Wayne’s movies didn’t always excel with critics or at the box office, but he always stuck to his values and refused to compromise on them


Actor John Wayne knew a great deal about what went into making a great time at the movies. He was very particular about the type of films he decided to star in. Wayne’s movies didn’t always excel with critics or at the box office, but he always stuck to his values and refused to compromise on them. He once explained how that played into the features he agreed to star in and why he avoided complicated features.

The first director to see great potential in Wayne and give him a shot in the movies as a leading actor was Raoul Walsh. He cast him in 1930’s The Big Trail, which was a box office failure. However, Wayne’s collaborations with legendary filmmaker John Ford ultimately boosted him into stardom. The 1939 ensemble Western Stagecoach was the beginning of a monumental career for the actor.

Wayne stuck with Western and war movies over the course of his career. He continued to play tough cowboy and soldier types, always emphasizing strength, masculinity, and his idea of decency. Wayne projected this thought onto the silver screen in other aspects, such as the ratings system that the MPAA would continue to evolve over time.

The official Wayne Twitter account shared one of the actor’s values that he implemented into the movies that he made over the course of his career. He avoided making movies that he deemed “indecent” and wanted to keep it straightforward. After all, the movie star accounted for the real reason that he believed folks went to the movie theater, to begin with.

“In my movies, I try to remember that people are dropping those bills at the box office so they can relax and enjoy,” Wayne said. “That’s why I like to keep it simple and what used to be called decent.”

Wayne turned down many substantial movie roles because they went against his perspective. He held his respect for America above all else and refused to star in anything that jeopardized that image. Therefore, he avoided projects from Blazing Saddles to High Noon because they went against his morals and idea of a “simple” and “decent” motion picture.

Wayne starred in his share of fun movies that didn’t leave much of a lasting impression. However, he first considered himself a “real” actor after starring in 1948’s Red River, playing Thomas Dunson. From there, he continued to prove his worth as an actor, taking on deeper subject matter.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Sands of Iwo Jima came the year after, the latter of which earned him his first Oscar nomination. However, many of his fans believed that he deserved to get that first Academy Award hat tip with Red River.

Wayne continued to prove his acting ability in films such as The Quiet Man, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and True Grit. It was through True Grit that he finally earned his first Oscar win. However, Wayne missed his opportunity to earn an Oscar nomination for one of his deepest performances in The Shootist, which would ultimately become his final role before his death in 1979.


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