Rio Bravo (1959)
I love a dark, thematic western more than just about anything, but Rio Bravo belongs to the old mold. There are good guys and bad guys with no in between. John Wayne leads the good guys, holding Joe Burdette in a cell as they prepare for a barrage from the criminal’s brother and gang of hired mercenaries trying to bust him out. In the midst of this perilous situation, Wayne’s substantially outnumbered posse that includes “Dude” (Dean Martin), “Colorado” (Ricky Nelson), and “Stumpy” (Walter Brennan), take a moment to sing. A seemingly innocuous moment, I find the scene to be a key aspect of what makes Rio Bravo so great. The male camaraderie, the old fashioned adventure, essentially, the fun. And Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson are incredible singers.