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  1. Lambda Literary
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  5. Here’s Why You Hear That One Song Over and Over in ‘Black Mirror’

His passion was rewarded with seven Academy Awards and an awakening of our national conscience. It was the movie Clint Eastwood had to make, before the impassive persona he created through the Sergio Leone films and his other signature character, Dirty Harry, became a typecasting trap. That same year, The Outlaw Josey Wales introduced a new type of Eastwood character, still quiet, still deadly, but also compassionate and emotionally vulnerable.

The title describes how society will judge Josey Wales — an outlaw only by circumstance — but when his quest is complete, he returns to being the farmer Josey Wales in a scene that offers hope for the future. Through it all there was James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, tall in the saddle and afraid of nothing, except maybe marriage to Miss Kitty.

Famous last words. It has all the signature elements: dusty, desolate vistas; amoral characters such as Tuco Eli Wallach who are motivated only by profit; a showdown in a circular arena, suggesting gladiators in a colosseum; an incomparable score whose whistling theme, by Ennio Morricone, is instantly recognizable; and Clint Eastwood as the serape-clad, cheroot-chomping Man with No Name. This film never stood a chance back in , when its star and director, Marlon Brando, spent three years fussing over every camera angle and line reading.

Word got out that Mr. New York actor was making an artsy western, and One-Eyed Jacks was released to a combination of frosty reviews and public indifference. Rance Stoddard James Stewart plays a pitifully meek attorney incapable of killing sadistic outlaw Liberty Valance. But it was The Great Train Robbery , a reenactment of a heist by the ever-popular Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch only a few years earlier, that signifies the true beginning of the western.

With his performance in The Shootist , the Duke delivered one last valentine to his fans and costar Lauren Bacall , one last raspberry to his critics, and an elegy to the American West that — to paraphrase Andrew Sarris — represents the survival of certain vestigial virtues in an era of mealy-mouthed relativism. Rogers give a kid a wedgie. Forty minutes of cuts killed the original American release, but the film was finally restored to its full grandeur in The Duke, whose inherent air of authority worked to his favor when he played older characters, found one of his most indelible roles as retiring officer Nathan Brittles.

The highest compliment one could pay Eastwood and Unforgiven is that no one even thought to ask. Most people discovered Tombstone after it went to video. He wore a black mask and a white hat, a confusing combination. But children always knew he was a friend. The inspired teaming of a cowboy and an Indian was a paradigm of racial harmony. Subsequent versions appeared in and , and a TV series debuted in and ran for nine years.

The western was in trouble in the s, so when Blazing Saddles rode into theaters, fans wondered if it signified a genre revival or the last nail in its coffin. Ten years later, it was still the highest-grossing western in history. Moviegoers were used to seeing the U. Cavalry ride to the rescue, battle trumpets blaring. John Ford wanted to take a more in-depth look at a typical regiment; the day-to-day work of soldiers in remote outposts, their personal lives, and how they cope with the constant threat of attack.

Can a man who lives by the law of the gun walk a more enlightened path? Quirt Evans John Wayne , on the vengeance trail, must choose between killing the man who murdered his father and settling down with a sweet farm girl played by Gail Russell, the hottest Quaker babe in movies. An underrated entry in the Wayne canon.

Crowd-pleasing comedy that resonated with middle-aged baby boomers.


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Palance won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and a calf named Norman became the most beloved bovine since Ferdinand. The corporate cowboys in the television series Dallas rode around in Mercedes-Benz coupes and held their showdowns in glass and steel skyscrapers. Not exactly a traditional Western, but beneath the soap-opera excess, the Ewings were ranchers who fought among themselves but always circled the wagons against an outside threat. But J. Ewing was the most famous cowboy in America for more than a decade, and when he was shot the whole world wondered whodunit. Another intense psychological drama from Stewart and Anthony Mann.

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A gadget-filled train, a megalomaniacal dwarf, and Robert Conrad in very tight pants. One rerun will expunge any memory of the awful movie of the same name. But The Man From Snowy River captured the mythic spirit of the West as well as any homegrown product has, perhaps because it was based on a revered Australian legend. Snowy River made those scenes inspiring again.

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Critics shrugged; audiences fell in love. With the exception of its opening sequences, The Ox-Bow Incident was shot almost entirely with painted backdrops and artificially created light and shadow. The closed-in feeling suits this dark story of a lynching of innocents and its repercussions among the town folk. In their final collaboration, Stewart hunts down the men who sold guns to the Apaches, resulting in the death of his brother.

If Shakespeare had written a western tragedy, it might have looked like this. Moody and very dark, more film noir than horse opera, with Robert Mitchum as a long-haired drifter caught between warring ranchers and homesteaders. Mitchum, a shifty character in any setting, plays moral relativism so well that even when he does the right thing, you still don't trust him. Gone With the Wind , western-style. Melodramatic, over-the-top, and just plain trashy — but in a good way. Too bad moviegoers preferred to watch him fighting dirty apes in another film.

A companion piece to High Noon , with a more charismatic villain. A tense psychological drama. The climactic gunfight is a knockout. Sometimes magic happens by accident. El Dorado seemed an exercise in going through the motions; an unofficial finale to a trilogy of Howard Hawks westerns Rio Bravo and Rio Lobo came first all starring John Wayne, in which the stories were more or less interchangeable.

But Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and James Caan play the familiar material with a wink to each other and to the audience that is irresistible. No one played the reluctant hero better than James Garner, whose easygoing charm fit perfectly in this delightful comedy. A Chicago hotel clerk bails a cowboy out of debt, in exchange for a job on his next cattle drive.

Violence ensues. Superb Gordon Willis photography elevates this post-World War II spin on the old story of independent ranchers under siege from big business. The thrilling land rush scene remains a cinematic tour de force. Irreverent, non-traditional western with James Garner as the affable Bret Maverick, a gambler who, when trouble beckons, is ever-ready to climb out of a window and run away. Cecil B. Note the dramatic Star Wars -style credits. Long before The Love Boat ever thought of setting sail, Wagon Train gathered different guest stars each week for an eventful expedition.

A sheriff turned disillusioned bounty hunter Henry Fonda tutors an inexperienced lawman Anthony Perkins in this intense Anthony Mann classic. I felt in my heart that I was one of the best. I came to the conclusion that the only way to prove this, and erase the dark blemish of that failed Olympic marathon, was by fighting and beating the best in a head-to-head competition.

I had a little nerves at the starting line. I was about to leap into the unknown. What awaited me could be pain, misery and heartache. If you're not feeling a little anxiety before taking off on a A year-old Finnish Olympian named Pekka Paivarinta broke from the Staten Island toll plaza at the start of the race as if bloodthirsty mobsters were chasing him down with Tommy guns. Frank and I hung back, rather than trying to match Paivarinta's fast pace across the world's largest suspension bridge that sloped into Brooklyn.

Both of us knew Paivarinta was more of a miler than a marathoner and doubted he could maintain the blistering mile pace he'd run for the first 5 miles. Surprisingly, Paivarinta maintained his grip on the lead as we passed through Williamsburg and a number of bewildered-looking Hasidic Jews in black coats and fur hats.

At around 8 miles, I threw a light shrug to some people in the press bus that was ahead of us but trailing Paivarinta. Go figure. Now that the race had started, the nervous energy quickly dissipated, replaced by the excitement of being in the middle of the hunt and hearing people cheer for me as the New York City streets flowed under my shoes. Through Brooklyn, I continued to trail four blocks behind Paivarinta, content to run in a pack with Frank and nine other runners.

For a time, Shorter and I ran shoulder to shoulder along the course. Sports Illustrated would describe it this way after the race: "Shorter's stride was the more fluid. His feet falling more softly, yet Rodgers' was the more beautiful. There can be something hard in Shorter, a scornful quality, especially when he is out front and applying pressure. But Rodgers, blond and open-faced, simply ran faster, ghosting away with a look of amazement.

Around the mile mark, somewhere in Queens, I caught up to Paivarinta and passed him. Chris Stewart, a year-old stamp seller from Great Britain, went with me. Shorter did not. I didn't know a lot about the British runner except that he had run a fast marathon time before and that he was a serious threat. I watched as Stewart surged past me into the lead. It was a clear challenge to my dominance. Maybe he thought I would start to fade then as I had in the Olympics.

At about the I said to myself, "OK, time to challenge," and picked up the pace. We were running stride for stride up the incline. I could feel his breathing growing heavier and his form breaking down a bit, and the more I sensed he was laboring, the more I put on the afterburners. While I floated with my light running style over the metal grating that covered the road surface on the Queensboro Bridge, Stewart ended up with bloody feet and missing toenails from pounding on the surface.

For later races, they installed a 3,foot strip of nylon carpeting, or what was hailed as the "world's longest runner," over the steel expanse. After I broke away from Chris Stewart at the bridge, I felt like nobody in the world was going to catch me. It was the first and probably last time during a race that I just knew I was going to win.

It didn't matter that I still had 10 miles to go. I felt that full of confidence.

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In front, I started to relax. I was feeling strong and feeding off the buzzing energy of the crowds that lined the streets. A couple of months earlier, traversing the same distance, I almost had to crawl to the finish. Now I ate up the miles, stride after effortless stride. I glanced over my shoulder; there was nobody behind me. Shorter was nowhere in sight. While I no longer feared any of the other runners, I had to stay alert about following the course.

It wound itself in every strange manner through the unfamiliar urban jungle. A painted blue line was supposed to guide me along the race route, but the early morning rain had washed it away. Suddenly, the screaming crowds provided more than inspirational support; they made sure I didn't get lost and end up in Yonkers. As I came into Manhattan, rather than being greeted by the roar of fans along the shops of First Avenue as is the case today, I was routed to the East River--and the start of a harrowing adventure.

I did, however, derive amusement from the strange looks I got from the bums, prostitutes and drunk guys fishing as I whizzed by them in my racing singlet. The trickiest part was navigating flights of stairs on the drive's sidewalks. Sure, flights of stairs 17 miles into a marathon. Why not? I ran up through the mean streets with a "bring it on" attitude.

If I had to leap over garbage cans, dodge fashion models, somersault over livery cabs and outrun the two robbers that had held up Jack Foster at Kennedy Airport, so be it. Nothing was going to stop me from reaching Central Park and crossing the finish line for victory. Going back over the Willis Avenue Bridge, the olive-colored river merging with the misty sky, I spotted a runner approaching me from the other direction. It was Shorter.

He gave me a nod and a little smile. The moment didn't last more than a second, but looking back, it was a symbolic moment in American marathon running, the passing of the torch from one champion to the next. Shorter had reigned for the first five years of the decade; I would reign over the final five years. I was floating along like a feather as I made my final assault through Harlem down Fifth Avenue.

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The crowds in Harlem kept me running hard with their boisterous cheers of support. I entered Central Park feeling on top of the world. The exhilaration I felt running that final stretch though the park, sandwiched between screaming throngs of New Yorkers from every walk of life, young and old, urging me on to victory, was indescribable. I braced for the daunting hills at the north end that were part of the old course. A guy riding his bike kept telling me the hills were just up ahead. But they never materialized for all I know, the bicyclist had just escaped from Bellevue , and I just kept coasting along, free and easy.

The crowd was screaming like crazy as I squeezed between them. I felt like I was running a cross country race in high school, except instead of dodging bushes and rocks, I was navigating around people, potholes, cars, bicyclists, you name it. The scene was utter chaos as I approached the finish line. It made for great dramatic theater. Of course, at that stage, all that I was thinking about was getting to the finish line, wherever the heck it might be. Crowds pressed in all around me.

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Cops were trying to hold back the frenetic crowd and keep stray vehicles from running me over. I was veering in and out of the insanity when suddenly the lead vehicle stopped short.

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  6. At the last second, I weaved around it and shot through the narrowest of openings between the car and the wall of yelling spectators. I broke through the tape. A roar of cheers ripped through the crowd.

    Here’s Why You Hear That One Song Over and Over in ‘Black Mirror’

    In spite of all the wild obstacles I had to navigate along the I was sweaty, exhausted, and my ears were ringing. I was in heaven. After the awards ceremony, I returned to the spot where I'd parked my Volkswagen Beetle and discovered it was no longer there. Apparently, I had parked illegally, and it had been towed away.

    I was grateful to Lebow for his help. It wasn't until many years later that I found out he had given the money to me out of his own pocket. The Boston Marathon will always be my favorite because it was the breakthrough I had worked so hard to achieve, but New York might have been the best marathon I've ever run. I set the fastest marathon time in the world for that year.