Entertainment

The Best R-Rated Action Movies of All Time, Ranked  

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33.5k votes 1.7k voters 64.5k views 216 items

List Rules Rated-R action movies only! No PG-13 or PG flicks.

Ready to marathon the best R-rated action movies? You do? Great! But now you have to decide which R-rated action movies qualify as being the best. To help you, action movie fans have ranked decades of R-rated action movies from best to worst. This list takes the best R-Rated action movies and pits them against each other to see once and for all which one is top dog. Add to the discussion yourself by voting on the movies you like. 

Movie trailers are included when available, so you can get a preview of these action flicks. You'll also find details such as top billed cast, director, year of release, and more. Prepare for excitement, as these top rated-R action movies feature plenty of gratuitous violence, explosions, sexual content, and are generally just over-the-top with awesomeness.

If you are searching for a specific movie,  you can use the search box at the top of the list to find what you're looking for. Don't see a movie you think should be on there? Feel free to add it and let others vote on it.

Generally, you'll find movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator on this list. And while we'll never get to see General Maximus face off against John McClane on screen, we can see which movie audiences prefer. Aside from those movies mentioned above, there are plenty of other R-rated action movies that deserve a spot in the top ten.

Use this list if you're looking for some new action movies that are rated R. If you plan on streaming these movies and similar movies, then you'll also want to check out the Best Action Movies of All Time, Best Action Movies on Netflix Instant and the Best Action Movies Amazon Prime. Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other services, there are thousands of great action movies rated R, so get out there and start watching.

Did you know that Clint Eastwood and George Clooney have both directed Action R movies?

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26
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Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo
American History X is a 1998 American drama film directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. It stars Edward Norton and Edward Furlong, and co-stars Fairuza Balk, Stacy Keach, Elliott ...more
27
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Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons
This film is a 1995 American action film and the third in the film series. It was produced and directed by John McTiernan, written by Jonathan Hensleigh, and stars Bruce Willis as New York City ...more
28
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Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris
The Rock is a 1996 action film that primarily takes place on Alcatraz Island and in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was directed by Michael Bay, produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and ...more
29
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Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman
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
30
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Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, David Caruso
First Blood is a 1982 American psychological thriller and action film directed by Ted Kotcheff, co-written by and starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood veteran. ...more
31
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Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze
Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where ...more
32
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Emma Stone, Amber Heard, Bill Murray
Zombieland is a 2009 American zombie comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma ...more
33
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Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe
Platoon is a 1986 American war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. It is the first film of a trilogy of Vietnam War films by ...more
34
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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone. The film is loosely based on the Philip ...more
35
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Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner
The Untouchables is a 1987 American drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by David Mamet. Based on the book The Untouchables, the film stars Kevin Costner as government agent Eliot ...more
36
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Bruce Willis, John Leguizamo, Dennis Franz
This film is a 1990 American action film and the second in the series. It was released on July 4, 1990. The film was directed by Renny Harlin. The novel has the same premise but differs ...more
37
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Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Martin Lawrence
Bad Boys is a 1995 American action comedy film produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, producers of Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop, and directed by Michael Bay in his directorial debut. It ...more
38
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Kris Kristofferson, Wesley Snipes, Traci Lords
Blade is a 1998 American vampire superhero action film starring Wesley Snipes and Stephen Dorff, loosely based on the Marvel Comics character Blade. Snipes plays Blade, a human-vampire hybrid ...more
39
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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
40
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Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons
RoboCop is a 1987 American cyberpunk action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan, in the near future, RoboCop ...more
41
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Mel Gibson, Joe Pesci, Danny Glover
Lethal Weapon 2 is a 1989 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, and starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Patsy Kensit, Derrick O'Connor and Joss Ackland. It is a ...more
42
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Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom
Troy is a 2004 epic period war film directed by Wolfgang Petersen, loosely based on Homer's Iliad. After Paris smuggles Queen Helen to Troy, Achilles leads his Myrmidons along with the rest of ...more
43
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Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper
Speed is a 1994 American action film directed by Jan de Bont in his feature film directorial debut. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, and Jeff Daniels. A ...more
44
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Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Amy Smart
Starship Troopers is a 1997 American military science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier. The story follows a young soldier named Johnny Rico and his ...more
45
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Sam Elliott, Terry Funk, Kelly Lynch
Road House is a 1989 action film directed by Rowdy Herrington and starring Patrick Swayze as a bouncer at a newly refurbished roadside bar who protects a small town in Missouri from a ...more
46
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Eddie Murphy, Damon Wayans, Paul Reiser
Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who heads to Beverly Hills, California to ...more
47
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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
48
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Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Hugo Weaving
V for Vendetta is a 2006 American political thriller film directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowski Brothers, based on the 1988 Vertigo graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore ...more
49
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Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino
From Dusk till Dawn is a 1996 American horror-crime thriller film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. It stars George Clooney, Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette ...more
50
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Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris
Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film's title is taken from William Craig's 1973 nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, which ...more