Best John Wayne War Movies

John Wayne is primarily known for his role in western films. While he played in many westerns, he has also played in many war movies. He played Navy Commanders, Marine Sergeants, and Army Air Corp pilots. Here is a list of his top 6 war movies.

6: “The Flying Tigers” (1942). John Wayne plays John Carroll, a volunteer American pilot preceding Pearl Harbor. He flies fighter planes for the Chinese air force. He and his command must fight off large numbers of Japanese fighter and bomber planes while they try to control the skies over South China.

5: “In Harm’s Way” (1965). John Wayne stars cruiser captain and eventually rear Admiral Rock Torrey. He struggles to keep control of his personal issues as well as fight the Japanese fleet in the Pacific theatre of World War 2. The movie ends with a large battle between Torrey’s command and a superior Japanese fleet.

4: “The Fighting SeaBees” (1944). This movie tells the story of the newly created Construction Battalions, nicknamed the SeaBees. Wayne plays commander Donavan, the leader of the construction battalion. He struggles to build airstrips and other construction projects while constantly under threat from the attacking Japanese forces.

3: “The Sands of Iwo Jima” (1949). Wayne plays a tough Marine sergeant, Sgt Stryker. He takes a squad of raw recruits and trains them into a fighting force of Marines. He then takes the squad and leads them into battle, culminating in the Battle of Iwo Jima. This is one of the few movies in which the John Wayne character dies.

2: “They Were Expendable” (1945). Wayne plays a Navy commander in the Philippines in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. He is one of the officers of a small squadron of PT boats. He and the outgunned PT boats must harass the attacking Japanese fleet and try to keep the advancing Japanese at bay. This film does an excellent job of highlighting the deteriorating situation in the early months of World War 2.

1: “The Longest Day” (1962). Wayne plays Colonel Vandervoort during the first day of the Normandy invasion. He is in command of a battalion of paratroopers who land behind enemy lines in order to pave the way for the Allied invasion of the beaches of France. The movie is simply a montage of true stories on D-Day. Just about every famous actor played in this movie.

John Wayne made many war movies over his long career. Other movies that could have made this list include “The Flying Leathernecks”, “Back to Bataan” and “Operation Pacific”

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