‘El Dorado’ Starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum Premieres in Theaters on This Day in 1967

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

John Wayne and Robert Mitchum rocked theaters in their western movie “El Dorado” which premiered in theaters on this day in 1967.

The movie stars Wayne as Cole Thornton, a gunfighter who receives a visit in El Dorado, where he’s living, from Sheriff J.P. Harrah [Mitchum]. Harrah loves his booze a bit too much. He calls on Thornton to help him fight off rancher Bart Jason, played by Ed Asner. Jason wants to get land from the McDonald family for their water.

Jason hired Thornton to come and do the job, but the character John Wayne plays turns down the offer. This causes a conflict, which brings both Thornton and Harrah together along with a young gambler, played by James Caan, and an old Native American fighter.

John Wayne Stars In A Series Of Three Films For Director Howard Hawks

“El Dorado” happens to be the middle of three films Hawks directed with a similar storyline: a sheriff defends his office against rough-and-tough outlaws. “Rio Bravo” was first in 1959, followed by “El Dorado,” and “Rio Lobo” in 1970 was the third.

John Wayne starred in all three of these pictures. His star power definitely helped these movies do well at the box office. “El Dorado,” whose soundtrack was done by legendary composer-arranger Nelson Riddle, pulled in $5.9 million.

This wasn’t the first time Wayne and Mitchum appeared in the same film together. They both appeared in the 1962 World War II movie “The Longest Day.” John Wayne died on June 11, 1979, at 72 years old after battling cancer. Mitchum died on July 1, 1997, at 79 years old from complications of lung cancer and emphysema.

Their appearances in “El Dorado” remain popular with Western movie fans. Make sure to catch it when it pops up on your TV sometime soon.

Wayne Wily Dodges Question About His Favorite Movie Co-Star

When it comes to co-starring next to John Wayne, there are a lot of possible answers to which one was his favorite.

He had an opportunity to come clean with an answer during a 1976 appearance on “Donahue.”

In a question-and-answer portion, a fan asked Wayne about who was his favorite co-star.

He pauses for a moment and replies, “Well, uh,” breaking into a slight smile. “I like to see a good-lookin’ woman opposite me…” Talk show host Phil Donahue’s audience laughs out loud. Wayne also said, “Ya know, I’m political enough not to answer that question.”

If there was an answer to that question, then what might it be? Maureen O’Hara appeared in a lot of movies with Wayne. Their connection in “The Quiet Man” remains one of the silver screen’s greatest highlights. We’ll never actually know who was The Duke’s favorite.