Action The Best '70s Action Movies  

Ranker Film
1.8k votes 348 voters 8.8k 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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Dirty Harry 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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Star Wars 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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Rocky Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and both written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an ...more

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Enter the Dragon 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. This was Bruce Lee's final film appearance before his death ...more

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Magnum Force 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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Death Wish Jeff Goldblum, Charles Bronson, Christopher Guest Death Wish is a 1974 American vigilante action film loosely based on the novel Death Wish by Brian Garfield. The film was directed by Michael Winner and stars Charles Bronson as a man who ...more

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Mad Max 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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Escape from Alcatraz 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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Smokey and the Bandit 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, Pat McCormick, Paul Williams and Mike Henry. It inspired ...more

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The Spy Who Loved Me 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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The French Connection 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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The Warriors 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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Live and Let Die Jane Seymour, Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto Live and Let Die 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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Superman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '70s Action Movies
Superman 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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The Man with the Golden Gun 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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Apocalypse Now 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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The Enforcer 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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Rocky II Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Roberto DurĂ¡n Rocky II is a 1979 American film written and directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, that is the sequel to Rocky, a motion picture in which an unknown boxer had been given a chance to go ...more

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Return of the Dragon 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

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Fist of Fury 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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The Gauntlet 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

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Westworld Yul Brynner, James Brolin, Dick Van Patten Westworld is a 1973 science fiction western-thriller film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton and produced by Paul Lazarus III about amusement park robots that become evil after a ...more

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Drunken Master Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang-lee, Lin Dai Drunken Master is a 1978 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Yuen Woo-ping, and starring Jackie Chan, Yuen Siu-tien, and Hwang Jang Lee. The film was a success at the Hong Kong box office, ...more

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Diamonds Are Forever 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

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The Getaway Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Sally Struthers Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Getaway is a 1972 American action-crime film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. The film is based on the Jim Thompson novel of the same name, with the ...more

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The Poseidon Adventure Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American action-adventure disaster film, directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico's novel of the same name. The film features ...more

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The Towering Inferno O. J. Simpson, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American action drama disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. The picture was directed by John ...more

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Assault on Precinct 13 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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Logan's Run Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov, Jenny Agutter Logan's Run is a 1976 American science fiction film directed by Michael Anderson and starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett and Peter Ustinov. ...more

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Tom Cat added Moonraker 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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The Shootist John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, James Stewart The Shootist is a 1976 Western film directed by Don Siegel and starring John Wayne in his final film role, about a dying gunfighter who spends his last days looking for a way to die with the ...more

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The Big Boss Bruce Lee, Lam Ching-ying, Nora Miao The Big Boss is a 1971 Hong Kong martial arts action film written and directed by Lo Wei, with assistance from Bruce Lee. It stars Lee, Maria Yi, James Tien and Tony Liu. Bruce Lee's first major ...more

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Rollerball 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, "Roller ...more

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Death Race 2000 Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine, Mary Woronov Death Race 2000 is a 1975 cult action film directed by Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine, Simone Griffeth and Sylvester Stallone. The film takes place in a dystopian American society in ...more

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Gone in 60 Seconds George Cole, H. B. Halicki, Ronald Halicki Gone in 60 Seconds is a 1974 American action film written, directed, produced by, and starring H.B. "Toby" Halicki. It centers on a group of car thieves and the 48 cars they must steal ...more

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Vanishing Point Charlotte Rampling, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger Vanishing Point is a 1971 American action road movie directed by Richard C. Sarafian and starring Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, and Dean Jagger. The film is notable for its scenic film locations ...more

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The Three Musketeers Raquel Welch, Christopher Lee, Faye Dunaway The Three Musketeers is a 1973 film based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, père. It was directed by Richard Lester and written by George MacDonald Fraser. It was originally proposed in ...more

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Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Kris Kristofferson, Gig Young, Warren Oates Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a 1974 American cult action film directed by Sam Peckinpah and featuring Warren Oates. Made in Mexico on a low budget after the commercial failure of Pat ...more

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Airport Jacqueline Bissett, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster Airport is a 1970 American drama film starring Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin, directed and written by George Seaton, and based on Arthur Hailey's 1968 novel of the same name. It originated the ...more

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Shaft Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Lawrence Pressman Shaft is a 1971 American blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. An action film with elements of film noir, Shaft tells the story of a private detective, ...more

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The Omega Man Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Eric Laneuville The Omega Man is a 1971 American science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and starring Charlton Heston. It was written by John William Corrington and Joyce Corrington, based on the 1954 ...more

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Foxy Brown Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Peter Brown Foxy Brown is a 1974 American blaxploitation film written and directed by Jack Hill. It stars Pam Grier as the title character, described by one character as "a whole lot of woman" who ...more

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Earthquake Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Victoria Principal Earthquake is a 1974 American ensemble disaster film directed and produced by Mark Robson. The plot concerns the struggle for survival after a catastrophic earthquake destroys most of the city ...more

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Black Sunday Terry Bradshaw, Bruce Dern, Robert Shaw Black Sunday is a 1977 American thriller film directed by John Frankenheimer, based on Thomas Harris' novel of the same name. The film was produced by Robert Evans and starred Robert Shaw, Bruce ...more

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Coffy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '70s Action Movies
Coffy Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Gail Davis Coffy is a 1973 blaxploitation film written and directed by American filmmaker Jack Hill. The story is about a black female vigilante played by Pam Grier. The film's tagline in advertising was ...more

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French Connection II Gene Hackman, Ed Lauter, Fernando Rey Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial French Connection II is a 1975 crime drama film starring Gene Hackman and directed by John Frankenheimer. It is a fictional sequel to the initially true story of the 1971 Academy Award winning ...more

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The Driver Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ryan O'Neal The Driver is a 1978 crime film written and directed by Walter Hill, starring Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, and Isabelle Adjani. Based upon similarities in plot elements, it is heavily influenced by ...more

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The Duellists Harvey Keitel, Albert Finney, Pete Postlethwaite The Duellists is a 1977 historical drama film and the directorial debut of Ridley Scott. It won the Best Debut Film award at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival. The basis of the screenplay is the ...more

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THX 1138 Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Sid Haig THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his feature directorial debut. The film was produced by Francis Ford Coppola and written by Lucas and Walter Murch. It stars ...more

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Keoma Franco Nero, Woody Strode, William Berger Keoma, also released in various countries under the titles Django Rides Again and The Violent Breed, is a 1976 Spaghetti Western film directed by Enzo G. Castellari and starring Franco Nero and ...more