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Elmore Leonard's top 5 Western badasses

When Hollywood's done his work justice

Elmore Leonard's top 5 Western badasses
18 April 2011

Anyone remotely familiar with Elmore Leonard, the one-man literary cannon behind the likes of Get Shorty, Out Of Sight and Rum Punch (remodelled by Tarantino for Jackie Brown), will know he’s more than a crime writer.

“I wrote a lot of Western books in the fifties and sixties because the market was big”, he tells ShortList, when we caught up with him in the library of a London hotel. “And I enjoyed it.” It seems Hollywood did too, going on to bring a good bulk of his Western heroes alive, and here the 85-year-old esteemed author gives his top five cinematic examples of when Hollywood got them right....

Paul Newman as John Russell in Hombre (1961)

Burt Lancaster as Valdez in Valdez is coming (1971)

Van Heflin as Dan Evans in 3:10 To Yuma (1957)

Three-Ten To Yuma

Russell Crowe as Ben Wade in 3:10 To Yuma (2007)

3:10 To Yuma

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified (2010 – present)

ProntoRiding the Rapjustified

The TV show Justified (5USA), is based on Elmore Leonards novels including Pronto and Riding the Rap (Phoenix; £7.99). Elmore's latest book Djibouti is currently available in hardback (W&N; £18.99).