Top 20 John Wayne Movie Quotes

I’m sure we’ve all got our own favorite lines from John Wayne movies, and hopefully, I’ve included a few of them in this list of 20 John Wayne movie quotes.

For an appreciation of John Wayne quotes this time, not from the movies but said in his own words about actors, directors, etc. there is another 15.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

Having watched so many of Duke’s films over the last couple of years I made a note of some of the quotes, other than the more famous examples, that I thought might be appreciated by genuine JW fans. I’ve listed them chronologically rather than by personal preference. So here we go with some quotes of John Wayne starting with…

Stagecoach (1939)

Stagecoach 1939 with John Wayne poster

Back to Bataan (1945)

You’re the guy we’re fighting this war for’ 

Wayne telling a young kid why America is fighting WWII on behalf of the Philippines, a line he repeats almost verbatim to a Vietnamese boy at the end of The Green Berets.

Red River (1948)

Get down off them horses. I don’t favor looking up to the likes of you’

Wayne as hard-headed trail boss Tom Dunson welcoming a group of cattle-drive deserters back into the fold.
One of my favorite John Wayne movie quotes from one of his best movies.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness

Advice that Wayne as Nathan Brittles hands out to all and sundry in this classic Ford Western.

Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Any man that doesn’t wanna’ co-operate, I’ll make him wish he hadn’t been born

Sergeant Stryker offering typically friendly encouragement to the Marine core.

The Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Come on Wildcats, make us proud today

A typical John Wayne movie quote giving a gung-ho speech to his team of fighter pilots.

The Quiet Man (1952)

THE QUIET MAN - with John Wayne

If you say “three”, mister, you’ll never hear the man count ten

A note of caution to ‘Red’ Will Danaher on the dangers inherent in initiating a fight with himself, or ‘Trooper’ Thornton as he was known back in Pittsburgh.

The Sea Chase (1955)

Did anyone ever tell you that you’re beautiful when you’re angry?

Wayne as a German sea captain falling for the charms of Lana Turner, a woman so diminutive.

The Searchers (1956)

Is this an invite to a necktie party, Reverend?

Ethan Edwards gets straight to the point with the Reverend Samuel Clayton, played by Ward Bond.

Rio Bravo (1959)

Another of John Wayne movies quotes from Rio Bravo with Dean Martin

Sorry don’t get it done, Dude

John T. Chance explaining the facts of life to a functioning alcoholic Dude. Cruel but fair.

The Alamo (1960)

Ya don’t get lard less’n you boil a hog!

Still not exactly sure what Ole’ Davy Crockett actually meant by this statement, so if anyone out there can shed some light on this then answers on a postcard, please.

The Comancheros (1961)

Monsewer, words are what men live by

Kind words of wisdom from Wayne, even though the recipient, Paul Regret, played by Stuart Whitman, has previously tried to brain Duke with a shovel, leaving JW with a dull impression on his mind.

The Longest Day (1962)

You can’t give the enemy a break. Send him to hell

Duke exhorts his men to put the Geneva Convention on ice just for the duration of the D-Day invasion.

McLintock! (1963)

somebody outa belt you in the mouth…but I won’t, I won’t, the hell I won’t

Wayne blindsided Leo Gordon with a contradictory statement before dispatching him with a punch into a conveniently placed mud hole.

In Harm’s Way (1965)

All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be some place else

As John Wayne movie quotes go this is a pearl of wisdom from Wayne as Captain ‘Rock’ Torrey prior to losing a leg in the climactic ‘model boats’ sea battle.

Cast A Giant Shadow (1966)

Give this insubordinate son-of-a-bitch every truck and every blanket in the Third Army. And I don’t care who you have to steal them from!

Wayne doing a very good impression of General Patton as he helps Kirk Douglas win WWII.

The Green Berets (1968)

Out here, due process is a bullet

Wayne providing a helpful and neat sound bite to a lily-livered liberal pinko journalist on how the justice system works in Vietnam.

True Grit (1969)

As John Wayne movie quotes this from True Grit is a famous one
John Wayne in his Oscar-winning performance as Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.” Courtesy of Lincoln Theater

Fill your hands you son-of-a-bitch

A piece of friendly frontier advice to soon-to-be-deceased Ned Pepper, played by Robert Duvall.

John Wayne quote on T-Shirt

The Cowboys (1972)

You look like the vermin-ridden son of a bitch you are

Probably not the best thing to say to killer Bruce Dern, as Duke eventually finds out to his cost.

The Shootist (1976)

Mister, you’d better find another line of work. This one sure don’t suit your pistol

J.B. Books offers some career guidance to an inept outlaw at the beginning of the movie.

Apologies if your particular favourite JW film quote didn’t make the cut here. Please feel free to make your feelings known, preferably in a caring way.

But as our generosity has no bounds here are a boatload more…

John Wayne Movie Quotes

John Wayne saysMovie
‘I gotta kill me a pair a skunks back apiece on the road to Santa Fe’The Big Trail
You ever whip that kid again I’ll break every bone in your carcass.West of the Divide
Drink yer fill, Zanti. It’s poisoned” The Lawless Frontier
You may need me and this Winchester, CurlyStagecoach
I guess you can’t break out of prison and into society in the same week. Stagecoach
Take it easy. You don’t know the kind of people you’re dealin’ with, misterNew Frontier
Touch that gun and I’ll kill yaTall in the Saddle
Never apologise, mister, it’s a sign of weaknessShe Wore A Yellow Ribbon
You got a breath on you like a hot mince pieShe Wore A Yellow Ribbon
Get down off them horses. I don’t favour looking up to the likes of youRed River
Take em’ to Missouri!Red River
Everybody gets dead. It was his turn.Hondo
That’ll be the dayThe Searchers
This an invite to a necktie party Reverend?The Searchers
Figure a man’s only good for one oath at a time; I took mine to the Confederate States of America. The Searchers
I don’t believe in surrendersThe Searchers
Sorry don’t get it done, DudeRio Bravo
You want that gun?, pick it up. I wish you wouldRio Bravo
Ya don’t get lard less’n you boil a hog!The Alamo
They named me Davy after an uncle that didn’t leave Pa the farm after all. The Alamo
Liberty Valance’s the toughest man south of the Picketwire – next to meTMWSLV
That’s my steak ValanceTMWSLV
I’m not gonna hurt ya – the hell I won’t!McLintock!
Don’t say it’s a fine morning or I’ll shoot ya’McLintock!
They’re famous — but they’re just a little bit dead. They were hungThe Sons of Katie Elder
Next time you shoot somebody, don’t go near ’em till you’re sure they’re dead.”El Dorado
Does he ride with warriors or women?The War Wagon
Fill your hands you son-of-a-bitchTrue Grit
Young fella, if you’re looking for trouble, I’ll accommodate yaTrue Grit
Baby sister, I was born game and I intend to go out that way. True Grit
We may have to be neighbors, but I don’t have to be neighborly.Chisum
We promised you in a trade. But we didn’t say what condition you’d be in.Rio Lobos
You follow him I’ll hunt you down and kill ya’. Every mothers son of ya’Big Jake
You look like the vermin-ridden son of a bitch you areThe Cowboys
It’s not how you’re buried, it’s how you’re rememberedThe Cowboys
Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s goThe Cowboys
If a buzzard bites you he’d never eat meat againCahill
I was proud to tell my deputy’s wife that I shot his killers!Rooster Cogburn
Damn your murderin’ hides! Meet your maker!The Shootist
Most men will draw a breath or blink an eye before they shoot. I won’t.The Shootist
There’s always some six-fingered bustard that couldn’t hit a cow in the tit with a tin cup.The Shootist
I don’t believe I ever killed a man that didn’t deserve itThe Shootist
Mister, you’d better find another line of work. This one sure don’t suit your pistolThe Shootist
That’s All Folks! (for now)
Photo of author
Steve is a film scholar of note, gaining both an MA in film studies and a Ph.D. for his thesis on the silent films of John Ford. Steve, a scriptwriter and published novelist, provides much of the content you see here and is a dedicated aficionado and longtime fan of John Wayne, John Ford and Western films in general.

51 thoughts on “Top 20 John Wayne Movie Quotes”

  1. favorite line of John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart.
    I think it is from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    John Wayne comes in after Stewart has gone through horrible torture and says

    “I reckon I came too late.”

    we watched this at band camp and we all roared with laughter. what an understatement it was. delivered in true serious phrasing from Wayne.

  2. I’m looking for the Indian word he used when he was proclaiming his everlasting love to his woman. I think it translates to “final love”. I saw the name on a boat and the boat owner said it came from a JW movie. Thanks!

    • The exact quote is: “You can call me Father, you can call me Jacob, you can call me Jake. You can call me a dirty son-of-a-bitch, but if you EVER call me Daddy again, I’ll finish this fight”

      Thanks Emile. This is such a great quote we’ll have to do another article on the wit and wisdom of John Wayne at some point.

  3. I am sure JW said this line in a film: “you’d better listen and you’d better listen quick.” Please help settle an argument.

  4. From the commoncheros
    Wayne, you think I’m simple-minded
    Stewart, yes I think your simple-minded
    Wayne, well,l wouldn’t say that too often….and once more will be too often!

  5. do you recall a JW movie where he is shot by a woman and falls in a creek? She approaches him and he tackles her. I thought it was Joan Hackett but I guess not. Can’t recall the movie title.

  6. I think El Dorado contains the greatest and most iconic John Wayne line in history:

    “I’m looking at a tin star with a drunk pinned on it.”

    The way he’s standing, the look on his face, and everything about his voice and delivery is 100% pure John Wayne.

  7. Figure a man’s only good for one oath a time, Reverend. I took mine to the Confederate States of America. So did you, Sam, so did you.

  8. Surprising that the line Buddy Holly made a song about isn’t in the top ten. “That’ll be the day” from The Searchers.

  9. I love when John Wayne grabbed a man (in the movie)and was about to punch him and the man said, “I didn’t do anything.” And John Wayne said ” Well why in the hell didn’t ya?” and then he punched him out.

  10. My favorite is only two words – done in several movies when the John Wayne character is asked an interesting question — “Not Likely.”

    A total classic answer.

  11. Can anyone help please ??? I’m looking for the name of the film which John Wayne quoted the following
    “There’s nothing in this place ,but a million year’s of sand ”
    Many Thanks
    Pete Clayton

  12. The McLintock movie quote is incorrect. Just watched it, 1st time in years. He says “somebody outa belt you in the mouth…but I won’t, I won’t, the hell I won’t” Thanks


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.