My Top 5 John Wayne Movies

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  • Kevin added a new article:


    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…

  • My top 5 are:

    The Quiet Man
    El Dorado
    Trouble Along the Way
    Legend of the Lost
    Donovan’s Reef


    "I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please."

  • I really had no intention of ranking the rest of the top movies. There are many I like (and, I admit, a few I'm not enthralled with in the least). But after such an erudite post, I could do no less than go into more detail rather than just list a top 5. I have been a John Wayne fan for close to 50 years. ( am 57, as of this post, but the first 7 years were in development as a movie fan, so I won't say ALL my life...) I couldn't actually say what was the first movie I ever saw starring Wayne.

    In the sixties, during my young years, a good deal of my free time during the summer and on Saturdays during school year were spent watching movies (if I wasn't being pestered by my mother to go outside and play). Some of those Saturdays were spent at my grandparents' place, and Grandpa and Grandma always watched "Saturday Night at the Movies". There was where I was first really introduced to John Wayne, albeit it ws the most current movie they showed, not the classics. It was there that I saw "Chisum", "Big Jake", "The Cowboys" and a few others during the premiere on TV.

    It wasn't until later that I ran across some of the really old ones. Not many of the cheap ones he cranked out for low-market studios like Republic were all that memorable, but some were pretty good, even then. But I really was a fan of those he came out with in his later years.

    So without further ado, here is my list. Feel free to disparage if you think I'm off my rocker.

    5: Chisum (1970):

    This is one of the earliest movies I can definitely recall seeing. We watched it at my grandparents when it first came to TV. Even now many years later I can still remember the strains of "Chisum! Jooohn Chisum!" that stuck in my mind. Wayne plays a big time ranch owner who goes head-to-head and toe-to-toe with an unscrupulous developer played by Forrest Tucker.

    4: The Alamo (1960):

    Although as a Texan and a historian, I take exception to some of the things Wayne got wrong in the movie, (Just to name one: San Antonio, unless a major earthquake happens, is NOT on the Rio Grande...), I still enjoy the rousing tribute to the men who fought to slow down Santa Ana's foray into Texas.

    3: The War Wagon (1967):

    Possibly the second best matchup of great actors with Wayne and Kirk Douglas reluctantly working together to get to a lost shipment of gold. I had to pick either this or "The Train Robbers" and I didn't want to cheat and claim both, so the latter got edged out. (But its still in my top 10.)

    2: The Shootist: (1976):

    So many people signed on to star with Wayne in what was his last picture, it's hard to imagine how much better it could have been. Absolutely love the final shootout, although it tears my heart apart knowing how much pain Wayne was in while trying to get it done.

    And of course,

    1. El Dorado (1966):

    I don't need to rehash what I've said in a separate thread. Suffice to say Mitchum, Caan and Wayne make the best triumvirate of actors on screen in my opinion.


  • In no specific order, as it changes every few

    1) The Searchers
    2) The Quiet Man
    3) True Grit
    4) Angel and the Badman
    5) The Cowboys

    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • Ok, I was going to do a joke reply with titles like "The Conqueror" and "Jet Pilot" - but thought better of it! My real favorites...

    1. Rio Bravo
    2. True Grit
    3. The Searchers
    4. Stagecoach
    5. A tie - "The Alamo" and "El Dorado"

    Too hard to stop just at 5! I could easily do a top 15 or 20!

  • That's the challenge, to limit it to the top 5. It was a struggle and I had to sit and really thing long on just the order I placed my top 5 in. It came down to my favorite to watch at this moment in time.

  • I do joke responses on my movie blog all the time. So far I've stayed away from it here. :) It's no joke, however, that I liked Brannigan. Just not enough to make my top 5.

    Edited once, last by Quiggy ().

  • 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

  • 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