Are You Not Entertained?

The 50 Best Action Movies

July 11, 2016 Culture By
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Last updated July 11.

While many of our lives resemble dramas, or comedies, our society has thankfully evolved to a point where many of us avoid daily physical danger. Yet, strangely enough, the human animal craves danger. We get a thrill from adrenaline. To fill the void in our safe, vanilla lives, we turn to action. Is it wrong that sometimes, after a long day at the office, there’s nothing more we want to do than watch someone get stabbed, shot or blown up from the comfort of our living rooms (or barely escape any or all of the above)? Not with action movies as good as the ones below.

Now, without further ado, grab some popcorn, sit back, and dim the lights. The show’s about to start.

Methodology: like our books piece, the selections for our Definitive Men’s Movie Collection represent our favorites, “considered in the light of how much they changed our lives, and might change yours.” If it makes you feel any better that your favorite flick didn’t make the cut, consider that one of our auditors, in a moment of weakness, tried to get Nick Cage’s Ghostrider on the docket. Taste is subjective, so take this for what it’s worth.

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 1.49.52 PM 13 Assassins
A group of assassins must venture out on a suicide mission to kill a truly evil Japanese lord. The movie is full of courage, humanity, great fight scenes and quite possibly one of the worst villains in cinematic history. Sharp blades, pony tails, action sandals and a lot of yelling round out one of the best period foreign action flicks in quite a while.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
die_hard_xlg Die Hard
Professor Snape ruins an L.A. Christmas party by taking a host of hostages, one of whom is the beloved wife of NYPD Detective John McClane (a receding, not-yet-bald Bruce Willis). McClane proceeds to resolve the situation with a handful of witty phrases and a healthy dose of gunpowder.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
189625.1020.A Enter the Dragon
Bruce Lee enters the lair of a drug dealer via the villain’s kung-fu competition. Some of the best fight scenes ever made showcase Lee’s remarkable skill, as well as latissimus dorsi big enough to hang glide. In a particularly awesome fight scene, Henchman O’Hara is the recipient of the angriest foot stomps in cinematic history.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
proposition_xlg The Proposition
An outlaw in the stark but cinematically beautiful Australian Outback must find and kill his murderous older brother before the military kills his younger brother. Not sure anyone took a shower in this one, ever.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
commando Commando
Colonel Matrix — arguably Arnold’s best character name ever — gets on the war path (surprise!) when his daughter (Alyssa Milano) is kidnapped by an exiled Latin American dictator. Watch for the opening credits. Watch for the glam rock closing. Watch for the gun store robbery montage and have patience, because it all gets used with glee.
Amazon DVD
MV5BMTMyMDcyMTYyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTcyOTI3._V1._SX600_SY896_ Ronin
A former U.S. intelligence agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by both the Irish and the Russians. Some of the best chase scenes ever filmed include a vintage Merc turbo-diesel and a rocket propelled grenade.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
The-Dark-Knight-poster The Dark Knight
The second installment of Nolan’s spectacular Dark Knight trilogy. We find Batman (and the Joker) at their best (and worst), when the Joker has taken the city hostage under his seemingly mindless crime spree. Bruce Wayne’s alter ego rises to the occasion. Alfred remains as dryly witty as ever.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
True-lies True Lies
Super-spy by day, boring husband by night Harry Tasker (Ahnahld!) has to stop a cadre of terrorists after he and his wife (played by the lovely Jamie Lee Curtis) get nabbed. He kills a lot of people, “but they were all bad”.
Amazon DVD / iTunes
rock_xlg The Rock
Nicolas Cage is a meek chemist. Sean Connery is awesome. Together, they must break into Alcatraz Prison, the base for a rogue general who threatens San Francisco with nerve gas.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
dirty_dozen_xlg The Dirty Dozen
A rag-tag group of convicted murderers has to be brought into line to carry out a mass assassination of Nazi officers in WWII.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
A70-14758 Ocean’s 11
The seminal ensemble movie. Clooney, Pitt, Damon, et al. (read: everybody who’s ever been cool in Hollywood) get together to rob a Vegas casino.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
upload-3 Ong-Bak – The Thai Warrior
When a sacred Buddha statue is stolen, it’s up to a young Thai warrior to track it down. This is the movie that made every male between the ages of 18 and 30 dream of spending an extended period of time at a Southeast Asian Muay Thai training camp (reality check: you train by kicking trees).
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
A70-7600 Top Gun
Cruise. Kilmer. Jets. Bomber Jackets. Volleyball.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
casino_royale_ver3_xlg Casino Royale
Perhaps it’s the killer opening scene. Perhaps it’s Daniel Craig’s baby blues. For whatever reason, this is the best modern Bond by far.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
eiger_sanction The Eiger Sanction
An art professor tries avenge the death of his old friend…because he’s actually a retired assassin. Before he talked to chairs, Clint Eastwood did all his own mountaineering stunts.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes


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