How many films did John Wayne make as an actor? It's not an idle question. Nor is it an easy question to answer. You can get as many responses to that query as the number of sources you consult.
As for the number of John Wayne films included in our upcoming book, John Wayne Speaks: The Ultimate John Wayne Quote Book, 172 is an informed total, though not universally agreed on. Many references simply say, “more than 170.” Internet Movie Database lists 140 Wayne films, but doesn’t include most of the many silent films in which Wayne was an extra or had only a walk-on role. Fred Landesman, author of the well-researched The John Wayne Filmography, places the total at 169, which includes The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (1933), a film in which Wayne’s only scene was edited out of the final print. For that reason, we have not included that film in our total Further, we've included four films that don't appear in the Landesman list: A Home-made Man (1927) and The Draw-back (1927), in both of which Wayne is identifiable; Seeing Stars (1928) (a researcher identified an uncredited Wayne after obtaining stills of this “lost” film, according to author Scott Eyman in John Wayne: The Life and Legend); and Cancel My Reservation (1972), a Bob Hope comedy in which Wayne has an uncredited cameo appearance as himself.
As a sometimes extra while toiling as a prop assistant at Fox, Wayne may have appeared in even more movies than anyone has recorded so far. But if you say, "around 170," you'll always be on safe ground.