The 10 best John Wayne movies are testaments to the Western hero’s acting talent. Although the sun seems to have set on the golden age of Western films, Wayne’s influence lives on in cinema history. The gun-wielding Wayne takes on a variety of roles in the following films. 

  1. “The Searchers” - This John Wayne movie debuted in 1956. Wayne played Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran searching for his niece. Jeffrey Hunter and Vera Miles starred alongside Wayne.

  2. “True Grit” - In this 1969 Western, John Wayne played U.S. Marshal Cogburn. Wayne’s portrayal of the gritty, drunken Marshall earned him an Oscar in 1970. A remake of the movie, starring Jeff Bridges, debuted in 2010.

  3. “Rio Bravo” - Howard Hawks directed the John Wayne movie “Rio Bravo.” Released in 1959, the film portrayed Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson as western heroes, striving to preserve justice in a small town.

  4. “El Dorado” - Hawks also directed “El Dorado.” This John Wayne movie, which debuted in 1967, drew inspiration from Harry Brown’s novel “The Stars in Their Courses.” Robert Mitchum starred with Wayne. 

  5.  “The Quiet Man” - This John Wayne movie pulled Wayne out of a western setting and placed him Ireland. This time he played a retired boxer named Sean Thornton. The movie was a romantic drama directed by John Ford.

  6. “Red River” - “Red River” was a classic John Wayne movie that placed Wayne in the role of Thomas Dunson, a cattle rancher. The film was directed by Howard Hawks and nominated for two Oscars.

  7.  “The Alamo” - Here’s a film that was actually directed by John Wayne. Wayne also starred as the legendary Davy Crockett. The film debuted in 1960.

  8. “The Shootist” - This movie features the final big-screen appearance of John Wayne. Appropriately, Wayne played an aging gunfighter named J.B. Books. The character spent the story searching for a dignified death.

  9. “Hatari!” - Howard Hawks directed this 1962 film, which dropped a diverse group of characters into the dangers of Africa. John Wayne played Sean Mercer. Hardy Kruger, Esla Martinelli and Red Buttons are among the other leading actors.

  10. “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” - John Ford directed the 1962 John Wayne movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Wayne played Tom Doniphon, a rancher who stands up to western bullies. Along with Wayne, James Stewart led the cast.