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John Wayne

The Duke’s Finest: Best John Wayne Movies of All Time Part 2

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon


Photo Credit: RKO Radio Pictures

On the cusp of retirement, a Cavalry officer (Wayne) is tasked with evacuating a community of homesteaders before an imminent attack from warring Native American tribes.
The second entry in John Ford’s “Cavalry Trilogy,” She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is most assuredly one of Ford’s finest Westerns. It doesn’t come close to matching the popularity of The Searchers or Stagecoach. However, it’s still a rousing and hard-raising film, bursting with a vibrant Technicolor palette and a booming score accompanying the action.
Hatari!

Hatari
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Sean Mercer (Wayne) is a veteran hunter who makes his living tracking wild animals, capturing them, and selling them to zoos from Africa. So when he agrees to invite a magazine photographer alone on his safari, Mercer is shocked to find the photographer is a woman (Elsa Martinelli), leading to all kinds of comic misadventures.
It’s not often you see Wayne star in a romance film, and even less when you see him star in a romantic comedy. Reuniting with regular collaborator Howard Hawks, Wayne nevertheless has a crowd-pleasing presence at the heart of Hatari!, a role that seems to be almost poking fun at Wayne’s own trademark macho personality.
They Were Expendable

They Were Expendable
Photo Credit:Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a squadron of experimental Navy P.T. Boats patrol the Philippines, led by a determined naval commander (Robert Montgomery) and his right-hand man (Wayne).
Montgomery may be the star of this WW2 film, but Wayne still hands in an entertaining turn as Montgomery’s trusty lieutenant. It’s one of John Ford’s most underrated films, characterized by powerful messages about personal sacrifice to achieve victory against overwhelming odds.
Sands of Iwo Jima

Sands of Iwo Jima
Photo Credit: Republic Pictures

Ahead of the Iwo Jima invasion, the members of an American Marine squad view their sergeant (Wayne) as a cruel, taciturn tyrant who delights in punishing his troops. Upon landing on the Japanese-controlled beaches, though, the soldiers begin to understand the reason for their sergeant’s stringent discipline and bitter attitude.
One of Wayne’s finest dramatic performances, Sands of Iwo Jima illustrated Wayne’s ability to appear as an outwardly menacing, crotchety character who secretly harbors a much softer side he has trouble expressing. Balancing these two perfectly, his performance here feels like an equal mix between his Red River and The Quiet Man characters.
The Long Voyage Home

The Long Voyage Home
Photo Credit: United Artists

In the early days of World War 2, the merchant vessel crew do their best to brave against loneliness, drunkenness, boredom, and bitter in-fighting as they cross the Atlantic from the Americas to England.
John Ford’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning 1940 adaption of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, The Long Voyage Home benefits from some crisp cinematography and a script from Eugene O’Neill’s celebrated play of the same name. Years before he was typecast as a tough-talking cowboy, Wayne does an impressive turn as a Swedish crewmate longing for home, pouring his woes into hard liquor to escape his homesickness.
How the West Was Won

How the West Was Won
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Spanning numerous decades, How the West Was Won follows several generations of a family settling in the West, facing perilous terrain, hostile Natives, predatory outlaws, and the upheaval of the Civil War.
There’s no questioning How the West Was Won’s scope and ambition, the movie utilizing a massive ensemble cast and sprawling storylines featuring the likes of Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, and Eli Wallach, to name just a few stars. Unfortunately, the finished result is a bit overstuffed and overly long. Still, Wayne strolls into the movie for less than five minutes and utterly dominates as Union General William Tecumseh Sherman opposite Harry Morgan’s conflicted Ulysses S. Grant.
3 Godfathers

3 Godfathers
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

On the run from the law, three cattle rustlers (Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, and Harry Carey Jr.) adopt a lone newborn they found in the desert, risking their lives and freedom to ensure the baby reaches civilization.
Part comedy, part Western, 3 Godfathers is one of the unsung classics of John Ford and John Wayne’s respective careers. Mixing humor with plenty of heartfelt emotion, it breaks stereotypes regarding traditional cowboy characters, blurring the line between antagonist and protagonist.
Fort Apache

Fort Apache
Photo Credit: RKO Radio Pictures

Captain York (Wayne) is a respected Union Cavalry officer who was sent to man the defenses of the isolated outpost known as Fort Apache. There, he clashes with a young, arrogant fellow Civil War veteran (Henry Fonda) who does not understand the local Native American customs.
The first entry in John Ford’s “Cavalry Trilogy,” Fort Apache kicked the trio of films off to a strong start. With its more nuanced and sympathetic portrayal of Native American culture, it’s one of the most forward-thinking films of Wayne’s career — far more so than the problematic portrayals of Indigenous peoples in The Searchers.
Big Jake

Big Jake
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

When his grandson is kidnapped and ransomed by a gang of outlaws, a legendary Texan rancher/gunfighter (Wayne) partners with his two estranged sons (Patrick Wayne and Christopher Mitchum) and his Apache best friend (Bruce Cabot) to rescue him.
Arguably the most underrated of Wayne’s many films, Big Jake blends a fairly grittier storyline with first-rate humor, action, music, and performances. In addition, its period setting (the early 1900s) helped the filmmakers utilize historical inventions rarely seen in Westerns at the time. The movie seems like a lighter successor to The Wild Bunch.
The Cowboys

The Cowboys
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Desperate for help transporting a massive herd of cattle from Montana to South Dakota, a surly rancher (Wayne) reluctantly hires a group of teenage schoolboys to assist him.
Big Jake and The Cowboys have the distinction of being two of Wayne’s most criminally overlooked Westerns. Yet, between the younger cast and a terrifying, expertly-cast Bruce Dern as the wild-eyed antagonist, it’s one of the great movies of Wayne’s later career.
McLintock!

McLintock
Photo Credit: United Artists

G.W. McLintock (Wayne) is an influential, jovial landowner who uses his friendly attitude to maintain peace and balance in the land between feuding ranchers, power-mad politicians, and the local Comanche tribe.
A rare comedy for the Duke, McLintock! allows Wayne to flex his Shakespearean muscles in this Western take on The Taming of the Shrew. Wayne still relies on the larger-than-life persona he’d spent the previous two decades creating, but it’s always interesting to see him venture more fully into comedic territory.
The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Gathering for their mother’s funeral, four estranged brothers (Wayne, Dean Martin, Michael Anderson Jr., and Earl Holliman) put aside their differences to defend their land from a shady businessman (James Gregory).
The Sons of Katie Elder rightfully tends to pale compared to any of the films mentioned above, starring Wayne on this list. When looked at on its own, however, the movie offers an exciting enough premise for a Western, making clever use of Wayne and Martin’s on-screen chemistry and some fantastic performances from character actors like Gregory, George Kennedy, and a young Dennis Hopper.
Hondo

Hondo
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Hondo Lane (Wayne) is a courier and professional scout reluctantly working for the U.S. Army. Stumbling upon a mother (Geraldine Page) and her young son (Lee Aaker) living in Apache-populated territory, Hondo warns the family about an imminent attack from the Natives, ultimately serving as the homesteaders’ protector.
Routinely compared to the Western classic, Shane (both movies being directed by George Stevens), Hondo moves at a much slower pace than the Alan Ladd-led film, utilizing a script that places a heavier emphasis on dialogue, even if it ends with a massive shootout. In his interactions with Page and Aaker’s characters, Wayne demonstrates a more sympathetic side to his usual firebrand characters.
The Horse Soldiers

The Horse Soldiers
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Deep behind Confederate lines, a Union Cavalry outfit is assigned to destroy a local supply station. Along the way, the unit’s commander (Wayne) repeatedly butts heads with the brigade’s surgeon (William Holden), as well as detaining a Southern belle (Constance Towers) who overheard their assignment.
Officially, The Horse Soldiers isn’t a part of John Ford’s thematically-connected “Cavalry Trilogy.” But when you compare the movie to Ford’s earlier films, it’s nearly as good as any of the director’s three cavalry-centric films, characterized by some memorably great banter between Wayne and Holden’s characters.
El Dorado

El Dorado
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

When he learns that his lawman best friend (Robert Mitchum) is under threat from an unscrupulous landowner (Ed Asner) and his hired goons, gunfighter Cole Thornton (Wayne) comes to his friend’s assistance.
Seven years after their momentous collaboration on Rio Bravo, Howard Hawks, and John Wayne reunited for El Dorado, a spiritual remake of their earlier film with an overarchingly similar storyline and characters. Swapping out an alcoholic Dean Martin for an alcoholic Robert Mitchum and a young, perky Ricky Nelson with a young, somber James Caan, the movie is a major drop-off from Rio Bravo — but it’s still far from terrible.
Rio Lobo

Rio Lobo
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

After the Civil War officially draws to a close, a Union officer (Wayne) enlists the help of his former Confederate captors (Jorge Rivero and Christopher Mitchum) in hunting down two Union spies whose betrayal led to the death of his best friend.
The second loose remake of Howard Hawks’ earlier, far better Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo is far and away the weakest of Hawks’ loosely-connected trilogy. Wayne has a notably stronger presence than in the second remake, El Dorado. The movie possesses the darkest tone of the three films. Rio Lobo doesn’t come anywhere close to matching the quality of the original film it’s based upon.

John Wayne

John Wayne Refused to Return for an ‘Embarrassing’ Role That Made Him Feel Like a ‘Pansy’

John Wayne exuded a level of masculinity that continues to define an entire era of Western cinema. However, he often rejected roles that felt like they challenged that image. Wayne embraced roles in the genre that celebrated America and supported the country’s agenda. However, there is one role that Wayne refused to return to because it made him feel like a “pansy.”

John Wayne played the leading role in many Western B-movies

'Riders of Destiny' John Wayne in role of Singin' Sandy Saunders and Cecilia Parker as Fay Denton in Western clothes looking at the camera


L-R: John Wayne as Singin’ Sandy Saunders and Cecilia Parker as Fay Denton | John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Wayne’s movie roles weren’t all winners and he knew that. He had a career full of ups and downs before finally winning the Oscar for True Grit. Wayne had high hopes for Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail, but it ultimately failed at the box office. As a result, the studios canceled the projects that they had in the pipeline with the legendary actor attached.

As a result of The Big Trail, Wayne had to work in B-movies through much of the 1930s. Most of them were Westerns, but they didn’t allow his career to grow as he wanted it to. They provided steady work, although he had the potential to do so much more. He wouldn’t hit the big time until 1939’s Stagecoach, but he had to deal with some roles in the meantime that he described as “embarrassing.”

John Wayne refused to play Singin’ Sandy Saunders again

Michael Munn’s John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth explores the various roles of the iconic actor. He explained how Wayne certainly couldn’t compete with Hollywood’s biggest stars. However, the actor’s image quickly became attached to the cowboy with his various B-movie Western adventures.

“He started at Lone Star as Singin’ Sandy Saunders, the singing cowboy, in Riders of Destiny,” Munn wrote. “It was something that would haunt Wayne for the rest of his life as the subject of his singing would often be brought up.”

Wayne’s role as Singin’ Sandy Saunders in Riders of Destiny is a government agent. He witnesses a stagecoach robbery, but not everything is as it appears. The apparent robber actually is retrieving money taken from her. As a result, the unlikely pair teams up to fight off the gang. However, Wayne didn’t know how to play the guitar or sing, making production need to dub another singer’s voice in.

“I was just so fing embarrassed by it all,” Wayne said. “Strumming a guitar I couldn’t play and miming to a voice which was provided by a real singer made me feel like a fing pansy. After that experience, I refused to be Singin’ Sandy again.”

Young fans still wanted to hear Singin’ Sandy Saunders’ voice

It’s no mystery that Wayne’s voice as Singin’ Sandy Saunders in Riders of Destiny doesn’t sound anything like his speaking voice. The actual singer was Bill Bradbury, the son of director Robert N. Bradbury. However, Wayne initially didn’t account for how Singin’ Sandy Saunders would resonate with audiences in public appearances.

Young fans would ask Wayne to sing as he did for the role of Singin’ Sandy Saunders. However, he was humiliated that he couldn’t sing for them. As a result, the studio brought in Gene Autry as Wayne’s replacement, which fixed the singing issue.

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John Wayne

”The Shootist”: John Wayne put all his heart into the final movie.

John Wayne. What can you say about him? Whether you enjoy the man’s work or not, there’s no denying that he has made a massive impact on film history and pop culture. But even as a fan, I can’t defend every aspect of the Duke, like the guy’s acting. I can’t think of anyone who’s watched a John Wayne film for his acting chops.

The man was more known for his screen persona than his acting abilities, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have some good advice on acting.There are, however, a couple of films in which Duke pull off a pretty good performance . There’s his iconic role as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers (1956) where he played a cold-hearted and cynical war veteran searching for his niece.

Then there’s his Oscar-winning performance as the one-eyed, fat, drunken Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn in True Grit (1969). But in this column, I’m going to talk about his last performance in a feature film :Тһе Տһootıѕt (1976), directed by Don Siegel.Based on the Glendon Swarthout novel of the same name, the film tells the story of an aging gunfighter named JB Books, played by Duke, who at the dawn of the 20th century finds out he has terminal cancer.

Per this news, he decided to try and spend his final days in peace. But as rumors spread about him through the tiny town of Carson City, Nevada, more people want to get a piece of him. It eventually climaxes with Books realizing that he’ll never escape his past and going out the only way he knows how.Before I go on about John Wayne in the film, I have to talk about the rest of the cast.

This film boasts an all-star ensemble, many of whom took the role purely as a favor to Wayne. There’s Dr. Hostetler (James Stewart) who delivers the bad news to Books about his health and becomes a closer friend throughout the film. “You know, Books,” he says, “I’m not an especially brave man. But, if I were you and had lived my entire life the way you have, I don’t think that the ԁеаtһ I just described to you is the one I would choose.

Then there’s the late, great Lauren Bacall as the widowed boarding house owner Bond Rogers and Oscar-winning director Ron Howard as her wide-eyed idolizing son. The film also features a slew of great TV and Western legends — Richard Boone as the vengeance seeking Mike Sweeney, John Carradine as the town’s undertaker Hezekiah Beckum, Bill McKinney as the ill-tempered Jay Cobb, Scatman Crothers as the liver-stable owner Moses Brown, and Harry Morgan as the fast-talking and loud Marshal Thibido.

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John Wayne

The reason John Wayne is labeled as ‘Draft Dodger’ by the audience in World War II.

Around the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Wayne was not the big-name actor we remember him being today. He was fresh off the box-office success of the 1939 film “Stagecoach.” According to author Garry Wills’ 1998 book, “John Wayne’ America: the Politics of Celebrity,” the actor received a chorus of boos when he walked onto the USO stages in Australia and the Pacific Islands. Those audiences were filled with combat veterans. Wayne, in his mid-30s, was not one of them.

Being drafted or enlisting was going to have a serious impact on his rising star. Depending on how long the ԝаr lasted, Wayne reportedly worried he might be too old to be a leading man when he came home.Other actors, both well-established and rising in fame, rushed off to do their part. Clark Gable joined the Army Air Forces and, despite the studios’ efforts to get him into a motion picture unit, served as an aerial ɡսոոеr over Europe. Jimmy Stewart was initially ineligible for the draft, given his low weight, but like some amazing version of Captain America, he drank beer until he qualified.

In his 2014 book, “American Titan: Searching for John Wayne,” author Marc Eliot alleges Wayne was having an affair with actress Marlene Dietrich. He says the possibility of losing this relationship was the real reason Wayne didn’t want to go to ԝаr.

But even Dietrich would do her part, smuggling Jewish people out of Europe, entertaining troops on the front lines (she crossed into Germany alongside Gen. George S. Patton) and maybe even being an operative for the Office of Strategic Services.Wayne never enlisted and even filed for a 3-A draft deferment, which meant that if the sole provider for a family of four were drafted, it would cause his family undue hardship. The closest he would ever come to Worւԁ Wаr II service would be portraying the actions of others on the silver screen.

With his leading man competition fighting the ԝаr and out of the way, Wayne became Hollywood’s top leading man. During the ԝаr, Wayne starred in a number of western films as well as Worւԁ Wаr II movies, including 1942’s “Flying Tigers” and 1944’s “The Fighting Seabees.” According to Eliot, Wayne told friends the best thing he could do for the ԝаr was make movies to support the troops. Eventually, the government agreed.

At one point during the ԝаr, the need for more men in uniform caused the U.S. military brass to change Wayne’s draft status to 1-A, fit for duty. But Hollywood studios intervened on his behalf, arguing that the actor’s star power was a boon for ԝаrtime propaganda and the morale of the troops. He was given a special 2-A status, which back then meant he was deferred in “support of national interest.”

The decision not to serve or to avoid it entirely (depending on how you look at the actor) haunted Wayne for the rest of his life. His third wife, Pilar Wayne, says he became a “super-patriot for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying at home.”After the ԝаr, he made a number of films set in Worւԁ Wаr II, including some of his most famous, like “The Longest Day,” “They Were Expendable” and “Sands of Iwo Jima.”

When actor John Wayne visited American soldiers in Vietnam in the summer of 1966, he was warmly welcomed. As he spoke to groups and individuals, he was presented gifts and letters from American and South Vietnamese troops alike. This was not the case during his USO tours in 1942 and ’43. Despite his post-ԝаr patriotism, many labeled Wayne a draft dodger for the rest of his life. He succumbed to stomach cancer in 1979. His enduring influence on American media and the perception of American fighting men led President Jimmy Carter to award Wayne the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1980

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