10 Best Action Flicks Of The '80s
The 1980s gave birth to the careers of Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, three huge stars who were involved in the 10 best action flicks of the '80s. This list is intended to stir debate and provide a nostalgic look back at a time when actors did their own stunts, and 3-D was a cheesy novelty that came with funny glasses.
- "Die Hard" This 1988 action flick, starred Bruce Willis as a New York cop trying to rescue hostages, including his wife, trapped in a Los Angeles skyscraper. The film features great, inventive action and genuine emotion, especially in the scenes between Willis and a sympathetic patrolman on the outside played by Reginald VelJohnson. Their interaction provides much needed emotional stakes, and elevates the film into classic status as one of the ten best action flicks of the 1980s.
- "Predator" The setup for this 1987 action film is simple. A group of mercenaries are tasked with rescuing captured commandos in the jungle. What they discover is an alien creature that hunts them one by one, using technology that renders it invisible. With a host of great action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura, this is a great action film with cool special-effects and an adversary that proves to be both elusive and terrifying.
- "Lethal Weapon" If you're looking for the perfect template of the action-buddy cop flick, this 1987 film is a great place to start. Mel Gibson's borderline psychotic detective, teams up with Danny Glover's world-weary, retiring veteran, forming one of the most iconic partnerships in movie history. What separates the film is the emotional stakes, with Gibson grieving for his dead wife, and Glover trying to stay alive for his beloved family. Three sequels were made, but this remains the gold standard, and not just one of the ten best 80s action flicks, but one of the finest action films in movie history.
- "Terminator" James Cameron's 1984 action masterpiece features Arnold Schwarzenegger as a cyborg from the future, sent back to terminate a woman who holds the key to defeating the machines that will rule the world. Famous for its gritty action and Schwarzenegger's catchphrase, "I'll be back", this remains one of the seminal films of all time, and one of the best action flicks of the 1980s.
- "Aliens" Director James Cameron improves on the original film "Alien," as a group of hard-bitten soldiers accompany Sigourney Weaver's Ripley character back to the planet of the aliens. Cameron gives the audience more of everything, more aliens, more action, more carnage and more great lines including Weaver's, "Back off bitch," when confronting the Alien Queen at the film's climax.
- First Blood" In this 1982 action classic, Sylvester Stallone plays a Vietnam veteran hunted by a vengeful Sheriff in the harsh woods of the northwest. A surprisingly taut, well-made action film, that's short on pyrotechnics, but filled with great tense moments and a hero who just wants to be left alone.
- "Above The Law" Steven Seagal's 1988 film debut features great martial arts scenes, and an involving plot about the CIA and drugs.
- "Road House" This 1988 Patrick Swayze flick, has become a cult classic for its great bar fights. Swayze plays a legendary bouncer or "cooler," hired to clean up and protect a rundown bar.
- "Escape From New York" Kurt Russell plays a grizzled anti-hero in this 1981 film, who's sent into a futuristic Manhattan to rescue the kidnapped President. Great action setpieces and Russell's tough, nasty portrayal, make this one of the best 80s action flicks.
- "Top Gun" This 1985 action flick starring Tom Cruise as a cocky Navy pilot competing for title of "Top Gun," features some of the most breathtaking flight sequences in movie history, and is memorable for the catchphrase, "I feel the need, the need for speed."