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The Greatest Action Movies of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated July 13, 2020 452.9k votes 30.7k voters 1.1M views 717 items

List Rules Be a real action hero and vote up your favorite movies in the action genre.

The greatest action movies of all time starring some of the best action stars to have ever fought on screen. The best action movies tend to be the ones where we get a little substance to go along with the shooting; a little banter along with the battles. This list has some of the most awesome action films of all time, and it's now up to Ranker users to vote on which of these are truly the top action movies of all time. If you're looking for some of the greatest action movies of all time that are streaming on Netflix or Amazon, check out The Best Action Movies on Netflix Instant and The Best Action Movies On Amazon Prime

The list of greatest action movies ever has a mix of one man renegades (Die Hard), supernatural thrills (Alien), and science fiction dreams brought to reality on the big screen (Terminator, Jurassic Park). You'll even find some great comedic performances among the gun fights, smack talking, and explosions. Heck, you could probably fill a New Jersey size dump with all the stuff that gets blown up in these action films. The list covers a broad time range as well with nearly as many classic action movies making the list as newer, big budget CGI action-fest. Other good action movies to watch include The Matrix Trilogy, the John Wick movies, and The Bourne Series

Don't see your favorite action movie on the list? Shoot it up there! This is a fan ranked list and if you know that the best action movie of all time hasn't been added yet, put it on there and vote it up so everyone can know that the biggest action movie of all time was actually...(this is where you fill in what you think the coolest action movie ever is). Make your voice heard and don't forget, these are action films so you're gonna have to be loud. And, if you love action movies, check out this list of the best action shows

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list ordered by
1
Terminator 2: Judgment D... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

Released: 1991

Directed by: James Cameron

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert ...more

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#15 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #31 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
The Dark Knight is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger

Released: 2008

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics character, Batman. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Set Of 'The Dark Knight' #12 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Star Wars Episode V: The... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1980

Directed by: Irvin Kershner

The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story ...more

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Here's Why The Last Jedi And Empire Strikes Back Are Pretty Much The Same Movie #1 of 11 Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked Best to Worstlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

Released: 1988

Directed by: John McTiernan

Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more

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'Die Hard' Ripoffs, Ranked By How Hard They Die #27 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #5 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

5
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
gamedemon24 added Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1977

Directed by: George Lucas

Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars franchise, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter ...more

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The Best Blasters in the 'Star Wars' Saga, Ranked #2 of 11 Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked Best to Worstlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Indiana Jones and the Ra... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen

Released: 1981

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan was from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by ...more

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12 Stories That Prove The Making Of 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' Was An Adventure Behind The Scenes Too #10 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen

Released: 2000

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, ...more

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Gladiator Might Be One of The Most Historically Inaccurate Movies Ever #17 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Predator is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers

Released: 1987

Directed by: John McTiernan

Predator is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill ...more

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Somehow, Making Predator Was WAY More Insane Than The Actual Movie #16 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #94 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

9
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton

Released: 1984

Directed by: James Cameron

The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James Cameron, written by Cameron and the film's producer Gale Anne Hurd. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a ...more

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56 Things You Didn't Know About the Terminator Movies #7 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #27 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

10
Indiana Jones and the La... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, River Phoenix

Released: 1989

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third installment in the ...more

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The Best Characters in the Whole Indiana Jones Franchise, Ranked #21 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

Released: 1995

Directed by: Mel Gibson

Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First ...more

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#23 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #6 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel

Released: 1998

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for ...more

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#1 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #9 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss

Released: 1999

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe ...more

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14 Matrix Fan Theories That Will Have You Saying 'Whoa' #33 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more

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Here's Just How Wrong Jurassic Park Is About Dinosaurs #9 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
The Avengers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
KarenHarris added Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

Released: 2012

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Marvel's The Avengers is a 2012 American superhero film directed by Joss Whedon, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team. Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a ...more

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Details Infinity War Fans Didn’t Catch… Until They Watched It In 4K #180 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #58 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

16
John Wick is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
MarioArley added Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki

Released: 2014

Directed by: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch

John Wick is a 2014 American action thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Starring Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean ...more

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The Best 'John Wick' Fight Scenes #274 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #376 of 384 The Greatest Movie Themes

17
First Blood is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, David Caruso

Released: 1982

Directed by: Ted Kotcheff

First Blood is a 1982 American psychological thriller and action film directed by Ted Kotcheff, co-written by and starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood veteran. ...more

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#139 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #18 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #150 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

18
Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Mel Gibson, Gary Busey, Danny Glover

Released: 1987

Directed by: Richard Donner

Lethal Weapon is a 1987 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched pair of L.A.P.D. detectives and stars Mitchell Ryan and ...more

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Surprising Facts Most People Don't Know About 'Lethal Weapon' #24 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #104 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

19
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones

Released: 1993

Directed by: Andrew Davis

This film is a 1993 American action film based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee ...more

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#91 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #48 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

Released: 1986

Directed by: James Cameron

Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael ...more

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The Best 'Aliens' Quotes #93 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
Star Wars: Episode VI –R... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1983

Directed by: Richard Marquand

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, and the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. After a daring ...more

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#3 of 11 Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked Best to Worst #69 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #15 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

22
Batman Begins is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson

Released: 2005

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics character. After training with his mentor (Liam Neeson), Batman (Christian Bale) begins his fight to ...more

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#72 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #51 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #14 of 172 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made

23
Iron Man is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges

Released: 2008

Directed by: Jon Favreau filmography

Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film directed by Jon Favreau, based on the Marvel Comics character. After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark (Robert ...more

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#66 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #77 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #12 of 172 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made

24
The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Matt Damon, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles

Released: 2002

Directed by: Doug Liman

The Bourne Identity is a 2002 American-German action spy film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's novel of the same name. It stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man suffering from extreme memory loss ...more

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The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked #102 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #280 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

25
Indiana Jones and the Te... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Action Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 1984

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, and the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film ...more

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How ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' Traumatized A Whole Generation And Changed Movie Ratings #65 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever