If anybody was born to play a cantankerous-yet-charismatic U.S. marshal in a movie with a title like True Grit, it's John Wayne. Wayne's screen career was founded on this sort of swaggering masculine attitude, and director and frequent Wayne collaborator Henry Hathaway plays to the actor's strengths. The film wisely rides Wayne's coattails, successfully balancing lively if somewhat conventional action scenes with entertainingly sentimental repartee. Though not his finest performance, it's somehow fitting that Wayne received his sole Academy Award for his self-referential turn as True Grit's acrimonious tough guy, "Rooster" Cogburn. The film also features one of Robert Duvall's first high-profile roles.