Best Action Movies of All Time

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Action movies have been a staple of American cinema since the release of Edward S. Porter’s “The Great Train Robbery” all the way back in 1903. The genre has of course evolved drastically since then, but it still aims to provide excitement to those moviegoers who prefer their cinema with an added dose of high energy.

Today’s action movies are loaded with physical stunts, violence, chases, and explosions. They also generally feature an “action hero,” a well-known actor — frequently male — whose charisma and physical prowess make him, or on occasion her, easy to root for. Many of the greatest action stars are so beloved that they continue working long into old age. These are the most famous actors over 70.

A popular action franchise can also continue for years. The fifth film in the Rambo franchise, “Rambo: Last Blood,” is set to be released on Sept. 20, 2019 — 37 years after “First Blood.” James Bond has thrilled moviegoers for more than 50 years. In fact, action franchises are often among the most lucrative film series. These are the top grossing movie franchises of all time.

24/7 Tempo has identified the 35 best action movies of all time based on audience and critic ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and Internet Movie Database. These movies range from old to new, proving that a well-crafted motion picture can thrill audiences for years.


To determine the best action movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 10,000 total user ratings on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews, and be classified as an action film by IMDb. Editorial discretion was then used to determine which movies would be best described as “action.” All superhero-based movies were removed from consideration.

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