Our Top 5 Action Movies Of All Time

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We reckon that Die Hard, Spartacus, The Raid, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park are among the best action flicks of all time. Here’s why. Do you agree?

Deciding on the best action film of all time can be a tough call – after all, there’s some pretty strong competition out there. Certainly the biggest-grossing action film ever was 2009’s Avatar, which pulled in over $2 billion at the box office and was nominated for 9 Academy Awards. But will James Cameron’s sci-fi epic stand the test of time in the same way that these 5 classics have? We take a look at what makes them great. 

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Die Hard

Die Hard was Alan Rickman’s first feature-film role, and the movie that catapulted Bruce Willis onto the A list. In it, he stars as John McClane, an NYPD officer whose wife is taken hostage by terrorists at the office Christmas party.

You’ll find no shortage of high-octane action here, but the best thing about the movie is that it’s also big on laughs. A genuinely witty script combined with Willis in full charm mode means that Die Hard is still a must-see more than 26 years after it was first released. 

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Spartacus

This 1960 classic sees the slave Spartacus lead a violent revolt against the Roman republic. It’s an extraordinary epic with a starry cast led by Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier, while Peter Ustinov won an Oscar for his outstanding performance. Stanley Kubrick was in the director’s seat, though few people know that because he went on to disown the movie. He needn’t have done – Spartacus won 4 Oscars and the battle scenes are brilliant. And, unusually for a film of its era, there’s no happy ending.

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The Raid

This martial arts movie might be violent, frightening and claustrophobic, but it’s also utterly brilliant. You won’t know any of the stars (Doni Alamsyah, anyone?) but the stunts and fight moves in The Raid are some of the best ever committed to screen. Set in Indonesia, the movie’s about a special-forces paramilitary unit called upon to launch a raid on a 15-storey building housing a drugs factory, as well as some very scary criminals indeed. Be prepared to gasp. 

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Oh, if only they still made family movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark. This 1981 classic introduces Harrison Ford as everybody’s favourite archaeologist and adventurer, Indiana Jones. The US Government hires him to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis get there first. The idea was to make a modern version of the 1930s and 1940s popular serials. Steven Spielberg directed and George Lucas produced, so little wonder it’s full of memorable moments – not least the one where Jones shoots the angry, sword-wielding Arab. 

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Jurassic Park

Another Spielberg film in the top 5. The late Richard Attenborough is the mogul who creates a theme park filled with cloned dinosaurs. He invites four dignitaries (including Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern, who beat Gwyneth Paltrow and Sandra Bullock to the role) to explore it before the grand opening. Except a huge power failure leaves the dinosaurs free to run amok. Jurassic Park is a brilliant idea, adapted from Michael Crichton’s bestselling novel. And despite being only a PG, it’s genuinely scary. 

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