The Hollywood mold of the stoic, tough-as-nails cowboy is the mold of John Wayne. (Then again, many would argue that one of his successors, Clint Eastwood, soon supplanted him as the definitive Western icon.) He defined the classical on-screen Western, largely through his collaborations with director John Ford - starting with the 1939 classic Stagecoach and likely reaching its creative peak with 1956's The Searchers, a film that challenged the image of the West - and of Wayne as on-screen hero - cultivated by their earlier Westerns together.
However, Wayne's career began far before his work with Ford - starting out late in the silent era with bit parts as football players in the likes of Brown of Harvard and The Drop Kick - and extended far beyond, including his Oscar-winning role in 1969's True Grit and its 1975 sequel, Rooster Cogburn. He also maintained a fruitful collaboration with another legendary Hollywood filmmaker, Howard Hawks, who directed him in five movies, including Red River and Rio Bravo.
But what is the greatest John Wayne movie of all-time? Is it his achingly romantic Irish drama The Quiet Man, the complex morality play The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (in which he shared the screen with fellow legends Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin), or one of his many war epics like In Harm's Way or Sands of Iwo Jima? This list includes them all - and your votes will decide which ones rise to the top and which are more expendable.
John Ford and Cecil B. DeMille both worked with John Wayne over the years, as have plenty of other well-known directors. John Wayne was in some really popular films, and is right up there with stars like Charlton Heston and Jackie Gleason in terms of fame and success.