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The Best '70s Action Movies

Updated October 3, 2020 5.6k votes 584 voters 18.4k views52 items

List RulesVote 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 Harry1
    195
    41

    Dirty Harry

    Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel

    Released1971

    Directed byDon Siegel

    Dirty Harry is a 1971 American action film produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in...  more
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  • Rocky2
    153
    51

    Rocky

    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier

    Released1976

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. A small-time boxer...  more
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  • The Warriors3
    117
    29

    The Warriors

    Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend

    Released1979

    Directed byWalter Hill

    The Warriors is a 1979 American cult thriller film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol...  more
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  • Magnum Force4
    131
    39

    Magnum Force

    Clint Eastwood, Suzanne Somers

    Released1973

    Directed byTed Post

    Magnum Force is a 1973 American action film and the second to feature Clint Eastwood as...  more
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  • Enter the Dragon5
    136
    42

    Enter the Dragon

    Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan

    Released1973

    Directed byRobert Clouse

    Enter the Dragon is a 1973 Hong Kong martial arts action film directed by Robert Clouse;...  more
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  • Mad Max6
    147
    51

    Mad Max

    Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne

    Released1979

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by...  more
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  • Star Wars7
    153
    67

    Star Wars

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

    Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The...  more
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  • Death Wish8
    119
    43

    Death Wish

    Jeff Goldblum, Charles Bronson

    Released1974

    Directed byMichael Winner

    This film is a 1974 American vigilante action film loosely based on the novel of the same name...  more
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  • Rocky II9
    105
    34

    Rocky II

    Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith

    Released1979

    Directed bySylvester Stallone

    Rocky II is a 1979 American sports drama film directed by Sylvester Stallone, and the second...  more
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  • The Enforcer10
    104
    34

    The Enforcer

    Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly

    Released1976

    Directed byJames Fargo

    The Enforcer is a 1976 American action film and the third in the Dirty Harry film series....  more
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  • Escape from Alcatraz11
    100
    35

    Escape from Alcatraz

    Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover

    Released1979

    Directed byDon Siegel

    Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 American prison film, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint...  more
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  • The French Connection12
    110
    45

    The French Connection

    Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider

    Released1971

    Directed byWilliam Friedkin

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin...  more
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  • Fist of Fury13
    87
    33

    Fist of Fury

    Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan

    Released1972

    Directed byLo Wei

    Fist of Fury, also known as The Chinese Connection and The Iron Hand in the United States, is...  more
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  • Return of the Dragon14
    81
    32

    Return of the Dragon

    Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris

    Released1972

    Directed byBruce Lee

    Way of the Dragon is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film written, produced and...  more
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  • Superman15
    100
    49

    Superman

    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman

    Released1978

    Directed byRichard Donner

    Superman is a 1978 superhero film directed by Richard Donner. It is based on the DC Comics...  more
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  • Apocalypse Now16
    95
    45

    Apocalypse Now

    Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford

    Released1979

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

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    Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced...  more
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  • Smokey and the Bandit17
    98
    50

    Smokey and the Bandit

    Sally Field, Burt Reynolds

    Released1977

    Directed byHal Needham

    Smokey and the Bandit is a 1977 Technicolor American action comedy film starring Burt...  more
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  • Live and Let Die18
    83
    37

    Live and Let Die

    Jane Seymour, Roger Moore

    Released1973

    Directed byGuy Hamilton

    This film is the eighth spy film in the James Bond series to be produced by Eon Productions,...  more
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  • Assault on Precinct 1319
    81
    36

    Assault on Precinct 13

    Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers

    Released1976

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 American action thriller film written, directed, scored and...  more
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  • The Spy Who Loved Me20
    86
    46

    The Spy Who Loved Me

    Roger Moore, Barbara Bach

    Released1977

    Directed byLewis Gilbert

    The Spy Who Loved Me is the tenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the third to star...  more
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  • Westworld21
    67
    36

    Westworld

    Yul Brynner, James Brolin

    Released1973

    Directed byMichael Crichton

    Westworld is a 1973 science fiction western-thriller film written and directed by novelist...  more
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  • The Poseidon Adventure22
    66
    35

    The Poseidon Adventure

    Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens

    Released1972

    Directed byIrwin Allen, Ronald Neame

    The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American action-adventure disaster film, directed by Ronald...  more
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  • The Gauntlet23
    64
    35

    The Gauntlet

    Clint Eastwood, Mara Corday

    Released1977

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    The Gauntlet is a 1977 American action film directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Eastwood and...  more
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  • The Man with the Golden Gun24
    75
    46

    The Man with the Golden Gun

    Christopher Lee, Roger Moore

    Released1974

    Directed byGuy Hamilton

    The Man with the Golden Gun is the ninth spy film in the James Bond series and the second to...  more
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  • Diamonds Are Forever25
    69
    40

    Diamonds Are Forever

    Sean Connery, Sammy Davis

    Released1971

    Directed byGuy Hamilton

    Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh spy film in the James Bond series by Eon Productions, and...  more
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