Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
Added by Ruisperkele on 23 Jan 2009 04:13
20073 Views 2 Comments

Couch & Duke - Their journey together 1938-1973

Sort by: Showing 14 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 517 Average listal rating (348 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
In many ways one of the most influential films ever made. Not the first western for either director nor it's star but it was the first Ford made after the end of silent era and the one that really started the long-lasting stardom of John Wayne. This was the first of the films Ford photographed in Monument Valley, which has since become a very familiar scenery in Ford's westerns. The film earned John Ford his second Academy Award nomination for Best director (won in 1935 his first with The Informer) and is being praised since by many contemporary directors such as Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa.

"Well, there are some things a man just can't run away from."

Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
Ford and Wayne returned to film another movie together year after the success of Stagecoach, though this time the set-up being a war. It is the other defining theme around the careers of both Ford's, who was an Admiral by rank and would be serving in the upcoming World War II, and Wayne's, who's failing to serve his country on WWII is said to have been most painful experience of his life and it made him appear in many war films on his later career. After this one Ford went to film one more feature length picture before the war. How Green was my Valley earned him his third Academy Award for Best Director (second being from Grapes of Wrath, which was made just before The Long Voyage Home), ironically Ford got none Academy recognition from his quintessential westerns, which are widely regarded as his masterpieces today.
Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 95 Average listal rating (57 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.2
After The Long Voyage there was a 5 years pause with Wayne and Ford mostly due the out brake of the Great War and John Ford's enlisting to naval department of United States. He filmed there couple of propaganda shorts and some documentary material including the Omaha beach on D-Day, while John Wayne, never enlisted, continued his career at home. Still after the war ended they joined again on another war film that would be They were Expendable. This movie is said to contain one of the best performances from Wayne despite the fact that he had second billing on this one. And it's said that Ford was exceptionally hard on Duke while filming this one thinking him as a coward for not enlisting until Montgomery told him not to and that, as it's said, was that.

"Listen sister, I don't dance!"

Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 179 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
Fort Apache (1948)
Three years after They Were Expendable "Couch and Duke" team up again, this time in a western which was to become one of the most defining movies in both men's careers. Fort Apache is a first part on John Ford's famous Cavalry Trilogy, which wasn't actually meant to be one in a first place. This is also only film, in which both of Ford's devoted actors Wayne and Fonda starred together, excluding How the West was Won in which they starred on different segments under different directors.

Well, if you saw them, sir, they weren't Apaches.

Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 84 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
3 Godfathers (1949)
After John Wayne got off his contract on prevíous company he had quite a long run with John Ford, starting from 1948 with Fort Apache. 3 Godfathers was made the same year with a bit different thematics yet still in western setting. This film being of some interest also for the fact that Wayne did play kinda against his archetype being an bank robber, yet with a heart of gold. Film was dedicated to Harry Carey, one of Ford's earlier actor collaborations, his son Harry Carey Jr. played one of the parts in film

Hey, Bob... I just remembered what tomorrow is. Feliz Navidad.
Ruisperkele's rating:
1948 was a turning point on Wayne's career. He made four films that year and each of em was pretty much defining performances on his career. Howard Hawks' Red River, two previous films with Ford and also Wake of the Red Witch, in which Wayne created a romantic side to his "John Wayne" character what it had been lacking still. So when we come to the early fifties and second installment of the Cavalry Trilogy comes out, people aren't going anymore to see John Ford western, they are going to see John Wayne western and it really was getting to the directors how hard it was to make a successful western movie without Duke.

"So here they are: the dog-faced soldiers, the regulars, the fifty-cents-a-day professionals... riding the outposts of a nation. From Fort Reno to Fort Apache - from Sheridan to Startle - they were all the same: men in dirty-shirt blue and only a cold page in the history books to mark their passing. But wherever they rode - and whatever they fought for - that place became the United States."

Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 198 Average listal rating (123 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
Rio Grande (1950)
The ending piece in Ford's magnificent trilogy and in a way end of an era for this will be the last western these two men made together in almost six years before the ultimate masterpiece The Searchers. And ironically this one wasn't even supposed to be made, but studio insisted to make a movie starring both Wayne and Maureen O'Hara for Ford to get a green light for his next picture The Quiet Man. Rio Grande was supposed to cover the "losses" of the next film, which of course pretty much covered those itself.

"But he must learn that a man's word to anything, even his own destruction, is his honor."
Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 359 Average listal rating (213 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Quite a departure for both Ford and Wayne, in a way. Ford at that time was still mostly known of his westerns, not period dramas and for Wayne this was a giant leap to more dramatic roles. Republic Films allowed to do this only after Rio Grande and as soon as it was done John Ford moved to Ireland with his crew to film this movie, what would become his fourth Academy Award winning picture. John Wayne is known to have stated in interviews later that this was one of his favorite films from his own career. Republic Pictures who financed the film were reluctant to allow Ford make film over two hours long, but Ford was indeclinable and showed to producers the, now famous, climatic fist fight between Wayne and McLaghlen and they gave in. So it went to theaters in it's full length, and it was of course a great success to the company earning it's only Oscar nomination for Best Picture, ever.

"Si' down, si' down. That's what chairs are for."
Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 828 Average listal rating (585 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
After The Quiet Man there was quite a long brake on Ford-Wayne collaborations. Ford made some of his lesser known works with other big names from Hollywood, including Cagney and Gable, while Wayne at the hight of his stardom filmed some of his best known films, including The High and Mighty and Hondo. Yet both men were yearning to find a good story for another western to film together and it appeared in a form of a novel by Alan Le May called The Searchers. Film didn't receive much critical praise on it's time, but is since considered the one great classic in western genre by many scholars. This film was dear to both men in many ways, for they weren't sure at the time how many westerns they would have a chance to make together anymore, if none.

This film marks also the greatest screen performance by Duke par none, and as much as I have tried not to forward any personal "hype" (not sure whether I managed) about these films on this list, there really cannot be enough praise on The Searchers. One film by Ford that everyone should see, western buff or not, and especially by those who consider Wayne a bad actor.

"So we'll find 'em in the end, I promise you. We'll find 'em. Just as sure as the turnin' of the earth."

Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
After the success of The Searchers Ford and Wayne returned to film yet another movie together next year, though this time the setting being a war. This is a first war film Ford made with Wayne after They Were Expendable, in which they had quite a heated relationship due the fact that Wayne didn't go to war. That tension cannot be seen on this one anymore. This is a tribute from Ford to naval aviation and his friend Frank Wead who did the screenplay for Expendables. He is played in film by Wayne.

"I don't want a story just about ships and planes. I want it about the men who run them - how they live and think and talk. I want it from a pen dipped in salt water, not dry martinis."
Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 88 Average listal rating (72 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
This film marks the beginning of bigger deals for the stars in Hollywood for both Bill Holden and Duke were given $775000 and 20 per cent of the profits. Film was though a financial failure despite the three big names on the poster. John Ford filmed this mostly in Louisiana yet he closed the set due an fatal accident of a stunt man and he needed to make rest of the shots in California. Shot with that fatal accident remains in the film.

"Look here, colonel, I didn't ask to be assigned to this mission..."
Ruisperkele's rating:
Fords last western with Wayne (I exclude the next movie due the fact that Ford made only a small part), and Ford's last movie in black & white and by many considered the best western Wayne and Ford made together. The turning point of the 50s and 60s was marked by the coming of the television as well as a slow dying of the classic American western as genre in movies. Some of the best films to sum up the feelings and thematics of the Old West was made at that period one being this film and other being Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo and both were starred by John Wayne.

"Liberty Valance's the toughest man south of the Picketwire - next to me."

Ruisperkele's rating:
Colossal western epic filmed in Cinerama with three directors involved. John Ford made only one segment to this film in which he depicted the American Civil War. John Wayne was at first set to act on one of the segments directed by Henry Hathaway, but Ford insisted to have Wayne on his part and so he did. It's said that this piece of cinema is absolutely beautiful when watched in Cinerama theater, though it's very rarely shown in it's original format nowadays.

"After Shiloh, the South never smiled."

Ruisperkele's rating:
People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9
This film is the last feature John Ford and Duke made together, technically speaking, though John Wayne narrated Ford's biographical documentary of Chesty Puller in 1970 (Film was released only after three years of directors death). This movie has a joyful tune in it and it's a fun film to watch, overall a great departure after 35 years, over 20 features, 3 TV-episodes and thousands and thousands of film meters of a journey together.

"Not the brandy, you dope!"
Ruisperkele's rating:

There have been many great director-actor collaborations in history of cinema from Kurosawa & Mifune to Scorsese & De Niro, yet there’s never been such as John Ford had with John Wayne. Their joint efforts brewed over 20 films from early silent era to such legendary westerns as The Searchers and Stagecoach. In 13 films John Wayne was the leading actor.

It’s ironical in a way that John Wayne never was considered a great actor per se. And he acknowledged that himself as well saying:

“When I started I knew I was no actor and I went to work on this Wayne thing --“

It’s even argued if John Ford had any real respect towards Duke as an actor before he saw Hawks’ Red River and allegedly said to Howard Hawks:

“I never knew the big son of bitch could act”

Obviously joking, yet it’s never determined really whether Ford saw Wayne’s talent from the start or not and one doubts the importance of the matter for Wayne's charismatic appearance and mere powerful presence is just huge. As Howard Hawks put it:

"Camera loves some actors and some it don't"

And it certainly did love John Wayne, despite the fact he mostly did play just “John Wayne” on the screen. But that he did with utmost care and elegance. Yet I challenge anyone who claims that The Duke cannot act to see The Searchers. As did John Milius put it, and rightly so.

Their collaboration was rich and friendly and they remained a lifelong fishing, drinking and card playing buddies; had the similar passion and love for the vast frontiers of the Old American West and its beautiful scenery. John Wayne is known to have said:

“John Ford directed my life”

And in a way, I believe, it’s true.

In this list I include only those films in which John Ford is credited director and John Wayne plays the lead. How the West was won being an exception in which Wayne has a smaller role but in a segment directed by Ford.

This list is inspired by similar list about Kurosawa & Mifune. Made by Wendel

Kurosawa & Mifune – Their films together

John Ford


John Wayne




- Wikipedia.org
- imdb.com
- Von Bagh, Peter - Tähtien kirja (Book of Stars)
- Von Bagh, Peter - Elokuvan historia (History of Movies)
- A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayne and the Searchers (1999) -Documentary

Added to

Related lists

Happy Birthday! - Louis Jourdan
21 item list by Moon River
18 votes 1 comment
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
420 item list by Onion Jack
13 votes
Music...Work of..2pac,Tupac,Makaveli Discog Filmog
52 item list by Dj Levels
14 votes
Moviebuff's Top 15 Defining Movies from 1930-39
15 item list by moviebuff
2 votes
Laurel & Hardy... The Hal Roach Years
90 item list by Holy Godiva
18 votes 1 comment
British Comedy: Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
8 item list by Holy Godiva
8 votes 1 comment
Libra people (23/09 a 22/10)
119 item list by almaseletiva
11 votes 3 comments
Favorite Images of Echidnas
42 item list by kathy
24 votes
British Comedy: The Likely Lads
17 item list by Onion Jack
11 votes 1 comment
Moviebuff's Top 15 Defining Movies Between 1970-79
15 item list by moviebuff
2 votes

View more top voted lists