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Best Action Films of the 1980s

Updated on March 9, 2017

Time For Some Action

The Terminator came out in 1984 and has had several sequels. It is rated R and it mixes the present time and the future.
The Terminator came out in 1984 and has had several sequels. It is rated R and it mixes the present time and the future. | Source
Road House starred Patrick Swayze and was a huge action hit during the 1980's. The bar fight scenes were very entertaining.
Road House starred Patrick Swayze and was a huge action hit during the 1980's. The bar fight scenes were very entertaining. | Source
48 Hours stars Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte as a cop and a criminal on the same team.  The action and the laughter were a great combination.
48 Hours stars Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte as a cop and a criminal on the same team. The action and the laughter were a great combination. | Source
Bruce Willis stars in Die Hard which has produced multiple sequels and even video games, just from his roles in the films.
Bruce Willis stars in Die Hard which has produced multiple sequels and even video games, just from his roles in the films. | Source
Commando was one of Arnold's best action movies of the 1980's. He used many weapons to wreak havoc on his adversaries in this fast paced action flick.
Commando was one of Arnold's best action movies of the 1980's. He used many weapons to wreak havoc on his adversaries in this fast paced action flick. | Source

Which is The Best?

Which is your favorite 1980's Action film?

See results

Timeless Action Classics

1. The Terminator (1984): Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, star in this action filled Sci-Fi film. Arnold plays a robot assassin from the future who was sent back to kill Sarah Conner (Hamilton). The film has intense action scenes and great fighting sequences. The special effects of this film make the action very realistic to say the least. The Terminator will not stop until he completes his bloody mission. He uses his computer smarts and unlimited weaponry in his destructive mission. His mission is to keep Sarah Conner from giving birth to a son in the future.

2. Commando (1985): This action adventure films features Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong and Alyssa Milano. John Matrix (Arnold), is a retired Delta Force Colonel who has to track down the gangsters that kidnapped his daughter. This movie has gunfights, one-on-one fights and constant explosion scenes scattered throughout. John Matrix is mad and he gets down and dirty on the enemy in this one.

3. Die Hard (1988): John McClain (Bruce Willis) is a New York City Cop who is caught in the middle of a terrorist plot. He can escape the building unharmed or help the hostages. There's only one problem, his wife is one of the hostages being held by Hanz Grueber. The movie is fast paced from beginning to end and Willis keeps us entertained by his raw street fighting skills. Willis discovers that the criminals are really after money and they will kill to get what they want.He becomes ghost like in this movie as he disappears time and time again. Growing up, this was my dad's favorite action film.

4. Road House (1989): Patrick Swayze stars in this action film as a bouncer at a Honky Tonk Club. Sam Elliott also stars in this film and he plays the role of a bouncer as well. Even though this movie has a love story behind it, the film also has bar fights and fights with weapons throughout the movie. The music score and the acting in this film make it a must see action movie without a doubt.

5. Above The Law (1988): This film was the movie debut for Steven Seagal and he plays as Nico, a detective from Chicago. The action scenes are unreal, as Seagal uses his Martial Arts skills to tame his enemies. He breaks bones and ask his questions later. The film has a few plot twists and in the end we find out that the CIA is dirty as mud.

6. Tango & Cash (1989): Sly Stallone, Kurt Russell and Jack Palance star in this good guy, bad guy action film. Tango and Cash are detectives in L.A. but, they get framed for murder and sent to prison. They have to prove their innocence but, only if they can break out of jail first. There are many dangerous scenes in this film, and the gun fire fights, are very realistic for this time period of movie making.

7. Cobra (1986): Cobretti or Cobra (Stallone) is a cop from L.A., who works on a special zombie squad. Cobra must face and defeat a group of criminals called The New Order. Weapons are abundant in this thrill a minute action packed movie. Explosions, gun battles and several up close fighting scenes are scattered throughout this film, which also has a fast paced rock sound track.

8. Lethal Weapon (1987): Mel Gibson and Danny Glover play as homicide detectives who are complete opposites. The adversary of the film is Gary Busy and the L.A. battle started for criminal drug control. The movie has many action scenes such as: building jumping, shooting a gun while driving and fighting gangsters who have knives.

9. Blood Sport (1988): This movie stars Jean Claude Van Damme as Frank Dux and it is based on a true story. Dux must fight in a martial arts tournament and beat fighters from around the world in order to win. The film features several one on one combat fights. Spinning kicks, elbows and arm breaking moves are seen in this martial arts movie that is loaded with non stop action.

10. 48 Hours (1982): Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte play as a cop and a crook, teaming up to catch a killer who has just murdered a police officer. This was Eddie Murphy's first movie role and he did great. This movie was a blend of comedy and constant action at every turn. These two guys were polar opposites and they made a perfect onscreen duo.

Blood Sport Trailer

Film Ranking

Cast your vote for Road House

Ten Great Sylvester Stallone Films

 
 
 
Cobra
Rocky
Rambo
Tango and Cash
Lock Up
Rocky 2
Rambo 2
The Specialist
Assassins
 
Over the Top
 

Die Hard Films on Amazon

Die Hard Trailer

Road House Trailer

Location Of Blood Sport

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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    • profile image

      MYWIKISTEP 3 years ago

      Hi lesliebyars,

      We all remember these films back in 1980's

      Reminds me a lot about me too.

      Thanks !!!! Keep going!

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Die Hard, Terminator and Tango n Cash never get old ...but where's Red Heat and Top Gun????

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 3 years ago from Texas

      Never been a fan of Sylvester Stallone or any of his films, however the Lethal weapon series was good. Absolutely loved the Terminator and Commando, still watch them til this day. Thumbs up on this hub Leslie

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 4 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      I seen all these movies so many times! Its a great list to be sure.

      ~thranax~