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True Grit Details


In fine Hollywood tradition, John Wayne had to play a "one-eyed fat man" before the Motion Picture Academy considered him worthy of an Oscar. In True Grit, Wayne plays grumpy, pot-bellied U.S. marshal "Rooster" Cogburn, hired by 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) to find Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey), who killed her father. The headstrong Mattie could have had her pick of lawmen, but selects the aging Cogburn because she believes he has "true grit" (she talks this way all through the picture, so be prepared). Also heading into Indian territory in search of Chaney is Texas Ranger La Boeuf (Glen Campbell), who wants to collect the reward placed on the fugitive's head for his earlier crimes. Complicating matters are Chaney's scurrilous cronies Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall), Quincy (Jeremy Slate), and Moon (Dennis Hopper), who have no qualms about killing a troublesome teenaged girl like Mattie. While the plot of True Grit, adapted (and streamlined) by Marguerite Roberts from the novel by Charles Portis, maintains audience interest throughout, the glue that truly holds this Western together is John Wayne, delivering one of his finest performances (though some believe he was better in Charles Portis). Wayne's casual charisma is infinitely more effective than the mannered method acting of Kim Darby and the floundering non-acting of poor Glen Campbell. And who could not love the climatic face-off between Duvall and company and John Wayne, whose "Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!" is not only a classic bit of dialogue, but the apotheosis of the Wayne mystique. In 1975, Wayne repeated his True Grit characterization opposite Katharine Hepburn in Katharine Hepburn, but the film failed to match its predecessor and the overall effect was blunted. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:May 19, 1978


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Elmer Bernstein Best Original Song 1969 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Elmer Bernstein Best Song 1969 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association John Wayne Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1969 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Wayne Best Actor 1969 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Glen Campbell New Star of the Year - Male 1969 Nominee


John Wayne
as Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn
Glen Campbell
as La Boeuf
Kim Darby
as Mattie Ross
Jeremy Slate
as Emmett Quincy
Robert Duvall
as Ned Pepper
Dennis Hopper
as Moon
Alfred Ryder
as Goudy
Strother Martin
as Col. G. Stonehill
Jeff Corey
as Tom Chaney
Ron Soble
as Capt. Boots Finch
James Westerfield
as Judge Isaac Parker
John Doucette
as Sheriff
Donald Woods
as Barlow
Carlos Rivas
as Dirty Bob
Isabel Boniface
as Mrs. Bagby
Ken Renard
as Yarnell Poindexter
Jay Ripley
as Harold Parmalee
John Fiedler
as Lawyer J. Noble Daggett
Ken Becker
as Farrell Parmalee
Jay Silverheels
as Condemned man at hanging
Guy Wilkerson
as The Hangman
Boyd "Red" Morgan
as Red the Ferryman
Myron Healey
as A Deputy
Hank Worden
as R. Ryan, Undertaker
Connie Sawyer
as Talkative woman at hanging


Henry Hathaway
Hal B. Wallis
Marguerite Roberts
Charles Portis
Book Author
Lucien Ballard
Elmer Bernstein
Composer (Music Score)
Elmer Bernstein
Warren Low
Walter Tyler
Production Designer
Walter Tyler
Art Director
Ray Moyer
Set Designer
Glen Campbell
Carol Meikle