Entertainment

The Best '70s Action Movies  

Ranker Film
3.8k votes 501 voters 15k 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! 
list ordered by
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
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
3
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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
4
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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
5
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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
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
7
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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
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
9
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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
10
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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
11
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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
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
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
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
15
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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
16
Superman is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
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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
18
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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
19
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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
20
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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
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
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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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
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
25
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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