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Year Released: 1956
Director: John Ford
We begin the list with The Searchers, which is based on a novel by Alan Le May. John Wayne stars as a Civil War veteran who along with his nephew is on a search for his abducted niece. The American Film Institute named The Searchers the greatest American western in 2008.
The film is set in 1868 in the deserts of West Texas, and has obtained such a cultural significance that the Library of Congress has selected the title for preservation in its National Film Registry.