John Wayne: What Was the Last Film in Which He Wore His Iconic Cowboy Hat?

by Halle Ames

John Wayne without his iconic cowboy hat is like a fish without water or Outsider without you. It just doesn’t go together.

Let’s learn a bit about the legendary hat, though. 

John Wayne has appeared in over 250 movies throughout his 50-year long career from 1926 until 1977. In most of these films, John Wayne played the role of a macho western cowboy, a character he had perfected over the years.

But, what is a cowboy without his beloved hat? 

However, the hat wasn’t just a prop that Wayne would return to the studio after filming was complete. His tan, worn-down hat belonged to the Duke himself. 

According to IMDb, John Wayne wore his trusty hat until it was battered and falling apart. Furthermore, the cowboy hat was finally retired in 1959 after the completion of the movie Rio Bravo

“The hat that John Wayne wears was his own. He would wear it in many westerns during the next two decades before retiring it after Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo (1959) because it was simply “falling apart.” After that, the hat was displayed under glass in his home.”

While we aren’t exactly experts when it comes to cowboy hats, we sought out those who are. 

True West Magazine published an article in 2012 about “great western movie hats” and highlights some that graced Wayne’s head throughout his film career. 

“Leading actors can override the notions of studio wardrobe departments. In many of his movies, John Wayne wore a grey or silver belly hat with a front-pinched, diamond-creased crown—said to be his personal favorite style.”

John Wayne, a Man of Many Hats

In addition, in John Wayne’s last role, in 1976, where he portrayed gunfighter J.B. Books in the movie, The Shootist, the magazine goes into detail about this cowboy hat as well. 

“In his final film role, John Wayne wore a cowboy hat with a six-inch crown in his favored pinch-front, triangle crease style.”

Oh, you want to recreate this style and get a John Wayne look-alike hat for yourself? We have you covered there as well. You may want to start saving up because the head accessory could set you back a bit. 

“Golden Gate Western Wear offers the Duke’s Shootist hat in 10X beaver. The hat is shown here in silver belly ($529.98) with the optional snakeskin hatband and its attached diamondback rattler ($95).”

Or, you could just go on Amazon and find suitable cowboy hats for around $20. The choice is really yours, though.