What’s Your Favorite ’40s Western Film?

Film Directed By Stanley Kubrick

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  • richard cook

    Other’s are great but my favorite is Tall In The Saddle with John Wayne & Gabby Haye’s.

    • Fred B.

       Like someone said about “Ramrod” falling through the cracks, the same can be said for “Tall in the Saddle”. The sexual tension between Wayne’s character and Ella Raines is something you didn’t see a lot of in the 1940′s oaters.An excellent Western and a great fight scene with Wayne’s buddy Ward Bond.The wonderful scene when Raines starts shooting at Wayne as he walks away from her and into the bar and ask for whiskey is priceless as the scene with Wayne walking up to the bad guy and threatens to kill him if he draws his gun. I’ll take this over the more popular “Angle and the Badman”….

  • Pepe38

    The two best westerns of the 1940′s were in my opinion were, My Darling Clementine(1946) with Henry Fonda and Fort Apache(1948) with John Wayne.
    I first saw them as a child in the theater, and subsequently on television more than fifty times each. The cast and acting was superb.

  • Ginbaldwin

    I am a John Wayne fan and my favorite Wayne Wertern was Tall in the Saddle.

    • Rranruc

      Tall in the Saddle if also my favorite western. If anyone wants to see John Wayne in his lean and good looks and his one word answers that made everyone in the room take him serious.

  • Ron

    The great Howard Hawks directing.  The great Tiomkin’s score.  The great acting trio of Wayne, Clift and Brennan as well as the great character actors like Fix, Berry Jr, Dru, Ireland, Carry Jr @ Sr.  I’d say its the name of that river in the south that borders my great state from that backward Republic they like to call a state that used to be referred to as Tejas.

    • Melvin Merritt

      I agree with you, Red River was one of the greatest western.  Clift was out standing as Matthew Garth, and we all know that John Wayne was  the greatest western actor of all times. Of course all of the actors shined in that movie. And lets not forget John Ireland as Cherry Valance of Val Verde. 

  • Wayne P.

    The Westerner…can still see Lily Langtrees poster on the wall above the saloon with the wonderful Walter Brennan (winning his 3rd best supporting actor Oscar for his role as Judge Roy Bean) serving that good ‘ole “rub of the brush” to Gary Cooper…they each did their own horse stunts too, it looked like!

  • Frankiedc

    Duel in the Sun has always been a guilty pleasure to me. It is so overblown and melodramatic that I cant resist seeing it. I have two dvds of it and yet will gleefully watch it again when is is shown on tv. Some of the photography is superlative, such as the scene of cowboys converging together, but that pales by comparison to the overheated love scenes between a sultry Jennifer Jones (our dear sweet Bernadette!) and a sinister Gregory Peck(yes, Atticus Finch.) The final duel between the lovers is definitely high camp. Plus the movie has a great supporting cast, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Joseph Cotton, Herbert Marshall, and Tilly Losch, as Jones’ slutty mother who comes to a fitting end in the first reel.

  • Tony Payne

    A great selection to choose from. As Wayne says, Walter Brennan is irreplaceable, a most wonderful actor. My personal favourite is My Darling Clementine directed by the Master. Raoul Walsh was another marvellous director of outdoor oaters, his work on The Big Trail is amazing, particularly when the wagons are lowered down the cliffs as the pioneers are wading through the forest. Also the camera work on They Died with Their Boots On where the final battle ensues is a work of genius. Many future TV westerns about Custer used footage from this film. For any enthusiast I would recommend Raoul Walsh’s autobiography – its a thumping good read.

    • Jason fleming

      John Ford directed My Darling Clementine. Raoul Walsh is an excellent director Pursued or Colorado Territory would be my choice for the best 40′s westerns directed by Walsh.

  • Randallhorn000

    I voted for Clementine, but all the westerns listed here are great.  In my mind, they all deserve to be called ‘classic,’ because the men who directed them still had a feeling for the period, had a connection to the western time period, and had directed so many silent westerns too. That’s why westerns released today reference these classic westerns of old, and where the cowboy hats & the costumes may change, there’s nothing new under the dueling sun with the modern western, though they try.
    Just reading the names of each of these westerns on the list, brings to mind each film and how much fun & excitement they delivered. One final, trivial, comment. I grew up watching westerns on TV, including of course, all the early TV western series (Cheyenne, Wyatt Earp, Maverick, etc.), plus the ones on the list, and They Died with Their Boots On, was an early fav of mine, so, I grew up with the ‘Custer story.’
    One day, I came across Gen. George Armstrong Custer’s portrait.  What he actually looked like.  I was stunned! You mean there actually WAS a General Custer… and he didn’t resemble Errol Flynn?
    (Up until then, Custer was a fictional character to me, simply because he was in a movie…) I credit that discovery of linking a movie’s ‘fictional hero’ to an actual person in the past, for my love of history, especially American history. Movies can really make one curious, which leads to a world of discovery.
    Thanks for indulging me. Happy Trails!

    • Vinny Castellano

      Thanks for your insightful comment.  I too grew up watching most of those TV westerns when there was at least one western on every night.  It was great !  … loved the 40s westerns too -
      tough to choose a favorite — Ox-Bow, Clementine, Red River, Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache.
      May they live on in our memory as well as the screen.
      Hi-ho, Silver, away!

  • Marty

    It’s a wonderful list! It was abit difficult to choose, but my favorite was The Ox-Bow Incident. It said alot about the lack of justice in frontier America. Another of my favorites was Duel In The Sun starring Gregory Peck. Selznick captured the enourmous setting with excellent cinemaphotography. Although Warner Bros. took liberty with history, Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland made it believable.

  • http://twitter.com/Bryankr Bryan Ruffin

    So many John Wayne’s in one poll?! How’s a guy to choose!?! Ox-Bow was a great movie! Santa Fe, same thing; The Virginian I love these movies! Watch them every chance I get!! Fort Apache actually shows Shirley Temple grown up, not bad looking either! I gave my vote to Red River. Direction was wonderful, story line about an aging rancher that just didn’t like the idea of finding out he was wrong…..unless it was to the man he raised as his son. 

  • OZ ROB

    Other…Blood on the Moon ,1948,,Western with a noir flavor,, I also like Ramrod 1947 for the same reason, both have great casts and direction..If i had to vote for one of those listed listed i would go for Red River as i am no great fan of JW i have to admit to really enjoying his performance in this..Love the  Western genre,enjoy escaping into the grandeur of the landscapes and the wild west scenarios.

  • Ron

    With some nice worthy titles there like MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, It amazes me you left off ANGEL AND THE BADMAN, one of the finest westerns of all time.

    • Pepe38

      For some reason I couldn’t get into the film. Possibly because I thought how tragic Gail Russell’s life in the subsequent years. However, you are correct. It deserves to be included in the group.

  • David

    Great Westerns but some are woefully absent: COLORADO TERRITORY, RACHEL AND THE STRANGER, ANGEL AND THE BADMAN (Wayne’s nicest film), CANYON PASSAGE and the made in 49 but 1950 released THE FURIES.
    Also a real cult oddity that deserves mention is THE DUDE GOES WEST, an hilarious western comedy/spoof with Eddie Albert, Gale Storm and Binnie Barnes.  

  • sugarpussoshea

    If you turned any one of these on right now, I wud sit, get comfortable and enjoy!!  Since Clark Gable is my hero (along w/Rbt Osborne) I wud like to inc. The Tall Men (gr8 cast) and Across the Wide Missouri.  Ooops~~~pardon me – those 2 were probably from the 50′s.  Well, there were really gr8 westerns made in every decade, beginning with the beginning……….

  • Richsass

    Great casting in My Darling Clementine.  Henry Fonda and Victor Mature were outstanding.  Favorite scene was when Earp drags the drunken Indian out of the saloon.

  • Jim

    There are a few worthy choices here — “Clementine” and “Ox-Bow” are my favorites. But, oh lord, not “Duel In the Sun”, that gaudy Selznick monstrosity! If you can get through the first ten minutes of pseudo-overtures and ego displays by Mr. S, you get a merit badge!

  • Hiram

    MY DARLING CLEMENTIINE would have gotten my vote a few years ago, but it is an absolute travesty historically, a genuine case of printing the legend rather than the facts (yes, there was a gunfight involving Earp brothers and some Clantons, and Doc did have tuberculosis — the only true things about the movie), so I had to go with SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON instead.

  • Rob Maynard

    I had to vote “other” because my own favourite “The Outlaw” wasn’t there.

  • GaryKoca

    Red River, My Darling Clementine, and The Ox-Bow Incident were all just outstanding Westerns. It was difficult to choose between the three. I chose The Ox-Bow Incident because of the sobering message about mob action. Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews were both outstanding in that movie, and Harry Morgan of M*A*S*H* was Fonda’s buddy. 

  • GaryKoca

    If you think Victor Mature could not act, watch My Darling Clementine, where he is outstanding. The scene where he finishes Hamlet’s soliloquy for the actor who could not remember the lines was just terrific. 

  • Mycelloandme

    I voted for “The Westerner”.  The acting is first class.I really choked up at the scene with Gary Cooper carrying Walter Brennen to meet Lily Langtree.Lines like ” I can like a snake, but I wouldn’t turn my back on him” refer to Judge Roy Bean. I urge movie fans if they have never seen this unique western to check it out.  You’ll be amazed.  I love westerns overall.  My second choice is Duel In The Sun, but it’s a hard choice – a lot of good ones on that list.

  • FalmouthBill

    I voted for “My darling Clementine” I love the lighting/mood !
        Someone mentioned a couple of films not listed which is par for the course on the segment. However, one of the films mentioned was “Rachel and the Stranger” a great film, but I wouldn’t consider it a western ! Just as I wouldn’t consider “The Kentuckian”, “Drums along the Mohawk”,or “The Unconquered”. This got me to wondering about the term “Western”, one dictionary definition is ” a story,movie,or radio or T.V. play about the U.S.west of the 19th century”. When you consider that a great many westerns are situated in Texas should they be southwesterns or even southerns ? A lot of westerns are situated in Ohio should they be considered westerns, or “Midwesterns” ?  Speaking strictly logistically, and since I live on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, a story set in Rhode Island could be considered a “Western” to me.  Maybe we should call them what we used to call them when I was a kid [ circa 1950 ] cowboy pictures, but wait, that opens up another quandry for another day. Perhaps I over think things, or else I just have way too much time on my hands ! Well that is my vent for today. FalmouthBill

  • Arlenes40

    OMG – I couldn’t decide – my favorites are Duel in the Sun, She wore a Yellow Ribbon, 3 Godfathers. So, OK, the voters didn’t pick my favorites but they are worthy of a look.

  • ndebrabant

    Well, this is one time I wish I could have picked ALL of them. They are all great, but She Woer A Yellow Ribbon was my pick. I wanted to pick them all.

  • Pacerdad

    When will “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” and “The Ox-Bow Incident” and “Red River” come out on Blu-ray??  I love these old westerns!!  I have several of them on blu-ray already.  Gotta love classic movies!!

  • Slftrek

    Really?  Anything with the DUKE.   I picked Red River.

  • Johnfburton

    I really am a gi-normous Western fan ever since I was a little kid. And I certainly have a great appreciation for what the genre delivered in the 1940s, especially the titles listed above. Great stuff when you think of “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” and other Ford opuses from those years, such as “My Darling Clementine,” Howard Hawks’ masterpiece “Red River” and the work of other great directors like Raoul Walsh.
    Westerns are a uniquely American genre, but another type of film making came into vogue in the ’40s– film noir, portraying the darker, usually criminally and treachery-laden underbelly of life in the Post-World War II years. And some directors adapted the tropes of contemporary crime dramas and super imposed them on the great plains and southwestern desert landscape. And did it remarkably well for a number of titles that, for whatever reason, seem to get overlooked when the Western is discussed. Really fine examples are Robert Wise’s very dark “Blood on the Moon,” featuring a young Mitchum at the height of his noir phase; “Colorado Territory,” where Walsh adapts his earlier “High Sierra” with Joel McCrea replacing Bogart as the fatalistic criminal facing his inevitable end, just as he finds love; Wild Bill Wellman’s “The Oxbow Incident,” like the others, shot in appropriate black and white, is as about as grim an exploration of the human experience–in this case about mob mentality that allows men to be lynched–as you would likely experience in ’40′s (or anytime) celluloid. Maybe a little more a minor addition, but a worthy addition to this sort of sub-genre is Andre De Toth’s “Ramrod.” This one seems to slip between the cracks, and while a modest production, it bristles with tension, including a sexual one, emanating from Veronica Lake. Lake, De Toth’s wife at the time, was the quintessential film noir  femme fatale or good girl of the decade, having been paired with Alan Ladd in a series of popular tough guy movies at the time. Here she’s all fatale as she tries to manipulate McCrea and other weaker men to get her way in a range war with a cattle baron who has design on her as well as her land and her cowering father, aligned with the cattle baron. It’s really good stuff and slated for a DVD release in November.
    Anyone not familiar with these titles, I would recommend you hunt them down.

    • OZ ROB

      Good rave John, and to Neil H. above, my picks were noir flavored western favorites Blood on the Moon,48 and Ramrod,47,,  you may also be interested in Station West,48 with lovely Jane Greer and Dick Powell and another Wellman, Yellow Sky,48…

  • Neil Hirsch

    I voted for “Other.” “Pursued with Robert Mitchum and directed by Raoul Walsh is probably the first, if not the only, film noir western. It’s a forgotten treasure.

  • GaryVidmar

    PURSUED for me, too, that is until the 50′s when Nicholas Ray blew me away with JOHNNY GUITAR!

  • Jersem35

    My favorite all time John Wayne western——–RED RIVER– 

  • Clupton

    Angel & the Badman (1947)  - Atypical John Wayne, Gorgeous Gail Russell

    • Sam Fletcher

      There are many great elements in Angel and the Badman, including a standout performance by Harry Carry. But what I liked best about it is that, except for the medley of scene of pistols being fired as the opening credits roll, Wayne never is depicted firing a gun through the entire movie. The medley of opening gunshots later was colorized and included in Wayne’s last film, The Shootist.

  • Cat

    “Duel in the Sun” is the only time Gregory Peck ever played an outlaw (that I recall) and it’s the best love/hate relationship between Gregory and Jennicer Jones I’ve ever seen.  I love you, but I’m going to kill you.

    • Sam Fletcher

      Peck played a damn good “good” outlaw in “Yellow Sky.” That’s maybe my second-favorite Western from the 1940s because at its core, the plot centers on a strong woman–Anne Baxter. Hey, she gets the drop on an outlaw gang and then floors Peck with a single punch–how much stronger female role could there be!

  • CarterCE

    I picked “Red River” although there was a toss-up between it and “The Ox Bow Incident.”  One of the films listed, “Santa Fe Trail” (1940), had the potential of being an excellent film but in my opinion failed miserably.  Where this film really missed the mark was in not dealing accurately and realistically with the expansion of slavery in America, the crusade of abolitionist John Brown to stand against it, and the ensuing pivotal chapter in American history that most certainly re-defined and re-directed this country: the Civil War.
     
    What we are fed throughout much of the film, however, is the manufactored importance of, of all people, Jeb Stuart, Robert E. Lee, and George Armstrong Custer!  ‘Honorable Heroes’ by Hollywood standards, but historically, neither of whom lifted a finger to end slavery or the genocidal annihilation of Native Americans. To validate or justify this plot diversion, John Brown is portrayed as the villain and a dillusional mad man. (What white man in his right mind would seek to free the slaves and kill other white people in the process?? This seems to be the subliminal message here.)

    Two films come to mind that dealt effectively with the American Civil War: “Gone With the Wind” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966).  “Santa Fe Trail” (1940) (Ronald Reagan, Errol Flynn, and Raymond Massey), misses out on a golden opportunity to be an enlightening ”pre-quel,” if you will, and a 4-star enduring classic like GWTW in bringing to the screen the series of events that led inevitably to the American Civil War.  I guess the saddest thing about “Santa fe Trail” (1940) is that it could have been a greater film than some people believe it is.   

    • Sam Fletcher

      The worst of many horrible historical gaffes in “Santa Fe Trail” is that it claims John Brown was “stealing” blacks in order to resell them for slaves in another state!!! John Brown’s body likely was turning in his grave over that one!

  • Dave

    If you stretch the 1940s a bit to include 1939, “Let Freedom Ring” of that year is my favorite western for any time.  Starring Nelson Eddy (with his magnificent singing), Virginia Bruce, Victor McLaglen, Lionel Barrymore, and many other greats, it stands at the top of films depicting the 19th century epic struggle of ranchers vs railroads, a theme of many fine westerns of the 1930s-40s period.  This film was issued on VHS once, but deserves to be on DVD now.

  • Bill

    Red River gets my vote but only with a flip of the coin with The Ox Bow Incident coming in the first last place.

    “If you ride with outlaws your gonna die with outlaws” …………….Gus McRae .Lonesome Dove

  • Ron Phlegar

    RED RIVER is the ultimate cowboy movie. Showing cowboys doing the cowboy’s job.
     Not settlers or gunfighters but cowboys. Fine performances by John Wayne
     and Montgomery Clift.

  • Dave

    I like the westerner because I like the inaction between Walter Brennan and Gary Cooper. They made a few film together and were comfortable with each other

  • pocroc

    Loved Duel In The Sun.  Peck playing against type, Jennifer Jones about as sensuous as they come.    Lionel Barrymore, crippled but grand, chewing up scenery as usual.  One of my favorite Westerns. 

  • Nils Goering

    RED RIVER is a fantastic adventure film and tops my list of 1940s Western favorites   John Ford’s cavalry trilogy is a hot contender in this order, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, FORT APACHE, RIO GRANDE.  These four films contain some of John Wayne’s finest performances.  THE WESTERNER with stalwart Gary Cooper is loads of fun with a salty Walter Brennan as Judge Roy Bean (‘By gobs he stole my gun’).  More fun to be had is found in the skewered historical account of General Custer and his last stand, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON.  Errol Flynn makes a dashing, heroic Custer that the real life Custer would have highly approved of.  And, Olivia DeHavilland is gorgeous, once again, as Flynn’s love interest.  Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones make the West a bit more wild (and sensual) in DUEL IN THE SUN (this film contains some terrific color).  John Wayne turns in another fine performance in 3 GODFATHERS It’s an offbeat Western with an abundance of heart.  The rest of the films listed in the poll are all excellent Westerns and each one is worth multiple viewings.   Of course, I enjoy the Western film series of William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Tim Holt.   Their cinematic adventures ruled the box office throughout much of the 1940s.   I wish there would be a revival of Western movies.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UUXTNPTT3M3YLN5QS2WHIJ4RQE Rubeosky

    Red River had it all.   Monty was at his peak in this one and the Duke completed the team.  

  • Wade

    I’m not a big John Wayne movie fan but my three favourite westerns are Stagecoach, Red River and The Searchers all staring John Wayne

  • Looseleafhead

    Duel in the Sun is outstanding and from another world for its time.

  • Manuel Santayana

    I never cared much for John Wayne. “Duel in the Sun” features Jennifer Jones, one of my favorite “over the top” actresses along with the great Bette Davis. Gregory Peck was great; he still had not turned into the wooden hero of the late fifties and sixties and coulld play a handsome heel. Joseph Cotten was his usual, reliable self. Add Lillian Gish and Lionel Barymore and you have a great cast of old pros. And Butterfly McQueen to boot! It is a Western, a love story and it is was so steamy in its day critics called it “Lust in the Dust” when it first came out. I like the color contrasts and the scenery. The plot is interesting (the racial component is there) and it is a fine, ambitious Selznick production. I have seen the other films listed –and I can’t even remember a memorable scene in them!

  • Stsjcs

    As far as my taste goes, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE was the best thing John Ford did, including the delightful STAGECOACH and the superlative SEARCHERS.  THE OXBOW INCIDENT was certainly one of the finest American films of all time, and showed to advantage the talent of Henry Fonda as well as Dana Andrews.  Wayne usually knocked down the quality of films in which he appeared, including SEARCHERS which featuring his monotone emotional image of a raging non-entity.

  • sBlache

    Too bad that Stagecoach of 1939 wasn’t a choice, but it was a chocie of the 1940′s…

  • Dantz

    “The Return Of Frank James” (1940) a sequel to “Jesse James” (1939) also ranks as a favorite.

    • Rob in L.A.

      “The Return of Frank James”: Fritz Lang’s first western!

  • Yves Fey

    I voted for Red River, which is a fabulous western, a fabulous movie.  I’m not a Wayne fan, but I can deal with him in a Western especially one where he’s as flawed a character.  Adored Monty Clift in it.  Hawkes is an amazing director.  Ford usually sets my teeth on edge, he’s so hokey.  But the visuals are great.  My next favorite on the list is The Oxbow Incident, but it’s sort of a courtroom drama on horseback rather than a classic western.  But it’s one of the films that shaped my life.  I always tell people I’m a Hollywood liberal.

    • Sam Fletcher

      What spoils “Red River” for me is the sappy ending that looks like it was cobbled together at the last minute for a “happy finish” to an otherwise dark feud. Seems I read or heard somewhere that in the original story Duke was supposed to have killed John Ireland (Cherry) when he drew on him, but they opted for wounding the otherwise likeable character so as not to disappoint viewers. In real life, you don’t wound a gunman as good as Cherry was supposed to be and then turn your back on him. Also I didn’t buy Wayne’s character promising to kill the kid, hiring some Texas toughs to confront the drovers at the end of the trail, and then opting at the last moment for a fistfight in which the best man turns out to be the woman who stops it!

      • Jason fleming

        Completely agree the ending doesn’t work at all.

        • Rjr9162

           I agree also, but the rest of the movie is so good I just have to look past it.  Still my favorite

  • Carolina

    I am a huge, huge John Wayne fan.  In fact he is my favorite movie star of all time — westerns, war movies, it doesn’t matter.  It was hard to choose between his movies.  Red River though is a true favorite of mine.

  • Wd2259

    i pick she wore yellow ribbion . but also like red river . because grew up watching . all those great westerns of 1940′s 1950′s 1960′s 1970′ and even westerns series

  • Sam Fletcher

    The best Western of the 1940s–perhaps the best Western ever–was “Along Came Jones.” I mean, what’s not to like! It’s got Gary Cooper in his most heroic role (what’s more heroic than a fumblefingered bronc-buster taking on the fastest gun in the territory for love for a girl?); the beautiful and extremely talented Loretta Young as his love interest, a strong, independent woman who can out-think and out-think Cooper; Dan Duryea, a really great actor and the best movie heavy this side of Lyle Bettger; and William Demarest in probably one of his best roles ever, which is saying a lot! It’s got stagecoach holdups, murder, shootouts, chases, fistfights, saloon scenes, music (the interminal “Old Joe Clark”), all the elements of a really great Western. And it’s funny, too!

    Of course, had you actually asked me back in the 1940s to name the best Western, it would probably have been something with Roy Rogers, Lash LaRue, or the Durango Kid, all of whom packed us kids into the Saturday matinee back then. One film that stands out in my favorite childhood memories was “The Kid From Texas,” Audie Murphy’s first Western in which he played the ill-fated Billy the Kid, but that was released in 1950.

  • Sam Fletcher

    Meant to say she could out-think and out-shoot Cooper.

  • Aussieagle

    Loved them all , what a choice but chose ” She wore a Yellow Ribbon ” omg what a hard choice

  • Remiped

    “Blood On the Moon” definitely!

  • faithful

    One western film that I saw for the first time weeks ago was great.  Not sure if title was “Jesse James” but it was about Jesse James, played by Tyrone Power and Frank James, played by Henry Fonda.  It told the story of how they became “railroad” bandits and was more or less a ”Robin Hood” kind of tale. 

    • Dantz

      Sounds like it was “Jesse James” (1939). The sequel, “The Return Of Frank James” (1940) involved Frank James (Henry Fonda) avenging his brother Jesse’s murder. 

  • Jill

    Red River, hands down! I too love John Wayne westerns. They never get old! Another favorite of mine is Rio Bravo, with Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennen.

    • jpp452

      Rio Bravo, 1959. Also a personal favourite.
      But this poll is about the 1940s.

  • Donald Ives

    The Westerner: Gary Cooper the way he kept Walter Brennan on toast re Lily Langtrey, and Walter, who brilliantly portrayed hate and pathos in the one character.. Satirical, but great serious acting by these two. Rio Bravo is always great value

  • Rose St. Louis

    RIO BRAVO is utterly supreme.  Has it all, including some great singing by Dean Martin and Rick Nelson.  Throw in a cameo role by the great Ward Bond, and a supporting role by the temperamental but always delightful Walter Brennan–who kissed on the top of the head by John Wayne, no less!   Never a big fan of Angie Dickinson, but she looked pretty great in the costume she donned for her singing debut.  (John Wayne asks her if she needs a “rig like that to sing.”  Comeback line:  “You haven’t heard me sing.”  GOTTA LOVE IT!)  Fort Apache is another favorite, as well. 

    • jpp452

      Suggest that, next time, you read the poll question carefully.

  • Rjr9162

    Red River.  Only saw it for the first time two years ago and I can’t believe it took me 50 years to see it.

  • The Blue Carbuncle

    John Wayne playing an old soldier facing retirement in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon was one of the finest performances he ever gave. Went beyond his normal character and really got into the part. Never get tired of it.

  • LJCon225

    There was a trilogy of films directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne.  There were: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache and Rio Grand.  I would have to say my favorite of the three was She Wore a Yellow Ribbon because it was in color.  I love the cinematograph of Monument Valley, in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.  John Ford did a great job.  I looked for colorized versions of the other two but there are none thanks to purest.  Robert Osborn, one of the purest, once let the cat out of the bag, when he stated on TCM the real reason some of these movies weren’t in color was because the movie companies were to cheep.  Hopefully, someday the DVD industry will colorize them.
    Until then I have to continue to watch the black and white versions.
     

    • Cara

      Colorizing black and white films was one of the worst ideas Ted Turner ever had. Black and white films use the lighting appropriate to the film stock. I shudder to think, for example, of The Philadelphia Story or The Third Man colorized. Most of the film noir of the 40s and 50s used shadowy black and white lighting to evoke the dark imagery of the unfolding drama. Every director I’ve ever read or heard despises the colorization process. The coloring looks fake and creates a whole new inferior movie. Just like pan and scan is thankfully dying out, so to is colorization. If you check the IMDb database, you will find that John Ford shot SWAYR in technicolor, which is why you enjoy it in color. Please, don’t condemn films shot in black and white to a colorizing fate.

      • Falmouth Bill

        Cara, somehow I received a copy of your reply to LJJCon225 regarding the colorization of old black & white movies, and basically, I agree with you. However, there are many B/W movies that are B/W only because of cost/budget, etc. I agree Citizen Kane, Double Jeopardy, To Kill a Mockingbird, would not be any greater with colorization, and in fact may be diminished. But, there are many films that were B/W due to budget/cost that could might be enhanced with colorization. One of my favorites, that comes to mind is the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, I have the set which gives me both versions, and I have to be honest I prefer the colorized one. The creature from the Black Lagoon, Casablanca, Seven Days in May, Patterns, …NO ! But, Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House, George Washington Slept Hear, and The Man who came to Dinner would only be enhanced, at least that’s the way I think, ..I could be wrong !

        • jpp452

          Yes, budget limited many films to black and white stock. And the directors adjusted for that. They and their camera chiefs worked with what they had to make the great (or not) films they were. Adding colour now, apart from the obvious phony appearance, puts the motion picture into the wrong medium. The better the motion picture, the more it is diminished by colourization.

  • Stmvh

    Four Faces West with Joel McCrea, Charles Bickford, Frances Dee and Joseph Callia. Do yourself a favor and watch this little film! Paso por aqui!

  • Noel Bjorndahl

    I would remove Buffalo Bill (one of Wellman’s dullest outings), Santa Fe Trail (a minor Curtiz), The Virginian (not a patch on Victor Fleming’s 1929 version with Gary Cooper), and The Westerner (also overrated). I’d have a hard time, though, picking one favourite from this very rich period in which the western finally came of age. I agree that Red River is one of Howard Hawks’ greatest achievements and as the Mutiny on the Bounty of the prairie, the best western about a cattle drive ever made, with superb performances from John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, whose acting styles could not be more dissimilar; My Darling Clementine ranks high in the Ford canon, Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon likewise; Vidor and Selznick’s Duel in the Sun is a delirious horse opera with emphasis on the opera; and They Died with Their Boots On one of Raoul Walsh’s most vigorous outings even if it violates history by a country mile (irrelevant to its entertainment value, of course). But there are a few not on this list I’d rank alongside any of the above: Andre De Toth’s ruthless, film noirish range war outing Ramrod, which has one of the densest and most complex narratives in any 40s western; Colorado Territory, Raoul Walsh’s western remake of his brilliant gangster film High Sierra which matches the vigorous action and poetry in motion of its illustrious forbear; Pursued, another great Walsh which is as much a film noir as a western; Canyon Passage, Jacques Tourneur’s ode to the drifter with its gentle technicolor hues giving it a kind of lazy poetry; and Four Faces West, Harry Sherman’s last outing and probably the gentlest western ever made.  

  • John

    Consider Wellman’s “Yellow Sky” with Gregory Peck and Richard Widmark and some great character actors.

  • azviewer

    In Old California (1942) is a favorite. John Wayne plays a slightly different character as a pharmacist who drinks milk. But it is really a good feature with drama and laughs!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004488580416 John Patterson

    Well,The Duke defintely comes in first with”Red River”;”3Godfathers”;”Fort Apache”and”She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”-FYI:One of his most underestimated roles as Captain Nathan Brittles.
    But I wouldn’t leave”My Darling Clementine”with Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp.
    Speaking of Wyatt Earp,here’s my takes on the five major movies about him:
    (1)”My Darling Clementine”.Kinda the sentimental favorite.Could be a sort of allegory on WWII
    Just as the Earps strapped on their six guns to make Tombstone a better place,in WWII,both Hank Fonda and”Pappy”Ford strapped on their six guns-so to speak-in order to make the world a better place to live.
    Just as the Earps and Doc Holliday took on the Clantons and McLowery’s in Tombstone,Fonda and Ford took on their Axis counterparts Hitler;Hirohito and Mussolini in WWII.
    Plus I love the end where Henry Fonda tells Cathy Downs”Ma’am,I sure do like that name..Clementine.”and rides off into the sunset.
    (2)”Gunfight At The O.K.Corral”.Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas are Wyatt and Doc in John Sturges’ 1956 varation of the infamous gunfight.
    Catchy theme song as well:”If the Lord is my friend,we’ll meet at the end of the Gunfight at the OK Corral”.
    (3)”Hour of the Gun”.Sturges is back.In his 1967 retelling,James Garner is Wyatt and Jason Robards is Doc in the dark horse of the sagas.
    (4)”Tombstone”.The 1993 saga with Kurt Russell as Wyatt and Val Kilmer as Doc was probably the most historically correct telling of the infamous gunfight.
    Great all star cast including Powers Boothe as Curly Bill Brocious;Dana Delaney as Josephine Marcus;Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton as Morgan and virgil Earp and western movie veterans Buck Taylor and the late Harry Carrey,Junior.
    If there ever was a Midnight Movie for normal guys,Tombstone’d be on it as well as Scarface and Slingblade!!
    (5)”Wyatt Earp”.Kevin Costner’s saga came out six months after Tombstone hit the theaters.
    It was okay.Kinda long and drawn out.Mighta been better as a miniseries like last year’s”Hatfields&McCoys”.
    Dennis Quaid was good as Doc Holliday.

  • Thom Thomas

    Nothing can compare to the sweep of DUEL IN THE SUN! This was the GWTW of Westerns. It had everything: Sex, shootouts, train wrecks, revenge, gorgeous scenery, fabulous music score, the whole thing. RED RIVER comes next.

  • Thom Thomas

    Hey, I forgot, and so did everyone else, it seems… SHANE. Absolutely terrific!

  • sag27

    This was a tough call, but I voted for the entire cast. No remake ever compared. Ox Bow Incident certainly for story content.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JeffHeise Jeff Heise

    The Duke’s performances in the top two films are letter perfect, with the Ford just edging out because I think Wayne’s face with a moustache gives him a vulnerability that is just astounding.

  • nicolas

    I’m not a big fan of the 40′s westerns. I did like My Darling Clementine, but the favorite ones are Pursued directed by Raoul Walsh, and Blood On the Moon directed by Robert Wise. They have my favorite 1940′s actor Robert Mitchum, and have a noir like quality to them.

  • Arlie

    Hondo Hondo Hondo !!!

  • Gayle Feyrer

    I voted for Red River as my favorite 40′s. It’s very sophisticated but very much a western. I probably love The Oxbow Incident even more, but it’s almost more a courtroom drama of sorts, on vigilante justice. I don’t think it’s really a western at heart. I really love Jimmy Stewart’s 50′s westerns for Anthony Mann. They gave him a gritty dimension he didn’t usually get to show. Winchester ’73 is great, and The Naked Spur. The Spaghettis are imprinted on my brain, of course, but for style rather than substance.

  • The Blue Carbuncle

    I was glad to see that the two I was debating between came out 1-2 in this poll. Both are excellent and it was hard to choose. I ulitmately went with She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, because I personally think it is one of, if not THE best acting performance of John Wayne’s career. It is the only time I recall where he played a character who was so vastly different in age than he was in real life and he pulled off the old retirement-bound Captain Brittles with humor, grace and dignity.

  • Jim

    There are some great movies on this list, but “My Darling Clementine” is one of the very few near-perfect films ever made. It can be enjoyed simply as entertainment, but it will also be studied forever as an icon of cinematic style.

  • Bill

    I think Rio Grande is missing from this line up.

  • Gary Koca

    All good, especially, The Ox-Bow Incident, My Darling Clementine, The Westerner, and Red River. But all were highly rated. Victor Mature was terrific as Doc Holliday in My Darling Clementine, Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews were great in the Ox Bow Incident.

  • jpp452

    @Arlie — Hondo, 1953
    @Thom Thomas — Shane, 1953
    Nobody has forgotten those movies. This survey is about the 1940s.

  • Starboy28

    Where’s My Little Chickadee?

  • glasspolish

    Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of westerns on this list many times and also own them all on DVD, I absolutely can’t resist a Henry Fonda western. Therefore, my vote was for My Darling Clementine.

  • david hartzog

    Ramrod or Yellow Sky.

  • Joy NIcholas

    It’s a toss up between She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Wagon Master for me….but they never mentioned that. They both had the wonderful Ben Johnson in them of course.

  • Joseph23006

    Tought decision but I went with ‘Oxbow’ because it was one of the most soul searching movies of the lot. I like all of the others.

  • Laura-Leigh

    My pic: West of the Pecos – it has such a fun cast and is so pleasantly silly.

  • zm73

    Voted for Red River, it’s a great western. One of John Wayne’s best performances.

  • Jack

    One of the best lines in a Western comes from The Westerner….Gary Cooper says,
    “Judge, I’m a comin’ to get you……
    Walter says” Come a shootin”…….

    • Wayne P.

      I also like “Rub of the brush…” to describe their drinking preference when the boys got down to some serious contemplating at the ‘bar’ of justice!

  • Rock1310

    Glad to see She Wore a Yellow Ribbon leading as it’s one of my favorite films along with all the other John Ford/John Wayne westerns

  • hiram

    And COLORADO TERRITORY, the Western remake of HIGH SIERRA.

  • jbourne5181

    I agree with Rock1310. Any John Ford/ John Wayne movie tops my list