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30 Inspirational John Wayne Quotes that Reflect the Value of Life

If you’re a movie junkie, you probably saw some of his classic films like “True Grit” (1969), “Stagecoach” (1939), “Rio Bravo” (1959), “The Shootist” (1976) and much more.

John Wayne, born on May 26, 1907, also nicknamed as “Duke” was an American film director, producer, and actor who starred in 142 pictures with an academy award.

John Wayne is known for his “rigid” behavior and epitomized masculinity as seen in his western films. He continued to be on the top of the box office’s best actors for three consecutive decades.

The Duke won millions of people’s hearts with his films that are not only exceptionally-made but also leave unforgettable lines.

If you’re in the midst of slog and impediments, feeling down, thinking of giving up or you desire some magical words to arouse you, in this article, I’ve listed the top 30 classy and “true-to-that” quotes vocalized by this iconic film actor which will make you reminisce his works and his entire era.

30 Inspirational John Wayne Quotes

  1. “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.”

Men, as well as women, should have the courage no matter how hard life’s challenges get and should have the strong will to keep assertive and never give up.

  1. “Everybody that I was in school with had an uncle or father in law, and I started to realize that I was going to end up writing briefs for about ten years for these fellows who I thought I was smarter than. And I was kind of losing my feeling for that.”

In life, you are the author of your own story in your own book. Everyone can be a part of it but nobody else knows how your story goes but you. You can’t flip the next page if you’re stuck reading the same old page. Don’t let the past cage you from seeing the future.

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

Experience is the best teacher. If you’re having hesitations about something, take risks, it might be worth a try. We learn in life through these mistakes that give us experiences to guide us to the right path and right decisions.

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

Everyone wants to be respected and treated well by other people. As they say, respect begets respect. You can start with self-respect, then, believe me, people will reflect the same to you.

  1. “Tomorrow is perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

In order to see the better future waiting ahead of us, we need to let go of the past and learn our mistakes from the past experience. Leave the one you are yesterday, live with the “you” now.

  1. “A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.”

Trust is like a very fragile expensive glass, once broken, it can never be fixed or used again. Some people deserve second chances but never allow second or third or fourth blunders from them.

  1. “Don’t pick a fight, but if you find yourself in one, I suggest you make damn sure you win.

No one can avoid having a nemesis in life. So, if you know you’re fighting on the good side, be brave, fight, stand and face it!

  1. “When the road looks rough ahead, remember the “Man Upstairs” and the word H-O-P-E. Hang onto both and Tough it out.”

Life can give us voluminous challenges, but if you clench onto and believe in the creator, you can scale through all of life’s challenges, with hope and strength to keep moving forward.

  1. “Never apologize and never explain, it’s a sign of weakness.”

There’s nothing wrong keeping yourself quiet in times of trouble or misunderstanding, if you know you did nothing wrong, then there’s no need to explain yourself and apologize to anyone.

  1. “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.”

Impertinent others can put you in trouble.

  1. “You can take everything a man has as long as you leave him his dignity.”

The most important thing in the world is to have self-respect and dignity and it can’t be taken away by anyone.

  1. “A man ought to do what he thinks is right.”

Doing the right thing and choosing the right decisions can affect your life and the life of others.

  1. “Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.”

Problems are always there, we can’t run away from them but we can avoid them and face them with our strength and will.

  1. “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.”

Everyone deserves to fight for the things that they’ve earned with sweat and blood. Don’t let anyone take it from you.

  1. “A goal, a love and a dream give you total control over your body and your life.”

Having a dream is like marking your destination or goal in your journey in life and having love would let you enjoy the ride.

  1. “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”

Death is inevitable, so as long as you’re alive, enjoy the ride, learn to love, dream and be happy until the time has come, you’ll have the courage to face it.

  1. “I would like to be remembered, well… the Mexicans have a phrase, ‘FeoFuerte y formal’, which means he was ugly, strong and had dignity.”

Everyone deserves to be remembered and have dignity when death knocks on their door.

  1. “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.”

Life is a choice, it’s up to you how you want to be remembered.

  1. “When you stop fighting, that’s death.”

This reminds us not to give up on our dreams, and we need to sacrifice to get it.

  1. “The worst part of it has been, I think, the adverse effect on family life. It kills off the family conversation and it’s harder to get your children to read the book. I became a confirmed reader when I was growing up in Glendale. I’ve loved reading all my life. Now I’ve got this daughter, Aissa, a very bright young lady, but it is a hard job to get her to read, television’s just too easy.”

As the duke said, reading is wonderful; it can take you to another world, any world that you can imagine. To stop time is to read a book.

  1. “If you’ve got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.”

To become a legend, take life risks with courage and your memories will stay in people’s mind and stay in their hearts forever.

  1. “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.”

Do whatever you want in life, you can either earn judgments or respects. Live to please yourself, not the other people.

  1. “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by.”

Purpose and dreams are the two reasons we are living, we have to believe in what we are capable of.

  1. “A man who won’t stand for what he believes isn’t a man!”

We need to be true, it will show if our desire is strong enough.

  1. “Sure, I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure, I love my country with all her faults. I’m not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.”

Have honor and love of your own country.

  1. “Now you understand, anything goes wrong, anything at all, your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault, it doesn’t matter, I’m gonna blow your head off. It’s simple as that.”

No matter how things might get worse, the solution is to stay calm and avoid violence and not blow somebody’s head off.

  1. “Hurry it up. We’re burning daylight!”

Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way without wasting any time.

  1. “If everything isn’t black and white, I say, why the hell not?”

We have so many choices in life, some can lead us onto the right path and some might not, but there’s always room for mistakes, these help us learn our lessons and give us all we need to move on.

  1. “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much.”

Sometimes, it’s better not to explain yourself to anyone, as long as you think you are right. This avoids unnecessary confrontations.

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

It’s better to work hard for your dreams and sacrifice your time, effort, blood and sweat to achieve it, rather than placing your destiny in the hands of other people. The feeling is the most fulfilling feeling you could ever get.

And my favorite:

  1. “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

The only person that can control your life is you. Life is full of unfair things, full of challenges that will let you down, but if you know how to control it, it will definitely become better.


Life is always full of surprises; setbacks and failures will detract us from our path, but we must learn a particular lesson from those who achieved success before us, they always get up and push forward.

Success is achieved by the end of the journey and not from the start. Every great man undergoes times of fretfulness, but this sets achievers and losers apart. As I always remember what my mentors tell me, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, what matters is how many times you stand up when you fall.

The death of this American icon is a big loss to our society, but nevertheless, it leaves us essential life lessons and words to live by. He may be gone but his words and legacy will forever live and stay with those whom he touched through his word.

John Wayne only reminded us that we need to live our lives with dignity, courage, and sincerity. Even if life throws challenges at us, we must learn how to face and defy all odds.

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