Ben Johnson - Rotten Tomatoes

Ben Johnson

Highest Rated:   100% The Last Picture Show (1971)
Lowest Rated:   13% The Swarm (1978)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Born in Oklahoma of Cherokee-Irish stock, Ben Johnson virtually grew up in the saddle. A champion rodeo rider in his teens, Johnson headed to Hollywood in 1940 to work as a horse wrangler on Howard Hughes' The Outlaw. He went on to double for Wild Bill Elliot and other western stars, then in 1947 was hired as Henry Fonda's riding double in director John Ford's Fort Apache (1948). Ford sensed star potential in the young, athletic, slow-speaking Johnson, casting him in the speaking role of Trooper Tyree in both She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950). In 1950, Ford co-starred Johnson with another of his protégés, Harry Carey Jr., in Wagonmaster (1950). Now regarded as a classic, Wagonmaster failed to register at the box office; perhaps as a result, full stardom would elude Johnson for over two decades. He returned periodically to the rodeo circuit, played film roles of widely varying sizes (his best during the 1950s was the pugnacious Chris in George Stevens' Shane [1953]), and continued to double for horse-shy stars. He also did plenty of television, including the recurring role of Sleeve on the 1966 western series The Monroes. A favorite of director Sam Peckinpah, Johnson was given considerable screen time in such Peckinpah gunfests as Major Dundee (1965) and The Wild Bunch (1969). It was Peter Bogdanovich, a western devotee from way back, who cast Johnson in his Oscar-winning role: the sturdy, integrity-driven movie house owner Sam the Lion in The Last Picture Show (1971). When not overseeing his huge horse-breeding ranch in Sylmar, California, Ben Johnson has continued playing unreconstructed rugged individualists in such films as My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991) and Radio Flyer (1992), in TV series like Dream West (1986, wherein Johnson was cast as frontier trailblazer Jim Bridger), and made-for-TV films along the lines of the Bonanza revivals of the 1990s.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet English National Opera: La Traviata
  • Actor
2015
No Score Yet Big Charity
  • Producer
2014
No Score Yet My Christmas Soldier
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Sugar Creek Gang: Secret Hideout
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Dreamer: The Movie
  • Kevin Russell
2005
No Score Yet Greendale
  • Mate
2003
60% Beautiful Joe
  • Gino
2000
No Score Yet Beyond Redemption
  • Young Alex
1997
23% The Evening Star
  • Arthur Cotton
1996
No Score Yet Ruby Jean and Joe
  • Big Man
1995
No Score Yet Bonanza: Under Attack
  • Bronc Evans
1995
33% Angels in the Outfield
  • Hank Murphy
1994
No Score Yet Outlaws: The Legend of O.B. Taggart
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet Bonanza: The Return
  • Bronc Evans
1993
32% Radio Flyer
  • Geronimo Bill
1992
No Score Yet The Chase
  • Laurienti
1991
33% My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
  • Jessie Dalton, Dad
1991
No Score Yet The Chase
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Dark Before Dawn
  • Sheriff
1989
43% Cherry 2000
  • Six Fingered Jake
1988
No Score Yet Stranger on My Land
  • Vern Whitman
1988
No Score Yet Trespasses
  • august Klein
1987
No Score Yet Let's Get Harry
  • Harry Burke Sr.
1986
48% Red Dawn
  • Mason
1984
No Score Yet Wild Horses
  • Ward
1984
No Score Yet Champions
  • Burly Cocks
1984
83% Tex
  • Cole Collins
1982
No Score Yet The Shadow Riders
  • Uncle Jack Traven
1982
No Score Yet Soggy Bottom U.S.A.
  • Isum Gorch
1981
No Score Yet Ruckus
  • Mr. Sam Bellows
1980
55% The Hunter
  • Sheriff Strong
1980
36% Terror Train
  • Carne
1980
No Score Yet The Sacketts
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet Wild Times
  • Actor
1979
13% The Swarm
  • Felix
1978
No Score Yet Grayeagle
  • John Colter
1977
No Score Yet The Greatest
  • Hollis
1977
50% The Town That Dreaded Sundown
  • Capt. J.D. Morales
1976
No Score Yet The Savage Bees
  • Sheriff Donald McKew
1976
67% Hustle
  • Marty Hollinger
1975
78% Breakheart Pass
  • Pearce
1975
71% Bite the Bullet
  • Mister
1975
91% The Sugarland Express
  • Capt. Harlin Tanner
1974
No Score Yet Kid Blue
  • Sheriff `Mean John' Simpson
1973
92% Dillinger
  • Melvin Purvis
1973
20% The Train Robbers
  • Jesse
1973
85% The Getaway
  • Jack Benyon
1972
89% Junior Bonner
  • Buck Roan
1972
100% The Last Picture Show
  • Sam
1971
83% Chisum
  • James Pepper
1970
96% The Wild Bunch
  • Tector Gorch
1969
17% The Undefeated
  • Short Grub
1969
92% Hang 'em High
  • Sheriff Dave Bliss
1968
83% Will Penny
  • Alex
1968
33% The Rare Breed
  • Jeff Harter
1966
97% Major Dundee
  • Sgt. Chillum
1965
70% Cheyenne Autumn
  • Trooper Plumtree
1964
No Score Yet The Bull of the West
  • Spinner
1962
57% One-Eyed Jacks
  • Bob Amory
1961
No Score Yet Ten Who Dared
  • George Bradley
1960
No Score Yet Fort Bowie
  • Capt. Thomas Thompson
1958
No Score Yet Tomboy and the Champ
  • Uncle Jim
1958
No Score Yet War Drums
  • Luke Fargo
1957
No Score Yet Rebel in Town
  • Frank Mason
1956
96% Oklahoma!
  • Cowboy at Train Depot
1955
No Score Yet Simba
  • Kimani
1955
97% Shane
  • Chris
1953
No Score Yet Wild Stallion
  • Dan Light
1952
No Score Yet Fort Defiance
  • Ben Shelby
1951
75% Rio Grande
  • Trooper Travis Tyree
1950
100% Wagon Master
  • Travis Blue
1950
95% Mighty Joe Young
  • Gregg
1949
94% She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  • Sgt. Tyree
1949
82% Three Godfathers
  • Members of Posse
1948
100% Fort Apache
  • Stunt rider
1948
No Score Yet The Naughty Nineties
  • Coach Driver
1945
89% The Outlaw
  • Actor
1943

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet 30 for 30
2009
  • Appearing
  • 2012

Quotes from Ben Johnson's Characters