7: Pale Rider

#7: Pale Rider

By the time this film was released in 1985, Clint Eastwood had already established himself as an iconic actor and director, particularly in the Western world. However, Pale Rider marked a significant next step in his career.

As both the director and star, Eastwood again showed himself to be a multifaceted filmmaker. Infusing religious and environmental awareness with traditional Western tropes proved to be an effective method for modernizing the genre. And Eastwood’s role as The Preacher, a man who stands up for justice resonated with audiences at a time when many Westerns weren’t being made.

While not as transformative as some of his other films, Pale Rider helped to reaffirm Eastwood’s status as a force to be reckoned with and would ultimately become the highest-grossing Western of the 1980s.