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Best John Wayne Movies of All Time – My Blog

It’s been nearly half a century since he died in 1979, and yet no actor has wholly embodied the role of cinematic cowboy quite like John Wayne. Getting his start in B-movies in the 1930s, Wayne eventually became one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars by the start of the ’40s.For the next four decades, Wayne appeared in everything from war films to romantic comedies. Still, his single greatest contribution to pop culture was his starring roles in the dozens of Westerns he was featured in throughout his career.From his breakthrough success with Stagecoach to some of his most famous collaborations with John Ford and Howard Hawks, here are some of John Wayne’s best films, ranked from best to worst.The Searchers

The Searchers

Photo Credit: Warner Bros
When a party of Comanche kidnaps his young niece (Natalie Wood), a cynical Civil War veteran (Wayne) and his adopted nephew (Jeffrey Hunter) set out on a lengthy journey to rescue the girl.The most iconic of Wayne’s many films, The Searchers is also considered by many film historians to be the finest American Western ever made. Likened to the tale of Odysseus by French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, it is as epic in scope as it is nuanced in its characters, action, and central narrative. It has continued influencing entire generations of aspiring filmmakers, with Wayne giving the greatest performance of his life as the embittered, hate-filled Ethan Edwards.Rio Bravo
Rio BravoPhoto Credit: Warner Bros

After arresting an influential land baron’s brother (Claude Akins) for murder, a small-town sheriff (Wayne), his past-their-prime deputies (Dean Martin and Walter Brennan), and a young pro gunfighter (Ricky Nelson) hole up in jail until U.S. Marshals arrive to relieve them.Rio Bravo is unique among the top 10 entries on this list in that, unlike The Searchers or Red River, Wayne himself isn’t the definitive best thing about this movie. Instead, he’s one key player in an endlessly talented cast. All compliment each other unbelievably well in their performances — from Dean Martin’s recovering alcoholic to Nelson’s withdrawn, guitar-strumming gunslinger.Stagecoach
StagecoachPhoto Credit: United Artists
On a stagecoach barreling across the American frontier, a group of passengers defends themselves against raiding Native American parties led by the famous Apache leader, Geronimo.Wayne worked as an actor in Hollywood for over a decade before Stagecoach’s release in 1939. But when Wayne enters halfway through the film, the camera pushing tight into a close-up as Wayne performs his signature finger-loop load action, it is like audiences were seeing him for the first time. The most important film in Wayne’s career, contemporary viewers fell in love with Wayne’s lethargic Ringo Kid, helping Wayne gain renewed exposure by the start of the 1940s.Red RiverRed RiverFinally setting out on a cattle drive that he’s spent the last decade eagerly preparing for, a Texan rancher’s (Wayne) combative nature triggers animosity between himself and his hired hands, with even the rancher’s son (Montgomery Clift) turning against him.Like most actors of his day, Wayne suffered from some mild typecasting not long after his ascension to stardom in the early 1940s. Helping break out of the preconceived heroic archetypes he’d established with Stagecoach was Red River, the first of several films Wayne would make with director Howard Hawks. Straddling a finer line between hero and villain, Wayne veers more heavily into the role of antagonist with this film, creating a complex but achingly realistic man driven by his Ahab-like obsession to succeed.True Grit
True GritPhoto Credit: Paramount Pictures
Wanting to find the man who killed her father, a strong-willed teenage girl (Kim Darby) hires a grizzled US Marshal (Wayne) and a suave Texas Ranger (Glen Campbell) to track down the murderer (Jeff Corey) in the remote Oklahoma wilderness.In the film that won Wayne the Academy Award for Best Actor, Rooster Cogburn is the Duke at his most cantankerous. Swirling whiskey from the seat of his saddle and dual-wielding a repeater and six-shooter while riding full-speed into a gunfight, it was an Oscar that was very much overdue at this point in Wayne’s career.The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
The Man Who Shot Liberty ValancePhoto Credit: Paramount Pictures
Looking back at his life, an elderly U.S. senator (James Stewart) reveals the truth behind an incident involving a notorious outlaw (Lee Marvin) and a poor but strong-willed rancher (Wayne).Jimmy Stewart is the main character of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but audiences’ eyes can’t help but immediately drift to Wayne every time he wanders on-screen. Never letting his failing ranch negatively affect his pride, Wayne’s surly frontiersman is the walking personification of the Western hero: noble and loyal to his friends, yet prickly and standoffish with his rivals.The Quiet Man
The Quiet ManPhoto Credit: Republic Pictures
Retiring from his boxing career in America, the withdrawn Sean Thornton (Wayne) returns to his Irish hometown, catching the attention of a poor woman (Maureen O’Hara) whose hot-headed brother (Victor McLagen) desperately tries to keep them apart.The Quiet Man can make for a slow burn for anyone used to the usual fast-paced Westerns of Wayne and Ford. In this sense, it’s a major stylistic experiment on both men’s part and works incredibly well. Free to create a more withdrawn personality than his usual, fiery-tempered heroes, The Quiet Man may mark Wayne’s most subtly affecting performance.The Shootist
The ShootistPhoto Credit: Paramount Pictures
Suffering from terminal cancer, an aging gunfighter (Wayne) searches for a faster, more honorable way to die while trying to dissuade an eager protege (Ron Howard) from following in his footsteps.The final film of Wayne’s career, The Shootist is as fitting a goodbye to the Western as Clint Eastwood’s own genre farewell with Unforgiven. Embodying the same breed of characters as most other entries on this list, Wayne departs from the limelight with a wink and a tip of his hat. His character in this movie may be named J.B. Books, but at this point in time, John Wayne was essentially playing himself.The Longest Day
The Longest DayPhoto Credit: 20th Century Fox
In 1944, the Allied Forces launched the largest amphibious invasion in military history. Landing on the beaches of Normandy, The Longest Day follows the various American, British, French, and German soldiers as they experience D-Day in its entirety.The Longest Day belongs to the same category of war films as 1977’s A Bridge Too Far. Made up of numerous interweaving narratives and incorporating a massive ensemble cast, the movie features Wayne up against the likes of Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Rod Steiger, and many, many more.

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Restoration of John Wayne’s ‘The Searchers’ to Premiere at 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival – My Blog

John Wayne’s 1956 Western “The Searchers” will debut a new restoration as part of the 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival in April.This marks the second Wayne film to receive a premiere of a restored print at the yearly event that takes place on Hollywood Boulevard. Last year’s opening night feature was a 4K restoration of Wayne’s 1959 film “Rio Bravo.”This year’s festival theme is “Most Wanted: Crime and Justice in Film.” Alongside “The Searchers,” TCM announced that Frank Capra’s 1934 film “It Happened One Night,” Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” and the 1974 musical documentary “That’s Entertainment!” will also screen as part of the four-day festival in April.It’s unknown if “The Searchers” will be the film’s opening night movie, though considering “Rio Bravo” was also a restoration last year it would make sense that Warner Bros. would continue to debut new 4K prints of their films as part of the event’s opening night.This year’s TCM Classic Film Festival marks the return of the event after the classic film network underwent significant changes behind the scenes this year. In June, TCM’s senior vice president of programming and content strategy Charles Tabesh, vice president of studio production Anne Wilson, vice president of marketing and creative Dexter Fedor and TCM Enterprises vice president Genevieve McGillicuddy were all laid off, alongside TCM’s general manager Pola Chagnon leaving the company after 25 years.From there, stories started to tumble out that the network was in the crosshairs of a series of cost-cutting measures implemented by Warner Bros. Discovery. In the wake of widespread outcry from fans, both Tabesh and McGuillicuddy were offered their positions back. It was also announced soon after that Warner Bros. Pictures heads Pamela Abdy and Michael De Luca would be overseeing the network, with input from world-class directors including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.The TCM Classic Film Festival enters its 15th year in 2024 and will also take place during the network’s 30th anniversary.The TCM Classic Film Festival will take place in Hollywood April 18-21.

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John Wayne’s spanking of co-star ‘so authentic she had bruises for a week’ – My Blog

Back in 1963, John Wayne starred in a Western comedy loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.Duke played an ageing rancher called George Washington McLintock, a wealthy self-made man facing a number of issues.High-ranking government officials, his own sons and local Native Americans all want a piece of his huge farmstead.Meanwhile, his wife (played by regular collaborator Maureen O’Hara) who separated from him two years prior, is back on the scene demanding custody of their daughter.McLintock! celebrates its 60th anniversary this week, as celebrated by the John Wayne estate on Instagram.A recent post read: “Did you know? Although often seen as simply a knockabout comedy, John Wayne also intended the film to be a statement on his disapproval of the negative representation of Native Americans in previous westerns he had no creative-control over, and his disapproval of wife-beating and marital abuse from either spouse.”A film of its time, McLintock famously has a scene, as captured on its poster, of Wayne’s George publicly spanking his wife played by O’Hara.According to his co-star’s autobiography, this scene was “completely authentic” with Duke carrying it out with “such gusto”, that she “had bruises for a week.”

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Martin Scorsese’s Favorite John Wayne Western – My Blog


 Martin Scorsese considers John Wayne’s The Searchers to be the best Western ever made, describing it as a masterpiece with a deeply painful core. The Searchers has had a significant influence on Scorsese’s movies, inspiring scenes and characters in films like Taxi Driver and Mean Streets. The Searchers is also a favorite among the “movie brats,” a group of influential directors including Spielberg and Lucas, who cited it as a major influence.

Martin Scorsese’s favorite Western starring John Wayne has had a big influence on his career. Scorsese hasn’t made his passion for cinema or filmmaking a secret, and he is essentially a living archive of the medium’s history. He loves everything from the trashiest B-movie to the most highbrow drama, which is something that’s reflected in Martin Scorsese’s own movies. He has helmed everything from gangster epics to psychological horrors to biopics and everything in between.
One genre he hasn’t really dipped a toe into is a Western, which is likely down to the decline of the genre itself than Scorsese avoiding the genre. About the closest he’s come is his 2023 epic Killers of the Flower Moon, though far from being a black-and-white adventure about cowboys righting wrongs, it’s a devastating true-life drama. Scorsese has professed his admiration for a few classic Westerns (via Far Out) such as Ride the High Country or Marlon Brando’s sole directorial outing One-Eyed Jacks, but there’s one that holds a truly special place in his heart.Scorsese Believes John Wayne’s The Searchers Is The Best Western Ever Made
In 2013, Scorsese guest-reviewed a book about John Wayne Western The Searchers for THR, where he proclaimed it a masterpiece but that “Like all great works of art, it’s uncomfortable. The core of the movie is deeply painful.” The premise of the movie sees Wayne’s Civil War vet Ethan Edwards and his nephew Martin (Jeffrey Hunter) setting out to rescue his kidnapped niece. It might sound like the setup for a classic Western adventure, but John Ford’s The Searchers deals with some dark themes, with Wayne portraying the most ruthless character of his career as the deeply prejudiced and revenge-addicted Ethan.
Scorsese has often called The Searchers one of his favorite Westerns, in addition to being one of the greatest movies of all time, period. From the gorgeous cinematography, the evergreen themes and Wayne’s haunting central turn, it’s a film the director finds himself coming back to decades after he first watched it. The Searcher’s ending has been much discussed among film scholars too, with Scorsese himself feeling the shot of Ethan turning and leaving through the door turns it into a “ghost story;” the character has fulfilled his purpose but is now doomed to wander the deserts alone, like a spirit.The Searchers Inspired Scorsese’s Own Movies
Travis Bickle at the movies in Taxi Driver
The film made a major impression on Scorsese when he saw it as a boy, and its influence can be spotted in his own work. His debut Who’s That Knocking at My Door features a scene where protagonist J.R. (Harvey Keitel) talks about both John Wayne and The Searchers in great detail, while the Ford movie appears again in Scorsese’s crime drama Mean Streets from 1973. The Searchers was a direct influence on Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, with the journey of Robert De Niro’s Travis being a mirror of Ethan’s. He’s another loner filled with anger and hatred, looking to rescue a young girl in Jodie Foster’s Iris.The movie ends with Travis rescuing Iris in the bloodiest manner possible, and like Ethan, the movie leaves him on an ambiguous note. The influence of The Searchers can also be felt in the director’s attraction to anti-heroes and flawed protagonists, who may see themselves as fundamentally good men or heroic, despite the appalling acts of violence they commit or the selfishness they display.The Searchers Is A Favorite Of The “Movie Brats”
Steven Spielberg leaning against a camera with George Lucas standing beside him on the cover of Indiana Jones bonus material DVD
The Searchers was well-received upon its initial release, but it soon came to be recognized as an American classic. The late ’60s and ’70s saw the rise of the so-called “movie brats,” who were a group of talented young directors who were also nerds for the medium. Members of this group include Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, John Milius, Paul Schrader and many more. What’s notable about this group is how many of them cited The Searchers as a favorite.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan also cited The Searchers as a major influence on Breaking Bad’s finale.
According to The Telegraph, Spielberg claims he rewatches The Searchers before starting work on a new movie, while Milius and Schrader – who penned Taxi Driver – have also sung its praises. The movie was a huge influence on Lucas’ Star Wars, which can be found in its basic promise – a young man and older mentor set out to rescue a young woman – its desert vistas and the sequence where Luke (Mark Hamill) discovers his burnt-out family homestead. Star Wars was a mash-up of many influences from samurai epics to movie serials, but Westerns like The Searchers played a particularly large role in the movie.
Source: Far Out, THR, The Telegraph
the searchers poster
The SearchersRelease Date:1956-03-13Director:John FordCast:John WayneRating:pg-13Runtime:119minutesGenres:Western, DramaWriters:John FordBudget:$3.75millionStudio(s):Warner Bros. PicturesDistributor(s):Warner Bros. Pictures

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