Reyes, according to his son, Efren Jr. in a recent article, pioneered the so-call Pinoy Western in Philippine movies, when his dad did Bandido in 1950. His colleagues then were reluctant and were not sold to the idea of doing the said movie because they saw it unrealistic as there were no cowboys in this country. The movie later turned out to be a big box-office hit that started the western genre in Philippine cinema.
He was also into film directing. His first directorial job was Haring Espada in 1956 using the pen name of Severino Reyes III. He likewise excelled in this field, gaining wide recognition and being nominated several times--- for Albano Brothers (1962), Sigaw ng Digmaan (1963), Pilipinas Kong Mahal (1965) and Dugo ang Kulay ng Pag-ibig (1966) He directed the legendary Fernando Poe, Jr. in many memorable movies, among them, Sigaw ng Digmaan (1963), which won the Famas Best Picture that year, Ito ang Maynila (1963), Daniel Barrion (1964), Baril na Ginto (1964), Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw (1965), Pilipinas Kong Mahal (1965), Zamboanga (1966).
Reyes was married to actress Virginia Montes. They had six children, two of them; Cristina Reyes and Efren Jr. were also in show business.
He died of heart attack (see details) on February 11, 1968.
Ifugao (1954)- Starring Efren Reyes, Leila Morena, Juan 'Johnny' Monteiro, Gloria Sevilla, Fernando Royo/Directed by Gerardo de Leon
Sagrado (1955) Stars Efren Reyes, Leila Morena, Lopito, Lauro Delgado, Carol varga, Ruben Rustia, Nello Nayo, Cynthia Zamora/Directed by Cesar Gallardo
Eskrimador (1955)- Starring Efren Reyes, Edna Luna, Juan 'Johnny' Monteiro, Corazon Rivas, Lauro Delgado/Directed by Teodorico C. Santos