John Wayne Westerns: Here’s How You Can Stream Some of His Most Iconic Films

by Joe Rutland

Who doesn’t like to sit down and watch John Wayne in a good, old-fashioned film? If that’s you, then here’s how to see more of them.

Streaming services Amazon Prime, Starz, Hulu, and HBO Max are gateways for some classic John Wayne films that might be a bit hard to find. Let’s break down some of these movies and where they can be specifically found right now.

“Sands of Iwo Jima,” a war film but one of his iconic appearances on film, is on Hulu. Wayne plays Marine Sergeant John Stryker and was nominated for an Academy Award. This World War II film, which slowly makes its way toward the battle itself, remains popular for Wayne fans. He shows off his stern-yet-respected character style in the film. It holds up quite well in the face of modern war films.

“Stagecoach” is on Amazon Prime and HBO Max. It was made by director John Ford at a time when some classic movies like “Gone With The Wind” were hitting the big screen. As the Ringo Kid, John Wayne commands attention in this film that proved to be the one to set him up for Hollywood stardom and a run of film success.

John Wayne Lets Art Imitate Life In ‘The Shootist’

“The Shootist,” which was Wayne’s last film of his epic career, is on Starz. Now, this film has a touch of art imitating life to it. See, Wayne was suffering from cancer in real life as the film was being made. John Wayne would die from cancer in 1979. His character, though, had to settle one more grievance before he could pass peacefully. It’s a powerful film that co-stars Ron Howard and James Stewart.

“The Long Voyage Home,” one of “The Duke’s” first films with Ford, is on HBO Max. The film is based off of plays from Eugene O’Neill and focuses on a bunch of alcoholics getting together on a boat before the war. It’s one that you can find and see Wayne play a very different role from his Western style.

“Rio Bravo,” in which Wayne has a supporting cast that includes Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan, and Angie Dickinson, is on HBO Max. Now let’s talk about this movie for a hot minute. Film historians note “Rio Bravo” was made as a slap in the face to “High Noon,” which “Rio Bravo” director Howard Hawkes and Wayne himself thought was “un-American.” Just watching the film on its merits, there are flashes of humor between Wayne, Martin, and Nelson. Brennan coddles some laughs, too, as “Stumpy.”

Wayne Plays Lead Role In Top-Grossing Film Of 1948

“Red River,” which was nominated for two Academy Awards, is on Starz. It was 1948’s highest-grossing film at the box office. “Duke” plays Thomas Dunson, a ranchman who wants to drive his herd across the country. Grief, though, is something constantly around Dunson after his wife died after an attack from Native Americans. The performance that Wayne produces throughout the film is classic, making people really see him as an actor.

“How The West Was Won,” a film that Wayne played a role in among other big-time stars, is on HBO Max. Talk about a who’s who of movie stars in one, long, three-hour film. Holy cow. Well, there’s Wayne, of course, and Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, and many others. He plays William Tecumseh Smith, who was a real-life Union solder. Wayne’s part in this film is rather small, but he did get to work again with Ford.

‘The Searchers’ Takes Wayne Fans On Emotional Journey

“The Searchers,” a John Ford classic in which Wayne totally commands attention with a scenic backdrop of land across Utah, is on HBO Max. Talk about a movie that Wayne fans can watch over and over again. Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran searching for his niece after her home is destroyed by Comanches. She is abducted by them, too. Edwards is one troubled dude and Wayne plays it that way to the very end when that door closes and the final credits roll.

“True Grit,” a truly strong Wayne film that co-starred country music singer Glen Campbell and actress Kim Darby, is on Amazon Prime. Finally, Wayne won an Academy Award for his role as Rooster Cogburn. Cogburn, a U.S. Marshal, gets a call from Darby, who plays a young woman seeking the man who killed her father. Campbell plays a Texas Ranger in this one. It’s a good film with the memorable scene of Cogburn riding his horse, holding the strap in his teeth.

These movies, which are just a part of the backdrop of the film history of John Wayne, are some must-see cinematic ones for old and young fans alike. Watching these movies gives a good overview of the types of films “The Duke” did throughout his long career.

H/T: CinemaBlend