal Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has been voted the most iconic Western of all time. The 1969 Oscar-winning film, which stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman, took almost half of the 2,000 vote.

For those who haven't seen it (Seriously? Redford and Newman make Tony Stark look charmless - you’re going to love it), the film tells the story of two American outlaws heading out west on the run from the law. Redford and Newman play a loveable pair of rascals who despite being straight out gunslingers who rob banks the audience root for.

Actors Paul Newman (L) and Robert Redford attend a gala
Actors Paul Newman (L) and Robert Redford who starred as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Getty)

Ahead of its time, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid film won four Oscars, cemented Newman and Redford place as Hollywood royalty and continues to thrill audiences today.

One of the Oscars was for Burt Bacharach’s original song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” used in a scene where Paul Newman and Katherine Ross goof around on a bicycle. The moment essentially wrote the book on the nostalgic montages we all love, so thanks director George Roy Hill for making us all smile...

The poll saw The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in second place and The Magnificent Seven third. A Fistful of Dollars and the 1969 version of True Grit completed the top five (top ten listed below).

The survey also found that Clint Eastwood is the most popular Western star ahead of John Wayne, and HISTORY’s Robert Redford. Eastwood’s character of the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns is surely the most recognisable image of a cowboy. Even Redford would struggle to argue with that, but ‘The Duke’ and his 83 Westerns might feel a little hard done by.

American film star and director Clint Eastwood in one of the westerns which made his name
Eastwood as the Man With No Name (Getty)

Do you agree? Get in touch with us on Facebook and let us know your favourite Westerns.

And don’t miss Robert Redford’s American West, the new docudrama that explores the dramatic evolution of the Wild West, Tuesdays at 10pm. Watch the remarkable real-life stories behind many infamous legends including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and George Custer. Find out more here