Clint Eastwood thinks John Wayne’s performances in Red River and The Searchers were his best, despite their long off-screen feud.
John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are the two names synonymous with the Western film genre. Fans would love to see them star together, but this dream never came to be. Though the two actors never worked together alongside, they got entangled in a feud that lasted since the 1960s.
The feud was initiated by Wayne because he was the original face of the Western genre. And that’s why he didn’t hold favorable opinions about someone getting the ball rolling in the industry.
Besides all the drama, Eastwood still believed John Wayne was more than just a movie star. He thinks Wayne’s performances in Red River and The Searchers were his best.
During a conversation with fellow director Paul Schrader, Clint Eastwood praised how the director Ford avoided typical clichés of the time and added depth to Wayne’s movie characters. The Hollywood director and actor also discussed the way Ford effectively used Wayne as an actor. And that’s how movies like Red River and The Searchers have the best performances of John Wayne.
While Eastwood criticized that film, he admired Wayne’s ability to portray a character much older than his actual age during production.
The former Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea reserved his highest praise for Wayne’s acting in The Searchers. Even many critics feel that it is John Wayne and Ford Western’s best works to date, where the actor is a former soldier who’s on a years-long quest to rescue his kidnapped niece. According to Eastwood (via Screen Rant) Wayne “proved he wasn’t just a movie star but a really good actor.”
Even though there were dramatic differences between the actors, Eastwood’s appraisal of Wayne shows his respect towards the cinema.
What Exactly Led to Feud Between Clint Eastwood and John Wayne?
The main reason for their feud is John Wayne—known for his traditional view of the West—strongly disliked Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of the Old West. Although there was a golden opportunity for the pair to work together in 1973. Wayne had actually been offered 1971’s Dirty Harry first, but he turned it down.
Eastwood sent Wayne a new script for The Hostiles, but he declined. After Wayne rejected the script, he was again sent a revised version. But this time, the Brannigan star replied with a personal letter to Eastwood saying he didn’t like High Plains Drifter.
But the Cry Macho actor was determined, and he again sent him a third version of the script one last time. Wayne’s son Mike handed him out the script when they were sailing. The old actor grunted, “This piece of sh** again,” and threw the script into the ocean.
So, it can be said that there was never a feud between the two actors, they just had distinct opinions because they were from different generations. Also, their differing views on the cinema were something that never worked out.