80s Movies The Best '80s Action Movies  

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43.1k votes 3.2k voters 99.7k views 88 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite action films that were released in the 1980s.

A list of the best '80s action movies arguably represents a list of the greatest action movies of all time. The Terminator, Die Hard, and Raiders of the Lost Ark were all released in the 1980s, after all. Those three films are just the tip of the iceberg. You also have Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, Aliens, and many more good 1980s action movies. What do you think are the top '80s action movies? Vote up your favorites from the list of 1980s action films below.

With all of these amazing choices, it may be tough to narrow down the very best '80s action movies. What do you believe defines the greatest action movies of the '80s? Should they be non-stop action from start to finish like Commando or can they build tension slowly like Predator? Are the top '80s action movies ultra-violent like RoboCop or do you prefer something a bit goofier like Big Trouble in Little China? Good 1980s action films can even be more serious-minded fare like Platoon or Ran. You get to decide the best and the rest with your votes.

This '80s action movie list is sure to start some heated debates, so get voting! And if we somehow missed a great 1980s action movie, don't hesitate to add it to the list!

1
1,097 299
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Die Hard 1988 Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more

2
1,018 186
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
The Terminator 1984 The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James Cameron, written by Cameron and the film's producer Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, ...more

3
913 234
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan was from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by ...more

4
777 238
Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Lethal Weapon 1987 Lethal Weapon is a 1987 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched pair of L.A.P.D. detectives and stars Mitchell Ryan and ...more

5
723 261
First Blood is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
First Blood 1982 Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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

6
984 168
Predator is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Predator 1987 Predator is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill ...more

7
746 208
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 1980 The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story ...more

8
607 252
RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
RoboCop 1987 Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Sergeant Warren Reed is a fictional character from the film series RoboCop, RoboCop 2, RoboCop 3.

9
651 224
Return of the Jedi is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Return of the Jedi 1983 Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas was from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive ...more

10
796 197
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Aliens 1986 Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael ...more

11
689 204
Indiana Jones and the Last Cru... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third installment in the ...more

12
602 283
Indiana Jones and the Temple o... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film ...more

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Batman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Batman 1989 Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It is the first installment of Warner Bros.' ...more

14
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Lethal Weapon 2 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Lethal Weapon 2 1989 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

15
560 174
Beverly Hills Cop is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Beverly Hills Cop 1984 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

16
531 242
Top Gun is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Top Gun 1986 Top Gun is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim ...more

17
584 190
Commando is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Commando 1985 Commando is a 1985 American action film directed by Mark L. Lester, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rae Dawn Chong. The film was released in the United States on October 4, 1985. The film ...more

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Mad Max 2 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
The Road Warrior 1981 Mad Max 2 is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. The film is the second installment in the Mad Max film series, with Mel Gibson starring as Max Rockatansky. ...more

19
455 238
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
The Karate Kid 1984 The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more

20
553 123
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Back to the Future 1985 Back to the Future is a 1985 American comic science fiction film. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and stars Michael J. Fox, ...more

21
468 149
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Ghostbusters 1984 Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as ...more

22
405 204
Platoon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Platoon 1986 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

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Full Metal Jacket is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Full Metal Jacket 1987 Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers. The film ...more

24
405 159
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
The Goonies 1985 The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Richard Donner. The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. The film's ...more

25
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Big Trouble in Little China is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Big Trouble in Little China 1986 Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Big Trouble in Little China is a 1986 American action film directed by John Carpenter, and starring Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun and James Hong. The film was released in the United ...more

26
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Rambo: First Blood Part II is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Rambo: First Blood Part II 1985 Rambo: First Blood Part II is a 1985 American action film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Sylvester Stallone. The screenplay was by Stallone and James Cameron. A sequel to 1982's ...more

27
432 180
Rocky IV is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
slaft added Rocky IV 1985 Rocky IV is a 1985 American sports film written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Dolph Lundgren, Burt Young, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Tony ...more

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Tango & Cash is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Esavi added Tango & Cash 1989 Tango & Cash is a 1989 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, although Albert Magnoli took over in the later stages of filming, and starring Sylvester ...more

29
322 158
48 Hrs. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
48 Hrs. 1982 Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 48 Hrs. is a 1982 American action comedy film directed by Walter Hill, starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy as a cop and convict, respectively, who team up to catch a cop-killer. The title ...more

30
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The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
The Running Man 1987 The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel The Running Man, written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. ...more

31
370 166
Conan the Barbarian is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Conan the Barbarian 1982 Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 sword and sorcery/adventure film directed and co-written by John Milius. It is based on stories by Robert E. Howard, a pulp fiction writer of the 1930s, about the ...more

32
365 163
Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Escape from New York 1981 Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter. The film is set in a then near-future 1997 in a crime-ridden United ...more

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Road House is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Road House 1989 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 corrupt ...more

34
235 105
Rocky II is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Rocky II 1979 Rocky II is a 1979 American film written and directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, that is the sequel to Rocky, a motion picture in which an unknown boxer had been given a chance to go ...more

35
330 108
Back to the Future Part II is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Back to the Future Part II 1989 Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 American comic science fiction film and the second installment of the Back to the Future trilogy. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who directed all three ...more

36
305 164
Highlander is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Highlander 1986 Highlander is a 1986 British-American cult fantasy film directed by Russell Mulcahy and based on a story by Gregory Widen. It stars Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, and Roxanne ...more

37
268 137
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
The Untouchables 1987 The Untouchables is a 1987 American crime 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 ...more

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Red Dawn is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Red Dawn 1984 Red Dawn is a 1984 American war film directed by John Milius and co-written by Milius and Kevin Reynolds. It stars Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer ...more

39
377 171
Bloodsport is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Bloodsport 1988 Bloodsport is a 1988 American martial arts film directed by Newt Arnold, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Roy Chiao, Donald Gibb and Leah Ayres. The film is partly based on unverified claims ...more

40
303 147
Beverly Hills Cop II is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Beverly Hills Cop II 1987 Beverly Hills Cop II is a 1987 action comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and directed by Tony Scott. It is the first sequel in the Beverly Hills Cop series. Murphy returns as Detroit police ...more

41
250 188
The Blues Brothers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
slaft added The Blues Brothers 1980 The Blues Brothers is a 1980 American musical comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues, characters developed from ...more

42
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Rocky III is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Rocky III 1982 Rocky III, the third installment in the Rocky film series, is a 1982 American motion picture written and directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone as the title character. The movie features ...more

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233 101
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
NoEscape459 added Blade Runner 1982 Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more

44
279 199
Romancing the Stone is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Romancing the Stone 1984 Romancing the Stone is a 1984 American action-adventure romantic comedy. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. The film was followed by a 1985 ...more

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252 179
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kha... is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan 1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a 1982 sci-fi film written by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer adn directed by Nicholas Meyer.

46
250 170
Kickboxer is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Kickboxer 1989 Kickboxer is a 1989 American martial arts film produced and directed by Mark DiSalle, and co-directed by David Worth. The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and former world kickboxing champion ...more

47
249 205
Rambo III is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Rambo III 1988 Rambo III is a 1988 American action film. The film depicts fictional events during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. It is the third film in the Rambo series following First Blood and Rambo: First ...more

48
195 163
Ghostbusters II is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Ghostbusters II 1989 Ghostbusters II is a 1989 American science fiction fantasy comedy film produced and directed by Ivan Reitman. It is the sequel to the 1984 film Ghostbusters and follows the further adventures of ...more

49
244 177
Superman II is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
Superman II 1980 Superman II is a 1980 British-American superhero film directed by Richard Lester. It is a sequel to the 1978 film Superman and stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty, ...more

50
245 183
They Live is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
They Live 1988 They Live is a 1988 American science fiction film written and directed by John Carpenter. The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster. It follows a nameless drifter referred to as ...more