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100 best John Wayne movies

  • #90. Legend of the Lost

    - Director: Henry Hathaway
    - IMDb user rating: 6.1
    - Runtime: 109 min

    Two men and a beautiful lady embark on a journey across the Sahara desert in 1957’s “Legend of the Lost” to arrive at the ruins of a lost city. Wayne was cast in the role of a French legionnaire for the film, but that didn’t stop him from showing up on set in an American cowboy outfit.

  • #89. Brannigan

    - Director: Douglas Hickox
    - IMDb user rating: 6.1
    - Runtime: 111 min

    In 1975’s “Brannigan,” Wayne plays Jim Brannigan, a Chicago police lieutenant who risks his life escorting a notorious American crime boss from Britain to the United States. While not a Western per se, the film does borrow a number of thematic conventions from the Western genre. 

  • #88. Conflict

    - Director: David Howard
    - IMDb user rating: 6.2
    - Runtime: 60 min

    “Conflict” was a 1936 release based on a novel by Jack London. In the film, Wayne plays boxer Pat Glendon, who plans to throw a big fight until he experiences a last-minute change of heart. The film was made as Wayne’s reputation as an actor was on the rise, but it would take three more years before he earned his place as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

  • #87. Idol of the Crowds

    - Director: Arthur Lubin
    - IMDb user rating: 6.2
    - Runtime: 60 min

    Just a year after the release of “Conflict” came the similarly premised “Idol of the Crowds.” Wayne plays Johnny Hanson, a hockey player trying to raise enough money to expand his chicken farm. Hanson finds himself being targeted by vicious gangsters after refusing to throw an important championship game.

  • #86. Texas Cyclone

    - Director: D. Ross Lederman
    - IMDb user rating: 6.2
    - Runtime: 63 min

    Wayne plays a supporting role in 1932’s “Texas Cyclone,” as Steve Pickett who follows a man named Pecos Grant. After riding into a strange town, Grant ends up being confused with a presumed-dead man who had many enemies. “Texas Cyclone” features one of Hollywood’s most iconic lines: “This town ain’t big enough to hold the two of us.”

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  • #85. Circus World

    - Director: Henry Hathaway
    - IMDb user rating: 6.2
    - Runtime: 135 min

    "Circus World" was one of six films Wayne and director Henry Hathaway worked on together over the course of their respective careers. The film is about an American circus proprietor who encounters all sorts of problems when he decides to take his Wild West Show to Europe.

  • #84. McQ

    - Director: John Sturges
    - IMDb user rating: 6.2
    - Runtime: 111 min

    In the spirit of films like “Bullitt” and “Dirty Harry” came 1974’s “McQ,” in which Wayne plays a police lieutenant investigating the murder of his close friend. The movie was made when Wayne was arguably past his prime, evidenced by his memorably lackluster performance. But as some of his other 1970s films would go to show, Wayne wasn’t down for the count just yet.

  • #83. Sea Spoilers

    - Director: Frank R. Strayer
    - IMDb user rating: 6.3
    - Runtime: 63 min

    Wayne playing a Coast Guard commander in this 1936 film. The commander's bravery and intelligence are put to the test after a group of seal poachers kidnap his girlfriend. The low-budget action motion picture was the first film Wayne made for Universal Studios while under contract in the 1930s.

  • #82. Santa Fe Stampede

    - Director: George Sherman
    - IMDb user rating: 6.3
    - Runtime: 55 min

    From 1936 to 1943, Republic Pictures released 51 B-movie Westerns featuring “The Three Mesquiteers,” a trio of cowboys modeled after Alexandre Dumas’ classic swashbucklers. Wayne would appear as one of the Mesquiteers in eight of those films, including 1938’s “Sante Fe Stampede.” In this installment (the third to feature the trio that included Wayne), Wayne’s fellow Mesquiteers work to clear his name after he is falsely accused of murder.

  • #81. Three Faces West

    - Director: Bernard Vorhaus
    - IMDb user rating: 6.3
    - Runtime: 79 min

    A year after becoming box office gold in 1939’s “Stagecoach,” Wayne appeared in 1940’s “Three Faces West.” In the film, a surgeon and his daughter flee the Nazis and end up in North Dakota, where a new problem awaits in the form of threatening Dust Bowl winds. To escape the winds, Wayne’s character John Phillips leads the pair and others on a migration to Oregon. Wayne’s character gets romantically entangled with the surgeon’s daughter while on their journey to safety.

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