John Wayne Movies

08aa2238545b7f7bdabfb48d669192e7Want to know the best John Wayne movies?  How about the worst John Wayne movies?  Curious about John Wayne’s box office grosses or which John Wayne movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which John Wayne movie got the best reviews from critics and audiences? Well you have come to the right place.

John Wayne made 88 movies before becoming a star in 1939’s Stagecoach. From Stagecoach to 1976’s The Shootist, Wayne made another 82 movies. That is a grand total of 170 movies in his career. John Wayne was the first movie star that I became aware of as a child. I still remember the shock of watching him die in The Alamo (my older brother had told me he was going to survive…he obviously lied to me). For nearly forty years, Wayne was one of the most popular stars making movies.

John Wayne’s IMDb page shows 180 acting credits from 1926-1976.  The following table only lists about half of John Wayne’s movies.  Cameos, television appearances, and almost all of his B westerns from the 1930s were not included in the rankings.  His remaining 90 movies are ranked by 6 different columns of sortable information.

Dean Martin, Walter Brennan & John Wayne in 1959's Rio Bravo

Dean Martin, Walter Brennan & John Wayne in 1959’s Rio Bravo

John Wayne Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • If movie title is a blue, then there is a John Wayne movie trailer attached to the page link
  • Sort John Wayne movies by co-stars or in some cases directors
  • Sort John Wayne movies by adjusted box office grosses using current movie ticket cost
  • Sort John Wayne movies by box office rank in the year of release
  • Sort John Wayne movies by how the movie was received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and how many Oscar® wins each John Wayne movie received.
  • Sort John Wayne movies by Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score.  UMR Score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
  • Use the search and sort buttons to make this table very interactive.  For instance if you just want to see the John Wayne/John Ford movies….just type John Ford in the search box and their 14 movies will pop right up.

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above John Wayne Table

1.  48 John Wayne movies crossed the magical $100 million mark.  That is a percentage of 56.47% of his movies listed.  His top domestic box office hit was The Longest Day (1963).

2.  An average John Wayne movie grosses $129.45 million in adjusted box office gross.

3.  Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  55 John Wayne movies are rated as good movies…or 65.47% of his movies.  His highest rated movie is 1959’s Rio Bravo.  His lowest rated movie is The Conqueror (1956).

4.  24 John Wayne movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 28.23% of his movies.

5.  9 John Wayne movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 10.71% of his movies.

6.  An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 40.00.  61 John Wayne movies scored higher that average….or 71.76% of his movies.  True Grit (1969) got the highest UMR Score.  Brannigan (1975) got the lowest UMR Score.

John Wayne in 1944's Tall in the Saddle

John Wayne in 1944’s Tall in the Saddle

Possibly Interesting Facts About John Wayne

  1. Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset, Iowa in 1907.  It is reported that he weighed 13 pounds at birth.  His nickname was “Duke”.

2.  “Duke” Morrison attended and played football at the University of Southern California.  After a broken collar bone ended his college football days, he was hired by Tom Mix and John Ford as a prop boy and extra.

3. Director Raoul Walsh saw “Duke” Morrison moving studio furniture and decided to cast Wayne in the lead role in the 1930’s big budget western The Big Trail. 

4. “Duke” Morrison has one on screen movie credit.  Raoul Walsh changed Morrison’s screen name to John Wayne.  Walsh’s first name choice was after Revolutionary War general “Mad” Anthony Wayne.  Eventually “Anthony” was dropped and “John” was added.  So Marion Morrison was born in 1907….while John Wayne was created in 1930.

5. When The Big Trail (1930) bombed at the box office, John Wayne was sent to the world of B movies and serials for the rest of the 1930s.  It was only after being cast as the Ringo Kid in 1939’s Stagecoach did Wayne finally break through in Hollywood.

6. John Wayne holds the record for the actor with the most leading parts – 142. In all but 11 films he played the leading part.

7. John Wayne’s personal favorite role was that of Ethan Edwards from 1956’s The Searchers. Wayne even went so far as to name his son Ethan after that character.

8. John Wayne did not die on screen too many times….only 7 times:  He was killed by undersea squid in 1942’s Reap The Wild Wind.  He was killed by a sniper in 1944’s The Fighting Seabees and 1949’s The Sands of Iwo Jima.  He was killed by an octopus in 1949’s Wake of the Red Witch.  He was killed by a Mexican soldier in 1960’s The Alamo.  He was shot in the back by Bruce Dern in 1972’s The Cowboys.  And he died in a gunfight in his very last movie…1976’s The Shootist.

9.  John Wayne was ranked in the annual Quigley Poll of The Top 10 Box Office Stars an incredible 25 times.  That is the most ever by any actor or actress.

10.  John Wayne gave the eulogy at the funerals of Ward Bond, John Ford and Howard Hawks.

Check out John Wayne’s movie career compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

At Letterboxd.com I review lots of movies …click the link to see my John Wayne Movie Reviews.

But Wait…How About Some More John Wayne Movie Stats?  44 John Wayne Worldwide Adjusted Box Office Grosses

  1. 3 Godfathers (1948) $157.20 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  2. The Alamo (1960) $554.10 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  3. Allegheny Uprising (1939) $90.50 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  4. Baby Face (1933) $47.30 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  5. Back to Baatan (1945) $192.20 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  6. Big Jim McLain (1952) $138.70 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  7. The Big Stampede (1932) $24.70 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  8. Blood Alley (1955) $126.90 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  9. Cahill United States Marshal (1973) $89.20 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  10. Chisum (1970) $157.90 Circus World (1964) $71.70 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  11. Donovan’s Reef (1963) $158.80 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  12. Flying Leathernecks (1951) $190.20 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  13. Fort Apache (1948) $246.50 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  14. Green Berets (1968) $326.30 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  15. Haunted Gold (1932) $22.60 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  16. The High and the Mighty (1954) $417.40 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  17. Hondo (1953) $231.90 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  18. How the West Was Won (1963) $932.00 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  19. Island in the Sky (1953) $162.10 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  20. A Lady Takes a Chance (1943) $227.60 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  21. Legend of the Lost (1957) $154.60 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  22. The Long Voyage Home (1940) $91.50 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  23. The Man from Monterey (1933) $20.30 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  24. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) $224.00 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  25. McQ (1974) $91.00 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  26. Operation Pacific (1951) $185.50 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  27. The Quiet Man (1952) $246.80 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  28. Reunion in France (1942) $153.90 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  29. Ride Him Cowboy (1932) $25.00 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  30. Rio Bravo (1959) $404.80 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  31. The Sea Chase (1955) $336.90 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  32. The Searchers (1956) $290.60 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  33. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) $204.80 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  34. Somewhere in Sonora (1933) $20.50 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  35. Stagecoach (1939) $233.60 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  36. Tall in the Saddle (1944) $206.40 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  37. The Telegraph Trail (1933) $22.00 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  38. They Were Expendable (1945) $305.40 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  39. The Train Robbers (1973) $91.70 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  40. Trouble Along the Way (1953) $129.30 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  41. Tycoon (1947) $236.00 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  42. The War Wagon (1967) $185.90 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  43. The Wings of Eagles (1957) $154.80 million in adjusted worldwide box office
  44. Without Reservations (1946) $224.00 million in adjusted worldwide box office
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263 thoughts on “John Wayne Movies

  1. Hello Steve;

    I know I am in the minority but I enjoy The Conqueror, in part because it doesn’t take itself seriously (like other ‘epics’ of its era, such as The Silver Chalice, Demetrius and the Gladiators, The Big Fisherman, etc). No, it’s not up there with my favorite John Wayne films but it is entertaining.

  2. Glad Steve’s video is getting some good traffic. My Wayne page has been a great view getter on all three websites we have used…..looks like Steve has a winner too!

  3. HI STEVE: DUKE – THE FINALE- ENTRIES 33-1 INCLUSIVE
    1 I think that probably the top one third of your video sets out the movies without many of which it is possible that even Wayne might not have become quite the screen Colossus that he did, and certainly most of these films have yielded some excellent posters and I am really just scratching the surface when I list on balance the following as my own personal favourites: Tall in the Saddle, Chisum, Hondo, Sands of Iwo Jima, The Commancheros, The Sons of Katie Elder, Rio Grande El Dorado and How the West Was Won. Nice closing solo still of the Duke from I think The Searchers.

    2 The Searchers should anyway in my view receive special attention as not only are the posters for it first-rate but I think that it is worth mentioning that retrospectively many movie historians and critics now consider that John’s Ethan Edwards was among the finest performances in the 1950s and yet it did not received even an Oscar nomination.

    3 That leads me to conclude that if one had thrown a huge net over the Academy of the 1956/57 period one would have captured a whole legion of Joel-types scurrying around eschewing sensible appraisal of what par excellence acting is.

    4 Anyway it must have been difficult to maintain an evenly high standard over 100 movies but for the most part you managed to do that and this consideration along with the newness to me of most of the posters and my own pure enjoyment of the entire presentation dictates a 98% overall rating.

    5 Also I think that the great scope of the video warrants a top 10 Cogerson/Lensman comparison rather than the usual Top 5 but rather than try myself to explain how the two 10s match up I will set them both out in a further post. Meanwhile let’s leave the final words to our Star with one pronouncementcoming from real life and the other from the screen:
    (1) “I don’t act. I react.” Marion Mitchell Morrison
    (2) “I will pleasure myself with this woman!” Genghis Khan

    1. BRUCE v STEVE – JOHN WAYNE’s BEST TOP 10 MOVIES

      BRUCE

      (1) The Searchers
      (2) Rio Bravo
      (3) Liberty Valance
      (4) The Quiet Man
      (5) Stagecoach
      (6) Red River
      (7) El Dorado
      (8) The Shootist
      (9) True Grit
      (10) Fort Apache

      STEVE
      (1) The Searchers
      (2) Stagecoach
      (3) Red River
      (4) The Quiet Man
      (5) Liberty Valance
      (6) Rio Bravo
      (7) She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
      (8) The Longest day
      (9) They Were Expendable
      (10) Fort Apache.

      By my reckoning the Big Two agree on 7 of Wayne’s Top 10 albeit in different order except for the 1st and last. Bruce’s rankings for artistic merit can of course be verified by hitting the Review sorter button on this page but anyone wishing to check out Steve’s will need to view his video for a 1st or additional time. Say that’s not a bad idea anyway! –would you too care to give the video a fresh viewing Flora?

      1. Good work comparing our top 10s Bob, interesting to look at.

        Seven are similar, missing from my top 10 – True Grit, The Shootist and El Dorado. Missing from Bruce’s top 10 – The Were Expendable, The Longest Day and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

        Nine of his top 10 are westerns. Seven of my top 10 are westerns. I’ve included two WWII films in mine.

      2. Hey Bob…both lists look pretty impressive….thanks for breaking down the ratings like this….looks like Steve has Rio Bravo a little too low….while I have El Dorado a little too low….but our Top 6 almost the same movies. Fun way to compare our two John Wayne pages.

    2. Hi Bob, thanks for reviewing the top third of my John Wayne magnum opus, appreciate the generous rating, info, trivia, comment, observation, comparison and quotes.

      Glad you enjoyed the visual presentation.

      I had to laugh at that last quote from Genghis Khan, did he really say that in the movie? Wow! Harvey Weinstein has been saying that for decades! And was getting away with it until now. 🙂

      Happy you enjoyed the video Bob, it was really an experiment to see if I can get away with 22mins worth of movie posters, titles and ratings, and some random background music. It seems to have worked, nearly 400 views already, the name ‘John Wayne’ still attracts people, like a magnet. Even people who don’t like him are irresistibly drawn to anything with his name on it. 😉

      It would have been a crime to have never displayed those movie posters on any of my videos. Now I have an excuse ‘update and expand’.

      Here are some video stats –

      26 of the 100 from 1930 to 1939
      25 of the 100 from 1940 to 1949
      19 of the 100 from 1950 to 1960
      20 of the 100 from 1960 to 1969
      10 of the 100 from 1970 to 1976

      Highest rated of the 1930s – Stagecoach – 9.17
      Highest rated of the 1940s – Red River – 9.12
      Highest rated of the 1950s – The Searchers – 9.22
      Highest rated of the 1960s – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – 8.95
      Highest rated of the 1970s – The Shootist – 8.15

      Second highest rated of the 1930s – The Big Trail – 7.32
      Second highest rated of the 1940s – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon – 8.62
      Second highest rated of the 1950s – The Quiet Man – 9.05
      Second highest rated of the 1960s – The Longest Day – 8.4
      Second highest rated of the 1970s – The Cowboys – 7.4

      Top 10 highest rated non-westerns –

      The Quiet Man
      The Longest Day
      They Were Expendable
      The Long Voyage Home
      Hatari
      In Harms Way
      Sands of Iwo Jima
      Island in the Sky
      The Fighting Seabees
      The High and the Mighty

      Seven of the films in my top 10 were directed by John Ford, two by Howard Hawks.

      12 films scored 10 out of 10 from my sources –

      Searchers ,The
      Stagecoach
      Red River
      Quiet Man ,The
      Man Who Shot Liberty Valance ,The
      Rio Bravo
      She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
      Longest Day ,The
      They Were Expendable
      Fort Apache
      El Dorado
      Rio Grande

      Four more scored 9 out of 10 –

      Shootist ,The
      How The West Was Won
      Long Voyage Home ,The
      Hatari

      Surprisingly his Oscar winner – True Grit – never got more than 8 out of 10.

      Bruce and I have the same no.1 on our charts – The Searchers

      Highest rated on the UMR chart – The Longest Day

      Highest rated at IMDB is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

      Highest rated at Rotten Tomatoes is Stagecoach

      Leonard Maltin gives 7 John Wayne movies 10 out of 10 (4 out of 4)

      1. HI STEVE 1 I think we both got great satisfaction from your Wayne marathon as it must have been a labour of love for you and it has already attracted nearly 400 views. Maybe Flora and I will push it over that barrier today. For my part the length of the video gave me plenty to write about regarding one of my greatest idols.

        2 Thanks for the great stats run-down. It would appear that you are happy enough with stats provided they are not box office figures! With even just the 66 westerns you’ve included a great many of which were of the highest quality how come Jimmy Stewart and not The Duke got Cowboy of the Century award? Certainly the covetous Robert Taylor was not in The Duke’s league as a western star.

        3 I read recently that when they were making The Alamo the Duke when directing my Richard at first addressed him as “Dick” but Widmark chastised him and said “My name is Richard,” after which Wayne would sarcastically emphasise RICHARD after every command he gave or each word he spoke to Widmark. “Richard will you stand to the left Richard beside Mr Harvey Richard.“ Obviously if you rattled the Duke’s cage he didn’t back off! It is said that the English Harvey was cast by Wayne because Kirk had signed up the English Larry for Spartacus.

        4 Actually apparently John initially offered Chuck the Jim Bowie role but Heston at that time a liberal Democrat is said to have turned it down because he didn’t like the political thrust of the movie. It is also claimed though that after he became a Republican Chuck expressed regret at his refusal. However some historians think that Chuck declined the role because after working with giants like DeMille and Wyler he lacked confidence in the Duke as director.

        5 Both Legends did of course appear in The Greatest Story Ever Told though whilst Chuck had a sufficiently strong supporting role the Duke’s appearances amounted to just a cameo. “This man truly is the Son of Gawwd.” Did Wayne actually say that as has since been claimed? *** My own memory is unequal to correctly recalling his few lines in that one.

        6 Whilst Wayne unlike say Monty Clift had the physical build and presence expected of a star who appeared in the biblical/costume epics of those times his vocal delivery didn’t really suit them. Possibly he could have disguised that by developing a mumbling technique which would have had the English drooling over him!

        ***According to a long historical review of The Conqueror that I recently read Wayne DID say “I will pleasure myself with this woman” in The Conqueror and in that review many other macho male chauvinistic things that Genghis said about, or hurled at, poor Bortai [played by Sue Hayward] were listed. This was the critic who said he kept staring at the screen in disbelief.

  4. 1 HI STEVE – THE DUKE PART TWO. I mentioned in Part One the cross-over between billing and posters in my affections and we have previously discussed on this site the various forms of billing compromise such as Wayne being first named on the screen in Liberty Valance but Jimmy being top-billed on official posters and all other promotional material.

    2 However as Big John, Jeff Chandler, Burt Lancaster and Glenn Ford were Belfast’s most popular stars their names usually came first in Belfast regardless of the official billing. Thus Belfast citizens saw The Duke out-billing Jimmy on both posters and screen. It was of course win/win for me whoever was first as both men were my idols I also had a win/win situation in relation to another two of my idols when Teahouse of the August Moon came out over here because whilst city centre cinemas kept to the official billing of Mumbles first all of the cinemas out in the suburbs listed Belfast’s ever popular Glenn first.

    THE JOHN WAYNE VIDEO ENTRIES 65 – 34 INCLUSIVE
    3 The quality here must be slightly improved on even the Part One excellent batch because quite honestly I found it difficult to make distinctions among the Part Two selections. However on balance I think these pleased me most: In Old California, Pittsburg, Wake of the Red Witch, In Old Oklahoma, Flying Leathernecks, Flying Tigers, Island in the Sky, the foreign language one for Cahill and – par excellence- the foreign language one for The Horse Soldiers and most especially the run of ones for The Sea Chase.

    4 I also feel inclined to single out the one for Blood Alley [another of The Duke’s Reds-quelling outings] because not only did the poster greatly impress me but there is a story that should please you as to promote Blood Alley Wayne appeared on a special double episode airing of TV’s I love Lucy and during the plot someone brandishes in The Duke’s face a poster for the film! The highlight of the double episode was apparently Lucy and Desi Arnaz stealing The Duke’s footprints from the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Anyway my final offering on your video is tomorrow.

    1. Hello Bob, thanks for reviewing the middle third of my John Wayne mini-epic, appreciate the comment and info. Happy you liked the posters.

      There are clips from the I Love Lucy show featuring John Wayne on youtube, there’s also compilation videos of other cameos and blooper reels from the show too. Youtube is packed with classic clips from TV and movies, it even has videos filled with gorgeous movie poster art, amazing place. 😉

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