60 John Wayne Quotes to Lead You Through Life (2021)

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Wayne Quotes to Motivate You to do Your Best

11. “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

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

13. “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

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. “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

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

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. “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

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. “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

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

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

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

More John Wayne quotes and sayings

51. “If you can’t be thankful for what you have, be thankful for what you have escaped.” – John Wayne

52. “Men forget everything; women remember everything.” – John Wayne

53. “Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” – John Wayne

54. “One look that works is better than twenty lines of dialogue.” – John Wayne

55. “A long time ago, I made me a rule. I let people do what they want to do.” – John Wayne

56. “The fire We brought nothing into this world and it’s certain we can carry nothing out.” – John Wayne

57. “This kind of war, you’ve gotta believe in what you’re fighting for.” – John Wayne

58. “My main object in making a motion picture is entertainment. If at the same time I can strike a blow for liberty, then I’ll stick one in.” – John Wayne

59. “Cause even grown men need understanding.” – John Wayne

60. “Fear is just one of the many words I don’t know the meaning of.” – John Wayne

John Wayne quotes that prove he doesn’t mess around

61. “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

62. “All the screen cowboys behaved like real gentlemen. They didn’t drink, they didn’t smoke. When they knocked the bad guy down, they always stood with their fists up, waiting for the heavy to get back on his feet. I decided I was going to drag the bad guy to his feet and keep hitting him.” -John Wayne

63. “Get off your horse and drink your milk.” –John Wayne

64. “I was ashamed to admit I was hipped to the idea of acting. That’s why I started in with the props.” –John Wayne

65. “I”ve loved reading all my life.” –John Wayne

66. “I was sure I’d set the world on fire, and it was hard for a young feller like me to realize the truth – that I hadn’t set the world on fire, and I was totally unprepared to handle the consequences if ‘The Big Trail’ had been a success and launched me as a star.” –John Wayne

67. “I’d read up on the history of our country and I’d become fascinated with the story of the Alamo. To me it represented the fight for freedom, not just in America, but in all countries.” –John Wayne

68. “Very few of the so-called liberals are open minded. They shout you down and won’t let you speak if you disagree with them.” –John Wayne

69. “Government has no wealth, and when a politician promises to give you something for nothing, he must first confiscate that wealth from you — either by direct taxes, or by the cruelly indirect tax of inflation.” –John Wayne

70. “The reason there are so many stupid people is because it’s illegal to kill them.” –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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