35 Best Action Movies of All Time, Ranked – saimmalik

Few genres profit from the artwork type of movie as a lot because the motion style does. Extra grounded, much less explosive genres (like crime, thriller, or drama tales) generally work simply as effectively in novel type or as stage performs, for instance, as they’d within the type of a film. But whereas there is likely to be some good action-heavy books on the market, there’s an argument to be made that motion simply hits more durable when it is visible, audible, and introduced on the massive display screen.

Let’s be sincere: the perfect motion motion pictures are sometimes higher – or at the least extra entertaining – than the perfect motion pictures from another style. Good motion motion pictures are price celebrating, and that is what the next checklist of titles goals to do: present the motion style at its perfect. Adrenaline junkies and motion followers ought to make it a precedence to take a look at all the next, as they comprise what may be definitively declared the perfect motion motion pictures of all time. In celebration of what may very well be essentially the most cinematic style on the market, here is an summary of the motion style all through the many years, and the flicks that characterize it greatest. With a mixture of classics and newer movies, the next is an try to rank a number of the best action-packed motion pictures of all time, with all being important viewing for followers of the motion style.

35 ‘A Contact of Zen’ (1971)

Director: King Hu

Picture through Union Movie

A Contact of Zen might effectively be definable as a fantasy film, because it will get fairly mystical in elements and has an total unusual and otherworldly environment. Whereas it does ultimately reveal itself to be a moderately incredible martial arts film, it is a affected person movie that takes a while to get to the motion, so to talk. For the primary hour or so of the fantasy-action movie’s mammoth three-hour runtime, there’s little to no motion to be discovered.

As an alternative, A Contact of Zen is all about environment and is devoted to being a slow-burn, although as soon as the motion does begin, it is spellbinding to look at. The plot is pretty simple total, being a few lady on the run and the way she joins forces with a gaggle of monks to ultimately stand as much as these pursuing her, but it surely’s the execution that makes the movie particular, and an undeniably important look ahead to any and all martial arts followers.

Watch on Criterion

34 ‘The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter’ (1984)

Director: Lau Kar-leung

Eight Diagram Pole Fighter - 1984
Picture through Shaw Brothers Studio

Just like the aforementioned Contact of Zen, The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter is one other completely important martial arts film traditional that is misplaced none of its impression within the many years since its authentic launch. The plot is minimal, all issues thought-about, with The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter’s narrative primarily boiling all the way down to an elongated and bloody quest for revenge on the a part of one inexperienced martial artist (who quickly turns into very skilled) after a violent and bloody betrayal.

It is likely to be a bit unclear what all of the hype is about surrounding The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter at first, however viewers ought to stick to this one for the lengthy haul. The ultimate 15 to twenty minutes delivers a number of the greatest and most brutal motion sequences within the historical past of the motion style, and it is all a sight to behold (as long as one is not wanting away from the display screen, owing to all of the surprisingly ugly violence that also feels a bit arduous to look at to at the present time).

Watch on Mubi

33 ‘To Stay and Die in L.A.’ (1985)

Director: William Friedkin

To Live and Die in L.A. - 1985
Picture through United Artists

In relation to the filmography of the legendary William Friedkin, you may’t actually go mistaken with a lot of what’s there. And positive, his greatest efforts had been in all probability from the Seventies (taking a look at you, The French Connection and The Exorcist), however past that decade, his greatest single movie may effectively be that of To Stay and Die in L.A., which is a gritty mix of crime/motion/thriller genres that feels of its time, but additionally someway timeless.

Like an amazing many motion motion pictures, the plot right here by no means will get too complicated, roughly being targeted on one man’s quest for revenge in opposition to an elusive prison after his Secret Service agent accomplice is killed in chilly blood. To Stay and Die in L.A. is relentless, violent, and unpredictable, and delivers some severely spectacular motion inside its runtime, together with an all-time nice automotive chase sequence.

To Stay and Die in L.A.

Launch Date
November 1, 1085


Buy on Amazon

32 ‘Hero’ (2002)

Director: Zhang Yimou

Hero - 2002
Picture through Beijing New Image Movie

For a film that’s obtained a title so simple as Hero, this 2002 martial arts epic does have a surprisingly complicated and complex construction, even when the plot itself isn’t too convoluted, on the finish of the day. Issues revolve round one massively proficient warrior detailing how he took down three assassins in fast succession, every enjoying out by way of a collection of gorgeously filmed and fairly beautiful flashbacks.

As soon as the tales are over, different issues transpire that aren’t price spoiling, however the total construction and slow-burn narrative constructing within the movie’s current does considerably mimic the storytelling present in Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri. Hero is an effective deal extra action-centered than that iconic samurai drama movie, although, and is price a look ahead to simply how visually lovely it’s alone (that the motion can also be excellent actually simply looks like icing on the cake).

Rent on Apple TV

31 ‘Drunken Grasp II’ (1994)

Director: Lau Kar-leung

Jackie Chan in 'Legend of Drunken Master.'
Picture through Golden Harvest Firm 

It’s not possible to speak about nice motion motion pictures with out mentioning the legendary Jackie Chan, who’s been in a lot (and lots of of these titles get underrated/ignored). Certainly one of his earlier starring roles was in Drunken Grasp, and whereas that movie was a greater than a strong piece of martial arts leisure, its eventual sequel, 1994’s Drunken Grasp II (generally often known as Legend of the Drunken Grasp) was a big enchancment in virtually each regard.

This 1994 flick is funnier and much more bombastic on the subject of motion, delivering some big sequences the place Chan’s character and an ally tackle dozens of foes, in addition to a climactic combat the place Jackie Chan fights one other expert martial artist in a scene that feels prefer it by no means ends, all of the whereas frequently escalating. Those that aren’t acquainted with martial arts exterior American cinema must make watching the martial arts classic Drunken Master II a precedence, as a result of it does undoubtedly characterize this style at its greatest.

Rent on Apple TV

30 ‘Prime Gun: Maverick’ (2022)

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Maverick takes off from an aircraft carrier
Picture through Paramount Photos

The unique Top Gun is a strong sufficient film, however not one which holds up notably effectively. It is in all probability preferred for nostalgic causes, moderately than for being a genuinely nice film, however fortunately, Top Gun: Maverick was capable of construct upon it and spin the acquainted into one thing nice, in flip feeling like one of many very best movies released during the 2020s so far. It is also no secret at this stage that it is one of many highest-grossing in latest reminiscence, too.

It was much better as a film than simply about anybody was anticipating, and arguably stands as one of many best sequels of all time, given how a lot of an enchancment it’s on the primary. Tom Cruise‘s dedication to the position makes it shine, and all of the scenes of aerial coaching and fight are genuinely thrilling to look at.

Watch on Amazon Prime

29 ‘Predator’ (1987)

Director: John McTiernan

Predator Men Shooting Into Jungle

Even when Predator is not the perfect Arnold Schwarzenegger film on the market, it needs to be a contender. Predator is a incredible mix of motion, sci-fi, and even a bit horror, given it pits a fearsome group of commandos up in opposition to a rarely-seen alien enemy who hunts them for sport, and with ruthless effectivity, deep in a Central American jungle.

It is at its greatest within the ultimate act, when Schwarzenegger’s character is basically alone in opposition to the titular monster/alien, with the prolonged one-on-one battle of wits enjoying out with minimal dialogue, and loads of suspense. It is a well-polished film that is far much less schlocky than its repute may need one consider, and deservedly stands as a Eighties motion traditional, with the film perfectly combining action and sci-fi to beautiful impact.


Launch Date
June 12, 1987

107 minutes

Rent on Apple TV

28 ‘The Killer’ (1989)

Director: John Woo

The Killer - 1989 (1)

A John Woo movie that was clearly influential on the motion motion pictures that adopted in its wake, The Killer is an total glorious and action-packed movie. It follows a remorseful murderer who desires to atone for a success that went mistaken with unintended penalties, just for his private quest to land him in even deeper bother.

It is each a tragedy and an explosive, gunfight-heavy spectacle, and the best way it balances its somber story with very over-the-top motion is one thing of a filmmaking miracle. Later John Woo motion pictures may ship much more wild motion set items, however few motion motion pictures hit as arduous as The Killer does on the subject of the emotional content material of the tales they inform. For that foremost cause, it is just about an motion film masterpiece.

Buy on Amazon

27 ‘Warmth’ (1995)

Director: Michael Mann

Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer armed with assault rifles in Heat
Picture Through Warner Bros

Heat may not have as frequent motion scenes as most motion motion pictures, however right here, it is all concerning the high quality, moderately than the amount. Its legacy as an amazing piece of motion cinema is cemented by its financial institution theft/shootout sequence alone, which is a wonderfully executed – and ferociously intense – scene that is misplaced none of its energy within the years since Warmth was first launched.

Additionally serving to Warmth is the truth that it has a incredible forged led by Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and a solidly advised story that unfolds steadily over an virtually three-hour-long runtime. It earns that size and feels suitably epic, making it among the many greatest motion motion pictures of its decade. It is also a movie that would effectively rank as the best achievement within Michael Mann’s career, which is actually saying one thing, contemplating what number of high-quality motion pictures he is made.


Launch Date
December 15, 1995

Michael Mann

170 minutes

Watch on Hulu

26 ‘Velocity’ (1994)

Director: Jan de Bont

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in Speed
Picture through twentieth Century Fox

There is a fantastic simplicity and silliness to Speed‘s premise that makes it immediately hook the viewer in. The characters are caught on a bus that’s set to blow up if the bus drops under a sure velocity, and so issues are at all times shifting ahead and feeling tense, provided that the hazard inherent from such a premise; hazard that by no means absolutely goes away.

It helps make Velocity one of many best movies of 1994, with its forged – together with Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Hopper – enhancing issues additional. Velocity is a always thrilling motion film, and it delivers one thing that is persistently fast-paced and by no means boring, making it simple to advocate for followers of cinematic pleasure.


Launch Date
June 9, 1994


Watch on Starz

25 ‘Quick 5’ (2011)

Director: Justin Lin

Picture through Common Photos

The Fast and Furious collection has was a behemoth franchise at this time limit. It started in 2001 and had a tenth entry launched in Might 2023, with the collection specializing in unlawful avenue races close to the start, after which transitioning to extra spy/espionage-focused tales in later entries.

Fast Five was the purpose the place the collection made that dramatic transition, with much more explosive and over-the-top motion, and fewer avenue racing than had been seen earlier than. It was instrumental in reworking the collection into one of many twenty first century’s largest action-heavy film franchises thus far, and holds up as a collection excessive level, finally being worthy of compressing into a listing of the perfect motion motion pictures of all time.

Fast Five

Launch Date
April 29, 2011

130 minutes

Rent on Apple TV

24 ‘RRR’ (2022)

Director: S.S. Rajamouli

A man rides a horse while his friend rides a motorcycle next to him.
Picture through Netflix

In a yr when some folks started to precise a certain quantity of superhero fatigue, RRR stepped as much as the plate and confirmed the world how fashionable motion blockbusters ought to work. It fictionalizes the exploits of two Indian revolutionaries (who by no means really met in actual life), primarily turning the pair into superheroes whereas displaying them teaming as much as tackle the Crown rule in India through the early 1900s.

RRR has a prolonged three-hour runtime that nonetheless flies by due to good pacing, incredible motion, and an easy but emotionally satisfying story stuffed with likable heroes and immensely hateable villains. It is explosive and over-the-top in one of the simplest ways doable, with RRR deserving worldwide success in 2022.


Launch Date
March 25, 2022

S.S. Rajamouli

Ram Charan , Ajay Devgn


Watch on Netflix

23 ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)

Administrators: Anthony and Joe Russo

Captain America, Hulk, and Thor getting ready for battle at the end of 'Avengers: Endgame.'

The impression of Avengers: Endgame is just really felt when one’s seen the majority of the MCU movies that got here earlier than it. It was technically the second-last Part 3 movie, however nonetheless served as a climax for the primary three phases of the MCU as an entire, given it centered on combating again in opposition to Thanos and reversing the harm he precipitated to the universe on the finish of 2018’s Infinity War.

By way of a time-travel narrative, it manages to revisit earlier movies within the collection and look at them from completely different views, all earlier than issues culminate within the largest superhero battle depicted within the MCU thus far. It is an amazing finale, incomes its big runtime and setting a excessive bar that subsequent MCU motion pictures have (thus far) did not match. Grand superhero crossover motion pictures have not gotten significantly better than this, and it stays to be seen whether or not it’s going to ever be equaled or topped sooner or later.

Watch on Disney+

22 ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ (2007)

Director: Paul Greengrass

A man in all black running

Starting with The Bourne Identity in 2002, the collection about Jason Bourne – a CIA murderer struggling to remember his previous – proved massively influential for the motion style. The primary three motion pictures had been notably nice, and helped usher in a recent model of motion motion pictures, specializing in grittier, extra practical fights, fast-paced modifying, and infrequently shaky camerawork. When it got here to the final of these, such a stylistic selection did develop into much less aggressive and in-your-face because the collection went on.

It is a model that actually would not at all times get imitated effectively, however the first three Bourne motion pictures pulled it off. The perfect of them is probably going 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, which wraps up lots of the trilogy’s mysteries satisfyingly and makes for an amazing ending (particularly contemplating 2012’s The Bourne Legacy and 2016’s Jason Bourne weren’t so good).

The Bourne Ultimatum

Launch Date
August 3, 2007

115 minutes

Watch on Max

21 ‘On line casino Royale’ (2006)

Director: Martin Campbell

James Bond Casino Royale Crane Jump

The James Bond collection is likely one of the longest-running in cinema historical past, and it is a vitally necessary one inside the motion style as an entire. For as nice because the campier, escapism-heavy entries may very well be, nonetheless, there is a case to be made that 2006’s Casino Royale is the perfect of the lot.

It took some inspiration from the aforementioned Bourne motion pictures, with a darker tone and barely extra grounded motion. It is a robust, lean, brutally efficient tackle James Bond, and ushered Daniel Craig into the titular position in immense model, cementing him as a star and among the finest on-screen Bonds thus far. Purists may nonetheless need to persist with Sean Connery, however Craig established himself as a 007 to be reckoned with on this dynamite movie; one of many perfect in the entire long-running movie series.

Watch on Amazon Prime

20 ‘Face/Off’ (1997)

Director: John Woo

Nic Cage and John Travolta in 'Face/Off'
Picture through Paramount

Face/Off is a gloriously wild film, and simply one of many best action films of the 1990s. Who might resist a film that sees John Travolta and Nicolas Cage as adversaries who find yourself swapping faces and getting wrapped up within the different’s life, all of the whereas persevering with their violent rivalry that just one can emerge from alive?

It is also simply the perfect film John Woo’s made whereas directing in Hollywood, with its ridiculous plot that by no means lets up, entertaining and humorous lead performances, and motion that is as foolish as it’s spectacular. It takes a loopy premise and truly makes it work, changing into a traditional of the motion style within the course of. With its moderately ludicrous plot, Face/Off additionally capabilities as a genuinely nice piece of science fiction cinema, too, even when it is most involved with delivering action-packed thrills.

Rent on Apple TV

19 ‘Police Story’ (1985)

Administrators: Jackie Chan and Chi-Hwa Chen

Picture Through Golden Harvest

Fact be advised, many Jackie Chan movies may very well be thought-about among the many greatest within the motion style. Few martial arts stars have dedicated themselves with such dedication to their craft and the stunts they do on-screen, with Chan’s earlier motion pictures, particularly, having awe-inspiring (and painful-looking) stunts and combat scenes always.

Few provide fairly as a lot as the unique Police Story, although. It is much less comedic than most of Chan’s different Hong Kong motion motion pictures, however makes up for it with unbelievable motion sequences, with the climactic combat in a shopping center being a very staggering scene that must be seen to be believed. It is a film that kicks off virtually right away after which by no means lets up, making Police Story a blast to look at from begin to end.

Police Story

Launch Date
December 14, 1985

Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan , Brigitte Lin , Maggie Cheung , Kwok-Hung Lam , Invoice Tung , Yuen Chor

100 minutes

Watch on Max

18 ‘Bullitt’ (1968)

Director: Peter Yates

Steve McQueen peeling out in his Mustang in 'Bullitt'
Picture vis Warner Bros.

Few motion scenes are as persistently dependable as the great old style automotive chase, and few motion motion pictures ship automotive chases like Bullitt does. It is one of many best-known Steve McQueen movies, and focuses on his character – a San Francisco cop – looking for the one who killed a witness who was in his safety.

Fact be advised, it is comparatively gentle on motion till its climax, however the best way it ends is greater than sufficient to make it an all-timer inside the style. Its prolonged automotive chase within the ultimate act is famous for the way effectively edited, paced, and shot it’s, memorably utilizing the distinctive format of San Francisco to its benefit, and is a go-to instance of easy methods to make a chase scene thrilling. Even when you solely watch Bullitt for one scene, that single sequence makes all of it worthwhile.


Launch Date
October 17, 1968

Peter Yates

Steve McQueen , Jacqueline Bisset , Robert Vaughn , Don Gordon , Robert Duvall , Simon Oakland


Watch on Tubi

17 ‘Gladiator’ (2000)

Director: Ridley Scott

Russell Crowe in 'Gladiator'
Picture through Dreamworks LLC & Common Photos

Profitable Greatest Image on the Academy Awards, Gladiator was an enormous business and important success, and a excessive level within the careers of its star, Russell Crowe, and its director, Ridley Scott. Its revenge-focused story is a story as previous as time, but it surely’s the execution and visceral gladiator sequences that make it shine.

It is all extremely well-made and simple to get invested in, and in addition helped kick off a short-lived pattern of big-budget historic motion epics (like Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, and arguably even 300). Few had been wherever close to nearly as good as Gladiator, although, and as a throwback to the Hollywood epics of previous, it really works amazingly effectively. Whether or not you need to assess it alongside Ridley Scott’s other historical films, or rank it amongst his motion pictures basically, Gladiator emerges as considered one of his perfect both means.


Launch Date
Might 5, 2000

155 minutes

Watch on Paramount+

16 ‘The Raid 2’ (2014)

Director: Gareth Evans

A young man wielding two sticks while covered in mud in The Raid 2.
Picture through Sony Photos Classics

Make no mistake: The Raid (2011) was a incredible and brutal martial arts film. It largely occurred inside a single house complicated, following a SWAT group getting trapped inside and compelled to combat their means out or threat sure dying. Its 2014 sequel, nonetheless, escalated issues to an entire different degree, and was someway even higher.

The Raid 2 had a bigger scale and a extra complicated story revolving round a gang conflict, however made positive to maintain the motion frequent and persistently thrilling. Like the primary, sequences in it show completely brutal to look at, which means it is possible not an motion film for all… however those that can deal with some pretty grisly on-screen violence ought to make testing each movies a precedence.

The Raid 2

Launch Date
April 11, 2014

Gareth Evans

Iko Uwais , Julie Estelle , Yayan Ruhian , Doni Alamsyah , Arifin Putra , Oka Antara

150 minutes

Rent on Apple TV

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