Thirty-five years ago today on June 11, 1979, John Wayne passed away, three years after the release of his final film, “The Shootist,” in which he played a gunfighter stricken with cancer (the disease which would eventually take his life). Wayne (born Marion Mitchell Morrison on May 26, 1907) had been one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars for most of his forty-odd-year career, reaching fame after John Ford‘s “Stagecoach” and overwhelmingly associated with the Western genre, not least another Ford classic, “The Searchers,” probably his greatest and most iconic role, of over a hundred.
But Wayne was also something of a divisive figure (not least to Public Enemy…), a man whose right-wing politics, vocal support of the Hollywood Blacklist, racial views, and pro-war stance undoubtedly tarnished his career to some degree in retrospect. To mark the anniversary of the Duke’s passing, below you’ll find “The Unquiet American,” a smart and in-depth 50-minute documentary (narrated by Peter Capaldi) that looks at both the career and politics of Wayne. Does his legacy change the way you feel about his movies? Or does it make no difference? Let us know your thoughts below.