John Wayne: The Epic Collection DVD Review

Housing 40 films on 38 discs, John Wayne: The Epic Collection is an incredible treat for any fan of the screen icon, and features a wide variety of Wayne’s films over his incredible film career. The films are a collection of Wayne’s Warner Bros. and Paramount titles, and range from his biggest releases to his early films.

Along with the films, the set includes a bonus disc of features, a variety of commentaries on the various films, documentaries, vintage shorts, and even classic cartoons. The bonus materials vary depending on the title, and range from simple trailers for the smaller titles to more detailed looks at bigger films – such as The Searchers.

Another selling point is a folder containing reproductions of movie poster art cards, script covers reproductions, and copies of personal letters sent to Wayne – which demonstrate his incredible legacy and presence beyond being a movie star. The script covers also feature notes Wayne wrote on the character he was playing in the film or other notes about the film. Although there isn’t a ton of material in the folder, it is a great addition to the set.

The films are housed in a “coffee table” style hardback book with each disc held in a paper sleeve. The housing is similar to how other big sets have been released lately – such as the James Bond box set. The book itself is simply beautiful with each disc being accompanied by a production still from the film. Starting with Wayne’s early films and ending with 1976’s The Shootist, this set is an incredible look at one of the big screen’s greatest icons.

John Wayne: The Epic Collection (with Amazon Exclusive “Duke” Belt Buckle)
John Wayne: The Epic Collection (with Amazon Exclusive “Duke” Belt Buckle)

The films included are some of Wayne’s best, but also some that weren’t so great (McQ I am looking at you). The quality of the picture and sound ranges from film to film. Some of the early black and white titles could have looked better, but the picture never ruins the quality of the films. Fans of the Duke get to see him in his most iconic form thanks to a number of westerns, but also his most patriotic thanks to his many war films. They also highlight how great Wayne was at comedy thanks to including Hatari! and Donovan’s Reef.

The set also features some of the greatest westerns ever made thanks to the inclusion of Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, True Grit and The Cowboys. Oddly, the set includes the two-disc version of How the West Was Won. With its huge ensemble cast and epic scope, it is great How the West Was Won was included, but Wayne just has one short scene in the film.

The films included in the set are: Big Stampede/Ride Him Cowboy/Haunted Gold (1932), Telegraph Trail/Somewhere in Sonora/Man from Monterey (1933), Allegheny Uprising (1939), Reunion In France (1942), Tall in the Saddle (1944), Back to Bataan (1945), They Were Expendable (1945), Without Reservations (1946), Tycoon (1947), Fort Apache (1948), The Three Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Flying Leathernecks (1951), Operation Pacific (1951), Big Jim McLain (1952), Trouble Along the Way (1953), Blood Alley (1966), The Sea Chase (1955), The Searchers (1956), The Wings Of Eagles (1957), Rio Bravo (1959), Hatari (1962), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), How The West Was Won: Special Edition (1962), Donovan’s Reef (1963), In Harm’s Way (1965), The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965), El Dorado (1966), The Green Berets (1968), True Grit (1969), Chisum (1970), Cowboys, The: Deluxe Edition (1972), Cahill: U.S. Marshall (1973), The Train Robbers (1973), McQ (1974), and The Shootist (1976).

Thanks to its additional content, great looking book to house the 38 discs, and wide range of titles, John Wayne: The Epic Collection is a perfect addition for any fan of the western genre or Wayne. The set houses some of the film legends best films and looks incredible. This is a set that well-worth the purchase price, and easy to recommend.

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