80's Action Movies: Best and Worstby joe_538 | created - 26 Apr 2013 | updated - 31 Aug 2015 | Public
Action movies from 1980 - 1989 arranged by year. Buddy cops, one man armies, vigilantes, sci-fi/action, rescue missions to Vietnam, and old fashioned adventures.
Schwarzenegger and Stallone enter the picture.
70's Action Movies 80's Action Movies 90's Action Movies 2000's Action Movies 2010's Action Movies
- Instant Watch Options
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- On TV
- Release Year
2. Border Cop (1980)
R | 90 min | Drama, Thriller
US Border Patrol agent Frank Cooper is keeping a fine balance between doing his duty and empathizing with illegal Mexican border jumpers in 1970s California.
3. Contraband (1980)
Unrated | 97 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Cigarette smugglers in Naples run into problems with cocaine operations being set up by a rival smuggler. Full of violence, including a women's face being burned off with a blow torch and a... See full summary »
4. Defiance (1980)
PG | 103 min | Action, Drama, Crime
Tommy takes up temporary housing in a New York neighborhood plagued by a violent gang called the Souls. Tommy is waiting for his next assignment as a seaman and though he tries to avoid the... See full summary »
5. The Dogs of War (1980)
R | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Mercenary James Shannon, on a reconnaissance job to the African nation of Zangaro, is tortured and deported. He returns to lead a coup.
6. The Exterminator (1980)
R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A man's best friend is killed on the streets of New York. The man (Robert Ginty) then transforms into a violent killer, turning New York into a great war zone and Christopher George is the only one to stop him.
8. Night of the Juggler (1980)
R | 101 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A tough, New York City ex-cop relentlessly searches for his kidnapped teenage daughter whom is held by a twisted psycho after mistaking her for the daughter of a wealthy businessman.
10. Ruckus (1980)
PG | 93 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
Kyle Hanson is a Vietnam veteran whose traumatic war-time experiences have left him unable to rejoin mainstream society. When Kyle, unkempt and in dirty fatigues, stops in a small town for ... See full summary »
11. Shi di chu ma (1980)
PG-13 | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
After failing his fellow students in a Lion Dance competition, Dragon (Jackie Chan) is sent away from his school in disgrace, on the condition that he must find his errant brother. Much ... See full summary »
12. Death Hunt (1981)
R | 97 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
In 1931 Canada, Yukon trapper Johnson has a feud with a dog owner who later retaliates by publicly accusing Johnson of murder and thus triggering a police manhunt in the wilderness.
13. Enter the Ninja (1981)
R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama
After just completing his training at a ninja school, an army vet travels to the Phillippines and finds himself battling a land grabber who wants his war-buddy's property. He must also ... See full summary »
14. Escape from New York (1981)
R | 99 min | Action, Sci-Fi
In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.
Votes: 102,541 | Gross: $25.24M
I included a handful of sci-fi movies
15. An Eye for an Eye (1981)
R | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Sean Kane is forced to resign from the San Francisco Police Department's Narcotics Division when he goes berserk after his partner is murdered. He decides to fight alone and follows a trail... See full summary »
Votes: 2,900 | Gross: $7.68M
17. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
PG | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
Votes: 78,401 | Gross: $62.30M
18. The Road Warrior (1981)
R | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.
Votes: 145,877 | Gross: $12.47M
19. Nighthawks (1981)
R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Conservative street cop DaSilva reluctantly agrees to terminate an international terrorist who has demanded media attention. But DaSilva's "at-home" tactics are very much put to the challenge.
Votes: 13,787 | Gross: $14.91M
20. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure
Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.
Votes: 738,331 | Gross: $248.16M
21. Sharky's Machine (1981)
R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Tom Sharky is demoted to vice after a bust goes terribly wrong. He and his team stumble across a mob murder tied to prostitution and government.
Votes: 4,281 | Gross: $35.61M
23. Treasure of the Yankee Zephyr (1981)
PG | 91 min | Action, Drama, Adventure
In a lake high in the mountains of New Zealand hunter Gibbie Gibson discovers a plane wreck from ww-ii. When he tells it around, a gang of crooks follows and threatens him and his daughter,... See full summary »
26. Death Wish II (1982)
X | 88 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Architect Paul Kersey once again becomes a vigilante when he tries to find the five street punks who murdered his daughter and housekeeper, this time on the dark streets of Los Angeles.
Votes: 11,533 | Gross: $16.10M
27. Dragon Strike (1982)
PG-13 | 102 min | Action, Comedy, Sport
The adventures of a restless martial arts student called Dragon, who, while constantly pursuing a girl, gets involved in the affairs of a gang of thieves.
28. Fighting Back (I) (1982)
R | 98 min | Action, Crime, Drama
It's a hard crime story about a Philadelphia shop owner who has enough of the criminals' violences and ravages. He organizes a patrol of civil people. It all starts to go wrong because his ... See full summary »
Votes: 378 | Gross: $3.34M
29. The Final Option (1982)
R | 125 min | Action, Thriller
A trooper with the British Special Air Service (SAS) infiltrates a radical political group who are planning a terrorist operation against American dignitaries. A glamourized look at the ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,351 | Gross: $2.67M
30. Firefox (1982)
PG | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
A pilot is sent into the Soviet Union on a mission to steal a prototype jet fighter that can be partially controlled by a neuralink
Votes: 21,622 | Gross: $46.71M
31. First Blood (1982)
R | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Former Green Beret John Rambo is pursued into the mountains surrounding a small town by a tyrannical sheriff and his deputies, forcing him to survive using his combat skills.
Votes: 188,421 | Gross: $47.21M
33. Hit Man (1982)
100 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A Spanish police chief hires an undercover agent (a Jewish mercenary(?)) to infiltrate a gang of heroin smugglers. The mercenary is code-named Eagle because of a tattoo. Infiltrating the ... See full summary »
34. I, the Jury (1982)
R | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
An old friend of a private detective is murdered. The detective, Mike Hammer, will make every effort to find out the killer. At each step he does, there is someone taking advantage of his ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,174 | Gross: $1.52M
35. One Down, Two to go (1982)
R | 89 min | Action, Drama
A pair of tough cops go after the mob who jinxed the martial arts tournament and injured their buddy.
1982, Not 1976.
36. Silent Rage (1982)
R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Horror
A sheriff tries to stop the killing spree of a mute maniacal murderer who, as the result of years of medical experimentation, has the ability to self-heal.
Votes: 3,877 | Gross: $10.49M
37. The Soldier (1982)
R | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
Terrorists take over a plutonium bomb and threaten to detonate it in a Saudi Arabian oil field. A special anti-terrorist unit is sent in to stop them.
Votes: 826 | Gross: $6.33M
38. 10 to Midnight (1983)
R | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A LAPD detective is on the trail of a very handsome young man who had been seducing and slashing many young women to death.
Votes: 4,995 | Gross: $7.10M
40. Deadly Force (1983)
R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Stoney Cooper, a former Los Angeles police officer, is at a low point in his life. Kicked off the force because of his anti-authority attitude, he now ekes out a living as a freelancer in ... See full summary »
Votes: 179 | Gross: $1.71M
41. Eddie Macon's Run (1983)
PG | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A young man, harshly sentenced for a few minor infractions, escapes from a prison in Huntsville Texas and flees to Laredo, Texas, where he hopes to cross into Mexico for a reunion with his wife and small son.
Votes: 802 | Gross: $1.26M
42. Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
PG | 107 min | Action, Crime, Drama
The archetypical renegade Texas Ranger wages war against a drug kingpin with automatic weapons, his wits and martial arts after a gun battle leaves his partner dead. All of this inevitably ... See full summary »
Votes: 8,831 | Gross: $12.23M
43. Never Say Never Again (1983)
PG | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
A SPECTRE agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.
Votes: 52,653 | Gross: $55.50M
44. Octopussy (1983)
PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
A fake Fabergé egg, and a fellow Agent's death, lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.
Votes: 80,955 | Gross: $67.90M
46. The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (1983 TV Movie)
96 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
When THRUSH steals a nuclear weapon and demands a ransom delivered by Napoleon Solo, UNCLE recalls him and his partner to duty.
47. Revenge of the Ninja (1983)
R | 90 min | Action, Crime, Drama
After his family is killed in Japan by ninjas, Cho and his son Kane come to America to start a new life. He opens a doll shop but is unwittingly importing heroin in the dolls. When he finds... See full summary »
Votes: 3,541 | Gross: $10.33M
49. Sudden Impact (1983)
R | 117 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
A rape victim is exacting revenge on her aggressors in a small town outside San Francisco. "Dirty" Harry Callahan, on suspension for angering his superiors (again), is assigned to the case.
Votes: 34,258 | Gross: $67.64M
50. Uncommon Valor (1983)
R | 105 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
Ten years after his son went MIA in Vietnam, U.S.Marine retired Colonel Jason Rhodes assembles a private rescue team to find Americans held in POW camps in Laos.
Votes: 7,672 | Gross: $30.50M
51. Vigilante (1982)
R | 90 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
When his wife and son are brutalized by thugs and a corrupt criminal justice system puts the perpetrators back on the street, a New York City factory worker turns vigilante to find some measure of bloody justice.
52. Young Warriors (1983)
R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A young woman is gang raped and murdered in a California college town, sparking her brother Kevin to take up arms by night with a gang of like-minded vigilantes from his fraternity, ... See full summary »
Votes: 382 | Gross: $0.24M
53. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
R | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.
Votes: 138,784 | Gross: $234.76M
55. City Heat (1984)
PG | 93 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A slick private eye and tough police lieutenant--once partners, now bitter enemies--reluctantly team up to investigate a murder.
Votes: 7,592 | Gross: $38.35M
56. Geheimcode Wildgänse (1984)
R | 101 min | Action
Commander Robin Wesley, leader of a group of mercenaries, go to the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia to overthrow the dictator, who is a major manufacturer and dealer of the world's opium.
57. The Evil That Men Do (1984)
R | 90 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
A professional killer comes out of retirement to investigate and avenge the brutal murder of an old friend.
Votes: 2,568 | Gross: $13.10M
59. L'ultimo guerriero (1984)
95 min | Action, Sci-Fi
After a nuclear holocaust, as the rest of society regresses to primitivism, a small, "elite" group that has managed to escape radioactive contamination takes it upon itself to exterminate ... See full summary »
60. Hell Riders (1984)
90 min | Action, Drama
A woman whose car breaks down in the desert finds her way to an abandoned town, where she is menaced by a gang of psycho bikers.
Cars don't start when the Hell Riders are around
61. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure
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.
Votes: 369,710 | Gross: $179.87M
62. Lassiter (1984)
R | 100 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A handsome jewel thief is arrested and in order to avoid prison, must break into the heavily guarded German Emabassy to steal millions in gems.
Votes: 1,723 | Gross: $17.50M
63. Missing in Action (1984)
R | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Colonel Braddock launches a mission deep into the jungles of Vietnam to find the POW camp that he escaped from and free the Americans still held captive there.
Votes: 11,654 | Gross: $22.81M
64. Ninja III: The Domination (1984)
R | 92 min | Action, Fantasy, Thriller
An evil ninja attempts to avenge his death from beyond the grave, by possessing an innocent woman's body.
Votes: 2,946 | Gross: $7.61M
66. Red Dawn (1984)
PG-13 | 114 min | Action, Drama
It is the dawn of World War III. In mid-western America, a group of teenagers band together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.
Votes: 44,724 | Gross: $38.38M
67. Romancing the Stone (1984)
PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
A romance writer sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure.
Votes: 70,266 | Gross: $76.57M
68. Savage Streets (1984)
R | 93 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A teenage vigilante seeks revenge on a group of violent thugs who raped her handicapped sister and killed her best friend.
70. Tank (1984)
PG | 113 min | Action, Drama, Comedy
Sergeant Major Zak Carey is serving what is his final tour of duty at an Army base in Clemens, Georgia. Zak doesn't like the way the Army keeps the base and the bar is not what he's ... See full summary »
Votes: 3,402 | Gross: $14.13M
71. The Terminator (1984)
R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.
Votes: 670,002 | Gross: $38.40M
73. Toy Soldiers (1984)
R | 91 min | Drama, Action
While on a vacation in Central America, some American teenagers are kidnapped by terrorists. A rescue mission is sent after them, but they manage to escape and join up with a mercenary fighting the terrorists.
75. 24 Hours to Midnight (1985)
91 min | Action
There are two plots in this movie and oddly enough, they don't intersect. One plot follows the revenge of a martial artist whose husband is killed. The other follows two cops who like to ... See full summary »
76. American Ninja (1985)
R | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
American soldier, obviously very skilled in martial arts, single-handedly takes on mercenaries in the Philippines.
Votes: 11,460 | Gross: $10.50M
77. The Annihilators (1985)
R | 84 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Upon his return from Vietnam, an ex-soldier finds his neighborhood has deteriorated badly, and is being terrorized by a vicious street gang. He calls some of his GI buddies, and together they hatch a plan to get rid of the gang.
78. Cocaine Wars (1985)
R | 82 min | Action, Drama
Miami DEA agent Cliff Adams is in South America working undercover for Gonzalo Reyes, the biggest cocaine exporter in South America. Cliff's fiancée, Janet Meade, is a reporter doing a ... See full summary »
79. Code of Silence (1985)
R | 101 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A Chicago cop is caught in a middle of a gang war while his own comrades shun him because he wants to take an irresponsible cop down.
Votes: 5,498 | Gross: $20.35M
80. Commando (1985)
R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
A retired elite Black Ops Commando launches a one man war against a group of South American criminals who have kidnapped his daughter.
Votes: 123,923 | Gross: $35.10M
81. Death Wish 3 (1985)
R | 92 min | Action, Crime, Drama
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.
Votes: 11,277 | Gross: $16.12M
82. Fuk sing go jiu (1985)
PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Comedy
Two Hong-Kong cops are sent to Tokyo to catch an ex-cop who stole a large amount of money in diamonds. After one is captured by the Ninja-gang protecting the rogue cop, the other one gets ... See full summary »
84. The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
When Joan Wilder is abducted while on a trip along the Nile, her boyfriend, Jack Colton, and pal Ralph rush to rescue her and retrieve a fabled jewel.
Votes: 43,194 | Gross: $75.97M
86. The Last Dragon (1985)
PG-13 | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
In New York City, a young man searches for the "master" to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery known as the glow. Along the way, he must fight a martial arts expert corrupted ... See full summary »
Votes: 10,396 | Gross: $25.75M
88. Malibu Express (1985)
R | 105 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery
A smooth-talking private eye is assigned the task of investigating who is behind the hi-tech computer technology leaks to the Russians.
89. Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985)
R | 100 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
Prequel to the first Missing In Action, set in the early 1980s it shows the capture of Colonel Braddock during the Vietnam war in the 1970s, and his captivity with other American POWs in a brutal prison camp, and his plans to escape.
Votes: 6,307 | Gross: $10.80M
90. Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985)
R | 94 min | Action, Thriller
Two anti-terrorist agents are assigned to free a busload of American schoolchildren in the Philippines who are taken hostage by terrorists.
91. Police Story (1985)
PG-13 | 101 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
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.
93. The Protector (1985)
R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Two New York cops, Billy Wong and Danny Garoni, head to Hong Kong after the daughter of a rich businessman is kidnapped by the drug lord, Mr. Ko.
Votes: 3,231 | Gross: $0.98M
94. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
R | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
John Rambo is released from prison by the government for a top-secret covert mission to the last place on Earth he'd want to return - the jungles of Vietnam.
Votes: 128,552 | Gross: $150.42M
95. Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
An officially "dead" cop is trained to become an extraordinarily unique assassin in service of the US president.
96. Runaway Train (1985)
R | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Two escaped convicts and a female railway worker find themselves trapped on a train with no brakes and nobody driving.
Votes: 22,672 | Gross: $7.94M
97. Shaker Run (1985)
91 min | Action, Drama
With the accidental discovery of a lethal bio-agent at her research facility, Dr. Christine Ruben decides to double cross her own government by stealing the deadly formula to keep it out of... See full summary »
98. Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except (1985)
Not Rated | 84 min | Action, Thriller, Adventure
Jack Stryker took two bullets in the leg in Vietnam and was carried back by one of his men. When he returns he tries to live a peaceful life in his cabin and resume dating his girlfriend, ... See full summary »
100. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
R | 116 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.
Votes: 23,679 | Gross: $17.31M