"Well, there are some things a man just can't run away from." With that line, John Wayne was propelled into Hollywood stardom. Though he had appeared in films prior to John Ford's 1939 classic "Stagecoach," it wasn't until his role as the Ringo Kid that Wayne became more than a B-list actor.
In his 40-plus year film career, Wayne would become one of the most iconic celebrities of the 20th century, his name synonymous with masculinity and grit. The Duke was also one of the most prolific actors of all time, appearing in roughly 180 films.
With such a large stable of movies, choosing the best is a daunting task. That's why the experts at PrettyFamous, an entertainment data site by Graphiq, turned to the numbers for help. PrettyFamous looked at all movies in its database where John Wayne appeared in a starring role and ranked each film by its Smart Rating -- a score out of 100 that takes into account a movie's IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer and Audience Score, Gracenote rating, Metacritic Metascore and inflation-adjusted U.S. box office gross. Movies needed to have at least 100 IMDb votes to be considered, and documentaries were excluded.
Even for a legend like Wayne, there's bound to be some duds on his résumé. His work in the '30s, for instance, is largely a collection of obscure westerns. But in a testament to his longevity, Wayne's top 10 films span 37 years, from "Stagecoach" to "The Shootist" (1976), and feature classic roles like Thomas Dunson in "Red River" (1948) and Tom Doniphon in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962).
Note: Movie synopses are sourced (with minor edits) from Gracenote. Ties are broken by the number of IMDb votes.