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The Best John Wayne Movies of All Time, Ranked

Updated December 15, 2020 87.5k votes 9.1k voters 335.6k views98 items

List RulesVote for your favorite John Wayne movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

List of the best John Wayne movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. John Wayne has become known as the epitome of a cowboy, but many of his first roles were as a football player in films like Brown of Harvard and The Drop Kick. John Wayne's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top John Wayne movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated John Wayne movies will be at the top of the list. John Wayne has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest John Wayne movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining John Wayne films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best John Wayne role isn't at the top, then upvote it so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest John Wayne performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand.

This list includes mocies like True Grit and The Quiet Man and answers the questions, "What are the best John Wayne movies?" and "What are the greatest John Wayne roles of all time?" And if you're a fan of John Wayne's Old West films, you might also enjoy our list of best Clint Eastwood movies and best Gene Hackman movies.

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  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon1
    1,585
    275

    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

    John Wayne, Ben Johnson

    Released1949

    Directed byJohn Ford

    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is a 1949 Technicolor Western film directed by John Ford and starring...  more
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    #933 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#41 of 81 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time

  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance2
    1,923
    376

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    John Wayne, James Stewart

    Released1962

    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 American Western film directed by John Ford...  more
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    #34 of 224 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made#186 of 480 The Greatest Movies For Guys

  • Rio Bravo3
    2,173
    479

    Rio Bravo

    John Wayne, Dean Martin

    Released1959

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    Rio Bravo is a 1959 American Western film produced and directed by Howard Hawks and starring...  more
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    #360 of 382 The Greatest Movie Themes#127 of 152 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

  • Red River4
    1,513
    286

    Red River

    John Wayne, Montgomery Clift

    Released1948

    Directed byHoward Hawks, Arthur Rosson

    Red River is a 1948 Western film directed and produced by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne...  more
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  • The Searchers5
    2,375
    531

    The Searchers

    John Wayne, Natalie Wood

    Released1956

    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Searchers is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Western film directed by John Ford,...  more
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    #87 of 206 The Best Adventure Movies#9 of 20 Wild West Movies That Are Probably More Fun Than Going Out On A Friday Night

  • Rio Grande6
    1,315
    227

    Rio Grande

    John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1950

    Directed byJohn Ford

    Rio Grande is a 1950 Western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Maureen...  more
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    #18 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s#90 of 315 The Best Military Movies Ever Made

  • Big Jake7
    1,797
    384

    Big Jake

    John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1971

    Directed byGeorge Sherman

    Big Jake is a 1971 Western film directed by George Sherman, written by Harry Julian Fink and...  more
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    #3 of 55 The Best Movies About Texas#9 of 36 The Best Movies About Mexico

  • Fort Apache8
    1,173
    225

    Fort Apache

    Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple

    Released1948

    Directed byJohn Ford

    Fort Apache is a 1948 American Western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and...  more
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  • True Grit9
    2,148
    482

    True Grit

    John Wayne, Robert Duvall

    Released1969

    Directed byHenry Hathaway

    True Grit is a 1969 American western Technicolor film written by Marguerite Roberts, directed...  more
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    #55 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars#128 of 456 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

  • Hondo10
    1,306
    255

    Hondo

    John Wayne, James Arness

    Released1953

    Directed byJohn Farrow, John Ford

    Hondo is a 1953 Warnercolor 3D Western film starring John Wayne and directed by John Farrow....  more
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  • The Shootist11
    1,819
    395

    The Shootist

    John Wayne, Lauren Bacall

    Released1976

    Directed byDon Siegel

    The Shootist is a 1976 Western film directed by Don Siegel and starring John Wayne in his...  more
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    #100 of 553 The Best '70s Movies#195 of 261 The Best Ensemble Movies

  • El Dorado12
    1,850
    410

    El Dorado

    John Wayne, James Caan

    Released1966

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    El Dorado is a 1966 American Western film produced and directed by Howard Hawks and starring...  more
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    The Real Story Of El Dorado#12 of 25 The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Western Movies

  • The Sons of Katie Elder13
    1,693
    369

    The Sons of Katie Elder

    John Wayne, Dean Martin

    Released1965

    Directed byHenry Hathaway

    The Sons of Katie Elder is a 1965 Technicolor Western film directed by Henry Hathaway and...  more
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    #8 of 142 The Best Western Movies on Amazon Prime#80 of 124 The Best Movies About Brothers

  • Stagecoach14
    1,484
    317

    Stagecoach

    John Wayne, John Carradine

    Released1939

    Directed byJohn Ford

    Stagecoach is a 1939 American Western film directed by John Ford, starring Claire Trevor and...  more
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    #83 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel#60 of 127 The Best Oscar-Winning Scores

  • McLintock!15
    2,017
    471

    McLintock!

    John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1963

    Directed byJohn Wayne, Andrew V. McLaglen

    McLintock! is a 1963 comedy Western directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and starring John Wayne,...  more
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    #836 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies#41 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made

  • In Harm's Way16
    1,104
    220

    In Harm's Way

    John Wayne, Kirk Douglas

    Released1965

    Directed byOtto Preminger

    In Harm's Way is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by Otto Preminger and...  more
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    #17 of 221 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time#47 of 118 The Greatest Army Movies Ever Made

  • Sands of Iwo Jima17
    1,385
    289

    Sands of Iwo Jima

    John Wayne, Forrest Tucker

    Released1949

    Directed byAllan Dwan

    Sands of Iwo Jima is a 1949 film starring John Wayne that follows a group of United States...  more
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  • The Quiet Man18
    2,299
    595

    The Quiet Man

    John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1952

    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Quiet Man is a 1952 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by John Ford. It stars...  more
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    #25 of 50 The Best Movies Based on Short Stories#6 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1950s

  • The Horse Soldiers19
    1,188
    260

    The Horse Soldiers

    John Wayne, William Holden

    Released1959

    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Horse Soldiers is a 1959 film that was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne,...  more
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    #13 of 28 Civil War Movies List#9 of 72 The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made

  • The Cowboys20
    1,558
    336

    The Cowboys

    John Wayne, Bruce Dern

    Released1972

    Directed byMark Rydell

    The Cowboys is a 1972 Western motion picture starring John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim...  more
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    #552 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time#28 of 45 The Best Western Movies of the '70s

  • Chisum21
    1,257
    284

    Chisum

    John Wayne, Ben Johnson

    Released1970

    Directed byAndrew V. McLaglen

    Chisum is a 1970 Warner Bros. Technicolor Western film starring John Wayne. The large cast...  more
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    #17 of 56 The Best G-Rated Action Movies#3 of 41 The Best G-Rated Western Movies

  • North to Alaska22
    1,070
    262

    North to Alaska

    John Wayne, Stewart Granger

    Released1960

    Directed byJohn Wayne, Henry Hathaway

    North to Alaska is a 1960 comedic Western film directed by Henry Hathaway and John Wayne. The...  more
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  • The Longest Day23
    1,086
    271

    The Longest Day

    Sean Connery, John Wayne

    Released1962

    Directed byDarryl F. Zanuck, Ken Annakin, Bernhard Wicki, Andrew Marton, Gerd Oswald

    The Longest Day is a 1962 film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius...  more
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    #2 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked#41 of 275 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • The Comancheros24
    960
    223

    The Comancheros

    John Wayne, Lee Marvin

    Released1961

    Directed byJohn Wayne, Michael Curtiz

    The Comancheros is a 1961 Western Deluxe CinemaScope color film directed by Michael Curtiz,...  more
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  • The Alamo25
    1,140
    317

    The Alamo

    John Wayne, Richard Widmark

    Released1960

    Directed byJohn Wayne

    The Alamo is a 1960 American historical epic film about the 1836 Battle of the Alamo produced...  more
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    #46 of 75 The Best Movies About Historical Battles#31 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1960s