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John Wayne

What movie is john Wayne quote a man's got to do what a man's got to do?


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April 20, 2010 12:36AM

What is the origin of the line, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do"?

John Wayne is often credited with saying this in "Stagecoach" but what he actually said (I checked the screenplay at is "Well, there's some things a man just can't run away from."

Wayne is also reported to have said this line in "Hondo" (1954). Nope, his line there is: "A man ought'a do what he thinks is best."

Many people think the line came from "Shane" (1953). Wrong again. In that film Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) said:"I couldn't do what I gotta do if I hadn't always knowed that I could trust ya" and later, Shane (Alan Ladd) says: "A man has to be what he is."

Charlton Heston is also claimed by some to have uttered the famous line in the 1956 movie "Three Violent People." Close but no cigar. What Heston says is: "A man must do what he must do."

Several websites say a variation of the line appeared that same year in the novel (not the film version) of THE GRAPES OF WRATH: chapter 18 reportedly has the line "I know this man -- a man got to do what he got to do."

Reportedly by 1962 the line was already a cliche and was used mockingly in an episode of "The Jetsons." George Jetson says: "Ha, 'a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do'. I should've won three space Oscar awards."