Saddle Up Your Horses and Celebrate John Wayne Day

THE UNDEFEATED, John Wayne, 1969.
Copyright ©20th Century-Fox. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

Did you know that John Wayne was such a superstar that his birthday is a national holiday? This year marks the 116th anniversary of the acting legend’s birth.

If you’re in Texas, you can join the Wayne family to celebrate with John Wayne-themed coffee, old fashioneds and even bandana embroidering! For everyone else, we can just relax in front of the television and watch some classic Westerns. Here are just a few highlights of Wayne’s long, successful career:

THE SEARCHERS, John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, 1956

The Searchers

Directed by John Ford, this 1956 Western features John Wayne as a Civil War veteran on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches after his brother’s family is massacred on their farm.

RED RIVER, John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, 1948

Red River

John Wayne leads a cattle drive to its destination in Missouri but his tyrannical behavior causes a mutiny along the way in this 1948 Western.

RIO BRAVO, John Wayne, Ricky Nelson, 1959

Everett Collection

Rio Bravo

A small-town sheriff enlists the help of a disabled man, a drunk and a young gunfighter to keep a local criminal in jail in this 1959 classic. Wayne barely had to change outfits between films!

RIO LOBO, from left: Director Howard Hawks, George Plimpton, John Wayne, on set, 1970.

Rio Lobo

This 1970 Western is about a man looking for traitors following the Civil War.

TRUE GRIT, from left: Glen Campbell, John Wayne, Kim Darby, 1969

True Grit (1969)

Before the Coen brothers released their 2010 adaptation of this Charles Portis novel, John Wayne portrayed the hard-nosed Texas Ranger who helps a teenager track down her father’s murderer.

THE TRAIN ROBBERS, from left, Ben Johnson, Rod Taylor, John Wayne, 1973

The Train Robbers

John Wayne is a gun-hand named Lane hired by a widow to find gold stolen by her husband in this 1973 Western directed by Burt Kennedy.

WITHOUT RESERVATIONS, from left, John Wayne, Claudette Colbert, 1946

Without Reservations

An author becomes smitten with a Marine (John Wayne) who is critical of her famous novel in this 1946 rom-com.

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, Edmond O'Brien, John Wayne, James Stewart, 1962

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

James Stewart and John Wayne star in this 1962 John Ford-directed Western about a senator returning to town for a funeral and the story of how he got there.

Here’s where to find some of John Wayne’s movies airing this weekend:

Friday, May 26


6amThe Big Trail (1930)

9amThe Horse Soldiers (1959)

12pmCahill U.S. Marshal (1973)

2:30pmThe Cowboys (1972)

5:30pm ­— The War Wagon (1967)

8pmRio Bravo (1959)

11:30pmThe Alamo (1960)


8pmRed River (1948)

10pmTall in the Saddle (1944)

Starz Encore Westerns

7:05pmThe Fighting Kentuckian (1949)

8:50pmAngel and the Bad Man (1947)

10:30pmWar of the Wildcats (1943)


12:15amThey Were Expendable (1945)

Saturday, May 27


6:15pmBack to Bataan (1945)

2amOperation Pacific (1951)

Sunday, May 28


8pmSands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Monday, May 29


8amThe Comancheros (1961)

5pmFlying Tigers (1942)

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Wild West- Heroes & Villains

November 2022

Celebrates the unique sense of justice, compassion and adventure in the Old West as seen on TV and in the movies

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