80s Movies The Best '80s Action Movies  

Ranker Film
Originally by
52.4k votes 3.9k voters 129.1k views 100 items

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

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

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
1,335 351
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
1,236 235
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
1,077 290
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
934 287
Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
892 300
First Blood is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
1,210 196
Predator is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
747 298
RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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.

8
971 229
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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

9
861 267
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
744 292
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
802 249
Indiana Jones and the Last Cru... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
702 339
Indiana Jones and the Temple o... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
636 231
Lethal Weapon 2 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
631 314
Batman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
666 217
Beverly Hills Cop is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
550 244
Mad Max 2 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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

17
723 226
Commando is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
630 302
Top Gun is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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

19
682 156
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
544 294
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
566 181
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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
432 162
Full Metal Jacket is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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

23
476 245
Platoon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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

24
490 217
Rambo: First Blood Part II is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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

25
625 201
Big Trouble in Little China is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s Action Movies
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