1. Apocalypse Now
Considered one of the all-time classics, Apocalypse Now is directed by industry heavyweight, Francis Ford Coppolla and is eerily accurate in depicting the various human atrocities of the Vietnam War – its a psychologically demanding film, to say the least. Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper, this feature boasts one of the most memorable pairings of music and film in any scene throughout cinema history.
Release date: 1979
Director: Francis Coppola
Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall
Ratings: IMDB: 8.4/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Metacritic 94%
2. The Matrix
Undeniably one of the best sci-fi movies out there, The Matrix also totally holds it’s own as one of the best action movies of all time. Kung-fu, machine guns, tasty one-liners: there isn’t a shortage of action movie tropes to be found in this Wachowski Siblings film that turned the heads of both critics and viewers at the turn of the century.
Release date: 1999
Director: The Wachowskis
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss
Ratings: IMDB: 8.7/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 87%, Metacritic 73%
I mean come on. This scene. Unbeatable stuff. Host to a slew of Hollywood heavyweights, including Joaquin Phoenix and our own Russel Crow (eff off New Zealand, he’s ours), Gladiator was a straight-up action hit as soon as it was announced. Sprinkle in a little bit of character acting and an incredible score and you get an action-movie classic that is near-unsurpassable.
Release date: 2000
Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Ratings: IMDB: 8.5/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 77%, Metacritic 67%
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4. Mad Max: Fury Road
One of the most visually arresting action films of all time, Mad Max: Fury Road is a worthy continuation of an already iconic series of films. Starring Tom Hardy & Charlize Theron who are both as valuable in the acting department as each other, Fury Road boasts metalhead gimps, supercharged post-apocalyptic battle scenes and traverses themes of lost-humanity, undoubtedly making this film worthy to live in the top 10 of this list.
Release date: 2015
Director: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Ratings: IMDB: 8.1/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Metacritic 90%
5. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Director James Cameron’s magnum opus, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is an impossibly slick action flick. From the semi-trailer scene that saw downtown L.A left in ruin, to Arnie’s endless list of one-liners, T2 was genre-defining at the time of its release – this was in part thanks to the incredible CGI effects that still hold fast today.
Release date: 1991
Director: James Cameron Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick Ratings: IMDB: 8.5/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, Metacritic 75%
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