Action movies with heart-stopping finales (SPOILER WARNING)

The action movies where the ending/climax is so incredible/over-the-top, thrilling, exciting, and heart-stopping that it makes you out of breath before really blasting you out of your seat and closes in an ultimately satisfactory way. (In alphabetical order, and CONTAINS SPOILERS)

More on the way...
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A young adventurer named Milo Thatch joins an intrepid group of explorers to find the mysterious lost continent of Atlantis. (95 mins.)
“ The battle inside the dormant volcano; the saving of Atlantis. ” - dvc5159
 
2.
Batman Begins (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from the corruption that Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it. (140 mins.)
“ The final train sequence; Batman vs Ducard/Ra's al Ghul ” - dvc5159
 
3.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When Jason Bourne is framed for a CIA operation gone awry, he is forced to resume his former life as a trained assassin to survive. (108 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
“ The Moscow car chase. ” - dvc5159
 
4.
Breakdown (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A man searches for his missing wife after his car breaks down in the middle of the desert. (93 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Mostow
“ Multi-vehicular chase up to the very end where the villain bites the big one, quite literally too. ” - dvc5159
 
5.
Broken Arrow (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Terrorists steal nuclear warheads from the U.S. military but don't count on a pilot and park ranger spoiling their plans. (108 mins.)
Director: John Woo
“ The final train sequence; the villain's ridiculously awesome death. ” - dvc5159
 
6.
The Chinese Connection (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher. (102 mins.)
Director: Wei Lo
“ Bruce Lee vs. an entire dojo. Enough said. ” - dvc5159
 
7.
Con Air (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Newly paroled ex-con and former U.S. Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control. (115 mins.)
Director: Simon West
“ The plane landing on the Las Vegas Strip; the firetruck chase; the villain's lengthy death. ” - dvc5159
 
8.
Cliffhanger (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains. (112 mins.)
Director: Renny Harlin
“ Upside down helicopter. ” - dvc5159
 
9.
Death Wish 3 (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Architect/vigilante Paul Kersey arrives back in New York City and is forcibly recruited by a crooked police chief to fight street crime caused by a large gang terrorizing the neighborhoods. (92 mins.)
Director: Michael Winner
“ Attack on the streets; Kersey's dispatching of the big boss. ” - dvc5159
 
10.
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
“ The roof; McClane's dispatching of Gruber. ” - dvc5159
 
11.
Die Hard 2 (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
John McClane attempts to avert disaster as rogue military operatives seize control of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. (124 mins.)
Director: Renny Harlin
“ McClane's dispatching of the bad guys and their plane. ” - dvc5159
 
12.
Executive Decision (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When terrorists seize control of an airliner, an intelligence analyst accompanies a commando unit for a midair boarding operation. (133 mins.)
Director: Stuart Baird
“ Dispatching of terrorists; troubled landing of the plane. ” - dvc5159
 
13.
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 face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a ruthless terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same criminal impersonates the cop. (138 mins.)
Director: John Woo
“ The awesome boat chase. ” - dvc5159
 
14.
Fast Five (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent. (131 mins.)
Director: Justin Lin
“ Final chase on the streets of Rio. I know safes aren't supposed to move that fast, but never mind. ” - dvc5159
 
15.
GoldenEye (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow agent formerly believed to be dead. (130 mins.)
Director: Martin Campbell
“ Satellite/base destruction; the bad boss' death. ” - dvc5159
 
16.
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
“ The famous 30-minute shootout in a hospital. ” - dvc5159
 
17.
Hard Target (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A woman hires a drifter as her guide through New Orleans in search of her father, who has gone missing. They discover a deadly game of cat and mouse behind his disappearance in the process. (97 mins.)
Director: John Woo
“ Shootout at the mardi-gras graveyard; the villain's death. ” - dvc5159
 
18.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace. (118 mins.)
“ Mine-cart roller coaster up to the villain's death. ” - dvc5159
 
19.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The Bride wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her - a team she was once part of. (111 mins.)
“ The Bride vs Gogo, the Crazy 88 & Cottonmouth ” - dvc5159
 
20.
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
“ Shootout in the church. ” - dvc5159
 
21.
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with a deadly Chinese crimelord trying to get his brother out of prison. (127 mins.)
Director: Richard Donner
“ Mel Gibson and Danny Glover's brutal fight against Jet Li. ” - dvc5159
 
22.
Licence to Kill (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
James Bond goes rogue and sets off to unleash vengeance on a drug lord who tortured his best friend, a C.I.A. agent, and left him for dead and murdered his bride after he helped capture him. (133 mins.)
Director: John Glen
“ Spectacular truck chase and Bond's dispatching of the villain. ” - dvc5159
 
23.
The Living Daylights (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov. (130 mins.)
Director: John Glen
“ The raid on the Afghan Soviet Base; Bond vs Necros in mid-air. ” - dvc5159
 
24.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A woman suffering from amnesia begins to recover her memories after trouble from her past finds her again. (121 mins.)
Director: Renny Harlin
“ The Niagara Falls/chemical truck climax. ” - dvc5159
 
25.
The Road Warrior (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits. (95 mins.)
Director: George Miller
“ Show-stopping multi-vehicular chase that lasts for 20 minutes ” - dvc5159
 
26.
The Mechanic (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An aging hitman befriends a young man who wants to be a professional killer. Eventually it becomes clear that someone has betrayed them. (100 mins.)
Director: Michael Winner
“ The very end. ” - dvc5159
 
27.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization. (110 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ Train/tunnel/helicopter sequence. Absurd but still exhilarating. ” - dvc5159
 
28.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
James Bond woos a mob boss's daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps that involves beautiful women from around the world. (142 mins.)
Director: Peter Hunt
“ Bond's raid on Blofeld's base; bobsled chase. ” - dvc5159
 
29.
Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In the sequel to the Tsui Hark classic, Wong Fei-Hung faces The White Lotus society, a fanatical cult... (113 mins.)
Director: Hark Tsui
“ Jet Li vs Donnie Yen. Enough said. ” - dvc5159
 
30.
Predator (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior. (107 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
“ Arnie vs the Predator ” - dvc5159
 
31.
The Protector (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young fighter named Kham must go to Australia to retrieve his stolen elephant. With the help of a Thai-born Australian detective, Kham must take on all comers, including a gang led by an evil woman and her two deadly bodyguards. (111 mins.)
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
“ Tony Jaa vs. everyone in his way. ” - dvc5159
 
32.
Rambo (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In Thailand, John Rambo joins a group of missionaries to venture into war-torn Burma, and rescue a group of Christian aid workers who were kidnapped by the ruthless local infantry unit. (92 mins.)
“ Rambo's dispatching of the Burmese military; saves the best kill for the Major. ” - dvc5159
 
33.
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
“ Bus explosion; death of villain. ” - dvc5159
 
34.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads with the help of a KGB agent whose lover he killed. (125 mins.)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
“ The battle onboard the Liparus; destruction of Atlantis. ” - dvc5159
 
35.
Sudden Death (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A former fireman takes on a group of terrorists holding the Vice President and others hostage during the seventh game of the NHL Stanley Cup finals. (111 mins.)
Director: Peter Hyams
“ JCVD's raid on the VIP box; the helicopter climax in the stadium. Absurd, and yes I am aware that the helicopter falls ass-first, but I didn't care. I found it exciting. ” - dvc5159
 
36.
Taken (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris. (93 mins.)
Director: Pierre Morel
“ "The chase and subsequent fight on the boat; brutally direct dispatch of the villains." ” - dvc5159
 
37.
Terminal Velocity (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A maverick skydiver and a former KGB agent team up to stop the Russian mafia from stealing gold. (102 mins.)
Director: Deran Sarafian
“ The Cadillac freefall. ” - dvc5159
 
38.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg. (137 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
“ The entire climax - from Cyberdine to the highway chase - and finally the final confrontation at the steel mill. Among my favourite endings. ” - dvc5159
 
39.
Thunderball (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
James Bond heads to The Bahamas to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo in an international extortion scheme. (130 mins.)
Director: Terence Young
“ The underwater battle. ” - dvc5159
 
40.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
James Bond heads to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage. (119 mins.)
“ The battle onboard the stealth ship. ” - dvc5159
 
41.
True Lies (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman. (141 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
“ The Florida Keys; Harrier jet sequences. ” - dvc5159
 
42.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Casey Ryback hops on a Colorado to LA train to start a vacation with his niece. Early into the trip, terrorists board the train and use it as a mobile HQ to hijack a top secret destructive US satellite. (100 mins.)
Director: Geoff Murphy
“ The train crash and explosion. Absurd and I am aware that Seagal outruns a train and the special effects are dodgy during this sequence but I still enjoyed the heck out of it. ” - dvc5159
 
43.
Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
With stolen top-secret technology, terrorists have created a next-generation Universal Soldier - an... (97 mins.)
Director: John Hyams
“ JCVD's raid on Chernobyl and his brutal fights with Dolph Lundgren and Andre Arlovski. ” - dvc5159
 
44.
The Way of the Dragon (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them. (100 mins.)
Director: Bruce Lee
“ Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris. Enough said. ” - dvc5159
 
45.
The Wild Bunch (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them. (135 mins.)
Director: Sam Peckinpah
“ Legendary climax where the heroes make their bloody final stand against the Mexican army. ” - dvc5159