121 John Wayne Quotes That Inspire Bold Living and True Grit

Embark on a journey through the rugged landscapes of cinematic history and the profound depths of personal philosophy with this extensive collection of 121 John Wayne quotes, a towering figure in American film. Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, and passing away on June 11, 1979, Wayne’s legacy as an actor, director, and producer spans an impressive five decades. During his illustrious career, he appeared in more than 170 films, embodying the very essence of courage, resilience, and unyielding spirit.

John Wayne’s characters often mirrored the values he cherished in real life: a sense of justice, the importance of knowing your worth, and an unshakeable moral compass. From the law-abiding marshal to the fearless cowboy, Wayne’s portrayals in films like “True Grit,” “The Searchers,” and “Stagecoach” left an indelible mark on Hollywood and audiences worldwide. His deep voice, distinctive walk, and larger-than-life persona transformed him into a symbol of American grit and determination.

In this curated selection of John Wayne quotes, you’ll find wisdom not only from the characters Wayne brought to life on screen but also from the man himself. His personal quotes offer a window into his philosophy, beliefs, and the principles that guided him both in his career and in his life. Through these words, you’ll gain insights into the ethos of a man who stood tall in the face of adversity, championing the values of integrity and fortitude.

So, as you explore these 121 quotes from John Wayne, reflect on the legacy of a man who wasn’t just an actor but an icon of American culture. Discover the depth of his character, the breadth of his roles, and the timeless nature of his words. John Wayne’s legacy is a testament to the enduring power of knowing your worth and facing life with courage, a message as relevant today as it was during his lifetime.

121 John Wayne Quotes

  1. “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
  2. “Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.” – From “True Grit” (1969)
  3. “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” – From “The Shootist” (1976)
  4. “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne
  5. “Sorry don’t get it done, Dude.” – From “Rio Bravo” (1959)
  6. “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.” – From “Big Jake” (1971)
  7. “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by.” – John Wayne
  8. “Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go! We’re burnin’ daylight!” – From “The Cowboys” (1972)
  9. “Never apologize and never explain – it’s a sign of weakness.” – From “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949)
  10. “Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” – John Wayne
  11. “When I drink water, I drink water. When I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey.” – From “The Quiet Man” (1952)
  12. “Out here a man settles his own problems.” – From “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962)
  13. “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” – John Wayne
  14. “Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” – From “Stagecoach” (1939)
  15. “That’ll be the day.” – From “The Searchers” (1956)
  16. “I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.” – John Wayne
  17. “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be some place else.” – From “El Dorado” (1966)
  18. “I define manhood simply: men should be tough, fair, and courageous, never petty, never looking for a fight, but never backing down from one either.” – John Wayne
  19. “Republic. I like the sound of the word. Means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose.” – From “The Alamo” (1960)
  20. “There are only two things more beautiful than a good gun: a Swiss watch or a woman from anywhere.” – From “Red River” (1948)
  21. “I’m the stuff men are made of.” – John Wayne
  22. “We’re burnin’ daylight.” – From “The Searchers” (1956)
  23. “I never trust a man that doesn’t drink.” – John Wayne
  24. “A man oughta do what he thinks is right.” – From “Hondo” (1953)
  25. “I’m not gonna hit you… the hell I’m not!” – From “McLintock!” (1963)
  26. “I would like to be remembered, well … the Mexicans have a phrase, ‘Feo fuerte y formal’. Which means he was ugly, strong and had dignity.” – John Wayne
  27. “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re a sergeant.” – From “Sands of Iwo Jima” (1949)
  28. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” – From “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962)
  29. “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.” – John Wayne
  30. “If I ever see you again, I’m just going to start shooting and figure it was self-defense.” – From “Rio Lobo” (1970)
  31. “We may have to be neighbors, but I don’t have to be neighborly.” – From “Chisum” (1970)
  32. “A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.” – John Wayne
  33. “I’m a dying man scared of the dark.” – From “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965)
  34. “I’m a god-fearing, peace-loving, law-abiding, gun-carrying citizen.” – From “The Comancheros” (1961)
  35. “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.” – John Wayne
  36. “There’s right and there’s wrong. You got to do one or the other.” – From “The Undefeated” (1969)
  37. “Young fella, if you’re looking for trouble, I’ll accommodate you.” – John Wayne
  38. “Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.” – From “Fort Apache” (1948)
  39. “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” – From “Flying Leathernecks” (1951)
  40. “If you’re gonna be stupid, you gotta be tough.” – From “Jet Pilot” (1957)
  41. “I stick to simple themes. Love. Hate. No nuances. I stay away from psychoanalyst’s couch scenes. Couches are good for one thing.” – John Wayne
  42. “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” – From “The High and the Mighty” (1954)
  43. “I’ve always been partial to redheads.” – John Wayne
  44. “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power.” – From “North to Alaska” (1960)
  45. “Never trust a woman or a government.” – From “Angel and the Badman” (1947)
  46. “I am a demonstrative man, a baby picker-upper, a hugger and a kisser – that’s my nature.” – John Wayne
  47. “Just because we’re holding hands doesn’t mean we’ll be taking warm showers to the wee hours of the morning.” – From “Hatari!” (1962)
  48. “If everything isn’t black and white, I say, ‘Why the hell not?'” – From “The Fighting Kentuckian” (1949)
  49. “I’ve had three wives, six children and six grandchildren and I still don’t understand women.” – John Wayne
  50. “I’m a God-fearing, Bible-believing, gun-packing, American.” – From “Rooster Cogburn” (1975)
  51. “There’s only one way to handle the killers and the spoilers, and that’s with a US Marshal and the smell of gun smoke.” – From “The Longest Day” (1962)
  52. “Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne
  53. “I don’t suppose you’d like to say that again?” – From “Brannigan” (1975)
  54. “I salute you and the code you live by.” – From “The Conqueror” (1956)
  55. “I’m responsible only for what I say, not for what you understand.” – John Wayne
  56. “Mine hit the ground first. Mine was taller.” – From “The War Wagon” (1967)
  57. “I never have really become accustomed to the ‘John.’ Nobody ever really calls me John.” – John Wayne
  58. “There’s right and there’s wrong. Y’gotta do one or the other.” – From “3 Godfathers” (1948)
  59. “All war is hell.” – From “In Harm’s Way” (1965)
  60. “I try to be a good man, but I’m not a saint.” – From “Donovan’s Reef” (1963)
  61. “I’m not the sort to back away from a fight. I don’t believe in shrinking from anything. It’s not my speed; I’m a guy who meets adversities head on.” – John Wayne
  62. “Out here, due process is a bullet!” – From “The Green Berets” (1968)
  63. “I play John Wayne in every picture regardless of the character, and I’ve been doing all right, haven’t I?” – John Wayne
  64. “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.” – From “True Grit” (1969)
  65. “There’s no such thing as a collective or Communist soul. There are human souls, wretched or happy.” – From “Blood Alley” (1955)
  66. “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.” – John Wayne
  67. “York, I’m gonna hang you.” – From “Rio Grande” (1950)
  68. “If you say three, mister, you’ll never hear the man count ten.” – From “The Quiet Man” (1952)
  69. “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival.” – John Wayne
  70. “Sorry, don’t get it done, Dude.” – From “Rio Bravo” (1959)
  71. “Mon-sewer, you are a very nosy fellow, kitty cat. You know what happens to nosy fellows?” – From “The Comancheros” (1961)
  72. “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” – John Wayne
  73. “Your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault… it won’t matter.” – From “Big Jake” (1971)
  74. “I’m the oldest brother. That makes me responsible for you.” – From “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965)
  75. “Life is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” – John Wayne
  76. “You’re too good to give a chance to.” – From “El Dorado” (1966)
  77. “I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally.” – John Wayne
  78. “Every time you turn around, expect to see me. ‘Cause one time you’ll turn around and I’ll be there.” – From “Red River” (1948)
  79. “I’m gonna tell you something, Flaca, and I want you to listen tight. May sound like I’m talking about me, but I’m not, I’m talking about you.” – From “The Alamo” (1960)
  80. “You have to be a man first before you’re a gentleman. He works at it the other way around.” – From “McLintock!” (1963)
  81. “I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please.” – John Wayne
  82. “Some people think the world is round, others think it’s flat; it could be a triangle or shaped like a cowboy hat.” – From “The High and the Mighty” (1954)
  83. “I’ve been around a long time, and life still has a whole lot of surprises for me.” – John Wayne
  84. “Everybody gets dead. It was his turn.” – From “Hondo” (1953)
  85. “You gotta be a man to be a gentleman.” – From “McLintock!” (1963)
  86. “I never said I was tough or hard, but I found out I was.” – John Wayne
  87. “Just because we’re holding hands doesn’t mean we’ll be taking warm showers to the wee hours of the morning.” – From “Hatari!” (1962)
  88. “You’ve got the job, son.” – From “The Fighting Kentuckian” (1949)
  89. “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.” – John Wayne
  90. “Well, come see a fat old man sometime!” – From “Rooster Cogburn” (1975)
  91. “You can’t give the enemy a break. Send him to hell.” – From “The Longest Day” (1962)
  92. “A man ought to do what he thinks is best.” – John Wayne
  93. “I’ve been shot at before.” – From “Brannigan” (1975)
  94. “Love is a fire. It burns all but the blue sea.” – From “The Conqueror” (1956)
  95. “A goal, a love and a dream give you total control over your body and your life.” – John Wayne
  96. “That sounds like a pretty good law. But the trouble is, I wouldn’t be able to enforce it.” – From “The War Wagon” (1967)
  97. “Tomorrow is the most important thing. It’s perfect when it arrives. It puts itself in our hands.” – John Wayne
  98. “There’s one thing never changes, and that’s the desert.” – From “3 Godfathers” (1948)
  99. “I’ve always been a guy who wants to play heroes. I like people who have a sense of individualism.” – John Wayne
  100. “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.” – From “In Harm’s Way” (1965)
  101. “In life, I never met a man I didn’t like.” – From “Donovan’s Reef” (1963)
  102. “All I’m for is the liberty of the individual.” – John Wayne
  103. “Every man should spend a night with a lady who has no illusions about him.” – From “The Sea Chase” (1955)
  104. “I don’t think a fella should be able to sit on his backside and receive welfare.” – John Wayne
  105. “Sometimes it’s hard to understand the ways of the Almighty.” – From “Reap the Wild Wind” (1942)
  106. “In this world, you turn the other cheek, and you get hit with a lug wrench.” – From “Legend of the Lost” (1957)
  107. “I would like to be remembered as a guy who tried—tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another.” – John Wayne
  108. “No surrender. Remember that. We fight to the last man.” – From “Back to Bataan” (1945)
  109. “Life is a battle, but you can’t fight it with your fists. You got to fight it with your heart.” – From “The Wings of Eagles” (1957)
  110. “I’ve always been a guy who wants to play heroes.” – John Wayne
  111. “It’s rough all over. All you can do is hold onto your hopes.” – From “Island in the Sky” (1953)
  112. “I’m a man of few words but many thoughts.” – From “Jet Pilot” (1957)
  113. “I’m not the sort to back down for anybody. I stick to my beliefs.” – John Wayne
  114. “Sometimes it takes more courage to live than to die.” – From “Pittsburgh” (1942)
  115. “A man’s got to do what he thinks is best.” – From “Dark Command” (1940)
  116. “I believe in God, family, and honest hard work.” – John Wayne
  117. “We fight a war with tools, not with anger.” – From “The Fighting Seabees” (1944)
  118. “I’ve been lucky. I’ll be lucky again.” – John Wayne
  119. “A man’s life is worth something, but men like us, our lives are worth nothing.” – From “They Were Expendable” (1945)
  120. “Sometimes you have to lose before you win.” – From “Tycoon” (1947)
  121. “I figure a man’s only as good as his word.” – From “Tall in the Saddle” (1944)

A Note from the Author

Thank you for taking the time to read these John Wayne quotes. I hope they’ve provided you with a dose of inspiration and a deeper appreciation for the legacy of a true cinematic legend. If you enjoyed this journey through the Duke’s wisdom and would like to explore more content like this, please subscribe to my newsletter. Don’t forget to share this article with others who might appreciate it and bookmark SEFFSAID for your regular dose of inspiration and insight. Visit again soon!

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Seff Bray

Seff Bray is an accomplished author and the passionate founder of seffsaid.com, a website renowned for its uplifting and inspiring content. With a lifelong interest in personal development and growth, Seff has dedicated himself to empowering others through his writing.