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John Wayne

Every John Wayne and John Ford Movie Ranked, According to IMDb

Their presence in each other’s cinematic legacy will never be forgotten. Before the days of Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, and the modern-day filmmaking duos, there were the Johns. Director John Ford and acting icon John Wayne were genre forces to be reckoned with. Stepping onset together 14 times from 1939 to 1963, the Johns were a dynamite pair that produced more than just Wild West, trailblazing movies.
Six of their double-digit pictures were written or co-written by screenwriter Frank S. Nugent. Ford and Nugent were just two examples within the Duke’s filmography where he collaborated multiple times. Wayne’s repeated use of supporting cast actors is one of the relationships that inspired a practice that today’s legendary filmmakers continue to be recognized for.
14‘The Wings of Eagles’ (1957)

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Image via Warner Bros. 

IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Alongside his iconic leading lady Maureen O’Hara, Wayne stars as Frank “Spig” Wead, a real-life Naval aviator paralyzed after a spine injury. Following his injury, Wead takes pen to paper and begins to write pro-military films, but the attack on Pearl Harbor leads him to reenter the Navy under special permission.
Ford decided to helm the project honoring Wead after recognizing he didn’t want anyone else to direct the project dedicated to his close friend. This project was a notable installment in Ford’s and Wayne’s careers.
13‘Donovan’s Reef’ (1963)

Lee Marvin next to John Wayne both soaking wet standing in a fish pond in Donovan's Reef

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
The final film starring opposite each other, Lee Marvin and Wayne are pure entertainment in this breezy comedy. The pair star as two of three World War II Navy veterans, Donovan (Wayne), Doc (Jack Warden), and Gilhooley (Marvin), all of whom come to settle on a French Polynesian island as Doc’s share in his shipping company becomes threatened.
It’s a distance stretch from the past films Marvin and Wayne co-starred in, but Donovan’s Reefis a relaxed break from the gun-slinging and wartime pictures their audiences were used to. Audiences appreciated Ford’s light-hearted swing for his final collaboration with Wayne.
12‘The Long Voyage Home’ (1940)

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IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Another feature centered on the backdrop of World War II, The Long Voyage Home finds the crew of an English cargo ship battling not only the loneliness of sailing but the thought that there may be a Nazi spy aboard their ship carrying dynamite. Wayne stars as Swedish crew member Olsen.
The supporting cast included actors like Ward Bond, whom fans would recognize in several later films Wayne would lead. This early partnership picture from Ford and Wayne earned six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, but failed to take home a golden statue from the ceremony.
11‘Rio Grande’ (1950)

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IMDb Rating: 7.0/10
A story where everything converges all at once upon its leading man, Rio Grande remains one of Wayne’s memorable performances. Lieutenant Colonel Kirby Yorke’s past comes back to bite him when his estranged son arrives as a recruit at Yorke’s Texas cavalry post, and his equally estranged wife arrives to bring their son home. Furthering the trouble, Yorke is tasked with defending settlers against Apache raids across the river.
This movie is a follow-up from Fort Apache (further down the list) and features familiar faces and themes established in previous installments in the Johns filmography. Not the worst, not the best, Rio Grande is still a satisfactory Western.
10‘How the West Was Won’ (1962)

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IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Separated into five sequences directed by Ford, Henry Hathaway, and George Marshall, How the West Was Won is often not included when discussing the Johns Canon. With a big-name cast including stars like Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Carroll Baker, and Debbie Reynolds, to name a few, this feature is close to three hours long, detailing the westward expansion of the 19th century.
Wayne stars as General William Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War segment directed by Ford. Hollywood’s greatest stars of the period, Wayne, Stewart, and Henry Fonda, only starred this one time altogether; however, they were never in the same scenes.
9‘3 Godfathers’ (1948)

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IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
A deep dive for surface-level Wayne fans, 3 Godfathers was the original Three Men and a Baby. Alongside Pedro Armendáriz and Harry Carey Jr., Wayne completes the trio of outlaws who stumble upon a dying woman and her newborn after robbing a bank. The three men risk their safety and vow to return the baby to safety as they try to outrun the sheriff hot on their trail.
Audiences remembered this Ford production as a retelling of the Three Wise Men and resonated with the religious symbolism throughout the movie. It isn’t the pair’s most memorable film, but it solidifies its entertainment value.
8‘The Horse Soldiers’ (1959)

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IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
The Horse Soldiers is set against the backdrop of the Civil War as Union Colonel John Marlowe (Wayne) and his unit attempt to carry out their mission to destroy a Confederate railroad depot. Marlowe’s efforts become complicated after Miss Hannah Hunter (Constance Towers), a Southern belle, overhears the mission plans, forcing Marlowe to bring her along.
A mid-tier segment in their cinematic history, Ford and Wayne hold the audience’s attention despite having set such a high-bar standard for their films. Once again, audiences deliver the pair well-deserved respect for their efforts even if the plot left more to be desired.
7‘They Were Expendable’ (1945)

John Wayne, Geraldine Page and Robert Montgomery sitting next to each other in a jeep inThey Were Expendable

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
Not only did Robert Montgomery co-direct the film (listed as uncredited), but he also starred as the leading man alongside Wayne. Taking place just before the attack on Pearl Harbor and carrying through to after, They Were Expendablefinds Naval Lieutenants Ryan (Wayne) and Brickley (Montgomery) questioning the viability of the new PT boats, putting them to the test against Japanese planes.
Nominated for two technical Oscars, this wartime drama is a well-respected feature. It was also co-written by The Wings of Eagles inspiration, Frank Wead. They Were Expendable is an admirable, right choice for a well-deserved break from the desolate West.
6‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ (1949)

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IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
An Oscar-winner for Best Cinematography, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon signaled that Ford’s movies were worthy of critical acclaim. Just before retirement, Calvary Captain Nathan Brittles (Wayne) is tasked with mending relations between the Native American tribes after Custer’s Last Stand. The mission is complicated as Brittles manages the safe passage of the wife and niece of his superior officer.
Wayne wasn’t the only star Ford collaborated with consistently; She Wore a Yellow Ribbon also features Victor McLaglen,who starred in supporting roles for other films on this list like Fort Apache,Rio Grande, and The Quiet Man. Wayne fans also recognized stars Harry Carey Jr. and Ben Johnson from other movies led by the Duke.
5‘Fort Apache’ (1948)

John Wayne as Kirby York

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
Fort Apachefeatures Wayne opposite legendary actor Henry Fonda. Young, level-headed Capt. Kirby York (Wayne) clashes with Civil War veteran Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thursday (Fonda) after Thursday returns to Fort Apache and begins to threaten war with the local tribes.
This installment in the Johns filmography also became the first in what came to be known as John Ford’s Calvary Trilogy, the succession films were She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande. Fort Apache arguably was the best of the three according to audiences and its IMDb rating.
4‘The Quiet Man’ (1952)

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IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
An Oscar-winning feat for Ford (Best Director), The Quiet Man was a departure for both Johns from the usual gritty Western story. Wayne plays retired American boxer Sean Thornton returning to his family’s homestead in Ireland. He falls for Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara) there despite her brother’s refusal.
The movie is another excellent collaboration between Ford and Wayne and Wayne and his leading lady O’Hara. Like the title displays, The Quiet Man is a quiet romance beloved by critics and cinema-goers deserving of its seven Oscar nominations.
3‘Stagecoach’ (1939)

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IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
The time-honored tale of strangers surviving circumstances, Stagecoach featured Wayne during his transition from B-list to A-list actor. An outlaw, Ringo Kid (Wayne) is among a group of passengers aboard a stagecoach traveling across the Wild West, the threat of Apache attacks looming over them all.
RELATED:How ‘Stagecoach’ Revolutionized The Western Genre
This is the first collaboration between Ford and Wayne. A career-evolving film for the pair, Stagecoach earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director (Ford’s second directing nomination). At the time, this movie excited Western fans for a dynamic relationship that was about to unfold before Hollywood’s eyes.
2‘The Searchers’ (1956)

The Searchers - 1956

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
A dark installment for the cinematic duo, The Searchers still features the familiar faces of Wayne-film regular cast members. Determined to recover his kidnapped niece, Debbie (Natalie Wood), Ethan Edwards scours the Comanche nation after his brother’s family is slain.
A Civil War veteran, Ethan is calloused and cold, a far cry from the upbeat disposition of Wayne’s traditional roles, absent of the Duke’s iconic ear-to-ear grin. The Searchers is a cinematic gem that Wayne-Ford fans return to time and time again.

1‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962)

Ranse Stoddard in The Man Who Shot Liberty ValanceImage via Paramount Pictures

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
Directed during the height of his career, Ford assembled a trio of Hollywood acting royalty for The Man Who Shot LibertyValance. One of cinema’s most revered westerns, this feature stars James Stewartas Senator Stoddard relives through flashbacks the story of Stoddard’s unexpected friendship with Tom Doniphon (Wayne), recounting for a newspaper reporter their involvement and search for justice against local criminal Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin).
A feature about storytelling, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is concise and focused on the relationships between Stoddard and Doniphon rather than racing quests across a ruthless frontier. Highly revered within the genre, this is the best collaboration between Ford and Wayne.

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John Wayne

John Wayne Pushed Through a Severe Injury to Ensure ‘The Train Robbers’ Premiered on Schedule

John Wayne is known around the world as one of the most iconic cowboys of all time. Decades after his death, John Wayne continues to be praised for his nearly 200 unforgettable appearances in film and television. And though his larger-than-life presence, good looks, and husky voice took him far in Hollywood, it was his commitment to his films that led to John Wayne playing such a large role in cinema history.

The Duke began his career in 1926. As time went on, the stoic superstar developed a reputation as a stunt man. Many of his Westerns involved action-heavy scenes, and the technology to make stunt work easier to fake didn’t yet exist. As such, many legendary John Wayne films were extremely physically demanding.

Hiring a stunt man was an option used by many in Hollywood. But The Duke refused. Instead, he insisted on doing his stunts himself. Though this was an admirable step to take, it led to many injuries for Wayne throughout his career.

The audience knew that the hero would win in the end, but reaching victory often involved getting punched, kicked, shot, and stabbed along the way. He was even blown up and crushed by a bulldozer (on separate occasions, of course).

John Wayne Filmed ‘The Train Robbers’ With Broken Ribs

Perhaps the most horrifying injury of John Wayne’s career occurred on the set of the 1973 Western The Train Robbers. In the film, Wayne plays the starring role of Lane, the leader of a group of cowboys hunting down a dastardly train robber.

According to the John Wayne biography entitled Duke by Ronald L. Davis, The Duke broke two ribs mere days before filming began on The Train Robbers. As Wayne was an irreplaceable star, the injury led to a rearranging of the film. Rather than focusing on high-speed chases and deadly battles between cowboys and outlaws, The Train Robbers honed in on dialogue and character building.

That said, it was still a Western, and every Western needs a certain amount of action. For The Duke, it was essential that “the action scenes looked believable”. Wayne was so committed to his scenes that he flat-out refused to work around his injury. “He wasn’t a crybaby,” his wife Pilar Wayne told The LA Times. “He could tolerate pain.”

And tolerate pain, he did. John Wayne pushed through the broken ribs, determined to keep the film as close to the original script as possible. While filming, he was clearly limited with his movements and he appeared somewhat ill on set.

On-screen, however, no one could tell the difference. The Duke still gave a fantastic performance. Three years later, his Hollywood career came to an end, but John Wayne will always be remembered as the tough-as-nails actor he truly was.

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John Wayne

Original Cast of John Wayne’s ‘The Cowboys’ to Celebrate Film’s 50th Anniversary With The Duke’s Family

The career of John Wayne is one of the most revered in all of American filmmaking regardless of genre. Even long after his death, his unmatched contributions to the Western film genre are still a thing of legend.

John Wayne: An American Experience, The Cowboy Channel, Stockyards Heritage, and Hotel Drover have partnered up with the members of the cast of The Cowboys and Wayne’s family. Together, they will host a celebratory festival in honor of the 50th anniversary of the fan-favorite film. The official John Wayne Instagram page announced the event by paying tribute to one of Wayne’s many iconic moments.


“In honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Cowboys, celebrate with members of the original cast & the Wayne family June 24, 25, & 26 in the Fort Worth Stockyards! For a list of events and tickets, head to JohnWayne.com”

The 1972 film is based on the book of the same name by William Dale Jennings. Wayne stars alongside Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, Colleen Dewhurst, and Bruce Dern. The Cowboys tells the story of a down on his luck rancher being forced to hire a group of inexperienced cowboys to get his herd to market on time. It’s one of Wayne’s most enduring films with his performance often regarded as one of his best.

The Cowboys Still Holds A Special Place in Hearts of Film Fans

Fans of the film will no doubt be thrilled by the opportunity to hear directly from the people who worked and lived alongside Wayne during the making of the classic film. One member of the cast, A Martinez who played Cimarron, took to his own Instagram account to post a message about his experience shooting The Cowboys for its 50th anniversary.


“It was a thrill and an honor to be a part of this project,” said Martinez in his post. “A haunting, timeless theme, adapted from the novel by William Dale Jennings, brilliantly directed by Rydell. With gorgeous cinematography by Bob Surtees, an indelible score by John Williams –– and a great performance by John Wayne –– the power of #TheCowboys abides.”

The 3-day celebration includes outdoor screenings after sunset on the Livestock Exchange lawn all three nights. Fans will have meet and greet opportunities with 9 members of the cast. Then, A live televised film panel with a studio audience will film at The Cowboy Channel Studio Sunday night. In addition, there will be special installations and reception at John Wayne: An American Experience, a sprawling 10,000 square foot exhibit providing an intimate look at the life of The Duke.

Any fan of John Wayne who can make it to Fort Worth, Texas for this celebration of a beloved piece of Wayne’s filmography should purchase tickets as soon as possible. Relive the memories of this classic film alongside cast members and Wayne’s family with the special event.

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John Wayne

This John Wayne Western Almost Starred Elvis Presley

When you hear the names Elvis Presley and John Wayne, the word icon undoubtedly comes to mind. Although they were famous figures in their own right, they had more in common than you might think. For instance, they nearly starred alongside one another in one of Wayne’s many westerns.

As the undisputed King of rock ‘n’ roll, Presley became a worldwide viral sensation for his gyrating hips and rock-n-roll music. Yet, he also dipped his toes into the world of movies.

He had performed in various movies like King Creole and Blue Hawaii in the past. In addition, he had some Western movie experience when he starred in Love Me Tender. According to IMDb, the movie is a Western set during the end of the American Civil War.

Elvis plays the role of Clint Reno, the brother of a Confederate soldier who becomes involved in a train robbery. The movie was released in 1956, just as Elvis became a rising star. As a result, he grabbed the attention of another acting veteran.

Love Me Tender was the hitmaker’s first movie role. Little did he know, John Wayne was watching at home. As a result, Wayne decided he wanted to collaborate with the rising star.

Elvis Presley’s manager decides on True Grit role

Billy Smith, Elvis’ cousin, once answered whether John Wayne asked Presley to star with him in a movie more than once. According to Smith, via his Youtube channel, co-starring alongside Wayne wasn’t Presley’s style, or rather, it wasn’t his manager’s preference.

Billy Smith, Elvis’ cousin, once answered whether John Wayne asked Presley to star with him in a movie more than once. According to Smith, via his Youtube channel, co-starring alongside Wayne wasn’t Presley’s style, or rather, it wasn’t his manager’s preference.

As Smith described, anytime anyone wanted to collab with The King, it was “always carried through Colonel.” Presley was at the height of his fame around this time. According to Smith, “Colonel didn’t want him to play … second star with anybody else.” 

Sadly, Presley would miss out on the role of LeBoeuf. In addition, he wouldn’t get to join forces with one of the genre’s most beloved figures. Glen Campbell would instead take on the part. 

However, maybe the decision happened for a better reason. When the film was released in 1969, it was a critical moment for Presley’s career. In December of 1968, just before True Grit premiered, Presley embarked on his now-legendary “comeback special.” In 1969, he delivered almost 60 performances at the magnificent International Hotel in Las Vegas. 

During this whirlwind of a year, Presley proved the point of his manager: Elvis Presley would play second fiddle to nobody, even John Wayne. 

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