Entertainment

The Best Action Movies of the 1980s  

Ranker Film
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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!
list ordered by
1
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a ...more
3
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
First Blood is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Predator is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
8
RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
1987
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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
9
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
10
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
1983
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, and the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. After a daring ...more
11
Indiana Jones and the Last Cru... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Indiana Jones and the Temple o... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
13
Lethal Weapon 2 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
14
Batman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
15
Beverly Hills Cop is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Top Gun is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Commando is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
18
Mad Max 2 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
20
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
21
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
Rambo: First Blood Part II is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
1985
Rambo: First Blood Part II is a 1985 American action film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Sylvester Stallone. Picking up where the first film left, the sequel is set in the context ...more
23
Big Trouble in Little China is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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
24
Full Metal Jacket is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
1987
Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 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
25
Platoon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Action Movies of the 1980s
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