Horror Auteur Guillermo del Toro’s “Favorite Shot” From His Film Career Involves Western Legend John Wayne

Guillermo del Toro took inspiration for a shot from a 1956 film of John Wayne that turned out to be his favorite

horror auteur guillermo del toro’s “favorite shot” from his film career involves western legend john wayne


  • Guillermo del Toro is one of the greatest directors of his time, with a number of classics to his name
  • The creator made a horror movie, The Devil's Backbone, with its last shot turning into his favorite in his entire filmography
  • The shot was inspired from the famous scene of John Wayne's movie, The Searcher
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With three Academy Awards and a remarkable filmography, Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has successfully established himself as one of the best horror filmmakers of all time. His distinctive horror and fantasy films are a result of his fascination with monsters. His 2001 movie, The Devil’s Backbone, received positive reviews and performed decently at the box office, but there is one scene in that movie that was inspired by John Wayne’s movie.

A still from Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone (2001)
A still from Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

The filmmaker once revealed that his favorite shot in The Devil’s Backbone (2001) was inspired by legendary actor John Wayne’s 1956 epic Western film The Searchers. Wayne, also known as The Duke or Duke Wayne, is often labeled as one of the greatest male stars of classic American cinema and del Toro isn’t the only one who has been influenced by his movies.

Also read: Marvel’s Greatest Missed Opportunity isn’t Tom Cruise Iron Man: God of Cinema Guillermo del Toro Wanted to Make a Show on One Founding Avenger


John Wayne’s 1956 movie inspired this scene in Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

A still from The Searchers (1956)
A still from The Searchers (1956)

In 2014, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro revealed in an interview with DGA that the final scene in his 2001 movie The Devil’s Backbone was inspired by John Wayne’s 1956 epic Western film The Searchers,

“The final shot on Devil’s Backbone might be my favorite shot I’ve ever done. I was very much influenced by Westerns – my favorite is The Searchers. The shot of John Wayne’s silhouette against the frame of the door is so epic.”

The Searchers stars John Wayne as a middle-aged Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his abducted niece with his adopted nephew. The film was a massive success at the time of its release and today, it is widely considered as one of the best Western genre films of all time.

Also read: Guillermo del Toro Goes Into Full Frankenstein Mode as Director Makes a Special Visit on His Trip To Scotland Ahead of Film’s Shooting


Guillermo del Toro initially had different plans for The Devil’s Backbone‘s ending

A still from Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone (2001)
A still from Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Further in the interview Guillermo del Toro revealed that they had a different ending planned for the movie, however, they didn’t have enough time so they went with the shot that was inspired by The Searchers,

“Originally we had a whole other sequence planned. It was the last day, like an hour from sundown. We were tearing our hair out; we couldn’t make it. The shot we [already] had was the shadow of the professor, who was a ghost now, framed by the architecture of the orphanage, trapped like an insect in amber, with the kids outside in the sunlight. I saw that shot on the video and I said, ‘That’s the end of the movie. We don’t need anything else.’ I thought it was a perfect way to show the demarcation between the ghost world of shadows, and the real world of light.”

The Devil’s Backbone is set in 1939 Spain and narrates the story of a boy who is left in an orphanage operated by Republican loyalists and haunted by the ghost of another deceased boy. Upon release, the film was well-received by the audience but compared to the other films in del Toro’s filmography, it underperformed.

Related: ‘The Killer’ Gets Guillermo del Toro’s Stamp of Approval Despite Dividing the Most Loyal David Fincher Fans After Release


Written by Farhan Asif

Articles Published: 992

With over 2 years of experience in content writing, Farhan Asif is a seasoned writer at FandomWire where he specializes in bringing the latest news and insights from the world of entertainment and gaming to readers around the world. With over 700 published articles for FandomWire, he has also written more than 750 articles for AnimatedTimes. Apart from this, he has a passion for coding and is pursuing a degree in computer science. During his free time, Farhan loves to play video games and hopes to create a video game of his own one day.