Best John Wayne Movies

The Top Ten Best John Wayne Movies

1 The Searchers

Wayne's performance as Ethan Edwards was dead on. A man obsessed with his mission. The scene where he describes finding his niece, Debbie, dead and burying her is raw emotion. The timbre in his voice when he says "don't ask me more. As long as you live don't ever ask me more." tells so much about this 'tough guy' that he was playing. Such a complex character and John Wayne nailed it. He should have been nominated for an Oscar for this role.

I was inspired to watch this movie because I listened to a band called The Searchers. The Searchers named themselves after the John Wayne movie. Also Buddy Holly wrote the song "That'll Be The Day" because of John Wayne's catch phrase in The Searchers - beatles5

A rare combination of one of the finest actors of his time, playing a character of his own age, a great cast, great director, locales and story. One for the ages.

I agree this should be one of his top 10 movies, however I think The Shootist should be #1, based on what was going on in his personal life.

2 Red River

Red river should have won him an Oscar, the acting was great montgomery Clift was great too. Walter Brennan was also a good supporting cast member.

This is not only my favorite John Wayne movie, but its in the top 10 of my all favorite movies.

Red River was my all time favorite. I was only a kid but I loved him in this movie. He was great.

Without a doubt his best performance was in Red River.

3 True Grit

The movie shows probably the most colorful character john wayne ever played. Plus, I dig the eye patch.

True Grit, is a story where all the characters show true grit. So many characters in the story show grit the good guys, the bad guys, even John Wayne's horse. Then Maddie's horse little blackie shows true grit. One of the best.

This movie defines the meaning of a man with 'grit'. John Wayne shows many sides to his talents, grit, compassion and determination... a real treat. The Best in my humble opinion.

His best, no doubt about it. At least higher than some of the others above it.

4 Big Jake

The most humor in a John Wayne movie! Can watch this one over and over.

Big Jake = Best John Wayne movie ever!

John Wayne deserved an Oscar for Big Jake, more than for True Grit.

One of the best most underrated John Wayne movies!

5 The Cowboys

I always remember this movie when I was young. John Wayne at his best! This shows that young boys were true men and respectful.

I LOVE this movie! With all the little boys and john it's a perfect movie I think it should be #1!

Excellent Duke movie and the young boys were terrific.

The young boys added to the depth of this film.

6 The Shootist

John Wayne played a dying man when he himself was dying. He played a gunslinger whose glory days had passed as America was at the cusp of a new century. He played the role in a very moving, heartfelt manner. It was if he knew this movie was a symbolic passing of the torch as western movies' glory days were also passing, but he wanted to go out on a high note. In my humble opinion, this silver screen giant gave the best performance of his legendary career. There will never be another like him.

This movie just summed it all up. The most honest movie I have seen to date.

One of John Wayne's best performances. He was quiet and reflective in this performance, but reached down to pull up some classic Duke when needed.

What courage it must have taken to make this movie, as he in real life was also dying of cancer.

7 Stagecoach

I love this movie because it shows John Wayne at his rawest. You know he hasn't had a lot of experience in movies, yet you still are able to catch glimpses of what is to come with him. It's like watching him sliding on his eventual star clothing. If you love John Wayne movies, you have to watch this. It is indeed the beginning.

8 The Sons of Katie Elder

John Wayne did an exceptional acting job in this film. This was his first movie after having a lung removed. It was filmed in Mexico at high altitude and required Wayne to use oxygen between takes. He also insisted on performing his own stunts. Amazing when you consider he was only months out from major surgery. Also amazing because the filmgoers watching never realized how difficult the many actions scenes were for him.

The duke actually was not dying in 1976 when this movie was made, he died in 1979. He was not dying yet. Look it up.

Mr. Wayne was great in this movie. Cause All The Brother Likes All Brother FAUGHT With Him, But he Was The Elder And They Did What He said. To say I love all his movies. John Wayne is my hero. And always will be.

9 The War Wagon

One of Wayne's best action efforts. Douglas was fantastic as well. A movie that will keep you in your seat. A little low on the rankings but certainly worth the watch if you are a western movie buff..

10 El Dorado

Add this to your"must see"John Wayne movies. This should be in the top five. Also had great performances by Robert Mitchum and a young up and comer named James Caan.

The Best, First movie I saw at a theater.

How could this movie not be in the top 5.

Best JW movie because of Dean and Walter.

The Contenders

11 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Just a great story and two solid performances from Wayne and Stewart!

The best of the best

My favorite western period.!

Two greats together

12 The Quiet Man

This might be one of the best movies about Ireland ever made. It has a little of everything and is great fun.

A colorful film very beautifully directed.

The story content was exceptional.

In my top ten films of all time

13 The Alamo

Good movie but wasn't sure about the raccoon hat though

14 Rio Bravo

A great movie with a great cast & still can't beat the singing of Dean Martin & Ricky Nelson. One of the best.

A wonderful script and a great cast make this movie one of his all time best.

A overlooked movie, was very enjoyable to watch.

Another great movie.

15 McLintock!

My all time favorite! Was surprised it wasn't in the top ten!

Another favorite of mine and should be in the top 10.

Just an all around great movie

All time favorite of mine.

16 Hatari!

My dad and I after so many times of watching this classic over the years, still make time to sit down and watch it together. Just a really nice film. - Britgirl

Since I remember it from having seen it only once some 50 years must have been one of the best.

Good movie to watch

Great Movie for everyone.

17 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

I miss TheTopTens as it was once upon a time. Nothing happens whenever I vote anymore and I find that sad, because it's certainly not right not to count votes, just because people want their lists to remain unchanged. That is bigotry, though. Anyway, if you don't want us to vote, then what's the purpose of voting? I hope this time you will publish my complaint, because it really comes from my heart and I hope that you will think a little on that.

Yellow Ribbon is a great movie, indeed Hal! I also agree with you as it comes to The Searchers and Rio Bravo. Both are movies with a poor script that ranked so high because of the beautiful cinematography and direction.

Should be in the top

18 Hondo
19 Tall in the Saddle

Great script skillfully brought to life. One of Dukes very best!

This is a top 10 for sure

20 Hellfighters


One of the best movies I have seen it is based on a real live oilfield fire fighter Paul N Red Adair. I worked with Red

21 Rio Lobo

I can't belive this isn't in top 10

22 Rio Grande

Classic, Wayne, Ford and O'Hara with a supporting cast of Ford's Usual Suspects.

Great film. Another John Ford classic job of directing. A top ten. First time for greats together. John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara and Harry Carry Jr. and Ben Johnson and Ken Curtis who sang and was a regular with Sons of the Pioneers who were also in it along with Chill Wills. Yes--A great film.

23 In Harm's Way

One of the best Navy films. John Wayne at his best.

24 Fort Apache
25 The Sands of Iwo Jima


26 Angel and the Badman
27 Chisum

Chisum number 1

28 The Green Berets

One of my favorite John Wayne movies.

29 Back to Bataan
30 Rooster Cogburn

Great movie

31 The Fighting Kentuckian

Great cinema western who were the other main stars in the film?

A fantastic representation of the dukes mid-career film stretch, with an excellent mix of comedy and drama.

32 Donovan’s Reef

Great story. Great cast. Good clean wholesome fun. Still rates in MY top ten John Wayne movies.


33 The High and the Mighty

John Wayne is a highly experienced co-pilot on a flight from Hawaii to San Francisco when and engine fails, loses its propeller and catches fire. His character convinces the pilot not to ditch at sea try to make San Francisco. The first of the disaster flying movies. It boasts an All-Star cast and some beautiful aerial footage of the DC-4 airliner. Again, not you typical John Wayne movie, but proves he can act in a non-western.

My favorite John Wayne movie. It has a great ensemble cast and Wayne plays a great older haunted role

34 3 Godfathers
35 Island In the Sky

Wayne portrays a pilot whose plane is forced down in the artic. His character is unsure of himself as he makes survival calls that impact his crew. Not your typical John Wayne movie, but worth the watch.

36 The Horse Soldiers
37 Blood Alley

In my top ten for shure. Loved Bacall. Paul Fix was right out front but hiding out in wardrobe.

38 North to Alaska

I loved this film...funny & entertaining!

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