John Wayne was seen as the epitome of the American Hero during the age of the Western film. He was beloved by many, even with his strong conservative politics and often brash language. However, in the 60s, America’s view shifted. They no longer looked to Westerns for inspiration and John Wayne, while still beloved, faded to the background (as symbolically seen in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance". I would like to see an analysis of John Wayne’s connection to American culture further, and his impact on American culture long after America turned away from him.
Something interesting one could pursue while contemplating this topic is James Baldwin's discussion of John Wayne in his unfinished book- now a film- "I am Not Your Negro." In it he discusses heroes, in particular figures like John Wayne; a perspective like this I think could be an interesting frame of reference for a topic like this. In particular, I find this quote of Baldwin's to be very powerful: “A Black man who sees the world in the way John Wayne sees it would not be an eccentric patriot, but a raving maniac…The truth is that this country does not know what to do with its Black population.” – ees4 years ago
This is an interesting topic, especially because westerns seem to be having a comeback after a long dry spell. Between the Magnificent 7 reboot, Hostless, Godless, and Westworld, westerns are back in fashion. Are these new westerns evidence that audiences wish to rekindle themes of John Wayne movies? – Ben Lashar4 years ago