Entertainment

The Best '70s Action Movies  

Ranker Film
4.1k votes 518 voters 15.3k views 51 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite action films that were released in the 1970s.

When it comes the action movies, the grittier, the better. The top '70s action movies have non-stop excitement, thrills, suspense, and danger, and will leave you sitting at the edge of your seat. Films like The French Connection, Dirty Harry, and Mad Max really set the precedence for action films in the '70s. In addition, the top '70s action movies include an impressive mix of disaster movies, blacksploitation films, and tons of Bruce Lee flicks.

1970s action movies saw the rise of Clint Eastwood as tough-as-nails cop Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry franchise, but you may prefer Eastwood's more subtle performance in Escape from Alcatraz. During the '70s, there was also a change-up between Sean Connery playing James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, and Roger Moore taking over the legendary role in Live and Let Die. But a list of '70s action movies wouldn't be complete without including three of the most renowned Bruce Lee films: Enter the Dragon, Fists of Fury, and Return of the Dragon

Vote up the best 1970s action films below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section! 
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1
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Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Andrew Robinson
Dirty Harry is a 1971 American action film produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco ...more

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#74 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #339 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #14 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

2
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Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith
Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. A small-time boxer (Sylvester Stallone) gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion (Carl Weathers) in ...more

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#29 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #136 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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Clint Eastwood, Suzanne Somers, Hal Holbrook
Magnum Force is a 1973 American action film and the second to feature Clint Eastwood as maverick cop Harry Callahan after the 1971 film Dirty Harry. Ted Post, who also directed Eastwood in the ...more

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#83 of 180 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #70 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #9 of 45 The Best Movies Starring Clint Eastwood

4
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Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Roberto DurĂ¡n
Rocky II is a 1979 American sports drama film directed by Sylvester Stallone, and the second film in the series. Rocky (Stallone) struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed (Carl ...more

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#15 of 180 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #498 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #53 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

5
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Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend, James Remar
The Warriors is a 1979 American cult thriller film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol Yurick's 1965 novel of the same name. Like the novel, the film borrows elements from the Anabasis by ...more

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#52 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #204 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

6
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Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung
Enter the Dragon is a 1973 Hong Kong martial arts action film directed by Robert Clouse; starring Bruce Lee, John Saxon and Jim Kelly. The film was released on 26 July 1973 in Hong Kong. He was ...more

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#709 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #34 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on All Hong Kong Movies | List of Hong Kong Movies

7
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Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy and starring Mel Gibson. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by ...more

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#29 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #21 of 86 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Moviesfeaturing 20 Things You Didn't Know About the Mad Max Movies

8
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Jeff Goldblum, Charles Bronson, Christopher Guest
This film is a 1974 American vigilante action film loosely based on the novel of the same name by Brian Garfield. The film was directed by Michael Winner and stars Charles Bronson as a man who ...more

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#437 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #617 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #58 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

9
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Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, Bradford Dillman
The Enforcer is a 1976 American action film and the third in the Dirty Harry film series. Directed by James Fargo, it stars Clint Eastwood as Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan, Tyne ...more

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#360 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #93 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #17 of 45 The Best Movies Starring Clint Eastwood

10
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Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Nora Miao
Way of the Dragon is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film written, produced and directed by Bruce Lee, who also stars in the lead role. This was Bruce Lee's only completed ...more
11
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Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Nora Miao
Fist of Fury, also known as The Chinese Connection and The Iron Hand in the United States, is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Lo Wei, starring Bruce Lee in his second major role ...more

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#272 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #3 of 41 The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1970s #7 of 416 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

12
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Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick McGoohan
Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 American prison film, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood. It is based on true events. It dramatizes possibly the only successful escape attempt ...more

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#7 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #910 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #40 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

13
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Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin and produced by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, and Roy Scheider. The film was ...more

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#260 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #88 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
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Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
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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#6 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing The Best Blasters in the 'Star Wars' Saga, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
Superman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '70s Action Movies
Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve
Superman is a 1978 superhero film directed by Richard Donner. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name and stars Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, ...more

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#17 of 183 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made #33 of 193 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madefeaturing Bizarre Facts Most People Don't Know About Christopher Reeve's 'Superman'

16
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Jane Seymour, Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto
This film is the eighth spy film in the James Bond series to be produced by Eon Productions, and the first to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Produced by Albert R. ...more

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#337 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #117 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #730 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

17
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Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Caroline Munro
The Spy Who Loved Me is the tenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the ...more

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#384 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #202 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books #266 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

18
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Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall. ...more

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#3 of 383 The Best War Movies Everfeaturing Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Marlon Brando In 'Apocalypse Now'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
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Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers, Tony Burton
Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 American action thriller film written, directed, scored and edited by John Carpenter. It stars Austin Stoker as a police officer who defends a defunct precinct ...more

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#116 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #51 of 94 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time #241 of 376 The Greatest Movie Themes

20
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Sally Field, Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason
Smokey and the Bandit is a 1977 Technicolor American action comedy film starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Patrick McCormick, Paul Williams and Mike Henry. It ...more

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#19 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #106 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #201 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

21
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Christopher Lee, Roger Moore, Britt Ekland
The Man with the Golden Gun is the ninth spy film in the James Bond series and the second to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. A loose adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel of ...more

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#128 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #214 of 217 The Worst Sequels Of All Time #1,114 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

22
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Sean Connery, Sammy Davis, Jr.
Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh spy film in the James Bond series by Eon Productions, and the sixth and final Eon film to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film is ...more
23
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Tom Cat added Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Richard Kiel
Moonraker is the eleventh spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The third and final film in the series to be directed by ...more

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#358 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #120 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #211 of 217 The Worst Sequels Of All Time

24
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James Caan, Maud Adams, Ralph Richardson
Rollerball is a 1975 dystopian sports action science fiction film, which Norman Jewison directed from a screenplay dramatized by William Harrison, who adapted his own short story which had first ...more

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#53 of 86 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies #87 of 160 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies #127 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

25
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Clint Eastwood, Mara Corday, Sondra Locke
The Gauntlet is a 1977 American action film directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Eastwood and Sondra Locke. The film's supporting cast includes Pat Hingle, William Prince, Bill McKinney, and ...more