John Wayne was fiercely proud and protective of his beloved Western and war movie genres. He vocally blasted films like Gary Cooper’s High Noon or Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter that he believed degraded the ideals and values of the Old West – values which the conservative Duke believed should apply to his own times too. Yet the handwritten list of favourite actors he submitted to The 1977 People’s Almanac includes nobody from either genre while his list of films even contains one classic that is very clearly anti-war.
A letter from the popular book of lists was sent out on July 8, 1977, care of the Screen Actor’s Guild offices and said: “Dear Mr Wayne, we are undertaking an exclusive poll of all living Academy Award-winning actors – individuals who know the most about film acting – on their opinion of who were and are the five best motion picture actors of all time.
“We are also asking the Academy Award winning actors to vote on the five pictures they feel are the five best motion pictures of all time.
“The results of this poll will be featured in the People’s Alamanac II and you will be notified among the contributors to a poll that will be referred to and quoted for years to come.”
John Wayne top five films of all time (Image: HERITAGE AUCTIONS)Rather surprisingly, Wayne barely included any films or actors from his own war and Westerns genres. His Top five started off with two historical epics, A Man For All Seasons with Robert Shaw and Paul Scofield as Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More, and Gone With The Wind.