American actor John Wayne (1907 - 1979) (as Cole Thornton) in a scene from 'El Dorado' (directed by Howard Hawks), 1967. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
The 15 Greatest John Wayne Movie Moments
15. Battle of the Alamo
In the ambitious but rarely factual “The Alamo,” Wayne delivers a spectacular epic as both director and star. The movie’s climactic battle in which Davy Crockett and other legendary western heroes square off against the Mexican army is breathtaking in its scale, and the ultimate Mexican army victory is a rare downbeat and poignant finale for a Wayne film.
14. Chisum Stands Up
“Chisum” focuses on the Lincoln County war of 1878, during which cattle rancher John Chisum fights back against conniving businessmen operating a dry goods monopoly. Throughout the film, the Duke is in peak form but is at his best when he defends the dignity of his former rival, Chief White Buffalo, against an Army First Sergeant who tries to belittle him.
13. Planting the Flag
John Wayne earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as Sgt. Joh Stryker in the World War II epic “Sands of Iwo Jima.” Stryker is a hard-nosed man, feared and admired in equal parts, but he meets his untimely and heartbreaking end when he is shot dead on a smoke break with his soldiers just as the American flag is shown rising atop Mount Suribachi.
12. Final Shootout
In “El Dorado,” John Wayne plays aging gunfighter Cole Thornton who helps Sheriff J.P. Harrah stop a crew of evil ranchers pestering El Dorado citizens over water rights. Despite taking a bullet in the back that results in temporary paralysis on the right side of his body, Thornton manages to save the day, easily dispatching bad guys in the final shootout.
11. Sean Boxes Red
In “The Quiet Man,” Wayne leaves the Wild West behind, starring as former boxer Sean Thornton who returns to Ireland where marries Mary Kate Danaher. Mary Kate’s brother refuses to give Thornton her dowry, culminating in an entertaining boxing match in which the two knock each other through bales of hay, into rivers, and even stop for a quick drink.