In honor of the upcoming super group of an action movie the Expendables starring Sylvester Stallone and just about everyone who’s been in an action movie in the past 20 years (aside from a few that didn’t want to be in an ensemble piece, didn’t think the character had enough to do or flat weren’t called) I’ve decided to put together my list of my top 20 favorite action movies. I am a really big action movie fan so this was a VERY hard list to do, quite unlike the vampire and werewolf list that barely had a top ten of each. There were some really painful cuts made to get down to the top 20 and came from a master list of about 90 films that were action movies I loved. The list of ones I liked is much, much bigger than that.
The criteria I used to put the list together and narrow it all down was a little nebulous. I tried to keep it to movies that didn’t stray too far into other their own sub-genre where I could, for instance I avoided primarily martial arts movies as they deserve their own list. Science Fiction, on the other hand, was a bit trickier and some of the movies that made the list might be considered MORE sci-fi than action but the action in them was so good that they could not be excluded. Beyond that, the criteria was mostly based on the quality of the action scenes and the lasting impression they had on me. If I could watch them over and over again and still be thrilled by the action then it was something worth considering. The sorts of action varies from film to film and the seriousness of them vary from film to film. There is a lot of endearing cheese on this list as well as some serious efforts that are legitimately good movies besides having great action. Also, a lot of them are films I have been a fan of since I was a kid and I still love them now no matter how silly they might be. There are a lot of movies that are part of a series and in that case I put my favorite from that series but in fairness to all of the films I didn’t include multiple films from one series. If I had, four spots would be taken up for Die Hard alone. Also, one movie didn’t make the list but I need to mention it. I saw Commando for the first time recently and I love it for all of its one-liner over the top 80′s action glory, however, I couldn’t bump anything from the list for it simply because I’ve just seen it and I don’t know how it will hold up to repeat viewings such that it would take the place of a movie that I have loved for a long time. So consider it number 21 on the list. I also want to mention that, as always, I am not saying these are the BEST action movies of all time just that they are my favorites.
Here we go.