50 Nostalgic Action Movies From My Childhood - 1980-1993

by Jeppe_Kleyngeld | created - 05 Feb 2014 | updated - 05 Feb 2014 | Public
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1. Lethal Weapon (1987)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

68 Metascore

Two newly paired cops who are complete opposites must put aside their differences in order to catch a gang of drug smugglers.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan

Votes: 216,165 | Gross: $65.21M

2. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

R | 114 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

70 Metascore

Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Patsy Kensit

Votes: 146,355 | Gross: $147.25M

3. Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)

R | 118 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

40 Metascore

Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh pursue a former LAPD officer who uses his knowledge of police procedure and policies to steal and sell confiscated guns and ammunition to local street gangs.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo

Votes: 143,696 | Gross: $144.73M

4. Commando (1985)

R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

51 Metascore

A retired Special Forces colonel tries to save his daughter, who was abducted by his former subordinate.

Director: Mark L. Lester | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells

Votes: 130,839 | Gross: $35.10M

5. Last Action Hero (1993)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

44 Metascore

With the help of a magic ticket, a young film fan is transported into the fictional world of his favorite action film character.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, Art Carney, Charles Dance

Votes: 122,278 | Gross: $50.02M

6. Above the Law (1988)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A former Special Operations Vietnam vet works as a Chicago cop, and uncovers C.I.A. wrongdoing.

Director: Andrew Davis | Stars: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Henry Silva, Ron Dean

Votes: 25,808 | Gross: $18.87M

7. Hard to Kill (1990)

R | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Left for dead with his wife killed in their house, L.A. Detective Mason Storm will have to make a quick recovery, expose those behind the murder and take revenge.

Director: Bruce Malmuth | Stars: Steven Seagal, Kelly LeBrock, William Sadler, Frederick Coffin

Votes: 24,984 | Gross: $47.41M

8. Marked for Death (1990)

R | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A retired DEA agent is out to hunt down and take out a Jamaican drug posse that has targeted he and his family for murder.

Director: Dwight H. Little | Stars: Steven Seagal, Joanna Pacula, Basil Wallace, Keith David

Votes: 17,660 | Gross: $46.04M

9. Out for Justice (1991)

R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The gruesome murder of a Brooklyn Detective will turn the case into a personal vendetta when the deceased's best friend and fellow officer will unleash an all-out attack against a psychotic Mafia enforcer's brutal gang.

Director: John Flynn | Stars: Steven Seagal, William Forsythe, Jerry Orbach, Jo Champa

Votes: 19,493 | Gross: $39.67M

10. Under Siege (1992)

R | 103 min | Action, Thriller

58 Metascore

An ex-Navy Seal turned cook is the only person who can stop a group of terrorists when they seize control of a U.S. battleship.

Director: Andrew Davis | Stars: Steven Seagal, Gary Busey, Tommy Lee Jones, Erika Eleniak

Votes: 69,555 | Gross: $83.36M

11. American Ninja (1985)

R | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

20 Metascore

American soldier, obviously very skilled in martial arts, single-handedly takes on mercenaries in the Philippines.

Director: Sam Firstenberg | Stars: Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Judie Aronson, Guich Koock

Votes: 12,242 | Gross: $10.50M

12. American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)

R | 90 min | Action, Drama

39 Metascore

On a remote Caribbean island, Army Ranger Joe Armstrong investigates the disappearance of several marines, which leads him to The Lion, a super-criminal who has kidnapped a local scientist and mass-produced an army of mutant Ninja warriors.

Director: Sam Firstenberg | Stars: Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Larry Poindexter, Gary Conway

Votes: 7,143 | Gross: $4.00M

13. American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989)

R | 89 min | Action, Drama

Jackson is back, and now he has a new partner, karate champion Sean, as they must face a deadly terrorist known as "The Cobra", who has infected Sean with a virus. Sean and Jackson have no ... See full summary »

Director: Cedric Sundstrom | Stars: David Bradley, Steve James, Marjoe Gortner, Michele B. Chan

Votes: 4,356 | Gross: $0.90M

14. American Samurai (1992)

R | 94 min | Action

An American reporter teams up with a martial arts expert, whose half-brother is a "yakuza"--Japanese mafia--drug dealer to battle swordsmen from around the world n a Turkish arena.

Director: Sam Firstenberg | Stars: David Bradley, Mark Dacascos, Valarie Trapp, Rex Ryon

Votes: 1,592

15. Renegades (1989)

R | 106 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An undercover cop forms an alliance with a Native American to help him hunt down the criminals who stole an ancient Lakota tribal lance.

Director: Jack Sholder | Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jami Gertz, Robert Knepper

Votes: 2,851 | Gross: $9.02M

16. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

R | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

64 Metascore

A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.

Director: Martin Brest | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher

Votes: 146,086 | Gross: $234.76M

17. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

R | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

48 Metascore

Axel Foley returns to Beverly Hills to help Taggart and Rosewood investigate Chief Bogomil's near-fatal shooting and the series of "alphabet crimes" associated with it.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jürgen Prochnow, Ronny Cox

Votes: 96,791 | Gross: $153.67M

18. 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.

Director: Joseph Zito | Stars: Chuck Norris, M. Emmet Walsh, David Tress, Lenore Kasdorf

Votes: 12,329 | Gross: $22.81M

19. 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.

Director: Lance Hool | Stars: Chuck Norris, Soon-Tek Oh, Steven Williams, Bennett Ohta

Votes: 6,756 | Gross: $10.80M

20. Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990)

R | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

When DEA agents are taken captive by a ruthless South American kingpin, the Delta Force is reunited to rescue them in this sequel to the 1986 film.

Director: Aaron Norris | Stars: Chuck Norris, John P. Ryan, Billy Drago, Richard Jaeckel

Votes: 6,030 | Gross: $6.70M

21. The Hard Way (1991)

R | 111 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

An action movie star researching a role is allowed to tag along with a hardboiled New York City policeman, who finds him superficial and irritating.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Michael J. Fox, James Woods, Stephen Lang, Annabella Sciorra

Votes: 16,612 | Gross: $25.90M

22. Stakeout (1987)

R | 117 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

Two detectives observe an escaped convict's ex-girlfriend, but complications set in when one of them falls for her.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Emilio Estevez, Madeleine Stowe, Aidan Quinn

Votes: 21,191 | Gross: $65.67M

23. Another Stakeout (1993)

PG-13 | 108 min | Comedy, Crime

Two immature detectives are joined by a pesky assistant district attorney in staking out a lakeside home where a Mafia trial witness is believed to be heading.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Emilio Estevez, Rosie O'Donnell, Dennis Farina

Votes: 12,183 | Gross: $20.21M

24. Action Jackson (1988)

R | 96 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

36 Metascore

Vengence drives a tough Detroit cop to stay on the trail of a power hungry auto magnate who's systematically eliminating his competition.

Director: Craig R. Baxley | Stars: Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, Vanity, Sharon Stone

Votes: 8,944 | Gross: $20.26M

25. The Punisher (1989)

89 min | Action, Crime, Drama

When Frank Castle's family is murdered by criminals, he wages war on crime as a vigilante assassin known only as The Punisher.

Director: Mark Goldblatt | Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori

Votes: 19,413

26. Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)

R | 79 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Two cops have to work together to bring down the Yakuza, while trying to protect a beautiful woman.

Director: Mark L. Lester | Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Brandon Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tia Carrere

Votes: 14,626 | Gross: $2.28M

27. Rapid Fire (1992)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

When student Jake Lo witnesses a killing, he finds himself caught between two feuding drug lords. Betrayed and set up by the federal agents protecting him, the only one he can trust is Ryan... See full summary »

Director: Dwight H. Little | Stars: Brandon Lee, Powers Boothe, Nick Mancuso, Raymond J. Barry

Votes: 7,408 | Gross: $14.36M

28. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

R | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

47 Metascore

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.

Director: George P. Cosmatos | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, Steven Berkoff

Votes: 135,298 | Gross: $150.42M

29. Rambo III (1988)

R | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

36 Metascore

Rambo mounts a one-man mission to rescue his friend Colonel Trautman from the clutches of the formidable invading Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

Director: Peter MacDonald | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Marc de Jonge, Kurtwood Smith

Votes: 106,626 | Gross: $53.72M

30. 48 Hrs. (1982)

R | 96 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

71 Metascore

A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O'Toole, Frank McRae

Votes: 61,756 | Gross: $78.87M

31. Another 48 Hrs. (1990)

R | 93 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

23 Metascore

Jack Cates once again enlists the aid of ex-con Reggie Hammond--this time, to take down The Iceman, a ruthless drug lord operating in the San Francisco bay area.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, Brion James, Kevin Tighe

Votes: 34,755 | Gross: $80.82M

32. Point Break (1991)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

58 Metascore

An F.B.I. Agent goes undercover to catch a gang of surfers who may be bank robbers.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty

Votes: 134,608 | Gross: $43.22M

33. Gunmen (1993)

R | 94 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Four hundred million dollars are hidden in a boat in some harbor in South America, hidden by Dani Servigo's brother. When his brother gets killed, Dani is a wanted man, by undercover D.E.A.... See full summary »

Director: Deran Sarafian | Stars: Christopher Lambert, Mario Van Peebles, Denis Leary, Patrick Stewart

Votes: 3,021 | Gross: $3.41M

34. Passenger 57 (1992)

R | 84 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

An airline security expert must take action when he finds himself trapped on a passenger jet when terrorists seize control of it.

Director: Kevin Hooks | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne, Tom Sizemore, Alex Datcher

Votes: 41,470 | Gross: $44.07M

35. Die Hard (1988)

R | 132 min | Action, Thriller

72 Metascore

An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

Votes: 705,968 | Gross: $83.01M

36. Die Hard 2 (1990)

R | 124 min | Action, Thriller

67 Metascore

John McClane attempts to avert disaster as rogue military operatives seize control of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

Director: Renny Harlin | Stars: Bruce Willis, William Atherton, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

Votes: 307,808 | Gross: $117.54M

37. The Last Boy Scout (1991)

R | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

52 Metascore

A private detective's protected female witness is murdered, prompting him and the victim's boyfriend to investigate the crime that leads to a corrupt politician and a crooked football team owner.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Chelsea Field, Noble Willingham

Votes: 85,009 | Gross: $59.51M

38. Hudson Hawk (1991)

R | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

17 Metascore

A cat burglar is forced to steal Da Vinci works of art for a world domination plot.

Director: Michael Lehmann | Stars: Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn

Votes: 48,034 | Gross: $17.22M

39. K-9 (1989)

PG-13 | 101 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

44 Metascore

To stop an elusive criminal, a maverick detective enlists the aid of a police dog who's an unusually intelligent smart alec.

Director: Rod Daniel | Stars: Jim Belushi, Mel Harris, Kevin Tighe, Ed O'Neill

Votes: 28,904 | Gross: $43.25M

40. Navy Seals (1990)

R | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

An elite Navy Seals unit must set out to destroy a shipment of US-built Stinger missiles that have fallen into terrorist hands.

Director: Lewis Teague | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Michael Biehn, Joanne Whalley, Rick Rossovich

Votes: 14,474 | Gross: $25.07M

41. Cliffhanger (1993)

R | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

60 Metascore

A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains.

Director: Renny Harlin | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner

Votes: 109,135 | Gross: $84.05M

42. Tango & Cash (1989)

R | 104 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

41 Metascore

Framed by their ruthless arch-nemesis, a mismatched LAPD crime-fighting duo has to put its differences aside to even the score with the evil kingpin who put them behind bars once and for all.

Directors: Andrey Konchalovskiy, Albert Magnoli | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Teri Hatcher, Jack Palance

Votes: 87,006 | Gross: $63.41M

43. Bird on a Wire (1990)

PG-13 | 110 min | Action, Comedy

36 Metascore

An old flame discovers her ex-boyfriend from the past is a relocated FBI informant out to stop the bad guys.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine, Bill Duke

Votes: 36,028 | Gross: $70.98M

44. Lionheart (1990)

R | 108 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An Ex-French Soldier begins participating in underground street fights in order to make money for his brother's family.

Director: Sheldon Lettich | Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Harrison Page, Deborah Rennard, Lisa Pelikan

Votes: 29,258 | Gross: $24.08M

45. Double Impact (1991)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime

Twin brothers are separated when their parents are murdered but 25 years later they re-unite in order to avenge their parents' death.

Director: Sheldon Lettich | Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Geoffrey Lewis, Alonna Shaw, Corinna Everson

Votes: 34,205 | Gross: $30.10M

46. Hard Target (1993)

R | 97 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

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.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler, Chuck Pfarrer

Votes: 39,997 | Gross: $32.59M

47. Red Heat (1988)

R | 104 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

61 Metascore

A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Belushi, Peter Boyle, Ed O'Ross

Votes: 57,742 | Gross: $34.99M

48. Raw Deal (1986)

R | 106 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

44 Metascore

A former FBI agent turned small-town sheriff agrees to help the FBI chief infiltrate the Chicago mafia when the FBI chief's son is killed by them.

Director: John Irvin | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Sam Wanamaker, Paul Shenar

Votes: 26,970 | Gross: $16.21M

49. Stone Cold (1991)

R | 92 min | Action, Crime, Drama

5.9