Connect with us


10 Most Rewatchable John Wayne Movies, Ranked – My Blog

Defining the western genre with his grit and gun-slinging skills, John Wayne remains an iconic staple in the film industry. Whether it’s the constant collaboration with supporting character actors, his children’s cameos, or using the same horse for at least seven movies in the latter end of his career, Wayne’s extensive filmography collected a large fan base as his career spanned five decades.

Existing in the Golden Age of Hollywood, Wayne, nicknamed “the Duke,” worked with other cinematic legends and titans of industry in front of and behind the camera. Viewers now can stream various films from the Duke instead of digging through a dusty VHS bin or poorly remastered DVD version. With fan-favorites like McLintock, El Dorado, The War Wagon, and more there is no shortage of movies to watch (and rewatch) when you’re hankering for an old film.
The following article has spoilers for each movie entry.10) ‘Hellfighters’ (1968)
A burning miss with movie critics, this fiery film still managed to win over Wayne’s loyal fans. His marriage fizzling, international oil rig firefighter Chance Buckman leaves the action behind to his partner Greg Parker (Jim Hutton). When a blaze in Venezuela gets out of hand, Greg is forced to call Chance back on the job.

The film features Hollywood starlet Katharine Ross (The Graduate) as Chance’s daughter, Tish who ultimately falls for Greg. In true Duke style, there are always familiar faces costarring like Vera Miles (Psycho), Bruce Cabot (King Kong), and Edward Faulkner (McLintock!)—all of which have appeared in multiple Wayne films across his career. While it’s no guns blazing western, Hellfighters is a worthy rewatch for any loyal fan.COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAYClose ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ (1949)
A darker, less lovable character than audiences are used to, Marine Sgt. John Stryker is another exceptional role Wayne brought to the screen. Loathed by his men, Stryker’s disposition isn’t truly understood until their boots hit the sand and are thrust into one of the Pacific’s bloodiest battles of World War II, the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
Wayne earned his first Oscar nomination for the role, while the film was nominated for four in total with his nomination. Critics and audience members would revere this character as one of Wayne’s best despite his Oscar loss to Broderick Crawford in All the King’s Men. Wayne would star in several war films, but Sands of Iwo Jima is the perfect choice to watch back.8) ‘Chisum’ (1970)
Another cattle-baron role for Wayne, Chisum finds our hero starring as John Chisum as he teams up with historic figures Billy the Kid (Geoffrey Deuel) and Pat Garrett (Glenn Corbett) as a land developer and corrupt sheriff attempt to take Chisum’s ranch in Lincoln County, New Mexico. With praise from all audiences, Chisum adds a notable touch with its recognizable character names and historical context of the Lincoln County Land War of 1878.
As usual, Wayne would bring along familiar faces from his previous films like Cabot, Faulkner, and Hank Worden (The Searchers). Fans would appreciate the wiser, more fatherly role of Chisum, allowing this film to hold a rank in a John Wayne movie marathon.7) ‘Hondo’ (1953)
Based upon the Louis L’Amour novel, Hondo follows the journey of the title character Hondo Lane (Wayne) as he befriends a woman and her young son after they are abandoned by her husband during an Apache attack. The trio forges a strong bond as Angie (Geraldine Page) refuses to leave their homestead.
Page’s performance would earn her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Director John Farrow worked alongside Wayne again a few years later in 1955 on The Sea Chase. Hondo features a younger Wayne but is still complete with his iconic vest and bandana. The film earned high praise with movie-goers then and is still worth the praise now.6) ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962)
Containing a triple threat cast of Hollywood’s finest leading men and another Wayne leading lady, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is one of cinema’s most revered westerns. When Senator Stoddard (James Stewart) returns home for a funeral with his wife Hallie (Vera Miles), an inquisitive newspaper questions Stoddard’s business in town. Through flashbacks, the story of Stoddard’s unexpected friendship with Tom Doniphon (Wayne) unfolds as Stoddard recounts their involvement and search for justice against local criminal, Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin).
John Ford directed this film during the height of his career and brought together Hollywood’s finest as the trio of Wayne, Stewart, and Marvin flowed seamlessly throughout the film. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is an excellent film to unpack and watch again whenever you feel the craving for a solid old-Hollywood western.5) ‘The Searchers’ (1956)
Director John Ford demonstrates his presence in the Duke’s cinematic legacy as he directed yet another notable film starring the Hollywood legend in The Searchers. In this epic and dark western, Wayne stars as Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran determined to rescue his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood) after she is kidnaped by a Comanche tribe following the slaying of her family.
Lacking the jolly and cheerful disposition of the usual Wayne-cowboy, Ethan Edwards is an ominous role in which he spends a considerable part of his life after the war searching for Debbie. Surrounded by regular Wayne-film cast members, audiences rallied around this 1956 film allowing it to be a watershed installment for both Wayne and the genre.4) ‘The Quiet Man’ (1952)
Starring alongside leading lady Maureen O’Hara, Wayne plays retired American boxer Sean Thornton as he retires to his family’s homestead in Ireland where he falls for Mary Kate (O’Hara) despite her brother’s refusal. A romance beloved by critics and cinema-goers, The Quiet Man showcases excellent performances by O’Hara and Wayne.
Nominated for seven Oscars, the movie would take home two for Best Director (John Ford) and Best Cinematography. The movie is another excellent collaboration between Ford and Wayne. Like the title displays, The Quiet Man is a quiet, reserved break for Wayne’s large fan base as it turns the focus from conquering the wild west to love and peace.3) ‘The Cowboys’ (1972)
Perhaps the western genre’s most iconic villain and the Duke’s most prominent death, The Cowboys is at the top of the list to be watched over and over again. Aging rancher Wil Andersen (Wayne) enlists the help of a group of schoolboys to help drive his cattle to market. Things turn south when a group of cattle rustlers and thieves led by Bruce Dern follow the herd and ultimately clash.
One of the few films in which Hollywood’s hero dies, Wil Andersen’s death by the hands of Dern’s character vilified Dern throughout the industry and created career struggles as no one wanted to cast the man who shot the Duke in the back. Supported by a troupe of young actors, The Cowboys casts Wayne in a fatherly light, making his death even more impactful.2) ‘The Shootist’ (1976)
In his final role, Wayne stars as J. B. Books, an aging gunfighter who devises a plan to avoid dying a slow, painful cancerous death. After renting a room from the widowed Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall) and her son Gillom (Ron Howard), Books comes face-to-face with characters coming forth with questionable intentions.
Paralleling Wayne’s real-life cancer diagnosis that ultimately led to his death in 1979, Books refuses to go quietly into the night with his terminal diagnosis. For the final time, Wayne would team up with big-names like James Stewart and Bacall to bring audiences a film to remember. The Shootist is an obvious choice to revisit when remembering John Wayne.1) ‘True Grit’ (1969)
No character more memorable than the “one-eyed fat man,” Rooster Cogburn in True Grit takes the top spot of most rewatchable films. After her father is murdered, Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) enlists in the help of drunken U. S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Wayne) and a Texas ranger (Glen Campbell) to hunt down the man responsible as he travels with a band of notorious criminals through dangerous territory.
A decade before his death, Wayne would win his only Best Actor Oscar for this role. Cogburn’s unethical and unique methods for hunting down criminals clash against the honest and by-the-book nature of Ross. Fans loved Cogburn so much that Wayne would reprise the role in 1975 with Rooster Cogburn, starring alongside Katherine Hepburn. True Grit is an all-time favorite that withstands the test of time and even successful remake attempts.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Man, the Problem, and His Manliest Movies – My Blog

The problematic John Wayne became a fierce force in American cinema as the designated leading man in a series of big budget films. In an era full of trauma and sadness, Wayne as an American symbol, represents a significant contribution to the world during the time of uncertainty and panic.

As his career elevated in the midst of WWII, he rose through the ranks as the single most popular actor in Hollywood’s history. The reason that Wayne had become increasingly famous was associated with his no-nonsense characters that male viewers related to and women gravitated towards prior to the cultural changes of the 1960s. He brought to light this persona of elevated masculinity that was culturally striking to watch. From Academy Awards to a rich career that very few have been able to achieve, the praise associated with his on-screen portrayals will live on through generations.
In a successful career spanning over 50 years and 169 movies, Wayne has had his highs, in addition to his fair share of criticism, which is ultimately impossible to ignore. During a 1971 Playboy Magazine interview, Wayne made comments speaking negatively against the African-American community and making a series of homophobic slurs, while directly addressing his belief in white supremacy. Some have marked this up to be a time sensitive issue, with societal problems and norms being completely different from what it is now (or is it?). The truth is, this stuff was said, and it hasn’t gone over well since the interview resurfaced, with John Wayne’s legacy denounced by many.
Taking a moment to separate the man from his artistry is quite a difficult task, and directly addressing the controversies of his past comments creates difficult decisions that can often lead to either supporting art and ignoring prejudice, or completely erasing history. What people can all agree on is that his work ultimately changed the scope of Hollywood cinema, and how masculinity and machismo are portrayed through verbal and physical modes of storytelling. Thus, instead of calling these films his ‘best performances,’ perhaps we should consider these movies to have the most macho roles from John Wayne, a problematic actor who presents culture with a fascinating way to dissect American masculinity.

6 The Barbarian and the Geisha

The Barbarian and the Geisha is based on the true story of Townsend Harris, an American diplomat who was sent to the country of Japan in order to serve as a U.S. consul member. Wayne plays Harris as he is met by residents in the small village of Shimoda who rejects his diplomatic status, prompting a cultural split in Japan’s mistrust in the influence of the west. Through all the social and political clashes, Harris meets a 17-year-old geisha by the name of Okichi, falling in love with her while she aides him in softening the division. Wayne was 51 at the time.
5 Tycoon

Hired by a South American tycoon Frederick Alexander (Cedric Hardwicke) to construct a tunnel through the Andes Mountains, American engineer Johnny Munroe (John Wayne) falls in love with Alexander’s daughter, Maura (Laraine Day). As Munroe faces challenges in making progress in the job he was assigned to complete, he also faces opposition in convincing the overprotective father of Maura (and his boss) that he is a worthy suitor for the man’s (20 years younger) daughter. Tycoon, like The Barbarian and the Geisha, feeds the male ego and fantasy of viewers, presenting Wayne (and the all-American male) as a sex symbol for much younger women.
4 Island in the Sky

Island in the Sky incorporates pieces of experiences from pilot Ernest Gann (later related in his 1961 autobiographical book Fate is the Hunter) emphasizing his flying career. In this World War II movie, Gann and the pilots he traveled with search for a lost pilot of the team in northern Canada. In the film, Capt. Dooley (John Wayne) has to crash-land his plane in the icy landscape of Canada. While setting out to fly supplies in England during World War II, Dooley and his crew fight to survive in the unfamiliar territory. Though it’s an ensemble film, Wayne continues his white-knight heroic approach to narrative form.
3 The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers, a modernized version of the classic tale, finds American fighter pilot Lt. Tom Wayne (John Wayne) traveling to visit his romantic love interest, Elaine Corday (Ruth Hall). Along the way, he gets involved in the war taking place in the Sahara Desert (between the French Legion and a group of Arabic arms smugglers) to rescue a group of legionnaires who were besieged by the opposition fighters. Tom’s new friends recruit him in order to help them efficiently identify the mole secretly working for the Arabic group, so long as they can survive the desert in an almost ‘characters against nature’ way. Again, the film glorifies and romanticizes the heroics of American militarism and the white-knight trope.
2 Allegheny Uprising

Jim Smith (John Wayne) leads a militant group throughout colonial America, setting out to discover who is supplying the area of Native American tribes with various key weapons. Smith suspects Ralph Callendar (Brian Donlevy) to be the traitor among the group, but there has not yet been any proof to support this theory. He strives to pinpoint the corruption among him and his team, as the British commander Capt. Swanson (George Sanders) disregards his concerns. Allegheny Uprising taps into the American fantasy and paranoia of fighting the British and colonizing Natives, and Wayne fits in perfectly.
1 Rio Lobo

The American Western Rio Lobo is set in a post-Civil War environment, and was the last film directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, concluding his American trilogy of Westerns preceded by Rio Bravo and El Dorado, which all uses the West to explore identity. As Cord McNally (John Wayne), a local Union leader, protects an incoming gold shipment, his fellow troops are suddenly attacked by an influx of Confederate forces. In this encounter, McNally looses the gold he was supposed to protect as well as his friend and officer who was killed in the raid. As McNally travels to the town of Rio Lobo, he learns the Confederate forces had direct help from the inside of his team. In his visit, McNally sets out to learn the identity of the traitors. Released in 1970, Wayne was playing to a wholly different American culture that had passed him by, and the film was a box office failure. He would make his Playboy comments the next year.

Continue Reading


‘He knew he wasn’t going to be around when I was older’ – My Blog

Ethan Wayne, John Wayne’s youngest son, talks about what it was like growing up with his famous father and how he’s keeping his legacy alive today.

Ethan Wayne said a day at his friend’s house made him realize his father was different.
The now-56-year-old is the youngest son of late Hollywood legend John Wayne and Peruvian actress Pilar Pallete, his third and last wife. He’s currently the president of John Wayne Enterprises and director of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. This year, he helped release a bourbon based on the patriarch’s own recipe.
“I can remember going to a friend’s house and his mom said, ‘Hey Brian, go get the mail,’” recalled Wayne. “I went out and there were three envelopes. I remember going, ‘That’s all the mail you got? That’s weird.’ The US postal service would drag those canvas bags with lots of mail to my house. It was strange.”

Gettin' back in the lane with John Wayne's youngest son | by Jeremy Roberts  | Medium

Despite Wayne having an iconic movie star for a father, he described his childhood as normal — one that involved living in then-small town Newport Beach, Calif. with other families in the same neighborhood, surrounded by oranges and strawberry farms.
There were no security or bodyguards. John answered his own door and telephone. He was an early riser who exercised alongside his son and studied his scripts before heading to work. He often spent his free time on his boat, admiring the great sea he loved. He would catch his own fish and cook it on the beach, as well as interact with locals.
John was 56 when Ethan was born — and he made sure his son never forgot to do chores around the house.
“I can’t pick up a broom to this day without thinking about him coming out and saying, ‘That’s not how you sweep, this is how you sweep!’” chuckled Wayne. “And it was with this big push broom. And he wasn’t very mechanical. He was great with his gun, he was great on a horse and he handled boats really well. But if a car got a flat tire, he’d just leave it. And I was very mechanical as a young boy for some reason. I really enjoyed taking stuff apart and putting it back together. He really didn’t get it. He didn’t like motorcycles, and I did.”
Wayne said that despite his father’s high-profile career, John, who was aware he might be gone by the time his son was a young man, was determined to be a hands-on parent. Wayne described growing up on film sets and learning about the hard work it took to bring Hollywood to life.
“He took with me on location,” Wayne explained. “I’d be homeschooled down on location in Mexico because he knew he wasn’t going to be around for me when I was older, and that he would probably lose me while I was young, teenage man. So he took me with him when I was little. And one of my jobs was to load the car with all the personal items that he wanted with him when he would make a film somewhere remote. Or if he went on his boat, the Wild Goose.
Gettin' back in the lane with John Wayne's youngest son | by Jeremy Roberts  | Medium
“He would take his own bourbon, and that bourbon was the heaviest thing that I would carry. Everyone wanted to have a drink with John Wayne. I would also carry his packs of candy, special food items, shoes, gloves, jackets. Definitely bags of hats.”
In his lifetime, John or “The Duke,” as he was called by fans, made more than 200 films in over 50 years. According to The New York Times, by the early 1960s, 161 of his films had grossed $350 million, and when he died in 1979 he had been paid as much as $666,000 to make a movie.
As an avid outdoorsman, both in front and behind the camera, he is still celebrated as one of the greatest figures of the Western genre.
“I was 10 when he was 66 years old,” said Wayne. “[And] he’s on a horse, he’s running at full speed across open country, with a herd of horses running with him… he was a bold, outgoing individual who was full of life, constantly moving forward… And nobody sits on a horse like John Wayne does.”
John Wayne's son recalls growing up with 'The Duke': 'He knew he wasn't  going to be around when I was older' | Fox News
Wayne wasn’t around when the Iowa native, a former football star in high school who worked as a truck driver, fruit picker, soda jerk and ice hauler, first embarked on his career as an actor. However, Wayne said the rugged persona he embodied on screen was very much the real deal.
“I read stories [of] when he was first starting out and how he was very uncomfortable and felt awkward,” said Wayne. “He didn’t like the way he moved, so he talked to John Ford and met Wyatt Earp… He started taking pieces of these guys and putting them together into a character that became John Wayne, who was definitely part of my father. There was also fantasy. He was a heck of a gunman and a horseman, but he also certainly knew the craft of film and storytelling. We were never in a gunfight.”
John passed away at age 72 from cancer. Wayne, who was 17 at the time of his father’s death, said he drove John to UCLA Medical Center when he wasn’t feeling well. John never came out alive.
Before his death, John stressed to his family that the doctors attempting to find a cure for cancer should never be forgotten. He left behind seven children from his marriages and more than 15 grandchildren.

Wayne credited stuntman Gary McLarty, a friend of his father’s, for taking him under his wing and helping him cope with his grief.
“He would take me on a motorcycle ride or racing sometimes,” said Wayne. “He was [later] the stunt coordinator for ‘The Blues Brothers.’ And for some reason, he hired me. And it was in a time when I’d missed the last part of my junior year with my dad. When my father was involved in my life, I was good at school and things went well. But afterward, I wasn’t very focused on school… [Gary] gave me a little direction that I didn’t have. I’m eternally grateful to him. It probably kept me from making some mistakes.”
John recently lassoed in headlines for a completely different reason. In 2016, The Guardian reported California lawmakers rejected a proposal to create John Wayne Day to mark his birthday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities.
Wayne said he was also aware of negative statements made against his father due to him being politically conservative. He insisted John’s beliefs have been misunderstood over the years
“He wanted to work with people who earned their place,” Wayne explained. “He didn’t think anybody should get a job because he was a man, because she was a woman, because they were gay, because they were straight, because they were Chinese, African-American or Mexican. He thought you should get a job because you were the right person to do that job. Because you had skill and talent and you would show up and get the job done. He didn’t care what you were.
“Somebody, a Latina representative up in Sacramento, shot down a bill for John Wayne Day because he was racist. [But] he was married to three Latin women. It’s just crazy how things get blown out of proportion because he was really an open, caring, loyal, supportive man.”
Wayne hopes his father will be remembered for what he was — an artist.
“People look at him and they think one thing or another, but he was out there representing real people,” said Wayne. “Whether they were guys who came out here and lived in the West or went to war. He played those characters. He represented them. And they liked him. They still do.”

Continue Reading


John Wayne’s Son Couldn’t Watch 1 of His Dad’s Movies After His Death – My Blog

John Wayne is a legendary actor who successfully personifies Western movies. He has a very loyal fan base, but some of his critics claim that he plays the same character in every movie. However, Wayne delivered several nuanced performances over the course of his career. His son, Patrick, had difficulty watching one specific movie after his father’s death.

John Wayne starred in over 160 full-length movies
Wayne entered the entertainment industry working as an extra, prop man, and a stuntman. He primarily worked for Fox Film Corporation, but ultimately got his first shot with Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail. However, the film was a box office failure. Fortunately, Wayne’s huge success at the movies would later come to be.
Wayne ultimately starred in popular Western and war movies over the course of the 1940s onward. Some of his most notable performances include titles such as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, True Grit, and Sands of Iwo Jima. All together, Wayne starred in over 160 full-length movies over the course of his extensive career.

John Wayne’s son, Patrick, couldn’t watch ‘The Shootist’ after his dad’s death

Jeremy Roberts interviewed Patrick via Medium to talk about what it was like growing up in the Wayne family. He talked about some personal stories involving his father, as well as the collection of Wayne movies. The interviewer asked him if he had any difficulty revisiting any of his dad’s movies after his death.
“I’d have to say no to that question with the exception of one film, The Shootist,” Patrick said. “I couldn’t watch that Western as it was so close to reality. He played an old gunfighter who was an anachronism dying of cancer.”
Wayne plays J.B. Books in The Shootist, who is an aging gunfighter diagnosed with cancer. He heads into Nevada at the turn of the 20th century. Books rents a room from a widowed woman named Bond Rogers (Lauren Becall) and her son, Gillom (Ron Howard). When people pursue Books with questionable motives, he decides that he isn’t going to die a silent death.
Patrick continued: “Too many of the elements in there were just too close to what actually happened to him in his real life, so that film took me about 10 years to watch again [of course I saw it when it was originally released in 1976].”
Patrick Wayne thinks ‘The Shootist’ is his dad’s ‘finest performance’

Wayne earned Oscar nominations for his movies Sands of Iwo Jima and The Alamo. However, he wouldn’t take home the gold statue until his work on True Grit. Patrick believes that the iconic film isn’t quite his father’s best work. He gives that title to Wayne’s work in The Shootist, which he didn’t even earn an Oscar nomination for.
Patrick said, “When I did finally watch it for the second time, I have to say that it’s probably his finest performance as a pure actor, using all his skills and being more than just a cardboard cutout, but more of a real human being — a vulnerable human being — and I think he pulled it off really well.”

Continue Reading