Life is Tough. It’s tougher if you’re stupid.

“Life is tough.  It’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

“Life is hard.  It’s harder when you’re stupid.”

I love this quote.  I’ve heard both versions attributed to John Wayne.  But I first become suspicious over the Christmas break when I tossed out this quote and my father-in-law had never heard it.  He has painting of John Wayne on his walls and actual quotes from the Duke on his refrigerator.  It cast serious doubt in my mind when he said “No, I never… no I don’t think he ever said that.”

“This life’s hard, man, but it’s harder if you’re stupid!”  

That line is from the 1973 film The Friends of Eddie Coyle.  The star of the film is Robert Mitchum, but he didn’t deliver the line.  John Wayne isn’t even in it.

I love the quote, and will probably continue to use it.  Since I went around doing it myself I will not make reference to talking about stupidity while misquoting famous American actors.  It is ironic.  But if I use the quote and every now and then someone asks “John Wayne, right?”  What’s a guy to do?


About Clark Bunch

Pastor (Unity Baptist) author (God is Near) husband, father, blogger, coffee enthusiast.
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4 Responses to Life is Tough. It’s tougher if you’re stupid.

  1. Suz says:

    Pretty sure it was a quote from Chisum.


  2. Brian says:

    I hear tell it’s from Sands Of Iwo Jima.


    • Clark Bunch says:

      This from Andrew P, writing at

      I’d heard that it was from “The Sands of Iwo Jima” (Republic Pictures, 1949). A few years ago I checked out a copy of the movie on VHS cassette from my local public library and watched the movie attentively two or three times, but I never heard John Wayne, nor any other actor, utter that line or anything remotely similar to it. I’m fairly certain the quote did not come from that movie, unless it was edited out of the version on tape.


  3. LIFE IS TOUGH, IT’S TOUGHER WHEN YOU’RE STUPID. SANDS OF IWO JIMA, SGT STRYKER says that to Forrest when he is fighting in training camp and trips and falls as Sgt Stryker walks in,


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