Action Movies : The Essential List

by AfrocentricFilmsCollaborative | created - 01 May 2014 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

This list is about action and intense situations. We love below the radar cinema as well as big budget blockbusters that pack a punch. This list contains both low budget and well financed films with plenty of guns, blades, and splatter of blood. This list is not for Kids, parental advisory strongly recommended.

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1. Blade (1998)

R | 120 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

45 Metascore

A half-vampire, half-mortal man becomes a protector of the mortal race, while slaying evil vampires.

Director: Stephen Norrington | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright

Votes: 234,244 | Gross: $70.09M

2. Enter the Dragon (1973)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

83 Metascore

A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.

Director: Robert Clouse | Stars: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri

Votes: 91,706 | Gross: $25.00M

3. Man on Fire (2004)

R | 146 min | Action, Crime, Drama

47 Metascore

In Mexico City, a former CIA operative swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell

Votes: 316,060 | Gross: $77.91M

4. Fight Club (1999)

R | 139 min | Drama

66 Metascore

An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soapmaker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier

Votes: 1,750,346 | Gross: $37.03M

5. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A man studies kung fu at the Shaolin Temple to fight back against the oppressive Manchu government.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Liu, Norman Chu

Votes: 13,682

6. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 2,173,862 | Gross: $534.86M

7. Zombieland (2009)

R | 88 min | Adventure, Comedy, Horror

73 Metascore

A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Director: Ruben Fleischer | Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 494,573 | Gross: $75.59M

8. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

R | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

58 Metascore

John McClane and a Harlem store owner are targeted by German terrorist Simon Gruber in New York City, where he plans to rob the Federal Reserve Building.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson, Graham Greene

Votes: 350,038 | Gross: $100.01M

9. Battle Royale (2000)

Not Rated | 114 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

81 Metascore

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano

Votes: 162,766

10. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

PG-13 | 99 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

53 Metascore

A rough-and-tumble trucker helps rescue his friend's fiancée from an ancient sorcerer in a supernatural battle beneath Chinatown.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong

Votes: 117,144 | Gross: $11.10M

11. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)

Not Rated | 115 min | Action, Crime, Drama

71 Metascore

After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups.

Director: José Padilha | Stars: Wagner Moura, Irandhir Santos, André Ramiro, Milhem Cortaz

Votes: 76,613 | Gross: $0.10M

12. Django Unchained (2012)

R | 165 min | Drama, Western

81 Metascore

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington

Votes: 1,269,563 | Gross: $162.81M

13. V for Vendetta (2005)

R | 132 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.

Director: James McTeigue | Stars: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves, Stephen Rea

Votes: 981,449 | Gross: $70.51M

14. Equilibrium (2002)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

33 Metascore

In an oppressive future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system and state.

Director: Kurt Wimmer | Stars: Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs

Votes: 302,289 | Gross: $1.20M

15. The Man from Nowhere (2010)

R | 119 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.

Director: Jeong-beom Lee | Stars: Won Bin, Sae-ron Kim, Tae-hoon Kim, Hee-won Kim

Votes: 57,811 | Gross: $0.01M

16. Fury (2014)

R | 134 min | Action, Drama, War

64 Metascore

A grizzled tank commander makes tough decisions as he and his crew fight their way across Germany in April, 1945.

Director: David Ayer | Stars: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña

Votes: 400,029 | Gross: $85.82M

17. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime

66 Metascore

A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham

Votes: 508,742 | Gross: $3.90M

18. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

PG-13 | 147 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

Political involvement in the Avengers' affairs causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan

Votes: 620,796 | Gross: $408.08M

19. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Drama

52 Metascore

King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West

Votes: 708,904 | Gross: $210.61M

20. Inception (2010)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 1,922,797 | Gross: $292.58M

21. Aliens (1986)

R | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

Ellen Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team after being in hypersleep for 57 years. The moon that the Nostromo visited has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, colonial marines have impressive firepower, but will that be enough?

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser

Votes: 622,060 | Gross: $85.16M

22. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

63 Metascore

Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate "Captain" Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor's daughter, from Jack's former pirate allies, who are now undead.

Director: Gore Verbinski | Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley

Votes: 984,195 | Gross: $305.41M

23. Iron Man (2008)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges

Votes: 897,943 | Gross: $318.41M

24. Batman Begins (2005)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure

70 Metascore

After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Liam Neeson

Votes: 1,241,368 | Gross: $206.85M

25. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

R | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

77 Metascore

In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich community escape a horde of bandits.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Max Phipps

Votes: 159,168 | Gross: $12.47M

26. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

82 Metascore

After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 1,100,459 | Gross: $290.48M

27. Predator (1987)

R | 107 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

45 Metascore

A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall, Elpidia Carrillo

Votes: 355,861 | Gross: $59.74M

28. Casino Royale (2006)

PG-13 | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

80 Metascore

After earning 00 status and a licence to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007. Bond must defeat a private banker funding terrorists in a high-stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro.

Director: Martin Campbell | Stars: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright

Votes: 554,814 | Gross: $167.45M

29. The Revenant (2015)

R | 156 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

76 Metascore

A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson

Votes: 657,543 | Gross: $183.64M

30. They Live (1988)

R | 94 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

54 Metascore

A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George 'Buck' Flower

Votes: 101,817 | Gross: $13.01M

31. The Raid 2 (2014)

R | 150 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

71 Metascore

Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his police force.

Director: Gareth Evans | Stars: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara

Votes: 108,261 | Gross: $2.63M

32. Ninja Assassin (2009)

R | 99 min | Action, Thriller

34 Metascore

A young ninja turns his back on the orphanage that raised him, leading to a confrontation with a fellow ninja from the clan.

Director: James McTeigue | Stars: Rain, Rick Yune, Naomie Harris, Joon Lee

Votes: 66,057 | Gross: $38.11M

33. Black Panther (2018)

PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

88 Metascore

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira

Votes: 564,506 | Gross: $700.06M

34. Hardcore Henry (2015)

R | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

51 Metascore

Henry is resurrected from death with no memory, and he must save his wife from a telekinetic warlord with a plan to bio-engineer soldiers.

Director: Ilya Naishuller | Stars: Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth, Haley Bennett, Danila Kozlovsky

Votes: 81,708 | Gross: $9.25M

35. Sin City (2005)

R | 124 min | Crime, Thriller

74 Metascore

A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.

Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba

Votes: 725,389 | Gross: $74.10M

36. 13 Assassins (2010)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

84 Metascore

A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Ikki Sawamura

Votes: 59,451 | Gross: $0.80M

37. First Blood (1982)

R | 93 min | Action, Adventure

61 Metascore

A veteran Green Beret is forced by a cruel Sheriff and his deputies to flee into the mountains and wage an escalating one-man war against his pursuers.

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney

Votes: 214,583 | Gross: $47.21M

38. Léon: The Professional (1994)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

64 Metascore

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. An unusual relationship forms as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello

Votes: 971,004 | Gross: $19.50M

39. World War Z (2013)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

63 Metascore

Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatens to destroy humanity itself.

Director: Marc Forster | Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale

Votes: 571,938 | Gross: $202.36M

40. Police Story (1985)

PG-13 | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

78 Metascore

A virtuous Hong Kong Police Officer must clear his good name when the drug lord he is after frames him for the murder of a dirty cop.

Directors: Jackie Chan, Chi-Hwa Chen | Stars: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Kwok-Hung Lam

Votes: 26,611 | Gross: $0.11M

41. Hero (2002)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, History

85 Metascore

A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Jet Li, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang

Votes: 169,271 | Gross: $53.71M

42. The Raid: Redemption (2011)

R | 101 min | Action, Thriller

73 Metascore

A S.W.A.T. team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

Director: Gareth Evans | Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy, Donny Alamsyah

Votes: 181,412 | Gross: $4.11M