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100 best John Wayne movies

  • #70. The Sea Chase

    - Director: John Farrow
    - IMDb user rating: 6.5
    - Runtime: 117 min

    1955’s “The Sea Chase” once again plunges Wayne into the midst of World War II, this time as a German freighter captain. The film—based on a true story—follows Wayne’s character as he out-maneuvers Allied warships on the open seas. Starring as the romantic lead is screen legend Lana Turner, who was so openly unhappy during the shoot she got fired by director John Farrow. The actress returned to the set only after Wayne intervened.

  • #69. The Fighting Kentuckian

    - Director: George Waggner
    - IMDb user rating: 6.5
    - Runtime: 100 min

    In “The Fighting Kentuckian,” French settlers square off with a greedy land-grabber in 1818 Alabama. Wayne’s character, John Breen, helps the French settlers get their way. The movie also stars actor Oliver Hardy of the comedic duo “Laurel and Hardy.” “The Fighting Kentuckian” marks a rare occasion where one member of the “Laurel and Hardy” duo appears in a film without the other.

  • #68. Cahill U.S. Marshal

    - Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
    - IMDb user rating: 6.5
    - Runtime: 103 min

    An aging, no-nonsense U.S. Marshal encounters the ultimate dilemma when his two sons become bank robbers in “Cahill U.S. Marshal.” Released in 1973, the film stars Wayne in the title role. Helping move the somewhat plodding Western along is a noteworthy score by Elmer Bernstein, which didn’t see an official release until 2013.

  • #67. Hangman's House

    - Director: John Ford
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 80 min

    Blink and you might miss Wayne in 1928’s “Hangman’s House,” in which he plays a spectator during a steeplechase scene. The film centers on an Irish exile who risks his life by returning to his homeland. Ford and Wayne would later forge one of Hollywood’s most enduring and rewarding collaborations.

  • #66. Noah's Ark

    - Director: Michael Curtiz
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 135 min

    Chronicling two parallel stories, 1928’s “Noah’s Ark” depicts both the epic biblical flood and also a tale of romance set during World War II. It was made when Wayne (then Morrison) was still working in a Hollywood props department and acting as an extra in various films. Consequently, you might have to watch this film numerous times before you can spot him during the flood scene that involved hundreds of other extras.

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  • #65. In Old Oklahoma

    - Director: Albert S. Rogell
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 102 min

    After playing a pharmacist in 1942’s “In Old California,” Wayne tackled another cowboy role in 1943’s “In Old Oklahoma.” The film sees Wayne squaring off against a greedy oilman over oil lease rights on Native land. Meanwhile, a local schoolteacher becomes the object of both men’s desires.

  • #64. Without Reservations

    - Director: Mervyn LeRoy
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 107 min

    With over 150 films under his belt, it was inevitable that Wayne would appear in at least a few romantic comedies. Wayne plays a Marine named Rusty who won’t stop criticizing a specific book while talking to the girl of his dreams. As it turns out, that very same girl is the book’s author.

  • #63. The Fighting Seabees

    - Director: Edward Ludwig
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 100 min

    Another John Wayne film set in World War II, 1944’s “The Flying Seabees” involves the U.S. Navy hiring a new Construction Battalion (aka a CB or SeaBee), with members who are expected to build and fight. During the shoot, action servicemen were on the set—and some had a few bones to pick with Wayne over his draft deferments.

  • #62. Hellfighters

    - Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 121 min

    "Hellfighters" is a 1968 film chronicling the lives of oil well firefighters, but digs deeper to explore the crumbling marriage of Wayne’s character Chance Buckman. Wayne's co-star, Katharine Ross, had numerous arguments with Wayne behind the scenes over his support of the Vietnam War.

  • #61. The Greatest Story Ever Told

    - Director: George Stevens
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 225 min

    Wayne was just one among a number of stars to appear in “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” The film is about the life and times of Jesus Christ. Made for over $20 million, the film opened to negative reviews and little fanfare, making it the biggest flop of its time.

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