My Top 5 John Wayne Movies

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  • With the passage of time I've been able to settle on my top 5 John Wayne movies. My top 5 movies have changed over the years, some of Duke's movies have been in and out of my top 5 movie list over the years. A few movies that have been in and out of my top 5 are El Dorado, The War Wagon, Tall In The Saddle.

    I do favor some of his later movies but I have several older movies that I'll watch regularly. Some of the early movies that I find to be a great watch is the John Ford trilogy movies She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Rio Grande, and Fort Apache. You shouldn't forget Hondo (Just not the 3D version), Sands Of Iwo Jima, The High And The Mighty and Island In The Sky.

    Now you shouldn't miss some of Duke's real early movies from his first ten years in the business. Some of his very early works stand tall given the times and budget. Here are the ones that I favor; The Big Trail, Stagecoach and 'Neath the Arizona Skies.

    Lastly, I'd encourage you to post your Top 5 John Wayne movies in this article thread, I'm interested in seeing what others have in their top 5!

    Now finally here's my Top 5 John Wayne movies:

    #5 Red River (1948)
    Plot Summary
    Tom Dunson builds a cattle empire with his adopted son Matthew Garth.
    Together they begin a massive cattle drive north from Texas to the Missouri railhead.
    But on the way, new information and Dunson's tyrannical ways cause Matthew to take the herd away from Dunson and head to a new railhead in Kansas. Dunson, swearing vengeance, pursues.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    #4 3 Godfathers (1948)
    Plot Summary
    Three outlaws on the run discover a dying woman and her baby.
    They swear to bring the infant to safety across the desert, even at the risk of their own lives.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    #3 Rio Bravo (1959)
    Plot Summary
    Sheriff John T chance, arrests Joe Burdette, for the brutal muder of an unamed man.
    He can't get him out of town for justice by the U.S.Marshal.
    He can't get help in, so he is holed up in the jail, with a cripple, a gunslinger dude, and a gunslinger, turned drunk.
    He has to stop Burdettes gang from releasing him.

    #2 True Grit (1969)
    Plot Summary
    The sudden death of her father sends a young tomboy of a girl, 'Mattie Ross' (Kim Darby) on a mission to find justice, and the avenging of her father's death.
    She recruits a tough old marshal in the person of Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne), because he has "grit", and a reputation of getting the job done.
    Mattie accompanies Cogburn, and also a Texas Ranger ('La Boeuf' played by Glen Campell; who is looking for 'Tom Chaney' [Jeff Corey] for a separate murder in Texas) as the leave from Fort Smith, Arkansas into the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) to find her father's killer.

    #1 The Searchers (1956)
    Plot Summary
    When Ethan decide to go find the Indians who killed his family, he is joined by his nephew, Martin Pawley.
    The problem is that Pawley is half-Indian, and there's nothing in the world tha Edwards hate more than Indians.
    The journey to find the Indians and Edwards niece (and Pawley half-sister) last for years.

    That's it! These are my current top 5 John Wayne movies, now here is a couple that are just outside my top 5:

    The Shootist - A difficult movie to watch knowing that it's Duke's last picture.
    The Train Robbers - I like this movie because of the co-stars (Ben Johnson, Rod Taylor, Christopher George. They work very well together in this film!
    The Cowboys - A family favorite as my kids all loved this JW film. It's their favorite.
    Chisum - Again I like the co-stars Ben Johnson, Forrest Tucker, Bruce Cabot, Glenn Corbett and Patric Knowles.

    That's it, now give us your top 5 John Wayne films.
    Kevin - Moderator/Administrator
    Official JWMB online store

    23,529 times read

Replies 18

  • Every time I see someone pick the top 5 I go those are good and change one or two on my list. When you are JW fan and most people know it then you always get asked what one is your favorite, One day I really thought and came up with the top one but after that it is the top 20 or so.

    Rooster Cogburn (even over True Grit)
    Searchers the dark character is so much different then other movies
    Yellow Ribbon mostly because I've been to Nathan's home at Monument Valley
    Cowboys so many lines I use in everyday life
    Quiet Man just to show he made other movies besides cowboys movies
  • Hello Kevin,

    I guess you would call me a *well armed JW movie fan*!
    Since my boyhood days when I used to watch JW on Channel 9 (Movie Channel back then) about 1963 in NYC, it became a fast habit to watch Duke and his many movies he appeared in even back then on television everywhere you might have been resting your laurel's…..
    My Top 5 after all my viewing since then might fall this-away:

    #5 In Harms Way 1965
    #4 Ft Apache 1948
    #3 Stagecoach 1939
    #2 The Quiet Man 1952
    #1 Red River 1948

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