John Wayne’s Best Movies, Ranked

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. The Searchers (1956)
> Fellow leads: Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond
> Director: John Ford
> Domestic box office: N/A

“The Searchers” was shot in Technicolor and stars Wayne in one his most iconic roles as Ethan Edwards. He’s a Civil War veteran in search of his niece (Natalie Wood), who has been kidnapped by Native Americans. Wayne loved the role so much he later named his son Ethan.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
> Fellow leads: James Stewart, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin
> Director: John Ford
> Domestic box office: $8.00 million

“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” stars James Stewart as Senator Ranse Stoddard, who returns to his small western town and tells the story of his battle against a ruthless gunfighter years earlier. Despite being shot in the 1960s, the film is photographed entirely in black and white. Director John Ford claimed that he filmed the picture in black and white to build tension, but many have speculated that Paramount made the decision to cut production costs.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

1. Rio Bravo (1959)
> Fellow leads: Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson
> Director: Howard Hawks
> Domestic box office: $12.54 million

In “Rio Bravo,” Wayne plays a sheriff charged with detaining a murderer, who is also the brother of a powerful businessman, for several days until a U.S. marshal arrives with backup. Dean Martin co-stars as Wayne’s newly sober ex-deputy.