Ethan Wayne Reveals His Favorite John Wayne Westerns

by Michael Freeman

Legendary actor John Wayne was in more than his fair share of films, especially westerns. Though many of them are classics, some stand above the rest. His son, Ethan Wayne, recently threw his hat in the ring regarding his favorites and after reading his explanations, it’s easy to see why he adores them.

Chatting with Cowboys & Indians, Ethan Wayne covered a multitude of topics, many of which involved his father. When asked about his favorites among his father’s films, Ethan named several. The Quiet Man, The Searchers, True Grit, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance all made the list. He acknowledges Big Jake as one of his better films but states The Cowboys stands above the rest.

In Ethan’s words, The Cowboys was the right movie at the right time for the father-son duo. “I wasn’t an adult,” Ethan began. “But I was old enough to be aware of things that were happening, interactions between people spending time with my dad.”

Continuing, he disclosed “We could go on horseback rides together. He’d let me drive the car to the location — and he’d be yelling at me the whole time he’d let me drive. I got to hang out with him a lot. And now, looking back, that character that he plays in The Cowboys really reminds me of my father.”

Considering the character John Wayne plays and the fact the two got to spend so much time together, it’s no wonder it holds a special place in Ethan’s heart. It’s especially telling since John Wayne’s characters were frequently honorable and good people too.

Ethan Wayne Encourages All Potential Employees to Watch and Study ‘The Cowboys’

It seems Ethan Wayne’s admiration for The Cowboys has more than just sentimental appeal. In fact, he encourages anyone who wants to work at John Wayne Enterprises to watch it.

In the same Cowboys & Indians interview, Ethan gave prospective employees a list of movies to study. Not only does The Cowboys make the list, but he also encourages people to start with it. “I’ll also tell them some other ones to watch,” Ethan said. “But start with The Cowboys. Because I think The Cowboys really represents what I’m trying to do with the John Wayne brand now.”

Elaborating, he said his father’s character has values he considers important. Additionally, it’s a great case study on the John Wayne brand in general. “I feel like my father was an honest character in that movie. And he was really honest with those boys and was a great leader for them and a great example. And he tried to give them a foundation to build a life on — and their manhood on. Being tough, but fair. Tough, but with compassion. Tough for the good of the other person, not for the detriment of the other person. He was being tough to help them face life. And that’s one of the main reasons I think it’s a wonderful movie.”