DISCOVER--sixteen great later John Wayne westernsby jonabbott56 | created - 22 Dec 2012 | updated - 28 Jan 2016 | Public
John Wayne's film career began in earnest in 1939, but he had been making western shorts and serials all through the 1930s, and started acting even earlier than that. He was guaranteed box office gold for forty years. The Searchers and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon are his two best films in my opinion, but for pure lazy afternoon relaxation, I prefer his later films. Try these if you're a newbie. This list is in chronological order.
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1. Rio Bravo (1959)
Not Rated | 141 min | Action, Drama, Western
A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.
Votes: 46,835 | Gross: $12.54M
with Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan
2. The Horse Soldiers (1959)
Approved | 120 min | Adventure, Romance, War
In 1863, a Union outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in Mississippi to destroy enemy railroads but a captive southern belle and the unit's doctor cause frictions within ranks.
with William Holden, Constance Towers, Hoot Gibson, Strother Martin
3. The Comancheros (1961)
Approved | 107 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
with Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin, Nehemiah Persoff, Lee Marvin, Michael Ansara, Patrick Wayne, Bruce Cabot, Joan O'Brien, Jack Elam
4. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, Western
A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.
with James Stewart, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine, Woody Strode, Jeanette Nolan, Lee Van Cleef, Strother Martin
5. McLintock! (1963)
Approved | 127 min | Comedy, Romance, Western
Wealthy rancher G.W. McLintock uses his power and influence in the territory to keep the peace between farmers, ranchers, land-grabbers, Indians and corrupt government officials.
with Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers, Patrick Wayne, Yvonne De Carlo, Jack Kruschen, Chill Wills, Bruce Cabot, Edgar Buchanan, Perry Lopez, Michael Pate, Strother Martin
6. The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
Approved | 122 min | Western
Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.
Votes: 11,661 | Gross: $6.00M
with Dean Martin, Martha Hyer, Michael Anderson Jnr., Earl Holliman, Jeremy Slate, James Gregory, Paul Fix, George Kennedy, Dennis Hopper, Strother Martin
7. El Dorado (1967)
Approved | 126 min | Drama, Romance, Western
Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
Votes: 19,681 | Gross: $12.97M
with Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Michele Carey, Arthur Hunnicutt, R.G.Armstrong, Ed Asner, Paul Fix, Christopher George
8. The War Wagon (1967)
Unrated | 101 min | Western
The story of a man who was shot, robbed and imprisoned who returns to steal a large gold shipment from the man who wronged him. The gold is transported in an armored stage coach, the War Wagon.
Votes: 7,171 | Gross: $6.00M
with Kirk Douglas, Howard Keel, Robert Walker Jnr., Keenan Wynn, Bruce Cabot, Valora Nolan
9. True Grit (1969)
G | 128 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian territory.
Votes: 36,089 | Gross: $31.13M
with Kim Darby, Glen Campbell, Jeremy Slate, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Alfred Ryder, Strother Martin
10. The Undefeated (1969)
G | 119 min | Western
After the Civil War, ex-Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and ex-Confederate Colonel James Langdon are leading two disparate groups of people through strife-torn Mexico. John Henry and ... See full summary »
with Rock Hudson, Lee Meriwether, Bruce Cabot, Antonio Aguilar, Roman Gabriel, Ben Johnson, Edward Faulkner, Harry Carey Jnr., Paul Fix, Jon Agar, Guy Raymond
11. Chisum (1970)
G | 111 min | Biography, Western
Cattle baron John Chisum joins forces with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett to fight the Lincoln County land war.
Votes: 7,384 | Gross: $6.00M
with Forrest Tucker, Christopher George, Ben Johnson, Glenn Corbett, Andrew Prine, Bruce Cabot
12. Rio Lobo (1970)
G | 114 min | Adventure, Western, Romance
After the Civil War, Cord McNally searches for the traitor whose perfidy caused the defeat of McNally's unit and the loss of a close friend.
Votes: 8,318 | Gross: $9.27M
with Jorge Rivero, Jennifer O'Neill, Jack Elam, Victor French, Chris Mitchum
13. Big Jake (1971)
GP | 110 min | Western
In 1909, when John Fain's gang kidnaps Big Jake McCandles' grandson and hold him for ransom, Big Jake sets out to rescue the boy.
Votes: 8,935 | Gross: $7.50M
with Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Chris Mitchum, Bruce Cabot, Glenn Corbett, Harry Carey Jnr.
14. Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)
PG | 103 min | Drama, Western
A tough Marshal has a difficult task when his two sons join a gang and rob a bank.
with George Kennedy, Neville Brand, Gary Grimes, Marie Windsor
15. Rooster Cogburn (1975)
PG | 108 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
Marshal Rooster Cogburn unwillingly teams up with Eula Goodnight to track down the killers of her father.
Votes: 8,847 | Gross: $8.02M
Sequel to True Grit.
with Katherine Hepburn, Anthony Zerbe, Richard Jordan, John McIntire, Strother Martin
16. The Shootist (1976)
PG | 100 min | Drama, Romance, Western
A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.
Votes: 18,565 | Gross: $5.99M
Wayne's last film.
with James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Richard Boone, Bill McKinney, John Carradine, Scatman Crothers, Harry Morgan, Hugh O'Brian, Sheree North
Jon is not on Facebook, but can reply to comments here, at the base of this list.
Obsessed with the popular culture of the 1960s and surrounding decades, Jon Abbott has been writing about film and TV for over thirty years in around two dozen different publications, trade, populist, and specialist. He is the author of several books, including
Irwin Allen Television Productions 1964-1970, Stephen J. Cannell Television Productions: A History of All Series and Pilots, The Elvis Films, Cool TV of the 1960s: Three Shows That Changed the World, and Strange New World: Sex Films of the 1970s.
See his Amazon author's page, and his other lists on the IMDB, all under the pre-fix DISCOVER.