Action movies take us to the heart of explosions, thrilling chases, and fights where the bad guy loses his front teeth. If you’re hunting for the next adrenaline shot, then look no further. Our master list of the best 30 action movies will make you white-knuckle it to the end!
1. Aliens (1986)
Ellen Ripley is rescued and resuscitated after sleeping for 57 years inside an escape shuttle. Nobody believes her story about the deadly extraterrestrials that had killed her crew and forced Ripley to destroy her ship – but one detail catches the attention of her employers at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Their colony has gone silent on the exomoon LV-426, the location where Ripley claims alien eggs are onboard an abandoned ship.
Ripley joins a team of Marines sent to investigate. They find the colony destroyed by the same aliens that slaughtered Ripley’s crew. The battle to survive pits her against the ferocious predators and her employers, who wants the eggs for biological warfare
2. Black Panther (2018)
To the rest of the world, the nation of Wakanda appears like any other Third World country. In reality, Wakandians live in a cutting-edge society far ahead of everyone else. Their secret is vibranium, a metal at the heart of a storm that threatens to expose the hidden world of the legendary Black Panther.
T’Challa is the newly-crowned king having to deal with treacherous members of the Wakandan royal family stealing vibranium with the intent of spreading their advanced technology and causing a worldwide war.
3. Point Break (1991)
When FBI agent Johnny Utah learns that a slippery group of bank robbers might be surfers, he agrees to infiltrate the local beach community. While learning to surf, he’s recognized by a surfer called Bodhi – not as an FBI agent but as a former college football star.
The brief fame of his past gives Utah a foot in the door of Bodhi’s tight surfer group. When one of them moons other surfers – a habit of one of the bank robbers – Utah believes he’s found the gang. Battling his own growing love of the wild surfer culture, Utah openly pursues Bodhi with deadly results.
4. The Matrix (1999)
When hacker Neo discovers the phrase “the Matrix” online his world is never the same. He meets Morpheus who offers him a red and blue pill. Neo takes the red pill because it will show him the truth about the world. It reveals that humanity lives in the Matrix, a simulation created by intelligent machines to keep people in a dream state while the machines feed on their bioelectric power.
Neo has to square off with the deadly Agent Smith and his team to fulfil his destiny as the One, the man prophesied to free humanity.
5. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
A war over resources has led to the collapse of society, leaving the survivors to fend for themselves in a desert world. Max Rockatansky is a prisoner of the feared Immortan Joe’s army and inadvertently gets the chance to escape when his captors pursue a new target. Furiosa, one of Joe’s lieutenants, has run away to find a beautiful green place she remembers from childhood.
Max and Furiosa team up to weather epic and violent encounters with their pursuers, treacherous allies, and a risky journey that may or may not lead them to a better world.
6. Nobody (2021)
This dark comedy follows the seemingly hapless Hutch Mansell. Everyone thinks he’s a dud after thieves rob his house and his teenage son, not Mansell, tackles them. But Mansell has a secret and in the days following the humiliating robbery, he finds himself in situations that slowly unveil the violent past he did his best to hide.
Mansell, a retired and deadly assassin, finally jumps back into the game when he has to defend himself and his family against one of his victims’ brothers, a powerful Russian crime lord.
7. Blade II (2002)
In this sequel, Blade receives an unusual request. The vampires need his help to fight a terrible plague among themselves. When he discovers that vampires and humans alike are being turned into “Reapers,” blood-thirsty creatures with a highly-infectious bite, Blade agrees.
He joins forces with the Bloodpack, an elite vampire group that originally assembled to destroy him. The truce proves to be as dangerous as the truth about the Reapers, demanding everything Blade’s got to survive.
8. Baby Driver (2017)
Thanks to his extraordinary driving skills, Baby becomes the getaway driver for a crime lord called Doc. The position is not voluntary but after stealing one of Doc’s cars, Baby has a choice – help robbers to flee from crime scenes or else.
Baby reaches a breaking point and wants to disappear with his girlfriend Deborah. But he’s the star driver of Doc’s crime ring and escaping his old life is not going to be easy.
9. Speed (1994)
LAPD SWAT officer Jack Traven foils a bomber’s plan to exchange hostages for $3 million. Out for revenge, the man blows up a bus in front of Jack and tells him that he now wants $3.7 million or he’ll detonate a second bus.
The race against time turns into a high-speed chase as the bus will also explode if the driver drops below 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). Jack manages to board the bus but to avoid a tragedy, he must deal with dangerous traffic, irate passengers and a bomber who seems to know his every move.
10. The Bourne Identity (2002)
A man wakes up with two bullet wounds in his back, deadly fighting skills and no idea who he is. After recovering, he follows clues to a safe deposit box in Switzerland where he finds ID cards with his picture and the name “Jason Bourne.”
When the CIA realize that Bourne has resurfaced, they send a team to kill him. In his fight to survive, Jason learns that he belonged to a black op killer program and was shot twice after he botched an assassination. Bourne turns on his handlers in a violent showdown.
11. Casino Royale (2006)
MI6 operative James Bond, freshly promoted to 00 agent status, joins a high-stakes casino tournament. The game is hosted by Le Chiffre, an Albanian that bankrolls terrorists.
Le Chiffre will do anything to win back the millions his investors lost after Bond had previously stopped a terrorist attack. Bond is tasked with bankrupting the banker at the casino to force him to seek protection from his clients with the British in exchange for information about the underworld.
But the fight soon leaves the card table and wrecks buildings, romances, and bad guys – Bond style.
Related: Top 10 Exciting Casino Movies With Thrilling Plots
12. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Living in 19th-century Qing dynasty China, Yu Jialong, or Jen, is a young woman living a double life. She is preparing for an arranged marriage while hiding a bandit lover and that she trained herself to become a martial arts expert.
When she steals the Green Destiny, a legendary sword, Jen awakens old rivals, loves, and her own painful destiny.
13. Léon: The Professional (1994)
Léon is a legendary hitman in New York City’s Little Italy. He doesn’t care about anyone until he rescues his 12-year-old neighbor, Mathilda Lando, when a corrupt DEA agent, Norman Stansfield, slaughters her entire family.
When Mathilda learns that Léon is a hitman, she convinces him to take her on as a pupil so she can avenge her four-year-old brother. But when she sets off on her own to kill Stansfield, Léon faces the ultimate fight to save her.
14. Die Hard (1988)
Detective John McClane arrives at his wife’s work for a Christmas party but while he’s in the bathroom, armed men take everyone else hostage.
Hans Gruber is the mastermind behind a perfect plan to steal $640 million in untraceable bearer bonds kept in the building’s vault. But what he didn’t count on was McClane. As the two men square off in a battle of wits and violence, McClane has to overcome Gruber’s men and trigger-happy FBI agents to rescue his wife.
15. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
In 1995, young John Conner faces a new terror. Skynet has sent the most lethal Terminator to date to kill John before he can grow up and lead humanity’s resistance against the machines.
Future John also sends a reprogrammed Terminator to save the young boy and to Sarah’s horror, it’s the same model that almost killed her in 1984. But when he reveals how Skynet was formed and that they can destroy it together, the Conners team up with the machine.
16. Seven Samurai (1954)
In this Japanese cinematic epic, seven samurai come together to protect a village ravaged by outlaws.
The year is 1587 and the warriors and villagers struggle to work together to fend off the raids. But despite their own secrets, losses and mistakes, the samurai gradually turn the tide in the village’s favor.
17. The Dark Knight (2008)
Bruce Wayne finally sees the chance to hang up his cape as Batman and live a normal life. He offers to support District Attorney Harvey Dent’s bid to become Gotham City’s new protector.
But there are problems with that plan – Wayne’s true love is dating Dent and after the Joker tears through Gotham City, Dent turns into a violent vigilante called Two-Face and goes on a killing spree.
Batman rises once more to fight both the demented Dent and the Joker as he rips the city apart to force Batman to reveal his identity.
18. Crank (2006)
Hitman Chev Chelios is hired by a crime syndicate to kill the leader of the Triad gang encroaching on their turf in Los Angeles. But afterwards, Chev’s employer turns on him and he’s injected with an unusual toxin.
In order to survive the poison, he must keep his adrenaline pumping. Chev hunts for the killer who poisoned him, keeping himself alive with reckless driving, fighting and death-defying stunts.
Related: The 10 Best Jason Statham Action Movies (Guaranteed to Thrill)
19. First Blood (1982)
When John Rambo arrives in the town of Hope, Washington, he’s homeless and hungry. After being arrested and tortured by sadistic officers, Rambo breaks out of the police station and flees into the woods.
The Sheriff lauches a manhunt and the situation spirals after Rambo accidentally kills one of his tormentors in self-defense. With the Sheriff now determined to shoot him and the State Police and Washington National Guard joining the hunt, Rambo has to draw on his Green Beret training to survive.
20. Predator (1987)
Major “Dutch” and his military rescue team is tasked with saving a politician being held hostage by insurgents. But they soon realize their true mission is to prevent a Soviet-backed rebel invasion, a job that had been given a few weeks earlier to a group of now-missing Green Berets.
When Dutch discovers their skinned bodies and becomes aware of a strange presence following them, he realizes that his team is being hunted. The invisible predator picks them off one by one as they race to make it out of the jungle alive.
21. RoboCop (1987)
Detroit cop Alex Murphy dies after being tortured by a gang. Without informing his partner or family, Murphy is turned into a crime-fighting cyborg called Robocop.
Robocop is assigned to Metro West, Murphy’s old precinct. Having no memory of his previous life, Robocop follows his programming and becomes loved by Detroit for his brutal eradication of crime.
But when he dreams of Murphy’s death and sees one of the gang members who killed him, the memories start flooding back – leading to the treacherous secrets of his creators.
22. John Wick (2014)
John Wick is a bereaved husband. He’s also an ace assassin. After thugs kill the puppy his terminally-ill wife had left him for solace, Wick is unyielding in his revenge.
He targets the gang’s leader who also happens to be the son of the head of New York’s Russian mafia. Knowing how deadly Wick can be, Viggo Tarasov pleads with his former assassin to spare his son.
Wick refuses and hoping to stop him, Tasarov sends a hit squad after him and also places a rich bounty on his head to place droves of killers in his way.
23. Snowpiercer (2013)
After scientists attempt to stop global warming with a stratospheric aerosol, the plan backfires and creates an Ice Age. The last survivors board the Snowpiercer, a self-sustaining train that is always on the move.
Years later, the tail end of the train revolts against their squalid conditions and armed guards and make their way to the elite society’s front cars. Class warfare becomes a bloody reality as the tail army pushes on and reaches the engine room where betrayal and hope for a new world awaits them.
24. Con Air (1997)
Ex-Army Ranger Cameron Poe is paroled after serving eight years for killing a man who tried to attack his pregnant wife. He boards a prison transport plane filled with dangerous criminals heading to a supermax prison.
Poe’s happiness to return home and meet his daughter for the first time turns into a fight for survival when the convicts take over the plane.
25. Face/Off (1997)
When FBI Agent Sean Archer survives an assassination attempt that kills his young son, his obsessive 6-year manhunt finally runs down the killer, a sociopath called Castor Troy.
During the capture, Troy is knocked into a coma but not before revealing that he has planted a bomb in Los Angeles. Desperate to find the device, Archer agrees to an experimental surgery where he swaps faces with Troy. While Archer infiltrates the assassin’s gang to find the bomb, Troy wakes up and forces the surgeons to give him Archer’s face.
Since Troy killed everyone who knew about the surgery, Archer struggles to convince his family and colleagues where the real danger lies – with the imposter living in Archer’s home and office.
26. Commando (1985)
John Matrix is a US Special Forces Colonel enjoying his retirement. But then his young daughter is kidnapped by mercenaries and after a failed attempt to rescue her, Matrix is also captured. The family is taken to their leader, a man Matrix remembers as Arius, a South American dictator he once removed from power.
Threatening Jenny’s life, Arius orders Matrix to assassinate a target in Val Verde to pave the way for a coup. On his way to Val Verde, Matrix fights his guards and races against time to save Jenny before Arius realizes that his hitman is coming for him.
27. Inception (2010)
Dom Cobb has a valuable skill; he can steal information from people’s dreams. But a powerful business man, Saito, has a unique job for Cobb. Instead of spying in a dream, he wants Cobb to plant an idea in someone’s mind, a tactic called inception.
When Cobb learns that his payment is a clean slate, wiping out a crime he never committed and which keeps him from seeing his children, he assembles a crack team to convince Saito’s business rival to dissolve his father’s empire.
28. The Rock (1996)
Disenchanted by the way the US military never compensated the families of soldiers who died under his command, Brigadier General Francis Hummel takes tourists hostage on Alcatraz Island. He threatens to attack San Francisco with rockets filled with deadly gas unless the government pays the soldiers’ families $100 million.
But authorities send a clandestine infiltration team instead. Chemical specialist Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, a SEAL team and John Mason, the only man ever to escape from The Rock. Hummel’s men kill the SEALs, leaving the incompatible Mason and Goodspeed to avoid capture and find the rockets before an airstrike destroys everything and everyone on the island.
29. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
After four years in a coma, the Bride awakens. She remembers being attacked in a chapel by her own gang, the Deadly Vipers, before being shot by their leader, Bill, despite the Bride telling him that she was pregnant with his child.
Mourning the baby and out for revenge, the Bride commissions the making of a deadly sword and tracks down the first two members of the Deadly Vipers and engages them in epic mortal combat.
30. Enter the Dragon (1973)
When a British intelligence officer approaches Lee and asks if he can go to a private island and infiltrate a martial arts tournament, the Kung Fu instructor agrees. The goal is to gather evidence against the man holding the competition, a crime boss called Han.
But once on the island, Lee is thrown into the brutal world of Han who kills his guards and competitors alike for the smallest mistake. Lee finds evidence that Han is trafficking drugs but is captured by the guards. The tournament falls into chaos as fighters come to Lee’s aid before he faces off with Han in a disorienting room of mirrors.