There’s no question that legendary actor John Wayne is one of the most well-known names in Hollywood history. His acting career spanned decades as he starred in over 150 movies.
Wayne found success in just about every genre. However, he is perhaps most associated for his work in Westerns, playing a part in some of the most memorable Western movies ever made.
The 1940s and ’50s saw Wayne develop into an important figure and an American icon thanks to his starring roles in major Westerns. He also starred in several war movies about the American Civil War or World War II.
The legacy of John Wayne, also known as “The Duke,” continues still today, even 40 years after his death in 1979. His fans still love his movies and consider him as the best Western movie star of all time. As a result, today we are taking a look at what is his highest-rated Western film of all time, according to IMDb.
John Wayne in ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’
While all of the movies featuring John Wayne were brilliant, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance takes the cake as the highest-rated. The 1962 film received an 8.1 score from IMDb. In addition, it has a 94 percent Tomatometer score and a 92 percent audience score from Rotten Tomatoes, calling it “one of the finest Westerns ever filmed.”
The classic movie was directed by John Ford. It, of course, features John Wayne in a starring role as Tom Doniphon and James Stewart as Senator Ransom “Ranse” Stoddard. The screenplay was an adaptation of a 1953 short story written by Dorothy M. Johnson.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has gang members, violence, and of course, John Wayne. The film begins with Senator Stoddard arriving in town to attend Doniphon’s funeral. When he’s asked why he’s attending the funeral, the movie flashes back to 25 years in the past. The facts about the legendary events that bind the two men become clearer through flashbacks.
While Stoddard is visiting the town, he runs into a criminal gang led by Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). Doniphon came to the rescue and saved Ransom’s life. He repeatedly helps Stoddard and the two become a competitive force against Liberty Valance.
Other John Wayne Classics
While The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is IMDb’s highest-rated John Wayne Western, there are many others that are right up there with it.
Two of his top-five movies came in 1956 and 1959 with The Searchers and Rio Bravo, respectively. Both of those films were right behind the number-one spot with scores of 7.9 and 8.1 from IMDb.
And right behind them is another John Wayne Western earning a 7.8 rating. The 1939 film Stagecoach was an Oscar-winning adventure. Not only did it help take the Western genre to new heights, but it also helped John Wayne finally reach stardom.