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50 John Wayne Quotes to Lead You Through Life

Published on January 11, 2020 7:30 AM EST
50 John Wayne Quotes to Lead You Through Life

From one of the most acclaimed actors of his time, these John Wayne quotes speak about the value of manhood and what it means to live your life intentionally.

John Wayne is known for his roles in American westerns such as The Searchers and True Grit, and used the wisdom found in his movies to guide his everyday life.

50 John Wayne Quotes to Lead You Through Life

What can we learn about the importance of manhood from John Wayne?

Wayne often focused on what he believed made a man, but the truth is, his values trace back to just a few things: sincerity, honesty, and the ability to stand your ground – values that any human being should include in their life.

The John Wayne quotes listed below will bring you through his philosophies and much more. They will allow you to explore his movies, as well as his way of thinking.

Don’t forget to also read Johnny Cash quotes that will inspire you to live a full life.

John Wayne Quotes About Life

1. “Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne

2. “I suppose my best attribute if you want to call it that, is sincerity. I can sell sincerity because that’s the way I am.” – John Wayne

3. “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

4. “Life is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” – John Wayne

5. “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

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6. “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by.” – John Wayne

7. “Real art is basic emotion. If a scene is handled with simplicity—and I don’t mean simple—it’ll be good, and the public will know it.” – John Wayne

8. “Nobody should come to the movies unless he believes in heroes.” – John Wayne

9. “A goal, a love, and a dream give you total control over your body and your life.” – John Wayne

10. “In my acting, I have to identify with something in the character. The big tough boy on the side of right — that’s me.” – John Wayne

John Wayne Quotes to Motivate You to do Your Best

11. “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

12. “Get off your butt and join the Marines.” – John Wayne

13. “When you stop fighting, that’s death.” – John Wayne

14. “There’s right and there’s wrong. Y’gotta do one or the other, do the other and you may be walking around, but you’re dead as a beaver hat.” – John Wayne

15. “A man who won’t stand for what he believes isn’t a man!” – John Wayne

16. “Hurry it up. We’re burning daylight!” – John Wayne

17. “I would like to be remembered, well… “FeoFuerte y formal,” which means he was ugly, strong, and had dignity.” – John Wayne

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

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19. “When you come to see a picture of mine, I want you to know that I’m not going to do anything that will make you uncomfortable. I want you to know that you won’t be disappointed.” – John Wayne

John Wayne Quotes About the Reality of Human Beings

20. “I’d like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living.” – John Wayne

21. “You can take everything a man has as long as you leave him his dignity.” – John Wayne

22. “A man ought to do what he thinks is right.” – John Wayne

23. “Nothing is so discouraging to an actor than to have to work for long hours upon hours in brightly lighted interior sets.” – John Wayne

24. “A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.” – John Wayne

25. “Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” – John Wayne

26. “A lot of guys make mistakes, I guess, but every one we make, a whole stack of chips goes with it. We make a mistake, and some guy don’t walk away—forever more, he doesn’t walk away.” – John Wayne

27. “I’m the stuff men are made of.” – John Wayne

28. “You’re short on ears and long on mouth.” – John Wayne

29. “My folks always let me go to the movies every Saturday. We were really motion-picture goers.” – John Wayne

30. “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” – John Wayne

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Wise John Wayne Quotes

31. “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” – John Wayne

32. “All I’m for is the liberty of the individual.” – John Wayne

33. “In westerns, you meet a hardy bunch of characters. There is no jealousy on such pictures.” – John Wayne

34. “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

35. “When the road looks rough ahead, remember the ‘Man upstairs’ and the word HOPE. Hang onto both and ‘tough it out.’” – John Wayne

36. “A horse is a horse, it ain’t make a difference what color it is.” – John Wayne

37. “I’m responsible only for what I say, not what you understand.” – John Wayne

38. “What’s the secret of success? Right decisions. How do you make right decisions? Experience. How do you get experience? Wrong decisions.” – John Wayne

39. “If everything isn’t black and white, I say, ‘Why the hell not?’” – John Wayne

40. “Never apologize and never explain—it’s a sign of weakness.” – John Wayne

John Wayne Quotes From His Movies

41. “Young fella, if you’re looking for trouble, I’ll accommodate ya.” – John Wayne

42. “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be some place else.” – John Wayne

43. “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” – John Wayne

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44. “Out here a man settles his own problems.” – John Wayne

45. “True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done.” – John Wayne

46. “You have a streak of kindness a mile wide.” – John Wayne

47. “I found out early that most men, regardless of cause or need, aren’t willing. They blink an eye or draw a breath before they pull the trigger. I won’t.” – John Wayne

48. “I’m a dying man, scared of the dark.” – John Wayne

49. “I want to go out in the world again and see the trees and the lakes and the hills and the sky.” – John Wayne

50. “I wouldn’t make it a habit of calling me that, son.” – John Wayne

What did you learn from these John Wayne quotes?

These John Wayne quotes show us what he valued in people as he moved through his life. Wayne often placed his values on manhood, likely due to the tougher roles he played in his movies. An acclaimed actor and filmmaker, Wayne set the stage for the modern western film. 

How can his films influence how we look at our lives as a whole?

John Wayne often placed importance on the fact that a man is someone who sticks to his word no matter what, and yet lives peacefully when he can. That’s a philosophy that should be applied to all our lives. Stay grounded and peaceful, but don’t let anyone push you around.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these inspirational John Wayne quotes? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Tell us in the comment section below.

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