True Grit (1969): Intense Western about a fourteen-year-old girl who hires a bounty hunter to seek revenge on her father's murderer, with a Texas Ranger who also has an interest in getting his hands on said murderer joining them on the hunt. The story explores the complicated nuances of interaction between the characters on their journey, and manages to portray the girl's courage without resorting to patronizing her. My only real complaints are that, firstly, the woman playing the girl is in her early twenties, and it shows, and secondly, that the climax somewhat undoes the portrayal of her as intelligent, brave and logic-driven by having her do something pretty unbelievably stupid when confronted with a rattlesnake.
True Grit (2011): Similar to the first version in many ways (some dialogue was even identical), mainly differing in making LaBoeuf, the Ranger, a more complex and nuanced character, and in giving the story a darker, eerier tone. This is accomplished, first, by setting the action in winter, giving us grim dark skies and occasional snow to contrast with the original's bright skies and lovely landscapes, second, by peopling the hinterland with strange, random people and unexplained events, and third, giving the ending a tragic, downbeat tone which shows how everyone involved in the story paid the price for their decisions and actions. It all feels much less like a traditional Western, and more like Heart of Darkness.
The remake also gets points for casting a real fourteen-year-old, and for having a more believable rattlesnake scene.
Movie count for 2011: 26