A new series! I've decided that every month (or so), I'm going to do a top ten of my favorite movies from a specific genre and build up to my top ONE HUNDRED favorite films of all time. I know. Ambitious. Here are a few ground rules to know: I am not repeating any movies, so if a film fits into multiple genres, it goes in the one it fits best. There are no superhero movies on this list, because they will go in a superheroes ranking. The Terminator movies will be in sci-fi. So will the Star Wars movies. So these are straight action movies. That said, here are my ten favorite action movies of all time.
Braveheart is great. It's a little too long, but besides that, this is an awesome historical epic. The gigantic, insanely violent battles are so much fun but are also filled with so much emotion and weight. You want William Wallace to destroy the establishment and take down the king, so every fight is intense. Mel Gibson is fantastic in this film. His direction and performance are both incredible and elevate this movie to a whole new level. The epic speeches, the sweeping battle scenes, and the beautiful score all combine to make a badass historical drama film filled with all of the gleefully bloody action you want.
9. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
I think Mission: Impossible is the best action franchise out there, and I think Fallout is one of the best films in the franchise. Tom Cruise brings his A-game with a thrilling, visceral blockbuster that showcases his incredible stunts despite being nearly 60 years old. Beyond that, Fallout feels even more intense than most of these movies. It feels like a true spy thriller with stakes and consequences. It's awesome.
8. The Hunt for Red October
I know a lot of people would consider The Hunt for Red October to be a thriller, but I'm putting it in action, because James Bond and Mission: Impossible are on this list. I really dig this film. I'm not a massive Jack Ryan fan, but I think this is a really solid movie. Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin deliver great, tense performances as this conflict grows and grows. I really like the story of a rogue Soviet submarine and the paranoia that that can lead to.
Skyfall is the best James Bond film. It looks slick. It feels slick. And it has the best story and characters of any 007 outing. Raoul Silva is one of Bond's most formidable enemies, and everything surrounding him is just terrifying. This is easily the most intense and emotional of the James Bond films. Daniel Craig gives his strongest performances here. Everything about this movie is just executed well. And that makes it great.
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark
If I had an adventure list, I'd put this in that, but I'm not doing an adventure ranking, because I don't like enough adventure films enough to do that. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a ridiculously fun introduction to Indiana Jones that has everything you want in an adventure film. Amazing production design, great direction, and an iconic score is just scratching the surface. The story doesn't reach the heights of the characters or the adventuring, but besides that, Raiders is great.
5. Mission: Impossible III
Unpopular opinion: this is the best of the Mission: Impossible movie. It's the most intense. It's the one that allows us to dive into Ethan Hunt the most. We see him having retired from IMF and trying to settle down and have a life only for evil to come crawling back for him. Philip Seymour Hoffman's villain is the best antagonist in the franchise. The action is visceral. The thrills are exciting. This is an awesome movie.
4. National Treasure
Like Raiders, I'd include this in an adventure ranking, but there's no adventure ranking that I'm doing. National Treasure is a wild concept about Nicholas Cage stealing the Declaration of Independence. It's this awesome American adventure that delves into the history of the country all while being wrapped in this fast-paced, exciting Nic Cage action-adventure flick. Sure, the concept is ludicrous, but that's the fun of it. Great, great movie.
While I love National Treasure, there is a gigantic leap in quality from that film to Gladiator. This movie is everything. It's emotional. It's exciting. And it's badass. There's no way you don't get pumped up when Maximus says "Are you not entertained?" or when he confronts Commodus. The vast scope and size makes this movie feel epic and high stakes when it's actually a very personal story about a broken soldier trying to take revenge on an evil emperor. It's fantastic. I absolutely love it.
2. Top Gun: Maverick
This past year's best movie was an absolute shock to me. Top Gun: Maverick is an experience of a film if there ever was one. This movie is amazing. It works as a sequel to the original Top Gun while also having this emotionally charged and extremely compelling narrative. And the action? Oh my lord. It's incredible. Tom Cruise's dedication to the fans and to the experience of this movie is shown on full display in the best blockbuster of the past ten years. If you are one of the five people on planet Earth that has not seen Maverick, what the hell are you doing? Go see it! Stop reading this post! Go watch Maverick!
1. Die Hard
I love Gladiator. I love Maverick. Nothing is ever going to top Die Hard. I adore this film and everything about it. It's such a simple premise, and that's what works so well. It's simplicity executed with utter perfection. John McClane is a normal guy that is forced to be the hero. Hans Gruber is a devilishly charming villain that can be likable at times...and terrifying at others. The action and thrills are amazing. John McTiernan's direction is fantastic. I don't know what else I can say about Die Hard that hasn't been said already. It's incredible.