Thursday, May 26, 2011

7 Essential John Wayne Films to Celebrate The Duke's Birthday

On May 26, 1907 a future film legend was born when Marion Morrison was welcomed into the world.  Morrison would change his name to John Wayne and go on to become, without question, the biggest western cinematic icon of all time.  Celebrate The Duke's birthday by watching any of these essential greats...

The Searchers

Director: John Ford

My personal favorite.  Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, an obviously anti-Indian Civil War veteran that dedicates years of his life to hunt down the pack of Indians that killed his family and abducted his young niece.  But are his priorities in order?


Director: John Ford

Wayne stars as The Ringo Kid, protecting a group of travelers on a stagecoach from the threat of Geronimo.

Rio Bravo

Director:  Howard Hawks

Wayne stars as a small town sheriff who needs to hold the fort and keep some outlaws from breaking one of their own out of jail until the US Marshalls arrive.  He enlists the help of a drunk, a kid and a cripple as his deputies.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Director:  John Ford

A senator builds his reputation on killing a notorious outlaw, but what is the real story behind the death of Liberty Valance?

True Grit

Director:  Henry Hathaway

A rowdy US Marshall and a Texas Ranger team up with a stubborn 13-year old girl to hunt down the man who killed her father.

The Quiet Man

Director:  John Ford

A huge departure from his westerns, Wayne plays a retired American boxer who moves to Ireland to start a new life and eventually find love.

The Shootist

Director:  Don Siegel

Wayne's last film, but probably the most poignant as he plays a dying gunfighter, trying to ensure his final days end with dignity.