100 Best Fresh Action Movies

Like the Joker splitting a billiard stick and throwing it between VHS copies of Invasion U.S.A. and Missing in Action, Rotten Tomatoes staff has emerged from the bloody battle that is choosing the 100 most essential, best action movies ever. This is one hand-picked socky-chopped shotgunned list, featuring only movies that are Fresh and Certified Fresh on the Tomatometer. …And ACTION!

#100

300 (2007)
60%

#100
Adjusted Score: 67.498%
Critics Consensus: A simple-minded but visually exciting experience, full of blood, violence, and ready-made movie quotes.
Synopsis: Sin City author Frank Miller's sweeping take on the historic Battle of Thermopylae comes to the screen courtesy of Dawn... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#99

Running Scared (1986)
60%

#99
Adjusted Score: 61.184%
Critics Consensus: Running Scared struggles to strike a consistent balance between violent action and humor, but the chemistry between its well-matched leads keeps things entertaining.
Synopsis: Distinguished by a sharp, witty dialogue between its two cop protagonists, Ray and Danny (Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal), this... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hyams

#98

Crank (2006)
61%

#98
Adjusted Score: 63.528%
Critics Consensus: It's a film about a guy injected with Speed... wait, there's no bus. It's a film about a guy who has to kick a bunch of squirmy butt to stay alive... wait, no snakes or planes here. But it is a film about doing lots of drugs and pulling lots of punches, and it entertains accordingly.
Synopsis: A one-time freelance hitman who was just attempting to turn his life around is forced to keep his heart pumping... [More]

#97

Desperado (1995)
61%

#97
Adjusted Score: 63.246%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The mysterious, guitar toting "El Mariachi" walks the streets again to avenge the death of his beloved girl friend in... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#96

Demolition Man (1993)
61%

#96
Adjusted Score: 63.527%
Critics Consensus: A better-than-average sci-fi shoot-em-up with a satirical undercurrent, Demolition Man is bolstered by strong performances by Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: The plot of this action film begins in 1996, with Los Angeles in a violence-crazed conflagration. One of the LAPD's... [More]
Directed By: Marco Brambilla

#95

The Rock (1996)
66%

#95
Adjusted Score: 69.339%
Critics Consensus: For visceral thrills, it can't be beat. Just don't expect The Rock to engage your brain.
Synopsis: The sophomore film from former music video and commercial director Michael Bay, this fast-paced action yarn featured rapid-fire editing, a... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#94

Death Wish (1974)
65%

#94
Adjusted Score: 67.287%
Critics Consensus: Death Wish is undeniably exploitation fare -- and also undeniably effective.
Synopsis: In this explosive story of revenge and urban violence, Charles Bronson plays Paul Kersey, a bleeding-heart liberal who has a... [More]
Directed By: Michael Winner

#93

Point Break (1991)
68%

#93
Adjusted Score: 72.1%
Critics Consensus: Absurd, over-the-top, and often wildly entertaining, Point Break is here to show you that the human spirit is still alive.
Synopsis: Kathryn Bigelow's fourth action film follows FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) as he goes undercover to infiltrate a cache... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#92

Ronin (1998)
68%

#92
Adjusted Score: 71.249%
Critics Consensus: Ronin earns comparisons to The French Connection with strong action, dynamic road chase scenes, and solid performances.
Synopsis: When an international team of former intelligence agents and Cold War warriors meet in a warehouse, their adventure of love,... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer

#91
#91
Adjusted Score: 71.661%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The comfortably drab life of a working mom becomes a nightmare when she finds herself pursued by an assassin who... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#90

Highlander (1986)
68%

#90
Adjusted Score: 70.713%
Critics Consensus: People hate Highlander because it's cheesy, bombastic, and absurd. And people love it for the same reasons.
Synopsis: Among humans for centuries, an immortal specie existed. Connor MacLeod is a member of this specie. Unaware of his powers,... [More]
Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

#89

Commando (1985)
70%

#89
Adjusted Score: 72.034%
Critics Consensus: The ultimate '80s Schwarzenegger movie, replete with a threadbare plot, outsized action, and endless one-liners.
Synopsis: Colonel Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is retired and living peaceably with his 10-year-old daughter (Alyssa Milano) when she is kidnapped by... [More]
Directed By: Mark L. Lester

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 75.702%
Critics Consensus: Pivoting on the unusual relationship between seasoned hitman and his 12-year-old apprentice -- a breakout turn by young Natalie Portman -- Luc Besson's Léon is a stylish and oddly affecting thriller.
Synopsis: As visually stylish as it is graphically violent, this thriller directed by Luc Besson concerns Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a 12-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 74.742%
Critics Consensus: Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.
Synopsis: Good and evil battle for the future of 23rd century Earth in this visually striking big-budget science fiction epic. In... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#86

V for Vendetta (2006)
73%

#86
Adjusted Score: 81.293%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and thought-provoking, V For Vendetta's political pronouncements may rile some, but its story and impressive set pieces will nevertheless entertain.
Synopsis: Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore, V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate vision of Britain in... [More]
Directed By: James McTeigue

#85

Gladiator (2000)
76%

#85
Adjusted Score: 83.09%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
Synopsis: A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#84

Black Hawk Down (2001)
76%

#84
Adjusted Score: 81.572%
Critics Consensus: Though it's light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Down is a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott's superb technical skill.
Synopsis: A quickly forgotten chapter in United States military history is relived in this harrowing war drama from director Ridley Scott,... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#83

Vanishing Point (1971)
76%

#83
Adjusted Score: 77.138%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this film, amphetamine-popping Kowalski (Barry Newman) attempts to drive a race car from Denver to San Francisco in order... [More]
Directed By: Richard C. Sarafian

#82

Under Siege (1992)
77%

#82
Adjusted Score: 78.33%
Critics Consensus: A well-directed action thriller that makes the most of its confined setting, Under Siege marks a high point for early '90s action -- and its star's spotty filmography.
Synopsis: Andrew Davis directed this exciting thriller starring Steven Seagal, sans ponytail, and featuring electric, over-the-top performances by Gary Busey and... [More]

#81

Fast Five (2011)
77%

#81
Adjusted Score: 82.625%
Critics Consensus: Sleek, loud, and over the top, Fast Five proudly embraces its brainless action thrills and injects new life into the franchise.
Synopsis: Former cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) partners with ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) on the opposite side of the law.... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#80

Air Force One (1997)
76%

#80
Adjusted Score: 78.94%
Critics Consensus: This late-period Harrison Ford actioner is full of palpable, if not entirely seamless, thrills.
Synopsis: In this action drama, Harrison Ford plays James Marshall, a onetime combat hero in the Vietnam War who is now... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#79

The Grey (2012)
79%

#79
Adjusted Score: 86.058%
Critics Consensus: The Grey is an exciting tale of survival, populated with fleshed-out characters and a surprising philosophical agenda.
Synopsis: In The Grey, Liam Neeson leads an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan... [More]
Directed By: Joe Carnahan

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 83.354%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining Jackie Chan stunt-fest in which the impressive action sequences overcome the low production value and by-the-numbers plot.
Synopsis: After years as a major star in most of the rest of the world, Jackie Chan finally broke through to... [More]

#77

Predator (1987)
80%

#77
Adjusted Score: 83.468%
Critics Consensus: Predator: Part sci-fi, part horror, part action -- all muscle.
Synopsis: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has a code of honor which he will not violate, even when his life depends on it.... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#76

The Driver (1978)
73%

#76
Adjusted Score: 74.721%
Critics Consensus: A tough, highly stylized thriller with amazing sound design and car chases.
Synopsis: In this oddly haunting action thriller, a man known only as "The Driver" (Ryan O'Neal) is a master getaway specialist... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

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