10 Rewatchable John Wayne Movies

Wayne’s career began in the silent era, where he learned the ropes of movie-making from some of Hollywood’s original titans. He quickly made a name for himself and soon transitioned into the Golden Age of Hollywood. It was during this time that he became one of the most sought-after actors in the business, working with legends like John Ford and Howard Hawks.

He also had the opportunity to produce and direct several films, including the highly successful The Alamo. In recent years, his films have been restored and made available to stream online, giving modern audiences a chance to experience his work in all its glory. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just discovering him for the first time, there’s no better time to watch his classic films.

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From his humble beginnings as Marion Morrison, to his breakout roles in war and western films, to his iconic status as The Duke, John Wayne was a true Hollywood legend. Wayne got his start in the entertainment business working as a prop man and extra, before landing his first major role in the film The Big Trail. However, it was his roles in war films like Sands of Iwo Jima and The Longest Day that cemented his status as an American icon.

His patriotic persona and tough-guy image made him the perfect choice to play heroic military roles, and his work in these films helped him to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. Throughout his career, Wayne continued to appear in both westerns and war films, solidifying his reputation as one of Hollywood’s greatest stars.

best John Wayne movies

10 Best John Wayne Movies Of All Time

  1. Big Jake

    Directors: George Sherman, John Wayne

    Writers: Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink

    Stars: John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O’Hara

    Genre: Western

     Big Jake (1971) on IMDb

    Beginning in 1909, when Mexico and the US merged, Marth McCandles fled her property with her son. The fain gang attacked the ranch. The Fain gang takes little Jacob Mccandless hostage because they demand a one million dollar ransom.

    But in the story, the only person who is powerful, tough, and capable of fighting beside them is Big Jake, who is the only one who can bring him back.

    Big Jake Mccandles travels to Mexico with the criminal group after they leave Texas. You will see many action-drama scenes in the film.

    As 1909 has passed, the old west is now transitioning into the contemporary era.The youngest kidnapper, Mccandles, arrived on a motorcycle and discovered all the abductors.

    With the aid of his older brother James, Marth decides to catch up with the abductor. He prefers to do things the old-fashioned way, though, and will not follow his friend’s example.

    Following numerous clashes, Michael killed Fain. After that, as he has never met his grandfather, big Jake will reveal his true identity to him and tiny Jake. At the story’s conclusion, the entire family is living together and preparing to return home.

    Big Jake is a fantastic film since it features comedy, incredible chemistry, action, and many other things. The movie’s villain is very cool. The movie is brief, it’s easy to fit it into your schedule, and it’s well worth your time to watch it when you have some free time.

  2. McLintock

    Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

    Writer: James Edward Grant

    Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Patrick Wayne

    Genres: Comedy, Western

     McLintock! (1963) on IMDb

    The most powerful person in the area is wealthy rancher G.W. McLintock, who uses his influence to establish peace in the region. Farmers and among many groups of individuals are covered. Ranchers, Native Americans, crooked government officials, and land speculators.

    He anxiously awaits his daughter, Becky, who has been away at school for the past two years.

    He was shocked that his wife Katherine had also shown up. Without giving him any justification, she left him out of the picture. They were unable to address their dilemma because of a lack of communication.

    She then informs him that she returned to pick up her daughter and go back to the state Capitol. She desires a divorce from her husband and custody of her daughter.

    But after the tale, all misunderstandings were resolved, and the couple began a new life together.

    The story is all about family and the outside people who really want McLintock, who helped farmers, natives, and many other categories of people. The movie is full of entertaining comedy that makes you laugh. And in the matter of the husband and wife getting resolved is the best and most emotional part of the movie.

  3. Hatari

    Director: Howard Hawks

    Writers: Leigh Brackett, Harry Kurnitz

    Stars: John Wayne, Elsa Martinelli, Hardy Krüger

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance

     Hatari! (1962) on IMDb

    Momella, a gaming firm, used cars, cages, and lassos to catch the animal in 1960 in Tanganyika for a circus and zoo.

    Kurt and the Indian used a jeep to force the animals into the truck where they were captured. The brew transported them to the hospital, where their marksman Charles approached both of them. There was an aggressive rhino that bit the Indian’s leg. He desires to work in India.

    Kurt disagreed with that, so he punched the man(chips) without cause. He is given a job after Chips saves his life. At the same time, they wait for him to arrive back at the complex. The other group members are hunting for an Italian photographer who is a man.

    On the other hand, Sean permits her to use a different crew to capture the giraffe. Along with Sean and everyone else staying with him. Dallas likes her own company. She is a very quiet and refined young lady. Sean began to like Dallas but refrained from giving it any thought. As observed, his fiancée left him.

    The season’s work is completed. They reconcile the female elephants with the crew’s aid and follow her to Arush.

    Sean and Dallas were married to each other. For their wedding night, they are traveling. Unfortunately, the weight of three baby elephants caused the bed to collapse. One of the enjoyable films is Hatari, and the multinational ensemble is fantastic. The degree of cinematography has increased. The plot revolves around the capture of animals for the zoo and circus for amusement. You saw the romance between the two main characters. You have to see this movie that will keep you entertained and enjoy your time.

  4. She wore a Yellow Ribbon

    Director: John Ford

    Writers: James Warner Bellah, Frank S. Nugent, Laurence Stallings

    Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar

    Genre: Western

     She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) on IMDb

    After Custer’s Last Stand, Nathan Brittles’ final position before retiring involved relations with the Cheyenne and Arapaho. He must simultaneously transport his wife, Mildred Natwick, and his niece Joanne Dru.

    He was responsible for getting them to the common office, which was a safe and secure location. After doing all his tasks, he left for the meeting with the native American chief to discuss the impending conflict.

    The casting was excellent, and the film was outstanding and straightforward. All of it focuses on dispute resolution and protecting the family from conflict. Once you begin a movie, you become fully immersed in it.

  5. The Cowboys

    Director: Mark Rydell

    Writers: William Dale Jennings, Irving Ravetch, Harriet Frank Jr.

    Stars: John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Bruce Dern

    Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western

     The Cowboys (1972) on IMDb

    Wil Andersen, a seasoned rancher with grit, helped him prepare for the significant cattle drive as a crew member left to work on the gold rush.

    He must leave because he has no other choice. So that he might participate in the gold rush, Ander’s son enlisted the schoolboys aid.

    He begins teaching the gangsters so that he can learn how to be a cowboy. Andersen controls his entire voyage, which is usually in danger. Bruce Dern begins stealing from the herd.

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    A sad and poignant movie, The Cowboys, makes you feel everything. As they are young, they will have to work hard. However, it also teaches a valuable lesson, suggesting that working as a team can provide significantly greater results no matter your age. These movies that create a bond between the viewer and the film are more in demand.  

  6. Helfighters

    Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

    Writer: Clair Huffaker

    Stars: John Wayne, Katharine Ross, Jim Hutton

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance, War

     Hellfighters (1968) on IMDb

    Chance Buckman, played by John Wayne, is the most dangerous person in the world. Other characters in the movie were excellent firefighters like Jim Hutton (Greg Parker) and his squad, who battled to put out oil field fires worldwide.

    Another character is his wife, Madelyn (Vera Miles), who was getting tired of trying to maintain their marriage because he was the one who kept leaving her without fixing the problems.

    Now that Tish, Greg’s daughter (Katharine Ross), has a chance, he must fight two battles—one inside his heart and the other on the battlefield.

    Helfighters is the finest movie, full of drama, action, and love. On one side, Buckman has to fight for the world on the battlefield. On the other side was his wife, who left him for no reason. So you must go and watch it. 

  7. Sands Of Iwo Jima

    Director: Allan Dwan

    Writers: Harry Brown, James Edward Grant

    Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara

    Genres: Action, Drama, Romance, War

     Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) on IMDb

    John Wayne has aggressive behavior and attitude, and everybody dislikes him because of his behavior. But actually, his training made him this rough and tough. All the methods are too harsh, and it is very difficult to follow. But they must follow all the methods to win the pacific war at any cost.

    To deal with the harsh reality of the war or the battlefield, they had a very cruel way. To ensure their survival on the battlefield, they must adhere to all of Stryker’s strategies and techniques. One of the war’s bloodiest battles was the one at Iwo Jima.

    The story is impressive, full of dramatic and battle scenes that make the movie more entertaining. Portrayals are very strong, leading actors that did brilliant performances. The main authentic scenes are battle scenes that amaze the audience to watch the movie.

  8. The Searcher

    Director: John Ford

    Writers: Frank S. Nugent, Alan Le May

    Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles

    Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western

     The Searchers (1956) on IMDb

    The story starts with the famed Western, who plays the part of Ethan Edwards in this tale, and he is sent back home after the Civil War. He eventually returned to his home in Texas after a protracted absence. There, he witnessed the murder of his brother and his family and the Comanche capture of his relative. He is very emotional and sad, but on the other side, he has to find out all the information, leaving the ones still alive to ensure and for their survival, he has to take action to return them safely.

    Following that, Edwards learns that Debbie (Natalie Wood) and her adopted brother are still alive and kidnapped by Comanches. He had a highly risky mission to perform. But he needs his niece back, so he has to do anything and go beyond his limits. The Deep Comanche region was added to the Journey.

    Everybody’s attention is drawn to this film’s dramatic and moving scenes. The second-best performance was John Wayne’s act. In the film, Ethan Edwards is trying to find his niece Debbie, who Comanche Indians took after her family was killed. Director John Ford did a fantastic job of incorporating just the appropriate amount of humor into the story while dealing with themes like racism, discrimination, and war. Ward Bond is at his best amid the stellar supporting cast.

  9. Hondo

    Director: John Farrow

    Writers: James Edward Grant, Louis L’Amour

    Stars: John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond

    Genres: Drama, Romance, War, Western

     Hondo (1953) on IMDb

    The story starts with a lady named Angie Lowe, who was encountered by Hondo Lane. Earlier in Apache territory, the mom and her small boy live alone.

    She always assumed that she would be secure along with the fact that she loves apache place a lot and apache was under chief Vittorio. He gives full space to mother and son to live their own life.

    But after some time, Lane killed Angie’s husband and forced her to murder him without realizing who he is actually. After that chief Vittorio captured him and Angie wanted to save lane he told the apache chief that lane was her real husband and both are unaware that he killed her real husband, not a reprobate husband. On the other side, Lane wants to save Angie’s life as she was in the forced marriage and never gonna be happy. So Lane continues the lie as he knows that anytime Angie and Vittorio get to know about the truth but he didn’t want to reveal the truth.

    This fun film features another outstanding performance by Wayne. As Hondo Lane, John Wayne defends girls and boys from the Apaches. Wayne’s friend and regular Ward Bond perform with his customary sardonic attitude. There was also James Arness before Gunsmoke. A tale of peril that surrounded the American West.

  10. True Grit

    Director: Henry Hathaway

    Writers: Charles Portis, Marguerite Roberts

    Stars: John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell

    Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western

     True Grit (1969) on IMDb

    The story is about capturing Chaney from Indian territory as Chaney murdered and robbed Frank Ross, so she wants to take revenge on him. For this reason, Ross’ daughter Mattie is exploring some powerful person who will help her complete the mission. She hired US marshals. The man is called “Rooster” Cogburn (John Wayne). He is a man of “True grit”. She gives a high payment to the rooster so that he will capture Chaney as soon as possible. 

    Between the mission, Rooster got two more partners La Boeuf, a Texas Ranger, joined the manhunt and started their trip to achieve something after capturing the Chaney. They hoped to apprehend Chaney, the Texas senator’s murderer, and in return, they get rewards after succeeding in their mission. To deliver justice to the same individual, the three of them clash toward the conclusion of the tale.

    I also enjoy this John Wayne film. Even better, it earned him a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actor. Strother Martin, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Glen Campbell are other favorites of mine. Sincerity dictates that this film is superior to the sequel. A good storyline, excellent acting, stunning landscape, and the incomparable John Wayne all contribute to an enjoyable film. A plus is that Robert Duval plays one of the bad guys. Excellent performances and Glen Campbell as a Texas Ranger enhance a true classic. It should go in your collection.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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