John Wayne was nothing if not humble.
Wayne was once asked to name some of his all-time favorite actors and films back in 1977. John Wayne had won an Academy Award for his work on “True Grit” in 1969.
John Wayne Lists Two of his Movies as the Best
The People’s Almanac sent out a letter to some Academy Award-winning actors of the time. In the letter, these actors were told, “We are undertaking an exclusive poll of all living Academy Award-winning actors … on their opinions of who were and are the 5 best motion picture actors of all time. We are also asking the Academy Award-winning actors to vote on the 5 pictures they feel are the best motion pictures of all time.”
According to Stars and Letters, Wayne didn’t pick himself as an influential actor. Instead, he wrote Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Laurence Olivier, and Lionel Barrymore.
As for the films he chose “A Man for All Seasons,” “Gone with the Wind,” “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” “The Searchers,” and “The Quiet Man.” He happened to be the star of two of these films.
In 1956, Wayne played Ethan Edwards in “The Searchers.” It is a drama-Western film in which Wayne’s character, a Civil War veteran, goes on an adventure to rescue his niece from the Comanches. John Wayne is most well-known for his work in the Western genre. During his career, he had countless very similar roles that would lead to his nickname of The Duke.
Before “The Searchers” John Wayne had starred in “The Quiet Man” in 1952. This is quite different from his more infamous and action-packed Western-themed films. In this movie, Wayne plays Sean Thornton, a retired American boxer. He returns to where he was born in Ireland and falls for a woman there, meanwhile, his brother is contemptuous of their relationship. His love interest is Maureen O’Hara.
This movie is considered a comedy, drama, and romance film.
Wayne Beyond the Western
John Wayne knew that people thought he always ended up in the same repetitive-feeling roles during his career.
In an interview with Roger Ebert, Wayne talked about some of his less-known roles. These are ones where he has branched out from playing the macho and masculine man of the West.
“Of course, they give me that John Wayne stuff so much, claim I always play the same role. Seems like nobody remembers how different the fellows were in ‘The Quiet Man.’ or ‘Iwo Jima,’ or ‘Yellow Ribbon,’ where I was 35 playing a man of 65. To stay a star, you have to bring along some of your own personality. Thousands of good actors can carry a scene, but a star has to carry the scene and still, without intruding, allow some of his character into it. What do you think?” Wayne said.
John Wayne was nominated for an Academy Award for “Sands of Iwo Jima” but didn’t win. “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” is a 1949 Western film directed by John Ford that was popular and was also one of Wayne’s favorites to make.