Top 10 Best Hollywood Action Movies Of All Time


Whenever people talk about the greatest action movies ever made, they often tend to get confused between “action moves” and “movies with action”. Before starting the list, the first thing that should be made clear is that what exactly is an action movie?

An action movie consists of thrills, consistency, a combination of action packed fights, speed, stunts, twists and even simple acts of heroism. There should also be shootouts, fights, chases and even chaos caused by explosions. In such movies, size mostly matters. Just look at Star Wars, The Avengers and many more modern summer blockbusters that are emphatically epic and can be termed as “spectacle”. The heart pulsating truck robbery and bank heist sequences of Michael Mann’s heat are not only legendary but are jaw dropping and essence of the word “action”.

To make a perfect list, the “movies with action” had to be divided from “action movies”. We were able to come across plenty of classics as well as underrated gems which made our task even harder. There were a number of amazing movies that were not able to make the cut. Blockbusters like Casino Royale, Robocop, The Wild Bunch, Aliens, Point Break and many more missed out. I’m sure you are ready to check out this list, so buckle up and enjoy. And if you haven’t seen any movie on this list, then it is quite obvious that you need to watch it ASAP!

Whenever people talk about the greatest action movies ever made, they often tend to get confused between “action moves” and “movies with action”. Before starting the list, the first thing that should be made clear is that what exactly is an action movie?

An action movie consists of thrills, consistency, a combination of action packed fights, speed, stunts, twists and even simple acts of heroism. There should also be shootouts, fights, chases and even chaos caused by explosions. In such movies, size mostly matters. Just look at Star Wars, The Avengers and many more modern summer blockbusters that are emphatically epic and can be termed as “spectacle”. The heart pulsating truck robbery and bank heist sequences of Michael Mann’s heat are not only legendary but are jaw dropping and essence of the word “action”.

To make a perfect list, the “movies with action” had to be divided from “action movies”. We were able to come across plenty of classics as well as underrated gems which made our task even harder. There were a number of amazing movies that were not able to make the cut. Blockbusters like Casino Royale, Robocop, The Wild Bunch, Aliens, Point Break and many more missed out. I’m sure you are ready to check out this list, so buckle up and enjoy. And if you haven’t seen any movie on this list, then it is quite obvious that you need to watch it ASAP!

10. Predator (1987)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

There is something about Arnold Schwarzenegger which gives his movies extra edge. Whether it is his enormous physique or unwavering confidence or his off-putting charm, he often seems like the perfect character for action movies. In Predator, Schwarzenegger’s Dutch leads a six-man team into Val Verde, a fictional country to rescue hostages. However, they quickly find themselves facing off an alien with not only a scary mouth, but also an invisibility cloak. Director John McTiernan, an unsung hero of action cinema was the mastermind behind this macho showdown with a clear-eyed and tactile approach which keeps even the most ridiculous elements grounded in sweat, mud and celebratory cigar.

9. Five Deadly Venoms 1978

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

The legendary Shaw brothers were the leading purveyors of Kung-Fu cinema of the 60s and the 70s. Their iconic studio was the inspiration behind everything, from American Action Cinema to the 70s breakdance culture. His movies Five Deadly Venoms and the 36th Chamber of Shaolin were epic masterpieces. But we were able to find a spot for only Venoms due to its kaleidoscopic and outlandish sensibility.

Hired to get rid of the evil masked fighters that were plaguing his master’s land, a sincere and dedicated pupil hits the road with each villain’s weaknesses in his back pocket. Even though lacking the female voices of earlier Shaw Brothers works and an aggressively yang gang, this movie emphasizes the artistry of good fights. A hit is only as good as the sets, performers and the costumes surrounding it. But Venoms not only has these, it also has the relentless and thrilling action with right amount of cheese.

8. The Matrix (1999)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

How many of you remember its signature slow-mo, 360 degree “bullet time” scene??As expected, almost everyone! This one scene has been the image that comes into everyone’s mind when they think about the Matrix. But the movie was a lot more than that scene; it had several artfully choreographed Hong Kong-style martial-arts scenes. It served as a breakthrough director Wachowskis as his sci-fi epic raised the bar even higher for special effects done in a movie. Not only was it a successful kinetic and visual triumph, it was also a psychological spectacle.

7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

Well, where to even start with this movie? It was easily one of the best movies ever produced in any genre. Arnold Schwarzenegger was already a huge star and Terminator 2 helped him reached new heights. James Cameron did a wonderful job in converting Arnold from a bad guy which he usually plays in other movies, to a good guy in this one. Terminator 2 is an absolute classic featuring raging chase, Robert Patrick’s liquid-metal assassin and an ode to Los Angeles Infrastructure. There is a tinge of job watching Schwarzenegger play a protector to John Connor but Linda Hamilton as the guns-blazing Sarah Connor pushes this epic into the upper echelon of action movies.

6. The Road Warrior (1981)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

As in recent years Mad Max: Fury Road has been topping the critics’ lists and racking up several Oscar Nominations, it should be worth remembering where it all began. And no, I’m not talking about the first Max Mad film which was a grungy cop drama. I’m talking about George Miller’s The Road Warrior, the soft reboot of 1979 original.

It featured Mel Gibson’s taciturn and raw performance mixed with outlandish character designs and its final pulverizing and thrilling chase sequence. This movie literally defined the meaning of phrase ‘post-apocalyptic’ for future generations. It also set the bar high for gasoline-fueled, pedal-to-the-metal insanity which has arguable never been topped till now.

5. Commando (1985)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

Starting the top 5 is Mark Lester’s classic Commando. Schwarzenegger’s commitment to the superheroic John Matrix was highly inspiring as his one-liners would go on to rip as quickly as his bullets. This war movie with just one man on the good-guy team was unique as Matrix smashes through walls, planes, twirls down shopping mall banners and manages to fire every known weapon at a group of South American who had kidnapped his daughter. Its thoughtful mayhem is what makes it such an epic movie. Even Shakespeare would approve of this line in the movie “Let off some steam, Bennett” after Schwarzenegger impaled the villain with a steam pipe.

4. Speed (1994)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

Is there any more iconic movie related to speed and mayhem?? An elevator bomb tells us that Dennis Hopper’s ransom-demanding bomber is a showman but when he rigs up explosives to a public bus’s speedometer, it tells us that he is a psychotic madman. An array of explosions and practical stunts help every little details fall into place. Speed is easily the ultimate A-to-B-to-C action movie which accelerates from the beginning to the end without losing its steam in between or losing track of the characters.

Keanu Reeves’ character Jack thinks before he acts while Sandra Bullock’s Annie rises to the occasion. It had a countdown clock and the best action score ever written, these were easily the best ingredients possible to give you an all-time classic.

3. Hard Boiled (1992)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

Arguable the best film by Director John Woo’s bullet ridden career, Hard Boiled is a jazzy and uncompromising exercise in pure cool. He had already earned a reputation of major action film maker with classics such as “A Better Tomorrow” and “The Killer”, Woo was ready to set the bar even higher. He crafted this story of rogue Hong Kong cop by getting inspired by his favourite influences like Dirty Harry, Le Samourai and the chilly remove of Steve McQueen. He added lot of insane gun battles including one in a hospital, adding his own slow-mo. The fact that he left for America just after completing this film while battling with producers make this film even more Beautiful. It was sort of a perfect goodbye.

2. Die Hard (1988)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

The second spot goes to Die Hard. Even though the movie is funny but never silly, it is thrilling but never horrifying, it is simple but never dumb. Director John McTiernan managed to craft the platonic ideal of what an amazing action movie needs to be. Bruce Willis, who was known as “the guy from Moonlighting” in 1988 left behind the usual roided-out regulars of that era, setting the stage for the new generation to usher in a new era. In Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber, this movie also gave us an erudite villain. Die Hard was so influential that in the 90s, it became a separate genre. The recent sequels have not managed to live up to its name, which has increased the legacy of Bruce Willis to even bigger heights.

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Best Hollywood Action Movies Ever

The first place goes to Raiders of the Lost Ark which was released in 1981. It is easily one of the best movies ever created in any genre and it is no coincidence that you will find in on top of most top action movies lists. Steven Spielberg gave us an absolute masterpiece which will surely be considered one of the all-time greats for many years to come. Indiana Jones’ first adventure is just like a comic book. Nazis manage to drag our hero along Cairo’s dusty streets and strongmen threaten to squash him into a pulp whereas a megaton boulder chases him through a cobwebbed labyrinth.

Raiders is absolutely immaculate with each angle worth printing and showcasing on your wall. Thanks to Harrison Ford and Karen Allen who shone in the role like a pair of golden idols made for each other.

Here were some of the all-time great action movies. I’m sure you will be taking note of how many of these you have watched and how many you still need to watch. If there is one guarantee that can be given is, you will never get bored of any of these movies if you are a fan of action movies.


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