Watch Movies: 25 Best Action-Adventure Movies Of All Time

Every year, a slew of films starring Hollywood’s best actors come on silver screens. And every year, we shrug at how their attempt to get our pulses racing fell somewhere between mildly entertaining and “I’m getting more snacks.” But sometimes, a film so gripping comes along; we have to remind ourselves to breathe. These are those movies and the films that inspired them .

1. King Kong(1933)


Called the “father of Jurassic Park [and] the Alien movies” by Roger Ebert, King Kong is a technical marvel that utilizes every trick in—and not in—the book, including stop-motion animation, live action and special effects. David Selznick’s thriller about a beast and the damsel in his grip was a monstrously innovative achievement for its time, but watch it today and you’ll see it remains quite the wild and creepy ride. Watch Here…


2. The 39 Steps(1935)

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Before we were given a welcome case of Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock was honing his suspense mastery on a staircase in London. The chase story that introduced Hitchcock’s signature “MacGuffin,” The 39 Steps has been credited as the catalyst for the modern action thriller (think The Bourne Identity and The Fugitive). Watch the climatic Big Ben scene and you’ll see why. Watch Here…


3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre(1948)

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Humphrey Bogart submerges himself in character in this Oscar-winning western adventure that rides off into the Mexican desert. A tale about a bunch of cowboys blinded by greed for gold, the film’s themes are echoed throughout cinema—Star Wars and Indiana Jones included. Watch Here…

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4. Seven Samurai(1954)

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Monochromatic. Subtitled. Lengthy. But stick with us here. Akira Kurosawa’s Japanese adventure drama, about a group of samurai protecting a village, deserves your attention. Not only is it a rewarding watch on its own, but decades later, it continues to leave its mark on the entire canon of war, heist, and battle epics—including Quentin Tarantino’s complete body of work. Watch Here…


5. The French Connection(1971)

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Before William Friedkin was unleashing his reckless abandon on our psychological well-being (The Exorcist, Killer Joe), he was exercising that same recklessness with drugs, racism, and a really fast Pontiac LeMans in The French Connection, which is perhaps most celebrated for that inventive car chase sequence. You know the one. Watch Here…


6. Jaws(1975)

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Not only is Spielberg’s toothsome classic about a group of men hunting a killer shark the reason we hum “da-dum, da-dum” near a body of water, but it also marks the birth of the summer blockbuster. Watch Here…


7. Alien(1979)

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A horror film at its core, Ridley’s Scott’s genre-bending classic still gets an A for action. Plus, it boldly went where few (if any) directors had gone before—it put a woman in the driver’s seat, thus opening the floodgates for a wave of powerhouse heroines (Beatrix Kiddo, Sarah Connor) that soon, unfortunately, crested. Watch Here…


8. Raiders of the Lost Ark(1981)

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Steven Spielberg, armed with a story by George Lucas and the rogue charm of Harrison Ford, borrowed from 1930s and ‘40s cinema to make an adventure classic that would inspire a new generation of epics. With rumours of a fifth instalment arriving in 2019, it’s clear we still can’t get enough of Indy cracking that whip. Watch Here…


9. The Empire Strikes Back (1985)

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Sure, A New Hope introduced the world to the way of the Jedi, but Empire Strikes Back ultimately changed the game, thanks in no small part to one of the most important cinematic reveals in history. Widely regarded as the best instalment of the series, it’s a fascinating familial melodrama enrobed in a science fiction chase adventure—and love it we shall. Watch Here…


10. Terminator 2 : Judgement Day(1991)

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Though not the first or anywhere near the only, T2 is quite possibly the most noted sequel to improve upon its original: the action, drama, and taglines are all the more robust the second time around. James Cameron’s man-versus-metal masterpiece was a machine at the box office and its enduring legacy—like its cyborgs—is impossible to kill. Watch Here…

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11. Bad Boys(1995)

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Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, whose roles were initially intended for SNL alums Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey, won out as the Miami buddy cops slinging jokes and dodging bullets. The film’s bloated action and exorbitant production marks the introduction of “Bayhem,” the phenomenon describing the trademark style of a little action filmmaker by the name of Michael Bay. Watch Here…


12. Braveheart(1995)

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Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning display of Scottish martyrdom has found permanent residence as one of the best historical epics of all time. Sure, it’s bookended with blows of brutality and the vengeance of war, but more than just a battle cry, Braveheart is an intimate love story, and a beautiful one at that. Watch Here…


13. The Matrix(1999)

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Homage to anime, comic books, and kung fu, the ‘Wachowskis’ story of a caped hero named Neo facing off against a race of computer-programmed machines dedicated to wiping out humankind is immeasurably influential in its own right. One of its most notable contributions to cinematic history: “Bullet time or the use of super slo-mo visual effects and ballet wire to create those logic-defying scenes that introduced our jaws to the floor. Watch Here…


14. Kill Bill Vol. 1(2003)

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Grind house. Martial Arts. Blaxploitation. Spaghetti westerns. You name it; Quentin Tarantino has pulled red-sauced inspo from it. A fanboy cinephile, he owes his two-volume epic about Beatrix Kiddo and her Bill-killing quest to cinema of yore. While it’s one thing to build a career out of tributes, it’s quite another to do it well. This is action-making entertainment as fearless as the film’s Hattori Hanzo-wielding heroine. Watch Here…


15. Oldboy(2003)

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South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook uses the same-name Japanese manga as his springboard for telling Oh Dae-su’s harrowing story. But unlike its predecessor, Park’s film—gratuitous with its violence, gut-wrenching with its imagery, and tormenting with its narrative—steers clear of exploitation while pioneering a new genre of action-torture horror. Watch Here…


16. The Incredibles(2004)

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Pixar, the production studio responsible for extending chatter about animated films from the sandbox to the water cooler, has filled its canon with hyper-intelligent crowd-pleasers, and The Incredibles, Brad Bird’s turbocharged superhero spoof, is no exception. A glossy delight with socio-political subtext, it shakes the kiddie stigma and takes ‘toons’ to new heights. Watch Here…


17. The Bourne Ultimatum(2007)

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The finale in a cat-and-mouse trilogy that gets better with each release, Paul Greengrass’s Ultimatum plays with time and place, brings Jason Bourne’s identity crisis full circle, and elevates a genre suffering from stunt overload to a higher art form, one that moves at a breakneck pace and turned Matt Damon into a grade-A superstar. Watch Here…


18. The Dark Knight(2008)

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Leave it to Christopher Nolan to elevate the saga about a bat and his joker to the highest brow. A pulsating package of crosscut narratives, long-form action sequences, and just damn fine acting, Knight set a new standard for the superhero subgenre. Not to mention, its 2009 Oscar snub is the reason we now have more than five nominees in the race for Best Picture. Watch Here…

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19. The Hurt Locker(2008)

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Kathryn Bigelow knows how to jigger nail-biting action, and her work on this unconventional war thriller won her top prize at the Oscars in 2010. Careful not to take a stance on the Iraq War, the film depicts the physical and psychological dangers a U.S. bomb disposal soldier faces. It’s taut suspense to the umpteenth degree. Watch Here…


20. District 9(2009)

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Every great action film has an X factor. The variable in Neill Blomkamp’s South African action satire also has. Original thought. Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller is built on innovative CGI action, inventive alien weaponry that would make Cameron salivate, and a reimagined take on “aliens”—all done on a budget. Watch Here…


21. The Raid: Redemption(2011)

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Sundance prides itself on shining the spotlight on barebones films, and it doesn’t get more barebones than Gareth Evans’s Raid. No CGI, no fancy weapons, just a bunch of dudes putting their dukes up and showing off their skill in the Southeast Asian style of martial arts known as Silat. Watch Here…


22. The Hunger Games(2012)

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Props to Gary Ross for getting mileage out of a film with a PG-13 limit, though the real reason his dystopian trilogy opener is on this list is because of Jennifer Lawrence. As Katniss Everdeen, she took this female-led venture to the top of the box office. Here’s hoping she—along with the other badass heroines on this list—help to put the odds of ending the gender gap forever in our favour. Watch Here…


23. Snowpiercer(2013)

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Sci-fi warfare moving faster than a speeding locomotive, Bong Joon-ho’s apocalyptic masterpiece stars Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton aboard a globe-circling train divided into a class system reaching a Soylent Green level of despair in its caboose. More than a great action film, it’s a wakeup call. Watch Here…


24. John Wick(2014)

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The story is simple: They killed his dog. Now, he must kill them. But the simplicity pretty much ends there. An action film that ditches the shaky cam for steady, choreographed, uncut footage, John Wick wants you to take the punches, sense the sweat, and feel the raw emotion. Goal achieved. Watch Here…

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25. Mad Max : Fury Road(2015)

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Decades after Thunderdome, George Miller resurrects his dystopian nightmare of scorched earth, war lording villains, and not-so-mere mortals. More than full-throttle action, its visual storytelling reinvents the chase film while honouring the concept from which it was born. And for better or worse, it never lets off the gas. Watch Here…

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