Best Action Movies of All Time, Action movie by decade
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The Best Action Movies of All Time Broken Down by Decade

Cheeky banter, bad guys and badassness is an easy recipe for the best action movies of all time. Before there was “Netflix and chill”, there was “VHS and kill.”

We put together our list of the best action movies of all time, broken out by decade. We even included our favorite from each decade. Now this isn’t a definitive list. No need to go all keyboard warrior and flip out because we didn’t pick something you like. If we missed something and you think it’s a crime against humanity, tell us in the comment section below. If you think this list sucks, tell us in the comment section below. And if you’re petitioning for a remake of “Die Hard,” tell us in the comment section below and leave your address so we can travel to your home and beat the ever-living hell out of you. Leave “Die Hard” alone.

Best Action Movies of All-Time — 1960s

  • 1961 – The Guns of Navarone
  • 1964 – Goldfinger Our favorite pick of the 1960s. It’s arguably the best Bond film out there.
  • 1967 – The Dirty Dozen
  • 1968 – Bullitt
  • 1968 – The Green Berets

1970s

  • 1971 – Dirty Harry Our favorite pick of the 1970s. The origins of all-around badass “Dirty” Harry Callahan that would span two decades and four more (not as good) movies.
  • 1973 – Enter The Dragon
  • 1974 – Death Wish
  • 1976 – Rocky
  • 1979 – Walking Tall

1980s

  • 1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • 1982 – First Blood
  • 1984 – The Terminator
  • 1984 – Red Dawn
  • 1988 – Die Hard Our favorite pick of the 1980s, barely beating out the other entries. And yes, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.

1990s

  • 1991 – Point Break
  • 1992 – Under Siege
  • 1994 – True Lies
  • 1995 –  Heat Our favorite pick of the 1990s. It features an all-star cast and one of the best movie shootouts ever.
  • 1997 – Con Air

2000s

  • 2000 – Gladiator
  • 2002 – The Bourne Identity
  • 2002 – The Transporter
  • 2003 – Kill Bill: Volume 1 Our favorite pick of the 2000s. Tough call against the likes of “Gladiator,” but Tarantino’s bloody homage to Japanese action films is damn near perfect.
  • 2009 – Man on Fire

2010s

  • 2010 – The Expendables
  • 2011 – Hanna
  • 2014 – John Wick
  • 2015 – Mad Max: Fury Road — Our favorite pick of the 2010s. Yeah, John Wick has the gun skills and body count, but “Fury Road” doesn’t let its foot off the gas for the whole film … literally.
  • 2016 – The Accountant

This article is from a previous issue of Skillset Magazine, for subscriptions please visit outdoorgroupstore.com and also listen to our podcast Skillset Live.

2 Comments

  • jonathan suncar

    there’s an Asian movie called “The Raid” and as a movie critic that has to be on the list

  • A Mad Max remake over John Wick? You must be mad.

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