We count down the most explosive films in the history of cinema.
March 5, 2014: This list last ran in December, 2013. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
While we love all types of movies here at IGN, we're especially fond of action films. That's what we were weaned on, both the good and the bad.
Asian Cinema's 20 Greatest Fight Scenes
As fondly as we recall the mindless slaughterfests that powered the Saturday evenings and lazy Sunday afternoons of the '80s and '90s, the term 'action movie' means more than just camp B-movie schlock. Along with the classic action fare we've tried to reinvigorate this list with the best action anywhere you can find it. Action/comedy, sci-fi action, martial arts, superhero action, war and adventure, they're all here. (Be advised this list includes videos featuring NSFW violence and language.) Here, then, are IGN's Top 25 Action Movies of all time:
Perhaps the most philosophical surfing/heist movie ever made,
sees Patrick Swayze as Bodhi, leader of the bank-robbing "Ex Presidents," and Keanu Reeves as undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah. What follows is a rollercoaster ride as the pair surf and sky-dive while playing the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse with plenty of foot chases and gunfights along the way. Director Kathryn Bigelow attacks these sequences with such ferocity and style that it's hard to imagine a better pairing of the film's disparate elements – the physicality of the surfing, screwing and fighting with personal ideals and character-based beliefs. It's one of the few movies that thrives on frenetic thrills and yet arguably gives you the sense that if you paid a little closer attention you might actually learn something.
Released December, 1968
If you're going to choose a war film to list amongst the greatest action films of all time, what would it be? You could certainly make an argument for the unparalleled realism of something like Saving Private Ryan just as easily as you could the Lee Marvin-fueled manliness of a classic like The Dirty Dozen. One movie that's impossible to go past, however, is the Richard Burton/Clint Eastwood all-time classic Where Eagles Dare. Quentin Tarantino's favorite men-on-a-mission film, Where Eagles Dare is the ultimate action hybrid. Part war movie, part spy thriller and all action-adventure, Where Eagles Dare follows a team of allied agents tasked to infiltrate a Nazi castle perched on a snowy mountain-top castle and rescue a captured American officer. Not everything is how is seems, but giving away the twist(s) to those of you who haven't seen it would be a crime. It might be 45 years old, but this movie has it all. Blazing firefights, a spectacular fight atop a cable car and a explosive chase to a German airfield. Watch it.
When it comes to lists like these, comic book movies are generally segregated. But why is that? Some of the comic book films of the past two decades stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the greatest action movies ever made. It's a difficult thing to narrow down, choosing a comic book film to wedge amongst the best action movies of all time, because there are plenty of worthy candidates. There's fan-fave The Dark Knight, or the recent cult-classic-in-the-making, Dredd. Don't forget the likes of Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2 or the original Blade, either. There's one movie that does tick all the boxes, though. Unbridled action, a crackling script and a confident ensemble cast makes The Avengers an action movie that will no doubt go on to define an era.
Turn up the Kenny Loggins and practice your best Iceman tooth chomp!
ushered in a new type of mold for action movies, one producer Jerry Bruckheimer would use to forge many other hits throughout the '80s and '90s. The spectacular training and combat sequences aren't anything like real air operations, but for a generation weaned on the attack on the Death Star, it's what's expected. As directed by maestro Tony Scott, the film's action was endlessly exciting, and the bromance between Goose and Maverick is one of the most memorable in Hollywood.
Released November, 2006
Perhaps the most cerebral of all 007's adventures. Daniel Craig played James Bond as thuggish on the outside, but emotionally damaged and vulnerable underneath, in the process adding a layer of depth previously unseen in Bond's outings. (An absence of ice palaces and invisible cars also helped, of course.) Craig's 007 is a finely tuned machine who is absolutely believable as someone who could clear a room, and as a cold, hardened man who has buried his heart as far away from harm as possible. The action sequences – several of which, like the opening parkour set-piece, must be seen to be believed – are breathtaking and returned Bond to his down and dirty roots.