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John Wayne’s Favorite Movies of All Time

In 1977, legendary actor John Wayne gave movie fans a rare insight into his personal tastes when he revealed his top five favorite films. The True Grit actor named the films for The People’s Almanac Volume II, one of a series of books that collected random, often off-beat factoids about history and culture. The book’s authors and editors, David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace, asked every living Oscar-winning actor at the time to provide their favorites, and Wayne was one of the respondents. His written response was auctioned off in 2011, giving us the chance to see his choices in his writing

Wayne finally won an Oscar in 1970 for Best Actor, for his performance in True Grit, a well-earned honor after a career than spanned six decades. It should be no surprise, then, that his favorite films would include some early classics from Hollywood’s golden age, although you’ll likely be surprised by his number one choice, as it is not the sort of film you would associate with Wayne.

In perhaps true John Wayne fashion, two of his favorite movies were his own films. However, his selection of those films, as you’ll see, was likely due to his fondness for John Ford, his close friend and collaborator who directed the two films. Film critics also happen to consider them classics in their own right, so we can perhaps understand why Wayne included them on his personal favorites list as well.

5The Quiet Man (1952)

John Wayne in The Quiet Man
Republic Pictures

The Quiet Man is not your typical John Wayne film, which may be why The Duke loves it enough to put it in his top five favorites. Some people may not care for westerns, and others may bristle at war films, but everyone can love The Quiet Man, a romantic comedy/drama from legendary director John Ford. Wayne’s film collaborations with Ford are among the finest films ever made, but this film broke from their usual fare of westerns and war films to make a light-hearted dramedy that retains its charm more than 70 years after its release.

Ford plays an American who returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, in an effort to escape his past. He falls in love with a feisty local woman, played to perfection by Maureen O’Hara. She and Wayne made five films together, becoming life-long friends in the process and an enduring on-screen duo, which is likely why this film made his favorites list. The film has become a traditional watch for St. Patrick’s Day, as many movie fans view it to celebrate Irish life and culture.

4The Searchers (1956)

John Wayne in the western movie The Searchers
Warner Bros.

Arguably director John Ford’s best film, The Searchers is an exquisite tale about a man’s search for vengeance and justice. Wayne plays a Civil War veteran who sets out to find his niece, who has been kidnaped by Comanches who massacred his family. Although it has all the trappings of a western, the film never falls into the genre’s easy tropes, and the ending is iconic.

Amazingly, the film didn’t score a single Academy Award nomination, in a year that saw Around the World in 80 Days inexplicably beat out Giant and The Ten Commandments for Best Picture. Wayne considered this his favorite film role, and even named one of his sons Ethan in honor of it, so its inclusion on his favorites list makes sense.

3The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 1921
Rex Ingram Productions

Some have confused Wayne’s selection of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as the 1962 version directed by Vincente Minnelli. In fact, Wayne preferred the 1921 silent version starring Rudolph Valentino, who plays a Frenchman who marries into a Spanish family torn apart by World War I. The film was the biggest box office hit of the year, and made Valentino a superstar.

The film itself, while an interesting watch, hasn’t aged well over time. Like many silent films, it’s heavy on the melodrama, but at two-and-a-half hours long, it is an exhausting watch and wears out its welcome quickly. The film incorporates some interesting religious symbolism to sell the idea of World War I as a Biblically apocalyptic event, a bit novel for the time.

According to biographer Scott Eyman, a 13-year-old Wayne was so obsessed with the film, he saw it twice a day for an entire week at the movie theater in Glendale, California, where the family lived. The film sparked a cultural sensation with Spanish culture and the tango, and it may have fostered young Wayne’s self-proclaimed fondness for Latin women. He would marry three times in his life, all to Latina women.

2Gone with the Wind (1939)

Annual Gone with the Wind Screening Canceled for Being Racially Insensitive
Loew’s, Inc.

Gone with the Wind isn’t the universally-praised epic it once was, as America comes to terms with the film’s problematic depiction of the Civil War and slavery. It’s impossible to defend the film’s romanticized view of slavery and the South, but it is possible to appreciate the film’s performances, technical achievements, and outstanding storytelling. To this day, it remains one of the best films Hollywood has ever produced, despite being a cultural product of the times. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh among the most iconic romantic couples ever put on film.

At the time of its making, filmmakers assured civil rights activists that the film would not engage in demeaning black stereotypes, but Butterfly McQueen’s character did just that. Hattie McDaniel’s Mammy, however, becomes the conscience of the viewers in her role; she says exactly what the audience is thinking. Her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress was an important first step in Black actors gaining acceptance in Hollywood.

Wayne’s reputation has taken a hit over some controversial comments made during his lifetime, but his selection of Gone With The Wind as a favorite film should not cause anyone to make assumptions. Even today, critics recognize its greatness and importance in film history. Surprisingly, Wayne loved the film, even though he didn’t like Clark Gable at all. HBO Max offers Gone With The Wind to stream, but with disclaimer videos that provide context and discussion about the film.

1A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Robert Shaw as Henry VIII in A Man for all Seasons
Columbia Pictures

A Man for All Seasons is an interesting choice, and an unexpected one as Wayne’s top film. Based on the play by Robert Bolt (the writer of Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia), the film tells the story of an English nobleman Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) who refuses to bow to the King’s demand to accept his defiance of the Catholic Church, so he can divorce and remarry. Facing imprisonment and potential execution, More must decide whether his principles are worth losing everything.

The choice of the film as Wayne’s favorite is perhaps a glimpse into the man himself. Wayne’s conservative values were often at odds with a more liberal Hollywood, especially when the 1960s shifted American culture. His embrace of a film in which a principled character who faced persecution likely resonated with him in the mid-1970s.

The film won six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Scofield), Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The great Robert Shaw (Jaws) was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for his scenery-chewing role as King Henry VIII, but was not rewarded. The film’s only drawback is its deliberate pacing, which at times slows to the point of tedium. It’s an intriguing character study, however, and worth a watch if you have the time and attention.


Steve McQueen: We didn’t get along,Brynner came up to me in front of a lot of people and grabbed me by the shoulder

YUL BRYNNER famously feuded with everyone from Steve McQueen to Ingrid Bergman, with an ego to match The King of Siam. His temper was legendary, his affairs were numerous – with men and women – and he famously flaunted his body in nude pictures. Even the reason behind his famous bald head was part of the man and the myth.

Whether thundering across the screen in The Magnificent Seven or scowling at the world in the King and I, Brynner was a unique screen presence. The self-proclaimed “Mongolian” star fought his way up from being an immigrant circus performer and loved to elevate himself to epic levels. When asked about his various conflicting dates of birth, he grandly replied, “Ordinary mortals need but one birthday.” He liked it to be known that he prepared breakfast in a silk kimono, other stars commented how he was “never far from a mirror” and his on-set demands and dramas were legendary. But then, his whole life had been extraordinary, from nearly dying in a youthful trapeze accident to numerous bisexual affairs along the way to becoming more famous than the Siamese king he played so many times on stage and screen.

Brynner’s iconic look was even a calculated ploy. He did not lose his hair but kept his head shaved because he enjoyed the attention he got for it when he debuted The King and I on Broadway in 1951. After that, he also demanded that he was never photographed with another bald man so that he always stood out in pictures.

The musical made his name but he chafed at taking second billing behind Gertrude Lawrence. When she died in 1952, he notoriously wept – but with joy because it meant his name would, at last, be top of the bill.
It was somehow fitting that he died just on October 10, 1985, just a few months after performing The King and I on Broadway – his 4,625th time taking the stage in his regal, spotlight role. For an actor who was obsessed his whole life with having top billing, he would have been far less pleased to know that he passed away on the same day as Orson Welles, and so was overshadowed in his final hour.
Brynner had grafted hard for his success and fought even harder to keep it. Raised in Beijing and abandoned by his father, his mother fled with her children to Paris in 1932, where talented acrobat Yul became a trapeze artist with the Cirque d’Hiver.
A horrifying fall in 1937 broke many bones in his body and left him unable to walk for eight months. He turned his attention to the stage and set sail for America in 1940.
During that first Hollywood decade of bit parts and odds jobs, he had an affair with handsome heartthrob Hurd Hatfield, who starred in 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as 1961’s El Cid opposite Charlton Heston.
Married four times, he also had affairs with men and women alike, from Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford and Judy Garland to artist Jean Cocteau.
Brynner’s enormous success on Broadway brought him back to Hollywood as a star and he was determined to impress in every way. His obsession with his own appearance meant that he increased his work-out regime when he learned he was playing Pharaoh Ramses II opposite Heston’s Moses in 1956’s The Ten Commandments, so as not to be overshadowed by the strapping actor.
This meant he was in phenomenal shape when he starred as King Mongkut of Siam in the film version of The King and I that same year, going on to win the Best Actor Oscar.
His impressive physique was also bared for all to see when pictures surfaced of a naked shoot he had down with gay photographer George Platt Lynes.
In turn, Brynner was an accomplished photographer himself, taking noted snaps of famous friends like Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Anthony Quinn, Sophia Loren, Mia Farrow and Audrey Hepburn.
From the mid-1950s he instantly became established as a major Hollywood star, with roles, salary and ego to match. Unfortunately, he did not have the corresponding physical height, which lead to two of his most infamous showdowns with fellow Tinseltown legends.
Bergman was over an inch taller in flat feet than his own 5ft 6½in. When the Swedish actress politely asked him if he would like to use any props to stand on, Brynner hissed back: “I am not going to play this on a box, I’m going to show the world what a big horse you are.” Horselike or otherwise, the actress went on to win her own Oscar for that role, her second of three in total.
Brynner’s behaviour hit new “heights” on the 1960s sets for The Magnificent Seven, particularly centering on a running battle with co-star Steve McQueen, who wasn’t particularly tall himself at 5ft 8in.
Whenever they were shooting outside, Brynner would scuff the earth and dirt into low mounds for him to stand on. McQueen, in return, would causally flatten them as he walked past.
Increasingly amused and irritated by Brynner’s behaviour, McQueen would also play with his hat or belt whenever his co-star was talking in a scene to subtly pull focus. All those iconic shots of the square-jawed
star taking off his hat to shade his face or using it to scoop up water from river were mainly shameless scene-stealing tactics.
He later said: “We didn’t get along. Brynner came up to me in front of a lot of people and grabbed me by the shoulder. He was mad about something. He doesn’t ride well and knows nothing about guns, so maybe he thought I represented a threat. I was in my element. He wasn’t. When you work in a scene with Yul, you’re supposed to stand perfectly still, 10 feet away. Well, I don’t wBrynner even hired an assistant with the sole job of monitoring McQueen’s misdemeanours and counting how many times he fidgeted during scenes, playing his hat, belt or gun. The antics increasingly infuriated the rest of the cast, leading to considerable friction on set. Decades later, dying of cancer, McQueen called to apologise. Brynner forgave him but Charles Bronson never did.
That said, Brynner’s own notorious behaviour never changed. In his early days of stardom, he insisted a special lift was installed at the Broadway theatre where The King and I was playing. Not just for him, but big enough for his white limousine – so he could drive in and out without being bothered by fans.
In 1965, he starred with Marlon Brando in the World War II ocean-bound action thriller Morituri and managed to eclipse his co-star by demanding a landing pad be built onboard the ship where they were filming, so his private helicopter could fly him back at the end of each day while his castmates were left, literally, all at sea..

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Donald Sutherland : I was lying on my back on the bed when Jane came out of the bathroom

Donald Sutherland still remembers an intimate moment they shared fifty years ago . He said she “seduced” him but he was left “eviscerated” when their passionate two-year affair suddenly ended.

While filming Klute in 1970, Sutherland fell in love with fellow star and activist Jane Fonda, even though both were married at the time. In the 1960s and 70s he was at the heart of Hollywood activism, alongside an on-screen career that included provocative and seminal films like Don’t Look Now and The Invasion of The Body Snatchers. They were matched body, mind and soul. For the next two years, they were together at the forefront of Hollywood support for the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. The pair were just as passionate in private and Sutherland still dwells (often in no holds barred detail) on their intimate moments together.

Klute started filming in 1970. Fonda had been together with husband Roger Vadim, who directed her in 1968’s Barbarella, since 1963. When rumours started spreading in 1970 that they had separated, her official spokesman quickly denied it.

However, Sutherland later described how it was his beautiful co-star who made all the moves on him: “We’d already been cast but had not started shooting, and one day, she made it very clear, via a somewhat provocative suggestion, that I should come home with her. And I just said… Ok.’”
It would mark the end of the actor’s own second marriage to Shirley Douglas, which had produced twins Kiefer and Rachel
Kiefer revealed in 2014 that they had never discussed the affair but he imagined his father would say: “‘I fell in love.’ I understand that. People do. And when they’re falling in love, they believe in everything so strongly and passionately, this kind of heightened experience, that it’s very hard to judge somebody for it.”
His father frequently and famously has talked about the love and the lust, famously declaring: “She had, at the time, the most beautiful breasts in the world.”
Apparently, he followed that description with an anecdote so explicit it was not suitable for print. He did, however, wax lyrical in another interview about a naked moment that still has the power to stop his breath decades later.
Sutherland told GQ: “I was with Jane Fonda at the /Chelsea Hotel in 1970, maybe ’71. It was a room with a big bed and, to the right, four or five stairs to a landing that led to the bathroom. There was a little oval window on the landing and there was a street light shining through that window though it seemed more like moonlight, so maybe it was the moon, I like to think it was the moon.
“I was lying on my back on the bed when Jane came out of the bathroom. She, too, was naked, and when the moonlight caught her perfect breasts I stopped breathing. Everything stopped. And then it started again. Now, when I see it in my memory, I stop breathing again.”
It’s easy to believe. The actress has maintained her extraordinary figure through the decades, although this year she finally allowed her natural grey hair to shine.
The affair was passionate and intense, although Fonda has been less vividly ‘descriptive’ over the years.
She said in her autobiography that he had, “Something of the old-world gentleman about him.” The actress added that she found his “rangy, hangdog quality and droopy, pale blue eyes especially appealing.”
Alongside both their successful Hollywood careers, the pair performed together at benefits for soldiers who opposed the Vietnam War and found themselves on CIA watchlists.
Although they seemed perfectly matched, the affair would suddenly burn out as abruptly as it started – leaving Sutherland devastated.
He said: “We got together shortly before we made Klute and then we were together until the relationship exploded and fell apart in Tokyo. And it broke my heart.
“I was eviscerated. I was so sad. It was a wonderful relationship right up to the point we lived together.”
However, in 1972, Sutherland married French Canadian actress Francine Racette, after meeting her on the set of the Canadian pioneer drama Alien Thunder. It remains one of the longest and most stable marriages in Hollywood, and has produced three sons – Rossif Sutherland, Angus Redford Sutherland, and Roeg Sutherland.
After three high profile marriages to Roger Vadim, activist Tom Hayden and media tycoon Ted Turner, Fonda dated music producer Richard Perry until 2017 and has said she is now happily single.
The actress has also battled cancer three times. Last week she announced that, after undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy to treat Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, her cancer is now in remission.

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Gene Hackman gave his first interview in a decade, telling The Post about his “checkered career of hits and misses

Hollywood legend Gene Hackman proved he’s still in tip-top shape as he performed yard work at his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Sunday.

The “Unforgiven” actor — who celebrated his 93rd birthday in January — looked fit and healthy as he brandished a shovel at his private estate.

Earlier in the day, the two-time Oscar winner was spotted fueling up for physical labor at a local Wendy’s, where he ordered a meal at the drive-thru.

Hungry Hackman chowed down on his chicken sandwich in the fast food franchise’s parking lot before pumping gas at a nearby station.
It was a rare sighting of the reclusive and retired star, who was last seen on-screen in the 2004 comedy “Welcome to Mooseport.”
Despite being one of Tinseltown’s powerhouse performers — appearing in classics such as “The French Connection,” “The Conversation,” “Superman,” “Hoosiers” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” — Hackman has long shunned the bright lights of Hollywood.
The father of three, who has lived in New Mexico with his pianist wife, Betsy Arakawa, for decades, also abstains from giving interviews — except to The Post.
In late 2021, Hackman gave his first interview in a decade, telling The Post about his “checkered career of hits and misses.”
Speaking on the 50th anniversary of “The French Connection” — the hit film for which he won his first Best Actor Oscar, in 1972 — the star stated: “The film certainly helped me in my career, and I am grateful for that.”
The down-to-earth actor added that he wasn’t a fan of rewatching his own flicks and hadn’t seen the classic crime caper since 1971.
“[I] haven’t seen the film since the first screening in a dark, tiny viewing room in a post-production company’s facility 50 years ago,” he told The Post.
Hackman — who previously resided in ritzy Montecito, California — has lived in Santa Fe since the 1980s.
The actor is also an architect and designer who has helped create more than 10 homes — including a New Mexico manse that was featured in Architectural Digest.
Since his retirement from Hollywood, the star also busied himself writing novels, including the 2013 police thriller “Pursuit.”
In 2012, the actor was struck by a pickup truck while riding his bike in Florida. He was airlifted to the hospital and made a full recovery.

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