Best of the West: Western film screenings benefit Nevada City Film Festival |

Best of the West: Western film screenings benefit Nevada City Film Festival

Audience members ready for the screening of a classic western genre film during Saturday's Best of the West one day fundraiser for the Nevada City Film Festival.
Elias Funez/

“Best of the West,” a celebration of the western film genre and a fundraiser for the Nevada City Film Festival, screened some of the most iconic and influential western films ever made Saturday at the Nevada Theatre, one of the most iconic and historic venues west of the Rockies.

Attendees were treated to the likenesses of actors like John Wayne and his breakthrough performance in John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939), and Roy Rogers in the B-Western, Nevada City (1941). The birth of the spaghetti western with Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) starring the formidable anti-hero Clint Eastwood and Sam Peckinpah’s star-studded revisionist masterpiece Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1974), was also shown.

The collection of Westerns aimed to not only entertain the die-hard film lover, but introduce a new audience to the genre. Also included in the lineup were two films — John Sturges’ 1960 film The Magnificent Seven and Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film Unforgiven — that have earned their place in the U.S. National Film Registry as a culturally, historically and aesthetically important film that should be preserved for generations to come.

Helping to breathe new life into these classic films are digitally remastered prints. Audiences at Best of the West enjoyed enhanced quality of the sound or of the image, or both, from the original versions of these films, as well as the director’s cut of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

The all-day event was a fundraiser for the Nevada City Film Festival, planned for Sept. 7-18, which has brought independent and international film and filmmakers to Nevada County for the last 18 years. Each year the festival screens nearly 100 award-winning short and feature length films at historic locations throughout Nevada City. The festival also produces the popular Movies Under the Pines outdoor summer film series, student film workshops, filmmaker residencies, local screenings with other nonprofits, and comedy shows.

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