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45 Under 45: The New Class Of Action Stars

Updated June 6, 2018 10.8k votes 762 voters 17.5k views45 items

List RulesVote up your favorite 45-and-under action stars.

Bruce Willis, Angelina Jolie, and Jackie Chan showed the world what a badass action film star is capable of, albeit over the past 30 years or so. With the average age of the industry's greatest action heroes on a steep uptick, who are the up-and-coming action film stars destined to take the place of the Fast and Furious crew when the franchise starts following Dom's ability to get around with a walker? Rising action film stars such as Maisie Williams, Tom Hardy, and Donald Glover look poised to take over as the premier heroes of Hollywood's coming action flicks. When your favorite action franchises start reaching the double-digit installments, these young action stars will be the ones taking the reins. As much as viewers love Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan, they can't be action stars forever.

  • Chris Hemsworth1

    BirthplaceMelbourne, Australia

    Chris Hemsworth is best known for his role as Thor in the MCU. He's arguably become a more interesting actor since Taika Waititi gave the God of Thunder some comedy chops in Ragnarok.

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  • Chris Evans2

    BirthplaceSudbury, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Captain America himself, Evans can withstand the cold in Snowpiercer and the heat of playing an Israeli Mossad agent in the thriller The Red Sea Diving Resort.

  • Scarlett Johansson3

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    She's Black Widow in Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and all of the subsequent Avengers films, which is probably a safer bet than trying to revive Motoko Kusanagi as a white woman in 2017's Ghost in the Shell remake.

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  • Tom Holland4

    BirthplaceKingston upon Thames, London, England

    Best known as Spider-Man, the young Brit can also be seen in Doug Liman's 20199 dystopian thriller Chaos Walking. As an added bonus, he's a trained gymnast, meaning Holland really can do all his own stunts.

  • Gal Gadot5

    Gal Gadot

    Age: 35

    BirthplaceRosh HaAyin, Israel

    Thanks to the success of Wonder Woman, Gadot is slated for several more DC appearances, including a sequel to her breakout role. Even when superpowers fail her, she still gets to be badass in Furious 7.

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  • Chris Pratt6

    BirthplaceVirginia, Minnesota, United States of America

    The formerly chunky Parks and Recreation alum now serves as the hero of a few major action franchises. He's Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy and Owen Grady, the Raptor Whisper, in Jurassic World.

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  • Michael B. Jordan7

    BirthplaceSanta Ana, California

    Fahrenheit 451 was met with mixed reviews, but it does serve as a reminder that Wallace from The Wire can imbue even the silliest of roles with drama. A double-dipper in the MCU, Jordan's played both the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and the villainous N'Jadaka (AKA Erik "Killmonger" Stevens) in Black Panther.

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  • Tom Hardy8

    Tom Hardy

    Age: 43

    BirthplaceHammersmith, London, United Kingdom

    As long as he puts a mask on, Tom Hardy's good to go. Whether it's Bane, Venom, Mad Max, or the pilot from Dunkirk, the actor can be counted on to spit out lines without ever moving his mouth (as far as anyone knows).

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  • Chadwick Boseman9

    Chadwick Boseman

    Age: 37

    BirthplaceAnderson, South Carolina

    After playing Thurgood Marshall, the South Carolinian proved his metal as T'Challa, AKA the Black Panther.


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  • Elizabeth Olsen10

    BirthplaceSherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    The lone X-Man (or woman!) in The Avengers, this Scarlet Witch has been upstaging her Full House-starring siblings with leading roles in adaptations of the horror-thrillers Oldboy, Silent House, and Godzilla. 

  • Sebastian Stan11

    BirthplaceConstanța, Sud-Est, Romania

    Yes, he's the MCU's Winter Soldier. But as audiences of I, Tonya know, the Romanian actor can be just as dangerous with a sagging mustache as he is with a machine gun and robot arm. Look for him in We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I'm Not Here, Destroyer, and reprising his role as Bucky Barnes in the next Avengers.

  • Jennifer Lawrence12

    BirthplaceLouisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    Just based on prior performances, you could already put J-Law in the Action Hero Hall of Fame. She's played roles from Katniss to Mystique, with detours into space travel (Passengers) and spying (Red Sparrow). Look out for her reviving her X-Men role in 2019's Dark Phoenix.

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  • Karen Gillan13

    BirthplaceInverness, United Kingdom

    Karen Gillan is instantly recognizable. Whether it's in a breakout horror movie like Oculus, a silly A-lister romp like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, or Marvel blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War, Gillan just stands out. Expect more of her.

  • Dylan O'Brien14

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    The Teen Wolf heartthrob also stars in the labyrinthian YA action franchise Maze Runner.

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  • Emilia Clarke15

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

    This Game of Thrones actress jumps from dragons to a falcon (the Millennium kind) in the Star Wars prequel Solo.

  • Anthony Mackie16

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    Falcon from MCU. Martin Luther King from All the Way. Sergeant J.T. Sanborn from The Hurt Locker. "Guy with fedora" from The Adjustment Bureau. Truly, Anthony Mackie can do it all.

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  • Liam Hemsworth17

    BirthplaceMelbourne, Australia

    Chris Hemsworth's younger brother played opposite Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games and opposite some giant aliens in Independence Day: Resurgence.

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  • Donald Glover18

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    The real star of the 2018 Star Wars spin-off isn't the self-titled Solo, but comedian/producer/actor/Emmy winner Childish Gambino, AKA Donald Glover. The Atlanta star and creator takes over Billy Dee William's role in this prequel as Lando Calrissian, already a fan favorite.

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  • Maisie Williams19


    The Game of Thrones starlet follows her on-screen older sis Sophie Turner into a post-Game of Thrones stint at the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters; she headlines New Mutants as Rahne Sinclair, better known as Wolfsbane.

  • Chloë Grace Moretz20

    BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    After her turn in Kick-Ass, Chloë Grace Moretz feels destined to be an action star. Her stone-cold delivery and remarkable stunt talents make her an ideal action heroine. Just give her her own John Wick or Atomic Blonde and watch her shine.

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  • Bill Skarsgård21

    BirthplaceVällingby, Sweden

    Is it weird to find out Pennywise the Dancing Clown is younger than his co-stars in the sequel to IT? Don't worry, he's not clowning around with his other roles in movies like Deadpool 2Atomic Blonde, and Assassination Nation.

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  • Zazie Beetz22

    The German-American actress plays opposite Donald Glover in Atlanta. With a star-turning role as Domino in Deadpool 2, she also lined up roles in Chance the Rapper's secret A24 movie Slice, Steven Soderbergh's sports drama High Flying Bird, and an untitled Babak Anvari horror film with Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson.

  • Oscar Isaac23


    After paying his dues with the Coen Brothers on Inside Llewyn Davis, the Cuban and Guatemalan-American actor wound up in some major blockbuster franchises, including Star Wars, X-Men, and The Bourne Legacy.

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  • Natalie Dormer24

    BirthplaceReading, England

    Gone, but not forgotten on Game of Thrones, Dormers still pops up in the occasional explosive role, whether it be the tattooed documentarian Cressida in Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Private Lorraine in Captain America: The First Avenger, or in Mass Effect: Andromeda as Dr. Lexi T’Perr.

  • Millie Bobby Brown25

    Millie Bobby Brown continues to break fans' brains as Eleven in Netflix's Stranger Things. That will definitely help ensure her success opposite a giant lizard monster in 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

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