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’s 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.
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.
‘You may need me and this Winchester, Curly’
The Ringo Kid offering his help to the Marshall upon seeing Apache war signals on the horizon.
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.
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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)
‘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 getting straight to the point with the Reverend Samuel Clayton, played by Ward Bond.
Rio Bravo (1959)
‘Sorry don’t get it done, Dude’
John T. Chance explaining the facts of life to 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.
‘somebody outa belt you in the mouth…but I won’t, I won’t, the hell I won’t’
Wayne blind-siding 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 lilly-livered liberal pinko journalist on how the justice system works in Vietnam.
True Grit (1969)
‘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.
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, so please feel free to make your feelings known, preferably in a caring way.
49 thoughts on “Top 20 John Wayne Movie Quotes”
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.
That’s a good quote there Jane. We might use that in a future article. Many thanks
“Don’t ever ask me”, from The Searchers.
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!
Looking for a quote similar to the one from the Comencheros, but he elaborated more on it.James
What movie did JW say “you get the wagon and I’ll get the girl”?
That’s not one we’re familiar with Larry but we’ll update you if we ever find out
Which movie is it that he said ” my fault, your fault, nobody’s fault, you’re gonna die”
That sounds like the face-off between JW and Richard Boone just before Boone gets demised in the climax to “Big Jake”.
It is. He whispers it though so no one else can hear, as opposed to when Boone said it to him.
is it in Big Jake that he says …. you can call me Jake , Big Jake or Pa but you never call me Daddy
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.
My favorite line is in Hondo.
Everybody gets dead it was his turn. I think that is correct.
Correct. A good quote we might use in a late article. Thanks
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.
Not familiar with that particular quote, although it doesn’t mean John Wayne didn’t say it in one of his movies. The only quote we can think of that comes close to that is from “The Alamo” when Wayne says to Linda Cristal “I’m gonna tell you something Flaca, and I want you to listen tight”. All the best.
That’s actually the opening line in Philip Marlowe radio shows.
Thanks for the heads-up KJ
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!
That’s not a quote we’re too familiar with but thanks for sharing it with us Richard. Maybe it’s about time we ran another quotes article. Best regards
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.
Dan, we can’t find any JW movie which featured Joan Hackett but you might be thinking of “El Dorado” in which Duke is shot by Michelle Carey and falls from his horse. He feigns death, knocks her off her feet then wipes his blood on her shirt. All of this action takes place near a creek.
El Dorado and the actress was Michele Carey who played Joey McDonald.
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.
Delmar, there are so many quotes to choose from, that’s for sure. Maybe we’ll do another trawl through JWs movies again at a later date and feature this one. All the best.
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.
Noce one Alan – one of our all-time favourite films – did you check out this article
Surprising that the line Buddy Holly made a song about isn’t in the top ten. “That’ll be the day” from The Searchers.
Yep, good one Jake. They were spread across movies and time. The Searchers had a few gems. Also see earlier related comment.
how about, “if you want to ride with me cowboy, you better have a horse that can swim”
Steve, let us know what film you think it’s from and maybe we’ll use it in one of our articles further on down the line. Many thanks
Don’t know that one Steve. What film is it from?
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.
Lisa, that’s a great quote. Let us know what film you think it’s from and maybe we’ll use it in one of our articles further on down the line. Many thanks’
That one is from the Undefeated when he met the horse buyers from the U.S. government.
Thanks Bob. We’ll keep that in mind should we do another JW Quotes article.
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.
Good one Mark. I can “see” him saying it but don’t know what movies. “Hey, why the hell not?”
He said this a few time in “Big Jake”
What about: “That’ll be the day”! ? Said several times in the movie “The Searchers” with different inflections.
Yes William, – this article where some other than the more famous examples but I agree with you, in fact, we produced this t-shirt some time ago.
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 ”
Pete, that sounds like Legend of The Lost with Sophia Loren and Rossana Brazzi.
We’ve reviewed here.
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
Dang it, Andrea. Yuh got me bang to rights. Gonna change the batteries in my hearing aid soon as
First tine I have seen this website, really like it, anything I can read about JW.. Can’t believe he died 42 years ago I was in college.
Thanks for the compliment. I’ve started work on reviewing the 1930s JW films as well, so spread the word to any other JW fans out there about our site.