First off, these are movies which IMDb has classified as Action alone. Any film that was Action/Adventure I have placed in a different list. So before you complain about a movie that is missing, please check to see if IMDb classified it as Action/Adventure.
This is MY list of favorite action films. Some I truly consider the best all-time. Some are just fun or have a personal connection to me. If you disagree with my life. I welcome a civil discussion. Even more, I welcome hearing what your list is. Maybe a top 5, top 10, or even top 50. I love discussions about movies.
Things I look for in action films.
1-Some high quality action.
2-A memorable hero and villain.
3-Solid Writing (for an Action film)
4-A touch of humor/great one-liners.
50- Blade-(1998) An awesome R-rated comic book inspired movie which came out before comic book films were all the rage. I loved Wesley Snipes version of the character. It will be some time until I warm up to the new version whenever that comes out.
49-Hellboy (2004)- This film has it all, some action, some humor, with a great character in Hellboy played by Ron Pearlman (he nails it). I like Selma Blair and Doug Jones in their roles as well. (I believe that Hellboy 2: The Golden Army is a better film though.)
48-The Blues Brothers (1980)- The Blues Brothers works as a comedy and a musical of course. However, I believe there is enough action (car chases, gun fights, and stunts) to qualify for an action film. Belushi and Aykroyd truly had something special together.
47- Rush Hour (1998) Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker team up in this solid action-comedy. Tucker provides much of the comedy, Chan of course provides the action and his unique charm. I’ve long been a fan of Chan, and he does some of my favorite fight scenes in this film.
46- Robocop (1987)- I know what some of you are thinking. How is Robocop this low on the list? It’s a good film with interesting concepts inside it. However, while the film has plenty of good moments. Nothing really exceeded my expectation. It was well-made, a good action film, but not great.
45-The Prophecy (1995) I love The Prophecy because of Christopher Walken’s portrayal of Gabriel. Such an awesome character. This film has some great lines scattered throughout. It has some very dark and profound themes to it, but not above making a couple jokes here and there. Of course, it’s not the greatest movie, but certainly has plenty of fantasy based action.
44-Westworld (1973)- Starring Yul Brynner, James Brolin, and Richard Benjamin. This action film was one of the first great ones. It is quite clear where James Cameron got his inspiration for The Terminator (1984). A couple scenes are incredibly close to one another. (Any closer and it could be considered theft.)
43-The French Connection (1971) Gene Hackman is terrific in this film. Though I consider it more crime/thriller. The legendary car chase in this film is good enough to get on my list. (Bullitt from 1968 has perhaps the best car chase ever filmed. The film is good, but not quite a favorite. Strongly suggest you watch it though).
42-They Live (1988)- John Carpenter had a knack for making this interesting horror/action films. This film has it all, one of the best brawls ever filmed. A wild gunfight of an ending and not without some humor.
41- District 9 (2009)- Much of this film is a character drama, but there are a few solid moments of hardcore action. The brilliant ending is what gets it on my list. The film is smarter than most action films, but with some great sequences as well.