12. 'Hearts of the West' (1975)
One of Bridges' most interesting takes on the Western came
during this Depression-era comedy-drama in which he plays an Iowa farmboy with
dreams of becoming an aspiring dimestore novelist. The young man goes West, of course, falling in with a group of movie cowboy stunt riders and
background actors led by Andy Griffith. What started off as a pseudo-horse opera becomes something of a showbiz satire, as our hero starts to achieve fame on
his own and finds nothing but disillusionment. The movie maintains a
surprisingly reflective tone throughout, suggesting that those days of yore were never quite as romantic as some may think.
And Bridges – going from wide-eyed innocent to jaded cynic – is wonderful.