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The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans 

Ranker Film
Updated March 16, 2020 629 votes 70 voters 2.4k views 93 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite dramatic action movies.

These are the best action drama movies the hybrid genre has to offer. They tend to be slower movies that are punctuated by scenes of dramatic action. Often times centered around a character looking for redemption as is the case in Tony Scott's Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington. Westerns easily lend themselves to the hybrid genre of dramatic action and you'll find a few on this list such as Unforgiven and the Coen Brothers' The Quick and the Dead. But are these films the top action dramas out there?

The greatest action drama movies give you compelling, thoughtful storylines but also deliver the expected adrenaline rush. Now it's time to determine the best action drama movie of all time. Vote up the action drama movies that you love and vote down the ones that you wish you'd never seen. Don't see your favorite or new action drama on the list? Feel free to add it and check back to see how other users rank your additions.

 

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1
Unforgiven is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman

Released: 1992

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Unforgiven is a 1992 American Western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood with a screenplay written by David Webb Peoples. The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw who takes on ...more

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#3 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #183 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
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 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #179 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Heat is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Natalie Portman, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro

Released: 1995

Directed by: Michael Mann

Heat is a 1995 American crime thriller film written, produced and directed by Michael Mann, and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer. The film was released in the United States on ...more

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#127 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #16 of 114 The Best Mafia Films #587 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

4
Man on Fire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Mickey Rourke, Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning

Released: 2004

Directed by: Tony Scott

Man on Fire is a 2004 American thriller film and the second adaptation of A. J. Quinnell's 1980 novel of the same name; the first film based on the novel was released in 1987. The 2004 film ...more

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#103 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #111 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #167 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

5
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
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 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
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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#92 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #127 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remadelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Bullitt is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Robert Duvall, Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bissett

Released: 1968

Directed by: Peter Yates

Bullitt is a 1968 American action police procedural film directed by Peter Yates and produced by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn and Jacqueline Bisset. The screenplay by ...more

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#151 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #1,166 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
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 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #88 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Open Range is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Annette Bening

Released: 2003

Directed by: Kevin Costner

Open Range is a 2003 American western film directed and co-produced by Kevin Costner, starring Robert Duvall and Costner, with Annette Bening and Michael Gambon appearing in supporting roles. ...more

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#18 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #5 of 62 The 30+ Best Modern Western Movies #1 of 59 The Best Western Movies of the 21st Century

10
Mulan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen, George Takei

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Mulan is a 1998 American animated musical action-comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The 36th animated feature in the Walt ...more

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'Mulan' Fan Theories That Just Might Be True #45 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #43 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time

11
Zero Dark Thirty is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong

Released: 2012

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Untitled International Thriller is a 2012 thriller film written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

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#95 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #82 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on The Best Movies About 9/11

12
Blood Diamond is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Michael Sheen

Released: 2006

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Blood Diamond is a 2006 American-German political thriller film co-produced and directed by Edward Zwick, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou. The title refers to ...more

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#156 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #684 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #124 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

13
The Last Samurai is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly, Timothy Spall

Released: 2003

Directed by: Edward Zwick

The Last Samurai is a 2003 American epic film directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick, who also co-wrote the screenplay with John Logan. The film stars Tom Cruise, who also co-produced, as well ...more

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#63 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #372 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #209 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

14
The Patriot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman

Released: 2000

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

The Patriot is a 2000 American epic historical fiction film directed by Roland Emmerich. Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is driven to lead the his own group of men during the ...more

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#31 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #147 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #79 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

15
Courage Under Fire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Meg Ryan, Matt Damon, Denzel Washington

Released: 1996

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Courage Under Fire is a 1996 film directed by Edward Zwick, and starring Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Lou Diamond Phillips and Matt Damon.

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#172 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #472 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on The Best Movies About the Gulf War

16
Rules of Engagement is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Kingsley

Released: 2000

Directed by: William Friedkin

Rules of Engagement is a 2000 American drama film directed by William Friedkin and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson plays U.S. Marine Colonel Terry Childers. James Webb, ...more
17
The Jackal is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Jack Black

Released: 1997

Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones

The Jackal is a 1997 American spy action thriller film directed by Michael Caton-Jones, and starring Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, and Sidney Poitier. The film is a loose remake of the 1973 movie ...more

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#22 of 104 The Best Assassin Movies #6 of 14 14 Surprisingly Nuanced Bruce Willis Performances #423 of 741 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time

18
Tombstone is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Val Kilmer, Kurt Russell, Charlton Heston

Released: 1993

Directed by: Kevin Jarre, George P. Cosmatos

Tombstone is a 1993 American western film directed by George P. Cosmatos, written by Kevin Jarre and starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, with Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael ...more

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#4 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #99 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #75 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

19
Seraphim Falls is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Angie Harmon

Released: 2006

Directed by: David Von Ancken

Seraphim Falls is a 2006 American revenge film directed by television producer and director David Von Ancken in his first feature film. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by ...more

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#213 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #28 of 62 The 30+ Best Modern Western Movies #13 of 59 The Best Western Movies of the 21st Century

20
The Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Jennifer Garner, Minka Kelly, Jamie Foxx

Released: 2007

Directed by: Peter Berg

The Kingdom is a 2007 action thriller directed by Peter Berg and starring Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and Ashraf Barhom, with Kyle Chandler, Jeremy Piven, Richard ...more
21
Free State of Jones is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali

Directed by: Gary Ross

Free State of Jones is a 2016 American film inspired by the life of Newton Knight and his armed revolt against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, throughout the American Civil War. ...more

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#138 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #23 of 47 The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made #14 of 47 The Best New War Movies of the Last Few Years

22
Master and Commander: Th... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Joseph Morgan

Released: 2003

Directed by: Peter Weir

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 epic historical drama film co-written and directed by Peter Weir, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, with Paul Bettany as Stephen ...more

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#190 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #36 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
The Quick and the Dead ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe

Released: 1995

Directed by: Sam Raimi

This film is a 1995 western film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio. The story focuses on "The Lady", a gunfighter who ...more

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#79 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #1,316 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #15 of 62 The 30+ Best Modern Western Movies

24
Heaven's Burning is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Russell Crowe, Colin Hay, Youki Kudoh

Released: 1998

Directed by: Craig Lahiff

Heaven's Burning is a 1997 Australian film directed by Craig Lahiff and written by Louis Nowra.
25
The Hard Easy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Drama Movies for Action Fans
Gary Busey, Vera Farmiga, David Boreanaz

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ari Ryan

The Hard Easy is a 2006 action crime drama film directed by Ari Ryan and written by Jon Lindstrom and Tom Schanley.