The Conqueror


D: Dick Powell

RKO (Howard Hughes)

US 🇺🇸 1956

111 mins


W: Oscar Millard

DP: Joseph LaSchelle

Ed: Stuart Gilmore

Mus: Victor Young

John Wayne (Temujin / Genghis Khan), Susan Hayward (Bortai), Agnes Moorehead (Hunlun), Pedro Armendariz (Jamuga), Thomas Gomez (Wang Khan)

John Wayne as Genghis Khan may well be one of the worst casting decisions in the history of Hollywood, but the problems with this film don’t just lie with The Duke fumbling over the delivery of the Shakespearean-style dialogue.

Following Temujin’s rise to become infamous warlord Genghis Khan, this dirge of a film throws in a completely unnecessary romance between the lead and Susan Hayward’s Bortai which just feels unbelievable and stilted, while the action scenes just fail to stimulate any excitement, though the horses are the most convincing actors on screen at any point during this borefest.

Considered by many to be one of the worst films ever made, it’s certainly one of the most uneventful and is probably only worth watching for the comedy aspect of its lead actor delivering the worst performance of his iconic career. 


John Wayne & Susan Hayward in The Conqueror
John Wayne & Susan Hayward in The Conqueror