John Wayne Explained Why He Was ‘Most Critical’ Watching His Own Films in 1976 Interview

by Quentin Blount
john-wayne-explained-most-critical-watching-own-films-1976-interview

There are some famous actors that simply enjoy the art of acting, but not the movie itself. As for John Wayne, well, he fell on both sides.

If you are a fan of classic television, then you know that John Wayne is one of the most iconic actors of all time. He had countless starring roles in films that were made during Hollywood’s Golden Age. But where he particularly shined was in Western and war movies. In total, he was a part of at least 83 different movies.

It may seem crazy, but it is actually pretty common for some of the world’s top actors to never watch their own movies. And not only does it seem crazy to us, but it was also crazy to John Wayne as well. We learned in a 1976 interview with Phil Donahue that The Duke not only watched all of his movies, he also enjoyed them. However, he admits that he was his biggest critic.

The show had a live audience where members were able to ask Wayne questions about his acting career.

“Do you watch all of your movies?” one fan asks. “And if you do, do you enjoy them? A lot of stars say they don’t watch them.”

“Well, I have seen all of the pictures that I’ve made,” Wayne replied. “And I think professionally, it would be kind of ridiculous for me not to see them.”

The lucky fan was able to get one more question with The Duke in before her time was up.

“Are you critical or can you enjoy them?” she asks.

“I am most critical,” Wayne said. “But hell, a lot of them I’ve enjoyed.”

Is John Wayne an Exception? Why Don’t Other Actors Watch Their Own Movies?

It almost feels like it would be a natural instinct to want to watch something you were a part of. Especially if that something just so happened to be a multi-million dollar motion picture. You would think that it would be a great feeling to see the final product come together after spending long days and nights working on a movie. But aside from the great John Wayne, there are many prominent actors who don’t watch their own movies. So, why is that?

Well, Tom Hanks told the Shortlist that it would be “madness” to watch all of his old films.

“Oh, I don’t watch any of my old movies,” Hanks admitted. “I don’t watch my own performances — who does that? That would be madness. I’ve seen all the movies once, but I don’t need to see them again, because they don’t change.

What is madness to Tom Hanks, was the exact opposite to John Wayne. As for Robert De Niro, he also says that he doesn’t like watching his own films.

“I don’t like to watch my own movies — I fall asleep in my own movies.”

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