John Wayne is one of my dead crushes. I feel it terribly unfair that all my enduring romantic attachments are for men who a. are no longer living, b. would have been impossible to meet had we been alive in the same era and c. are probably a bit too curmudgeonly to have been compatible with me anyway. I reserve the right to be the curmudgeonly one in a relationship. (Hence the lack of luck with living crushes? Hey! A breakthrough!) I’m kidding of course, but I also maintain that the Duke was a very good-looking man, who played a number of very appealing characters over a long and enviable film career. And since this Friday is the anniversary of his birth, here are ten of our favorite John Wayne roles. Come on by and check one out for a Friday night movie date with your own living, breathing, not curmudgeonly crush.
The Searchers: When Ethan Edwards returns from the Civil War to find that Comanches have taken his niece and killed her parents, he sets out after them.
The Quiet Man: An American prizefighter returns to Ireland in order to forget the past and live peacefully in his village birthplace. He falls in love with the hot-tempered sister of a belligerent neighbor, and trouble ensues over the payment of her dowry.
True Grit: Darby hires the drunken, one-eyed, overweight marshall, Rooster Cogburn, to find and kill the man who murdered her father and stole all the family’s money. She accompanies him on his journey to find the killer, as does a Texas Ranger who wants the reward.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: The story of a man who becomes a legend and an important political figure by falsely claiming he shot a ruthless gunman (Liberty Valance).
McLintock!: Cattle baron George Washington McLintock fights with his estranged wife who wants nothing from him except a divorce. His daughter and the local political land-grabbers are fighting with McLintock as well. Along with taming the West, McLintock finally “tames” everyone who has been fighting with him.
Stagecoach: A group of passengers with nothing in common is stuck inside a coach that is being attacked by bandits and Indians.
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon: A desperately short-staffed cavalry outpost must try to stop an Indian invasion.
The Shootist: Afflicted with a terminal illness, John B. Books, the last of the legendary gunfighters, quietly returns to Carson City for medical attention from his old friend.
El Dorado: Mitchum stars as an alcoholic sheriff whose old friend-turned gunfighter Wayne helps him fight greedy cattlemen.
Rio Bravo: In the dusty town of Rio Bravo, Sheriff Chance arrests Joe Burdette for a brutal murder and must fight off ruthless gunmen to keep him in custody until the state marshal arrives.