Special Effects
97 voters

The Best CGI Action Movies

Updated August 12, 2019 1.9k votes 97 voters29 items

List RulesVote up the movies that had the best CGI action moments.

In 1973, the movie Westworld became the first film to ever use computer-generated imagery. The science fiction western was a box office flop, but it paved the way to create the best CGI moments in action movies. Today, there is almost nothing that a filmmaker cannot do thanks in large part to CGI. Here are the best CGI effects in action films.

The Wachowskis impressed the movie world in 1993's The Matrix by showing off their new technology called bullet time during a scene where Neo (Keanu Reeves) is able to dodge an onslaught of bullets by bending backward. The visual effect makes it appear as if Neo’s body is in slow motion while the bullets race by him. The CGI in that scene may look tame by today’s standards, but the technology forever changed the way that computers could be used for realistic looking special effects in cinema.

The bullet time sequence in The Matrix is just one of the best CGI scenes in action movies. What other action movies made the list, and which ones do you think display the best use of computer-generated imagery? Cast your votes below.

  • 1
    50
    16

    Avatar

    Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

    Released2009

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Avatar is a 2009 American epic science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, Giovanni...  more
  • 2
    59
    39

    Alita: Battle Angel

    Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz

    Released2019

    Directed byRobert Rodriguez

    Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by Robert Rodriguez, based on the manga by Yukito Kishiro. After being revived by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), cyborg...  more
  • 3
    34
    19

    The Perfect Storm

    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg

    Released2000

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is an adaptation of the 1997 non-fiction book of the same title by Sebastian Junger, which...  more
  • 4
    37
    33

    The Matrix

    Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving

    Released1999

    Directed byAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

    The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe...  more
  • 5
    21
    17

    Kong: Skull Island

    Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released2017

    Directed byJordan Vogt-Roberts

    Kong: Skull Island is a 2017 American monster film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The film is a reboot of the King Kong franchise and will serve as the second film in Legendary's Godzilla–Kong film...  more
  • 6
    21
    18

    The Day After Tomorrow

    Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal

    Released2004

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

    The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American climate fiction-disaster film co-written, directed, and produced by Roland Emmerich and starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, and...  more
  • 7
    35
    40

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong

    Released1991

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert...  more
  • 8
    32
    40

    Transformers

    Megan Fox, Shia LaBeouf

    Released2007

    Directed byMichael Bay

    Transformers is a 2007 American science fiction action film directed by Michael Bay, based on the toy line. An ancient struggle between two Cybertronian races, the heroic Autobots and the evil...  more
  • 9
    14
    16

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson

    Released2017

    Directed byMatt Reeves

    This film is a 2017 science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves. Following the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the apes are embroiled in a conflict against...  more
  • 10
    24
    37

    Edge of Tomorrow

    Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt

    Released2014

    Directed byDoug Liman

    Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 American military science fiction thriller film directed by Doug Liman. A soldier (Tom Cruise) on the front lines of a civilization-ending alien threat finds himself...  more
  • 11
    20
    33

    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Elliot Page, Joseph...  more
  • 12
    18
    29

    Star Trek

    Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison

    Released2009

    Directed byJ.J. Abrams

    Star Trek is a 2009 science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and produced by Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk. It is the eleventh film based on the Star...  more
  • 13
    7
    16

    Kick-Ass

    Nicolas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz

    Released2010

    Directed byMatthew Vaughn

    Kick-Ass is a 2010 British-American superhero action comedy film based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who co-produced...  more
  • 14
    6
    15

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson

    Released2018

    Directed byChristopher McQuarrie

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout is a 2018 American action spy film directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and the sixth installment in the film series. When IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) tries to...  more
  • 15
    13
    26

    District 9

    Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy

    Released2009

    Directed byNeill Blomkamp

    District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film...  more
  • 16
    7
    20

    Skyscraper

    Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell

    Released2018

    Directed byRawson Marshall Thurber

    Skyscraper is a 2018 American action film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. On assignment in China, former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader Will Ford (Dwayne Johnson), who now assesses security for...  more
  • 17
    7
    20

    Rampage

    Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris

    Released2018

    Directed byBrad Peyton

    Rampage is a 2018 American action adventure monster film directed by Brad Peyton, loosely based on the video game series. When three animals are mutated into giant monsters, primatologist Davis Okoye...  more
  • 18
    11
    32

    The Mummy

    Rachel Weisz, Brendan Fraser

    Released1999

    Directed byStephen Sommers

    The Mummy is a 1999 American fantasy adventure film directed by Stephen Sommers, and a loose remake of the 1932 film The Mummy. At an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra, an American...  more
  • 19
    16
    42

    Kingsman: The Secret Service

    Lady Gaga, David Beckham

    Released2015

    Directed byMatthew Vaughn

    Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2014 action spy comedy film directed by Matthew Vaughn. A street kid (Taron Egerton) is recruited into an elite agency's training program, just as a tech genius...  more
  • 20
    26
    97

    Avengers: Infinity War

    Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth

    Released2018

    Directed byAnthony Russo, Joe Russo

    Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. Torn apart after the events of Captain America: Civil War, the Avengers join forces with the Guardians of...  more
  • 21
    15
    50

    Captain Marvel

    Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released2019

    Directed byAnna Boden, Ryan Fleck

    Captain Marvel is a 2019 American superhero film directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, based on the Marvel Comics character. In 1995, former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson)...  more
  • 22
    23
    100

    The Avengers

    Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans

    Released2012

    Directed byJoss Whedon

    Marvel's The Avengers is a 2012 American superhero film directed by Joss Whedon, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team. Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if...  more
  • 23
    24
    108

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana

    Released2014

    Directed byJames Gunn

    Guardians of the Galaxy is a 2014 American superhero film directed by James Gunn, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) forms a group of intergalactic "bad guys" who...  more
  • 24
    19
    92

    Thor: Ragnarok

    Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston

    Released2017

    Directed byTaika Waititi

    Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film directed by Taika Waititi. Four years after the events of Thor: The Dark World, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must win a gladiatorial duel against an the...  more
  • 25
    10
    35

    The Fast and the Furious

    Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez

    Released2001

    Directed byRob Cohen

    The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 American street racing action film directed by Rob Cohen and starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. The film is the first...  more