Special Report

Best Action Movies of All Time

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Action movies have been around almost as long as the cinema. The celebrated 12-minute Western short “The Great Train Robbery” is cited by some historians as being the first example of the genre. Others date its genesis from the swashbucklers of the 1920s and ‘30s starring such actors as Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn, or at last from the first appearances of James Bond in the 1960s. This is every James Bond movie ranked worst to best.

Some observers, though, maintain that the true action movie didn’t appear until the 1970s, when Clint Eastwood introduced filmgoers to “Dirty Harry” and Gene Hackman starred in “The French Connection.” Or maybe it was the 1980s, with Bruce Willis launching the “Die Hard” franchise, Sylvester Stallone beginning his Rambo series, and Arnold Schwarzenegger telling the world “I’ll be back” in the first of the Terminator movies.

No matter when it was made, almost every action movie has a plot in which a hero or a hero-in-waiting encounters a series of dangerous challenges while trying to fight against a villain or evil force. By the end of the film — most of the time — the hero has prevailed. Crazy car chases and spectacular explosions are also common to the genre. There’s plenty of action in some of the biggest box office hits since 2000.

Click here to see the best action movies ever made

To identify the best action movies ever made, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the 1,196 films in the action genre that had at least 25,000 reviews on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, or Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. We calculated an index of each movie’s IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score, with all ratings weighted equally. To provide context, each movie’s ranking out of the 17,276 movies in our database across all genres was also included. Data on domestic box office came from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. Ranking context for domestic box office gross was also provided out of the 4,230 films for which data was available. Box office figures are not adjusted for inflation. Cast information comes from IMDb.

Whatever the particulars — and even if it’s animated or framed with humor — these action movies will have you on the edge of your seat.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

50. Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
> Combined score: 2.6 — #563 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei
> Domestic box office gross: $390.5 million — #46 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of CBS Films

49. Hell or High Water (2016)
> Combined score: 2.6 — #555 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham
> Domestic box office gross: $27.0 million — #2215 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

48. The Lego Movie (2014)
> Combined score: 2.6 — #541 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
> Domestic box office gross: $257.8 million — #125 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

47. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
> Combined score: 2.6 — #521 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
> Domestic box office gross: $100.2 million — #731 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros./Seven Arts

46. The Wild Bunch (1969)
> Combined score: 2.6 — #518 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien
> Domestic box office gross: $509424.0 million — #3255 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

45. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
> Combined score: 2.6 — #518 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy
> Domestic box office gross: $233.9 million — #155 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

44. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
> Combined score: 2.6 — #516 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams
> Domestic box office gross: $309.2 million — #89 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

43. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #491 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes
> Domestic box office gross: $48.0 million — #1550 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

42. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #491 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang
> Domestic box office gross: $128.1 million — #497 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

41. Batman Begins (2005)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #486 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Liam Neeson
> Domestic box office gross: $205.3 million — #209 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

40. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #463 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans
> Domestic box office gross: $678.8 million — #6 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

39. The French Connection (1971)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #459 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco
> Domestic box office gross: $41.2 million — #1733 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

38. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #455 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg
> Domestic box office gross: $220.2 million — #172 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

37. The Matrix (1999)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #439 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
> Domestic box office gross: $173.4 million — #295 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

36. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #429 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman
> Domestic box office gross: $448.1 million — #26 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

35. The Avengers (2012)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #426 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner
> Domestic box office gross: $623.4 million — #10 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

34. Blade Runner (1982)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #416 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
> Domestic box office gross: $32.7 million — #2019 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

33. Ghostbusters (1984)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #412 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis
> Domestic box office gross: $242.2 million — #141 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

32. The Fugitive (1993)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #410 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Julianne Moore
> Domestic box office gross: $183.9 million — #253 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

31. Casino Royale (2006)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #385 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright
> Domestic box office gross: $167.4 million — #319 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

30. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #382 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Matt Damon, Edgar Ramírez, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles
> Domestic box office gross: $227.5 million — #165 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

29. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #381 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana
> Domestic box office gross: $333.7 million — #71 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

28. Jurassic Park (1993)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #377 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough
> Domestic box office gross: $402.5 million — #43 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

27. Enter the Dragon (1973)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #376 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri
> Domestic box office gross: $25.0 million — #0 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

26. Star Trek (2009)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #351 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy
> Domestic box office gross: $257.7 million — #126 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

25. Iron Man (2008)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #351 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
> Domestic box office gross: $318.6 million — #79 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

24. Logan (2017)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #335 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook
> Domestic box office gross: $226.3 million — #166 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

23. Badlands (1973)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #322 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri
> Domestic box office gross: $ million — #0 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

22. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #318 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott
> Domestic box office gross: $197.2 million — #227 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

21. The Iron Giant (1999)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #262 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel
> Domestic box office gross: $23.2 million — #2362 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

20. The General (1926)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #244 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley
> Domestic box office gross: $1.0 million — #0 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of E Stars Films

19. Dangal (2016)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #211 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra
> Domestic box office gross: $12.4 million — #2772 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

18. Inception (2010)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #185 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Ken Watanabe
> Domestic box office gross: $292.6 million — #98 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Orion Pictures

17. The Terminator (1984)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #164 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield
> Domestic box office gross: $38.0 million — #1828 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

16. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #162 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth
> Domestic box office gross: $858.4 million — #2 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

15. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
> Combined score: 2.7 — #131 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom
> Domestic box office gross: $377.8 million — #50 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

14. Die Hard (1988)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #125 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson
> Domestic box office gross: $81.7 million — #907 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

13. Rio Bravo (1959)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #117 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson
> Domestic box office gross: $12.5 million — #0 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

12. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #113 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson
> Domestic box office gross: $217.6 million — #179 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

11. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #104 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe
> Domestic box office gross: $117.6 million — #568 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Fathom Events

10. Princess Mononoke (1997)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #89 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Yōji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yūko Tanaka, Billy Crudup
> Domestic box office gross: $2.4 million — #3165 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

9. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #75 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick
> Domestic box office gross: $203.5 million — #211 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

8. Aliens (1986)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #62 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser
> Domestic box office gross: $85.2 million — #850 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #61 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali
> Domestic box office gross: $190.2 million — #238 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

6. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #50 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness
> Domestic box office gross: $461.0 million — #24 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #42 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean
> Domestic box office gross: $315.5 million — #84 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

4. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #41 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies
> Domestic box office gross: $225.7 million — #169 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #25 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom
> Domestic box office gross: $342.5 million — #62 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

2. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
> Combined score: 2.8 — #17 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams
> Domestic box office gross: $291.7 million — #101 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

1. The Dark Knight (2008)
> Combined score: 2.9 — #13 highest out of 17,276 movies in all genres
> Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine
> Domestic box office gross: $533.7 million — #15 highest out of 4,230 movies in all genres

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