The 25 Best Action Films

This is from an admittedly narrow definition of action films. This does not include martial arts, superhero, sports, adventure, nor crime films, and especially not war films or westerns. Also, you will find few films made before 1970, since so few films fit the definition of a "pure" action film (besides from Japan, always ahead of the game).
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1.
Branded to Kill (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One. (99 mins.)
Director: Seijun Suzuki
 
2.
The Killer (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A disillusioned assassin accepts one last hit in hopes of using his earnings to restore vision to a singer he accidentally blinded, only to be double-crossed by his boss. (111 mins.)
Director: John Woo
 
3.
The French Connection (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection. (104 mins.)
 
4.
Dirty Harry (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When a mad man calling himself 'the Scorpio Killer' menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath. (102 mins.)
Director: Don Siegel
 
5.
Get Carter (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When his brother dies under mysterious circumstances in a car accident, London gangster Jack Carter travels to Newcastle to investigate. (112 mins.)
Director: Mike Hodges
 
6.
Run Lola Run (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks. (81 mins.)
Director: Tom Tykwer
 
7.
Hard Boiled (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A tough-as-nails cop teams up with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew. (128 mins.)
Director: John Woo
 
8.
Die Hard (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. (131 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
 
9.
Tokyo Drifter (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
After his gang disbands, a yakuza enforcer looks forward to life outside of organized crime but soon must become a drifter after his old rivals attempt to assassinate him. (89 mins.)
Director: Seijun Suzuki
 
10.
Team America: World Police (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Popular Broadway actor Gary Johnston is recruited by the elite counter-terrorism organization Team America: World Police. As the world begins to crumble around him, he must battle with terrorists, celebrities and falling in love. (98 mins.)
Director: Trey Parker
 
11.
The Fugitive (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while being the target of a nationwide manhunt lead by a seasoned US Marshall. (130 mins.)
Director: Andrew Davis
 
12.
Fighting Elegy (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter... (86 mins.)
Director: Seijun Suzuki
 
13.
Speed (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph. (116 mins.)
Director: Jan de Bont
 
14.
Police Story (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A virtuous Hong Kong police officer must clear his good name when the drug lords he is after frame him for the murder of a dirty cop. (101 mins.)
 
15.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A skilled London police officer is transferred to a small town that's harbouring a dark secret. (121 mins.)
Director: Edgar Wright
 
16.
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract. (121 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
17.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A veteran policeman, Murtaugh, is partnered with a younger, suicidal officer, Riggs. They both have one thing in common: hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers. (110 mins.)
Director: Richard Donner
 
18.
Face/Off (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent. (138 mins.)
Director: John Woo
 
19.
El Mariachi (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A traveling mariachi is mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang bent on killing him. (81 mins.)
 
20.
Desperado (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A gunslinger is embroiled in a war with a local drug runner. (104 mins.)
 
21.
Top Gun (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom. (110 mins.)
Director: Tony Scott
 
22.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills. (105 mins.)
Director: Martin Brest
 
23.
48 Hrs. (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer. (96 mins.)
Director: Walter Hill
 
24.
La Femme Nikita (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin. (117 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
 
25.
Death Wish (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A New York City architect becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark. (93 mins.)
Director: Michael Winner