Best all-time action stars

by bowlinball1975 | created - 21 Sep 2012 | updated - 21 Sep 2012 | Public

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Actor | Predator

With an almost unpronounceable surname and a thick Austrian accent, who would have ever believed that a brash, quick talking bodybuilder from a small European village would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, marry into the prestigious Kennedy family, amass a fortune via shrewd investments and...

2. Chuck Norris

Actor | Walker, Texas Ranger

Chuck Norris is familiar to fans worldwide as the star of action films such as The Hitman (1991), The Delta Force (1986) and Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990). He also starred in Missing in Action (1984) and its sequels, Firewalker (1986) and Sidekicks (1992). He was an executive ...

3. Sylvester Stallone

Actor | Rocky

This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton or Alec Guinness; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of ...

4. Charles Bronson

Actor | C'era una volta il West

The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky), ...

5. Bruce Willis

Actor | Die Hard

Actor and musician Bruce Willis is well known for playing wisecracking or hard-edged characters, often in spectacular action films. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD, placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts.

Walter Bruce ...

6. Jean-Claude Van Damme

Actor | Double Team

Van Damme was born Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium, to Eliana and Eugène Van Varenberg, an accountant. "The Muscles from Brussels" started martial arts at the age of eleven. His father introduced him to martial arts when he saw his son was ...

7. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

8. Burt Reynolds

Actor | Boogie Nights

Enduring, strong-featured, and genial star of US cinema, Burt Reynolds started off in T.V. westerns in the 1960s and then carved his name into 1970s/1980s popular culture as a sex symbol (posing nearly naked for "Cosmopolitan" magazine) and on-screen as both a rugged action figure and then as a ...

9. Vin Diesel

Actor | Guardians of the Galaxy

Vin Diesel was born Mark Sinclair in Alameda County, California, along with his fraternal twin brother, Paul Vincent. He was raised by his astrologer/psychologist mother, Delora Sherleen (Sinclair), and adoptive father, Irving H. Vincent, an acting instructor and theater manager, in an artists' ...

10. Tom Cruise

Actor | Top Gun

In 1976, if you had told fourteen year-old Franciscan seminary student Thomas Cruise Mapother IV that one day in the not too distant future he would be Tom Cruise, one of the top 100 movie stars of all time, he would have probably grinned and told you that his ambition was to join the priesthood. ...

11. Nicolas Cage

Actor | Face/Off

Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola in Long Beach, California, the son of comparative literature professor August Coppola (whose brother is director Francis Ford Coppola) and dancer/choreographer Joy Vogelsang. He is of Italian (father) and Polish, German, and English (mother) descent. Cage ...

12. Keanu Reeves

Actor | The Matrix

Keanu Charles Reeves, whose first name means "cool breeze over the mountains" in Hawaiian, was born September 2, 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon. He is the son of Patricia Taylor, a showgirl and costume designer, and Samuel Nowlin Reeves, a geologist. Keanu's father was born in Hawaii, of British, ...

13. Mel Gibson

Actor | Braveheart

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is ...

14. Jet Li

Actor | The One

Jet Li born Li Lian Jie in Beijing, China. He started training at the Beijing wushu academy (wushu is China's national sport, largely a performance version of various martial art styles) at age eight. He won five gold medals in the Chinese championships, his first when he was only 11. In his teens,...

15. Jason Statham

Actor | Crank

Jason Statham was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, to Eileen (Yates), a dancer, and Barry Statham, a street merchant and lounge singer. Statham has done quite a lot in a short time. He has been a Diver on the British National Diving Team and finished 12th in the World Championships in 1992. He has ...

16. Dwayne Johnson

Actor | Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known as The Rock, was born on May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California, to Ata Johnson (born Feagaimaleata Fitisemanu Maivia) and Canadian-born professional wrestler Rocky Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles). His father is black (of Black Nova Scotian descent), and his ...

17. Daniel Craig

Actor | Casino Royale

One of the British theatre's most famous faces, Daniel Craig, who waited tables as a struggling teenage actor with the National Youth Theatre, went on to star as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).

He was born Daniel Wroughton Craig on ...

18. Hugh Jackman

Actor | Les Misérables

Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer and producer. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as superhero, period, and romance characters. He is best known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film ...

19. Steve McQueen

Actor | The Great Escape

He was the ultra-cool male film star of the 1960s, and rose from a troubled youth spent in reform schools to being the world's most popular actor. Over 25 years after his untimely death from mesothelioma in 1980, Steve McQueen is still considered hip and cool, and he endures as an icon of popular ...

20. Harrison Ford

Actor | Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (Nidelman), a radio actress, and Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), an actor turned advertising executive. His father was of Irish and German ancestry, while his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk,...

21. Wesley Snipes

Actor | Blade

Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Maryann (Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that the theater was to be his career. He attended the High School ...

22. Bruce Lee

Actor | Meng long guo jiang

Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and ...

23. Brandon Lee

Actor | The Crow

Born on February 1, 1965 to Bruce Lee (Martial Arts idol) and Linda Lee Cadwell. Brother to Shannon Lee. In 1970-71, they moved to Hong Kong where Brandon became fluent in Cantonese by the age of 8. He attended Boston's Art-Oriented Emerson College in Massachusetts. He studied Martial Arts and ...

24. Clive Owen

Actor | Closer

British actor Clive Owen is one of a handful of stars who, though he is best known for his art house films, can handle more mainstream films with equal measures of grace and skill. Owen is typically cast as characters whose primary traits are a balance of physical strength, intellect, conflicting ...

25. Antonio Banderas

Actor | The Mask of Zorro

Antonio Banderas, one of Spain's most famous faces, was a soccer player until breaking his foot at the age of fourteen; he is now an international film star known for playing Zorro in the eponymous film series.

He was born JosÃf© Antonio DomÃf­nguez Banderas on August 10, 1960, in MÃf¡laga, ...

26. Brad Pitt

Actor | Mr. & Mrs. Smith

An actor and producer known as much for his versatility as he is for his handsome face, Golden Globe-winner Brad Pitt's most widely recognized role may be Tyler Durden in Fight Club (1999). However, his portrayals of Billy Beane in Moneyball (2011), and Rusty Ryan in the remake of Ocean's Eleven (...

27. Kurt Russell

Actor | The Hateful Eight

Kurt Russell was born Kurt Vogel Russell in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Louise Julia (Crone), a dancer, and actor Bing Russell (Neil Oliver Russell). He is of English, German, Scottish and Irish descent. His first roles were as a child on television series, including a lead role on the Western ...

28. Samuel L. Jackson

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Formula 51 (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), ...

29. Will Smith

Music_department | The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden ...

30. Steven Seagal

Actor | Exit Wounds

Steven Seagal is a striking and somewhat boyishly handsome (often with ponytail) action star who burst onto the martial arts film scene in 1988 in the fast-paced Warner Bros. film Above the Law (1988).

Steven Frederic Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Patricia Anne (Fisher), a medical ...

31. Sean Connery

Actor | The Rock

Sean Connery is best known for portraying the character James Bond, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. In 1988, Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Untouchables (1987). His film career also includes such films as Marnie (1964), The Name of ...

32. Lee Marvin

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Prematurely white-haired character star who began as a supporting player of generally vicious demeanor, then metamorphosed into a star of both action and drama projects, Lee Marvin was born in New York City, the son of Courtenay Washington (Davidge), a fashion writer, and Lamont Waltman Marvin, an ...

33. John Travolta

Actor | Battlefield Earth

John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, one of six children of Helen Travolta (née Helen Cecilia Burke) and Salvatore/Samuel J. Travolta. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His father owned a tire repair shop called Travolta Tires in Hillsdale, ...

34. Mark Wahlberg

Actor | The Departed

American actor Mark Wahlberg is one of a handful of respected entertainers who successfully made the transition from teen pop idol to acclaimed actor. A Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for The Departed (2006) who went on to receive positive critical reviews for his performance in The Fighter (...

35. Denzel Washington

Actor | Fences

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at ...

36. Dolph Lundgren

Actor | Rocky IV

Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta (Tjerneld), a language teacher, and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. He lived in Stockholm until the age of 13, when he moved in with his grandparents in Nyland, Ångermanland, Sweden. ...

37. John Wayne

Actor | True Grit

John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa, to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison, a pharmacist. He was of English, Ulster-Scots, and Irish ancestry.

Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, ...

38. Shin'ichi Chiba

Actor | Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Pivotal figure in the 1970s explosion of martial arts cinema as lethal "fists for hire" trouble shooter, Takuma (Terry) Tsurugi, starring in the phenomenally popular and ultra violent "The Street Fighter" series of action films. Sonny Chiba wasn't a graceful, fluid fighter like screen icon Bruce Lee...

39. Shô Kosugi

Actor | Ninja Assassin

Easily the best known actor/martial artist during the 1980s ninja cinema craze, Kosugi was a proficient martial artist & skilled weapons performer which was highlighted in his several starring roles.

Kosugi grew up as the youngest child and only son of a Tokyo fisherman, and began his martial arts ...

40. Cynthia Rothrock

Actress | Cui hua kuang mo

Cynthia Rothrock was born on March 8, 1957 in Wilmington, Delaware, USA as Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock. She is an actress and producer, known for Cui hua kuang mo (1993), Honor and Glory (1993) and Above the Law (1986).

41. Angelina Jolie

Actress | Maleficent

Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award-winning actress who became popular after playing the title role in the "Lara Croft" blockbuster movies, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), Salt (2010) and Maleficent (2014). Off-screen, Jolie has become prominently involved in international ...

42. Milla Jovovich

Actress | Le cinquième élément

Milla Jovovich is an Ukrainian-born actress, supermodel, fashion designer, singer and public figure, who was on the cover of more than a hundred magazines, and starred in such films as The Fifth Element (1997), Ultraviolet (2006), and the Resident Evil (2002) franchise.

Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich ...

43. Michelle Rodriguez

Actress | Avatar

Known for tough-chick roles, Michelle Rodriguez is proof that there is a cross between beauty and brawn. She was born Mayte Michelle Rodriguez on July 12, 1978, in Bexar County, Texas, to Carmen Milady Pared Espinal, from the Dominican Republic, and Rafael Rodríguez Santiago, who served in the U.S....

44. Sigourney Weaver

Actress | Avatar

Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth ...

45. Paul Walker

Actor | The Fast and the Furious

Paul William Walker IV was born in Glendale, California. He grew up together with his brothers, Caleb and Cody, and sisters, Ashlie and Amie. Their parents, Paul William Walker III, a sewer contractor, and Cheryl (Crabtree) Walker, a model, separated around September 2004. His grandfather, William ...

46. Gerard Butler

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Gerard James Butler was born in Paisley, Scotland, to Margaret and Edward Butler, a bookmaker. His family is of Irish origin. Gerard spent some of his very early childhood in Montreal, Quebec, but was mostly raised, along with his older brother and sister, in his hometown of Paisley. His parents ...

47. Eddie Murphy

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian (Laney), a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant...

48. Rutger Hauer

Actor | Blade Runner

Blonde, blue-eyed, tall and handsome Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has an international reputation for playing everything from romantic leads to action heroes to sinister villains. Hauer was born in Breukelen, a town in the province of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He is the son of Teunke (Mellema) and ...

49. Jackie Chan

Actor | Ngo si seoi

Hong Kong's cheeky, lovable and best known film star, Jackie Chan endured many years of long, hard work and multiple injuries to establish international success via his early beginnings in Hong Kong's manic martial arts cinema industry.

Jackie was born Kong-sang Chan on Hong Kong's famous Victoria ...

50. Yun-Fat Chow

Actor | Wo hu cang long

Chow Yun Fat is a charismatic, athletically built and energetic Asian-born film star who first came to the attention of western audiences via his roles in the high-octane/blazing guns action films of maverick HK director John Woo.

Chow was born in 1955 on the quiet island of Lamma, part of the ...