Special Report

The Best and Worst John Wayne Movies That Aren’t Westerns

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

21. Without Reservations (1946)
> Combined score: 1.20 — #9,691 highest out of 17,179 movies in all genres
> Genres: Comedy, Romance
> Starring: Claudette Colbert, John Wayne, Don DeFore, Anne Triola

“Without Reservation” marks a significant departure for John Wayne — even though he is again playing an enlisted man — as the film is a romantic comedy. This time, Wayne portrays Captain ‘Rusty’ Thomas, who meets famous author Kit Masterson (Claudette Colbert). Masterson is smitten with Thomas and thinks he could be a suitable star for the film version of her latest novel. The only problem is that Thomas detests the book, but does not recognize its author. Masterson tries to conceal her identity while staying close to Thomas.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

22. The Sea Chase (1955)
> Combined score: 1.19 — #9,759 highest out of 17,179 movies in all genres
> Genres: Action, Drama, War
> Starring: John Wayne, Lana Turner, David Farrar, Lyle Bettger

“The Sea Chase” follows a German captain of a freighter, who is an opponent of Nazi ideology at the beginning of Worl War II. He must return from Australia to Germany and help a German spy in the process while evading Allied warships. Only 53% of audiences liked the war movie. Some critics were confused why Wayne was cast to play a German sea captain.

Source: Courtesy of Republic Pictures

23. Wake of the Red Witch (1948)
> Combined score: 1.16 — #9,925 highest out of 17,179 movies in all genres
> Genres: Action, Adventure, Romance
> Starring: John Wayne, Gail Russell, Gig Young, Adele Mara

“Wake of the Red Witch” is a classic seafaring tale. Wayne plays 1860s ship captain Ralls, who goes on adventures in search of sunken treasure, avoiding hostile natives and gigantic sea beasts. While working on behalf of a Dutch shipping baron, Ralls sabotages another captain who years ago took the woman he loved. All parties eventually wind up shipwrecked on the same island, leading to a complicated situation.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

24. Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
> Combined score: 1.13 — #10,051 highest out of 17,179 movies in all genres
> Genres: Adventure, Drama, History
> Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Senta Berger

“Cast a Giant Shadow” features a legendary cast beyond just Wayne — Angie Dickinson, Frank Sinatra, Yul Brynner, and Kirk Douglas. Wayne plays a relatively small role as Gen. Mike Randolph. The war movie centers on David Marcus (Douglas), who is tasked with preparing the fledgling Israeli army for battle.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

25. The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)
> Combined score: 0.97 — #10,858 highest out of 17,179 movies in all genres
> Genres: Adventure, Drama, History
> Starring: John Wayne, Eiko Ando, Sam Jaffe, Sô Yamamura

In “The Barbarian and the Geisha,” Wayne sheds his trademark macho exterior. In this film, he plays Townsend Harris, a recently-appointed U.S. Consul General to Japan in the mid-19th century. The Japanese government and citizens are initially wary of Western influence, but with the help of a local Geisha (Eiko Ando), Harris begins to overcome the cultural differences.

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