Empire Online Empire Online Home  |  News  |  Future Films  |  Reviews  |  Forum  |  Subscribe To Empire Magazine    


Actor + Director | 40 Great Collaborations In Movies
20. John Wayne & John Ford   View Complete List Back Page 20/40 Next

John Ford
John Wayne

Best Film
Arguably not just their best film together but the greatest of all Westerns, The Searchers is as rich a cinematic experience as you could wish for. That doorway shot, those steepling Monument Valley backdrops, Wayne's conflicted, traumatised Civil War vet, the complexities of race, creed, love and loss - all come together to forge the great masterpiece in a career packed with them.
Notable Pairings
Stagecoach, The Searchers, The Quiet Man

What's The Secret Of Their Success?
Pappy and The Duke. Staunch Democrat and unyielding Republican. It's a friendship that could only have been born in Hollywood. Ford, famously described as "a tough, two-fisted, hard-drinking Irish sonofabitch", cast the ambitious Wayne in Stagecoach and infamously bullied a star-making performance out of him (but just watch that Wayne intro shot). Their fractious start mellowed into something more harmonious over 24 years of filmmaking magic. And Donovan's Reef.

Were They As Good With Anyone Else?
John Wayne matched the success of his Ford partnership via a quartet of frontier flicks with Howard Hawks, of which Rio Bravo and Red River are easily the best. We shouldn't ignore that Oscar he won for True Grit either, although arguably the spadework had been done during the Ford years. Ford himself another kindred spirit in Henry Fonda who starred in two of his greatest pictures, My Darling Clementine and The Grapes Of Wrath.

20. John Wayne & John Ford   View Complete List Back Page 20/40 Next

Which collaboration is your favourite? Have your say on the Empire forum