List Of Best John Wayne Movies

Creating a list of the best John Wayne movies can only be a matter of opinion. John Wayne made 167 movies between 1926 and 1976. The Duke’s 50 year film career produced everything from westerns to war stories and romantic comedies.

  1. "Angel and the Badman" (1947) John Wayne plays Quirt Evens, a gunman with a reputation for living by his gun, who is taken in by a Quaker family after being wounded. Gail Russell plays the daughter, Penelope, who nurses Quirt back to health and changes his point of view. This classic romance western pits faith against evil with an impossible love.

  2. "Wake of the Red Witch" (1948) This romance adventure spotlights Captain Ralls, played by John Wayne, and his long standing rivalry with ruthless shipping magnate Mayrant Sidneye, and the fight for the woman they both love, Angelique, played by Gail Russell. Co-starring in this story of greed, rivalry, and love is a youthful Gig Young playing Sam Rosen.

  3. "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949) This classic directed by John Ford won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Wayne plays Captain Nathan Brittles, an aging soldier about to retire. Joanne Dru plays Olivia Dandridge who has the young men fighting over the yellow ribbon in her hair symbolizing a sweetheart in the Calvary. Indians, romance, brilliant cinematography, and comedy make this one of Wayne’s best westerns.
  4. "The Quiet Man" (1952) Directed by John Ford and filmed in Ireland, this is a change for John Wayne who plays Sean Thornton, a retired American prize fighter, returning to his birthplace in Ireland seeking a peaceful life. Life is anything but peaceful when he falls for Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), who he wants to marry, but who has a disapproving Danaher brother (Victor McLaglen) who complicates life for all. Barry Fitzgerald is delightful as the pub crawling matchmaker.

  5. "The Searchers" (1956) This is another John Ford film which stars John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran returning home until his niece is captured by hostile Indians. Ethan sets out to rescue the captives with Martin Pawley in tow, played by Jeffrey Hunter. This is a classic western adventure, beautifully filmed, and full of fights and fun.

  6. "North to Alaska" (1960) John Wayne plays Sam McCord, a hard drinking, fighting, and loving Alaskan gold miner who struck it big. Capucine plays Angel, a French working lady Sam brings to Alaska as a remedy for his partner, George Pratt’s (Stewart Granger) broken heart. Teen heartthrob Fabian brilliantly plays the younger Pratt brother. This film has it all: comedy, adventure, romance, and a big mud fight.

  7. "McLintock!" (1963) John Wayne plays George Washington McLintock, a self made rancher, who deals with his estranged wife Katherine (Maureen O’Hara), their grown daughter Becky (Stefanie Powers) and her boyfriend played by Patrick Wayne. Jerry Van Dyke plays a namby pamby parlor sitter. The chase scene through the town with all of the townspeople watching is great fun.

  8. "In Harm's Way" (1965) This WWII epic film was directed by Otto Preminger. Wayne plays Naval Captain/Admiral Rockwell “Rock” Torrey who reconnects with his estranged son Jeremiah (Brandon De Wilde). Patricia Neal plays Lt. Maggie Haynes, his second chance at love. Kirk Douglas gives a brilliant performance as Commander Paul Eddington, a ticking time bomb. This is World War II in the Pacific as only John Wayne can do.

  9. "True Grit" (1969) John Wayne’s best character, Marshall Reuben J. ”Rooster” Cogburn, won him an Oscar in 1969 for best actor. Rooster is an aging, hard drinking, one-eyed U.S. Marshall with a reputation of getting his man. Glenn Campbell plays Texas Ranger La Boeuf who partners with Rooster to hunt for the man who killed Mattie Ross’s father, played by a young Kim Darby. This is a great action adventure, charmingly funny and tender, with John Wayne at his best.

  10. "The Shootist" (1976) John Wayne’s final film is the tale of an aging gunfighter dying of cancer. Ironic because John Wayne had a lung removed to fight cancer just before filming began. The cast includes Lauren Bacall as the compassionate housekeeper, James Stewart as the doctor, and Ron Howard as the idolizing young man. John Wayne’s final film was solemn and a sobering end to a brilliant career.

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