The 25 Most Exciting Action Movies

Although clunky and thin, Liam Neeson's A-to-B actioner is undeniably exciting.
The Bourne Identity
The first piece of evidence that Matt Damon could pack a wallop, and the last testament of director Doug Liman's real talent before 'Edge of Tomorrow.'
48 HRS.
A seedling of the buddy cop action-comedy and one of the better examples of the genre thanks to the dynamic chemistry (and complementary bravado) of Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy.
article continues below ad
Casino Royale
The first (and most recent) Bond entry on this list, 'Casino Royale' instilled the secret agent with an otherwise long dormant sense of zest.
The Cannonball Run
Goofy for sure, but iconic in its madness as a comedy and an action film both.
Kung Fu Hustle
A little bit of action, a little bit of fantasy, and a whole lot of lunacy, Stephen Chow's 'Shaolin Soccer' follow-up build a wild, highly engaging world of adventure.
article continues below ad
Big Trouble in Little China
See this movie at midnight (the way it was meant to be seen) and you'll be up past six flying high on adrenaline.
This early Bond gem is one of the spy's most memorable for a reason: yes, it's slow-paced compared to the Bonds of later years, but it has plenty of action prowess up its sleeve.
The Fugitive
One of Harrison Ford's final action pieces before stepping into rom-com and family fare, 'The Fugitive' is a special entry thanks to its terrific performances from Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.
article continues below ad
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Far superior to James Cameron's original killer robot flick, Schwarzenegger switches sides to save the Connor name in this legendary action masterpiece.
From Russia With Love
Another point for Connery's Bond. His greatest turn as 007 comes even earlier than 'Goldeneye,' in this thrilling Cold War ballad that is chock full of action and adventure.
Assault on Precinct 13
Some more serious material from John Carpenter, the original 'Assault on Precinct 13' is a gritty, grueling man vs. man blitzkrieg that shows off the dirty potentials of the genre.
article continues below ad
Weird and wily, this love-it-or-hate-it flick from the late '90s should be celebrated for its unadulterated devotion to its zany ideas.
Riveting and carnal fear is achieved in John McTiernan's great action sci-fi 'Predator,' which renders its obstacle as dangerous as it is mysterious.
Point Break
Well before she graduated to masterpieces like 'Zero Dark Thirty,' Kathryn Bigelow showcased her panache for thrills in the truly exciting 'Point Break.'
article continues below ad
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
While most action flicks on the list utilize fast cars and firearms to get the thrills in, Ang Lee's 'Crouching Tiger' ends up an especially piercing picture to behold with only the old school methods.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
The final, and best, Bond on the list: George Lazenby's only turn as the agent is perhaps the best thing we've ever seen of him, both in terms of action and, most definitely, dramatic work.
Kill Bill Vol. 2
While Quentin Tarantino's couplet of Bride films are in earnest one large piece, the second entry kicks things up in the realms of creativity, pacing, and some genuine heart... even if it's a heart that eventually explodes.
article continues below ad
Lethal Weapon
Equal parts wry and sincere, Richard Donner and Shane Black's first 'Lethal Weapon' movie perfects the blend of action, comedy, and male camaraderie.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Wide-eyed and earnest Indy faces off against nazis, drunks, criminals, rolling boulders, beams of soul-penetrating light, and (of course) snakes in one of America's touchstone series.
The Road Warrior
How weird can an action flick get without going overboard? That doesn't seem to be a concern of Frank Miller's, as the second 'Mad Max' film is one of the oddest (and greatest) actioners to date.
article continues below ad
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
A modern entry but a magnificently fresh one, Edgar Wright takes us somewhere between the real world and video game land to tell a story about a young man fighting for love. It's as kinetic as today's movies get.
Die Hard
McTiernan tops 'Predator' with his average-joe-having-a-bad-day classic 'Die Hard,' which turned Bruce Willis from that wiseass from 'Moonlighting' into an action hero.
Con Air
Pure unadulterated mania takes cinematic form in the otherwise incompetent director Simon West's first movie 'Con Air.' He had something back then.
article continues below ad
True Lies
What makes the Schwarzenegger/Jamie Lee Curtis action drama such a winner? That special blend of human pulp and far-reaching action lunacy gives us a very special gem, courtesy of James Cameron.