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5 Movie Genres That Defined an Era … and Then Died Out – My Blog

Even though Spider-Man: No Way Home has given us reason to remain hopeful about the current commercial prospects of the movie industry, this year looks to be another uncertain one. After spending the past two years getting movie lovers even more accustomed to watching new films at home than they already were, it’s hard to be optimistic that 2022 will see audiences returning to theaters in greater numbers than they did in 2021, let alone before the pandemic.

However, it’s important to keep things in perspective and remind ourselves that the movie industry has been here before. There has always been this threat that movies are just a fad or that television will eventually replace it, and yet somehow Hollywood always finds a way to bounce back. Throughout these different cycles, certain film genres always emerge that capture audiences’ imagination and, in the process, continue to make the movies a viable form of mass entertainment. That said, since these things are always cyclical, even the most dominant of film genres eventually die out and are replaced by some newer, more exciting genre that starts this cycle all over again. So let’s take a look at some of these once massive genres and their continued impact on subsequent generations of films.
The Western (peak era: 1930s-60s)

Westerns are probably the first place your mind goes when you think of a genre that used to dominate the movies as a cultural force but now rarely has mass appeal. The history of the Western is in many ways a reflection of the evolution of movies themselves, as one of the very earliest breakthrough films was Edwin S. Porter‘s 1903 Western short, The Great Train Robbery. Additionally, the emergence of the Western is very much linked to movie studios making their early move from New York to Los Angeles, where the dusty terrain and constant sunlight of Southern California made it a natural fit for the genre. Throughout the silent and early sound era, Westerns would continue to be popular (with occasional break-out hits like the Oscar-winning Cimarron), but they were mostly aimed at younger audiences and were produced for very little money (inspiring the term “Poverty Row Westerns”).
However, that all changed with the release of 1939’s Stagecoach, a film that would not only elevate the kinds of stories that Westerns could tell, but also saw the teaming of the two men who would carve the Western’s legacy in stone — director John Ford and a then lowly-regarded B-movie star named John Wayne. Through the ‘40s and ‘50s, the Western would prove to be an enduring genre because it was incredibly malleable, not only in that it could be successful when combined with other genres (like the Bob Hope comedy The Paleface or the musical Annie Get Your Gun), but also because it could be used to thoughtfully dissect moral dilemmas (like in Ford’s The Searchers, William A. Wellman’s The Ox-Bow Incident, or the films of Anthony Mann).
However, by the mid-1950s, movie Westerns were in danger of having some of their thunder stolen by television, as the genre had migrated to this new medium with shows like Gunsmoke and Bonanza. This resulted in filmmakers embracing the expanse and scope of the Western by emphasizing films that (unlike TV) were shot in widescreen and color, which helped amp up the grandiosity of the genre. Perhaps the peak of this battle between TV and movie Westerns happened with the release of 1962’s How The West Was Won, which employed the use of Cinerama, a newfangled approach to screen projection that created a curved look to the screen that involved using three different projectors (and was a nightmare for filmmakers).
Despite the resiliency of the Western throughout Hollywood’s first half-decade, by the time the 1960s rolled around, tastes were starting to change as was the public’s appetite for this genre that could only reinvent itself so many times. Still, directors like Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah were able to reinvigorate the genre with a more radical approach that gave the Western one last breath of vitality. The 1970s saw Clint Eastwood movies being really the Western’s only consistent draw, and, by the 1980s, the genre was effectively a shadow of its former self. That said, the genre has occasionally reemerged with the likes of Unforgiven, 3:10 To Yuma, Django Unchained, and countless others, since it’s a genre that a lot of prominent directors still have a lot of admiration for, even if it’s hard to imagine it will ever be able to recreate its 20th-century popularity.
The War Movie (peak era: 1940s-60s)

Though there were a number of stand-out war movies during the early sound era (like 1930’s All Quiet On The Western Front), the genre came to dominate the American box office as World War II was raging in the early-to-mid-1940s with hits like This Is The Army and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. The more successful war movies of this period were fairly patriotic and propagandistic, while only the occasional movie centered around World War II — like Mrs. Miniver or Casablanca —would depict the toll that the war took on the people living through it. This is most likely because Hollywood would in many ways become an extension of the U.S. war effort, as some of its top directors like Ford, Frank Capra, and John Huston were recruited to film propaganda documentaries for the U.S. Army (which is chronicled in Mark Harris’ fantastic book Five Came Back). One of these directors, William Wyler, came back from the war and made The Best Years of Our Lives, about four soldiers returning from war to their hometown, which somehow managed to paint a much more nuanced picture of World War II while also becoming the top-grossing film of 1946.
While many of the great war movies of the ‘50s and early ‘60s were somewhat less gung-ho than those of the ‘40s that aimed to unite the nation, they still entrenched an idealized version of war that’s hard to avoid when representing it on screen. (As François Truffaut once said, “there’s no such thing as an anti-war film”) This resulted in a formula of depicting war that was not well-suited for the Vietnam era. A notorious example of this was 1968’s The Green Berets, a John Wayne movie tackling the then-unfolding war in Vietnam while applying the same patriotic slant of Wayne’s earlier WWII movies. The movie received a rare 0 out of 4 stars from a young critic named Roger Ebert and inspired Oliver Stone to write Platoon, since The Green Berets painted such a phony picture of that divisive war.
By the late ‘70s, the Movie Brats that had upended Hollywood also managed to capture Vietnam in a more appropriate way with films like Hal Ashby’s Coming Home, Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Though Apocalypse Now was overall a critical and commercial hit, the exhausting ordeal that it was to get made soured the studios on war movies, especially when the types of complicated stories appropriate for the Vietnam War were less marketable than the sci-fi escapism made popular by Star Wars. In the decades since, the war movie has made the occasional comeback, particularly when 1998 saw the release of World War II throwbacks Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line. However, the public’s continued mixed feelings toward the necessity of war has likely kept it from ever being that dominant of a genre, while the fact that most modern war movies are period pieces makes it consistently feel like a genre that belongs to the past.
The Sword-and-Sandal/Biblical Epic (peak era: 1950s-60s)

The “sword-and-sandal” term was first used to describe the kinds of schlocky Italian movies made in the 1960s, but it could easily be applied to the Hollywood epics set in Ancient Rome or Biblical times that they aspired to imitate. Much like the past two genres, the ancient epic was a genre that had produced the occasional blockbuster prior to its peak, most notably with the films of Cecile B. DeMille, who directed the Claudette Colbert-starring Cleopatra, the top-grossing movie of 1934. However, these sword-and-sandal films really started to pick up steam in the early ‘50s due to the massive success of now-mostly-forgotten movies like The Robe and Quo Vadis. Meanwhile, DeMille would ride the success of these films featuring clashing swords and questionable British accents that he’d helped create with his own Biblical hits like 1949’s Samson and Delilah and 1956’s The Ten Commandments.
This is another genre whose popularity you can chalk up to the scope, production value, and technicolor thrills that you just couldn’t get on the small screen. You can also see the appeal of these movies to both audiences and the filmmakers who made them in how they’re able to wrestle with the puritanical nature of ‘50s America. On the surface, the strict censors of that era would have no problem letting films about the Bible or ancient Greece get made, since why would you suspect anything explicit would be present in these stories? Of course, this was a bit of Trojan Horse situation, as these films were often filled with the kind of violence, scantily-clad men and women, and homoerotic undertones that, though tame by today’s standards, were able to be snuck into these films in an era before sex and violence became more prevalent.
The peak of the sword-and-sandal epic came at the turn of the ‘60s, as Ben-Hur would be the top-grossing movie of 1959, and the next year Spartacus would end up being the next year’s top-grossing film. However, much like Rome, its golden age couldn’t last forever. The decline of these movies had just as much to do with the cost of making them as audiences’ waning appetite for them. 1963’s Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor was a turning point in this regard, as it took almost three years to complete and nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox in the process. Even though the film ended up being the highest-grossing movie of 1963, it still didn’t make its money back — a misstep which, along with the emergence of the Italian Peplum movies mentioned earlier, had diminished the stock of these movies considerably. It’s a genre that has been resurrected with some success in recent decades, most notably with 2000’s Gladiator and 2007’s 300, the latter of which begat modest box office hits like 2010’s Clash of The Titans and 2011’s Immortals. Though much like the movies they’re descended from, the gargantuan expenses of making them perhaps weren’t always worth the cost.
The Disaster Movie (peak era: 1970s with a ’90s Revival)

Though film history tends to embrace the narrative that the early-to-mid-‘70s were a time when the rebel directors of the New Hollywood generation were re-writing the rules of mainstream cinema, there was another more populist genre dominating the box office at the same time. Spurred by the success of 1970’s Airport, these movies typically revolved around some large-scale catastrophic event, be it a sinking ship, a burning skyscraper, or a cataclysmic earthquake. They also often employed a large ensemble of well-known actors, some of whom were stars of the moment (like Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure or Paul Newman in The Towering Inferno), but also often featured stars of yesteryear (like Ernest Borgnine or Fred Astaire in those same movies).
It’s hard to pin down why exactly these movies were so popular at the time, other than that they offered grand adventures on the same scale as Cecil B. DeMille’s epics. But considering the late ‘60s and early ‘70s were this time when America was going through a severe case of societal anxiety, due to the continued war in Vietnam, assassinations, mass riots, and Nixon’s political corruption, it must have felt to moviegoers like everything was crumbling around them. So it’s not hard to make the case that these movies tapped into this mindset, even if they’re a little too cliché-ridden and fantastical to be an accurate reflection of those times.
These depictions of modern life gone awry were soon eclipsed by the escapism of Star Wars in 1977, and since then, a demand for big-budget sci-fi has never ever really left us. Hoping to combine sci-fi with the disaster genre, Poseidon director Ronald Neame helmed 1979’s Meteor, which I’m sure you’ve already guessed is about a meteor heading straight for Earth. The film was a sizable flop, which in addition to the brilliant 1980 spoof Airplane! helped cement the disaster genre as an even bigger joke than it already was. The disaster movie made a bit of a resurgence in the 1990s, spurred on by pre-Y2K paranoia and developments in CG special effects that could more easily bring these large-scale disasters to life. It saw the rise of Roland Emmerich as a half-competent auteur of this genre, while the “meteor headed toward Earth” premise proved much more successful with the release of 1998’s Armageddon and Deep Impact (not to mention the colossal impact of 1997’s Titanic). However, the disaster movie’s resurgence was short-lived, since it’s hard to think of a genre that could have been less appealing to audiences following the events of September 11, 2001.
CG-Heavy Fantasy (peak era: 2000s-10s)

Just as disaster movies were becoming obsolete during the chaotic early 21st century, a pair of CG-heavy fantasy movies came along to whisk audiences away to worlds quite unlike their own. The timing of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring being released in late Fall and early Winter 2001 almost seems a little too coincidental, especially when both managed to live up to the hype of their passionate fanbases. A live-action Lord of The Rings movie had been either attempted or in talks for decades, but the ability to fully realize J.R.R. Tolkien’s world in a satisfying way really could have only happened at this particular moment. Though the Harry Potter books were a much more recent literary phenomenon at the time, their instant ubiquity with kids the world over had made a film adaptation just as urgent, while the world of Hogwarts contained within their pages was just as in need of CG effects to bring them to life.
With the success of these movies and their subsequent installments, other literary fantasy series were brought to the screen with relative success, such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Percy Jackson movies. The Harry Potter movies in particular instigated a trend of adapting young adult books from other genres into blockbuster franchises (where the last book always seems to be split into two movies) such as the Twilight and Hunger Games series. Since the decline of this genre is a little more recent and offers less hindsight, the reasons for its decline are harder to pinpoint, though there are a few potential ones. First, much like Cleopatra before it, The Hobbit trilogy was overall a financial success, but its mostly apathetic reaction from critics and audiences made it perhaps not worth the toll it had taken on director Peter Jackson. Additionally, the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones made it so that viewers could just stay at home instead of going to a theater if they wanted to experience top-notch fantasy on a grand scale.
There’s also the fact that because these series rely on books to be adapted from, there’s only a finite amount of source material that can be turned into movies. This, of course, is not a problem for the superhero genre, which relies on the constant serialization of comic books and their limitless potential for sequels and spin-offs. Although superhero movies undoubtedly replaced the dominance of these epic fantasy movies by the late 2010s, only time will tell whether their reign will continue, or if some other new genre will come along to replace them and get people coming back to the movies all over again.

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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.

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‘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.”

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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.”

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