The 15 Best 80s Action Movies [Updated April 2022]


The action movie was one of the most loved treasures of the 1980s bestowed to Western society. The best ’80s and 90s action movies offered promise, wealth, and lots and lots of explosions as the cinematic environment developed. Everything changed in the 1980s. The 1980s, which arose from the pop art movement, saw an explosion of unbridled materialism and a surge in patriotic pride. Hollywood had finally found its stride, with films becoming more costly, extravagant, and lucrative than ever before.

This is a list of the best action movies from the 1980s, which possibly constitutes a list of the top action movies ever made.

1. License To Kill (1989)

Director: John Glen

Writers: Michael G. Wilson

Cast: Robert Davi, Anthony Zerbe, Timothy Dalton

IMDB Rating: 6.6/10

James Bond is on his most dangerous assignment ever. Felix Leiter, a close friend of Bond’s, is left near death by drug lord Franz Sanchez. Bond sets out to find Sanchez, but not everyone is pleased. Following the assassination of his newlywed buddy, he is fighting not just for country and justice but also for personal vengeance! When 007 embarks on the ultimate confrontation, he will not stop until Sanchez and those guilty of abusing Felix and killing Della are killed.

2. Never Say Never Again (1983)

Director: Irvin Kershner

Writers: Kevin McClory

Cast: Sean Connery, Barbara Carrera, Bernie Casey

IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

During a standardized training trip, an elderly James Bond makes an unusual error, prompting M to assume that the renowned British Intelligence agent is past his prime. As a result, Bond’s active duty is suspended indefinitely by M. Bond pursues Largo’s case while bringing Largo’s lover, Domino, into the fray. It does have a low IMDb rating, but you may not count this into the most ridiculous 80s action movies.

3. Top Gun (1986)

Director: Tony Scott

Writers: Jim Cash

Cast: Tom Cruise, Tom Skerritt, Val Kilmer

IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

The well-known and best Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the cream of the crop optimizes its superior flying abilities. As the rash pilot fights against the best of the best, he will meet Charlie, the curvaceous astrophysics instructor at the flight school, as well as “Iceman,” a bright and very competitive fellow student. Mitchell, shaken by the loss of a buddy, lost the Top Gun award to Kazansky. However, Mitchell is given an opportunity to redeem himself amid a stressful international situation involving a disabled US warship and a swarm of predatory enemy jets, as he fears he has lost his nerve.

4. Octopussy (1983)

Director: John Glen

Writers: George MacDonald

Cast: Maud Adams, Kabir Bedi, Roger Moore

IMDB Rating: 6.5/10

James Bond is called in to investigate the assassination of a crewmate who was carrying a valuable Fabergé egg when he died. The investigation leads to Octopussy, a strange traveling circus with a troupe of beautiful, athletic ladies. Only Agent 007 can halt the nightmare plot, which takes him from India’s palaces to Germany in a racing carnival train and a mid-air combat on the wing of a high-flying aircraft.

5. Dune (1984)

Director: David Lynch

Writers: Frank Herbert

Cast: Leonardo Cimino, José Ferrer, Francesca Annis

IMDB Rating: 6.4/10

When the Harkonnens reclaim their domain in a brutal manner, it is left to Paul, Leto’s son, to lead the Fremen, Arrakis’ indigenous, in a fight for control of the planet and its spice. Based on the epic novel by Frank Herbert. All of the planets in the entire Universe are under the rule of Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in the distant year of 10191. The most valuable commodity in the Universe is a chemical known as “MELANGE,” which is claimed to have the ability to lengthen life.

6. Die Hard (1988)

Director: John McTiernan

Writers: Roderick Thorp

Cast: Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Gleason, Bruce Willis

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

On Christmas Eve, New York City cop John McClane pays a visit to his estranged wife, daughter, and son. He joins her at the head office of the Japanese-owned company where she works for a Christmas party. However, the celebrations are shattered when a bunch of terrorists seizes control of everyone and everything. McClane quickly understands that he is the only one who can save the hostages. This was the most beautifully cast and the best ’80s and 90s action movies of its era.

7. Young Guns (1988)

Director: Christopher Cain

Writers: John Fusco

Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Casey Siemaszko

IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

This movie showcases the feeling to attain murder revenge of the farmer who became their patron, a group of teenage shooters led by Billy the Kid become deputies. On the New Mexican border, John Tunstall, a renowned British gentleman, recruits impoverished boys to tend his herd. The five men quickly gain notoriety, and William is dubbed as “Billy the Kid” – but they are pursued by scores of Murphy’s men and the army. People, on the other hand, regard him as a crusader for justice.

8. Batman (1989)

Director: Tim Burton

Writers: Bob Kane

Cast: Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson

IMDB Rating: 7.5/10

Gotham is a fictional city in the United States. Carl Grissom, the town’s criminal leader, is in charge, but there’s a newfound crime fighter in town: Batman. a masked hero who installs terror in the minds of villains. When a disfigured maniac known as “The Joker” reclaims the power of Gotham’s criminal underworld, Batman is forced to confront his most brutal foe yet while also safeguarding his identities and his former lover, reporter Vicki Vale.

9. Bloodsport (1989)

Director: Newt Arnold

Writers: Sheldon Lettich

Cast: Donald Gibb, Norman Burton, Leah Ayres

IMDB Rating 6.8/10

Tanaka has spent the majority of his life training Frank Dux to compete in the Kumite, the supreme martial arts event in which competitors are badly wounded, if not killed. He must dodge military authorities who believe he is AWOL while attempting to get entrance to the subterranean world of covert warriors. Finally, Frank is granted the opportunity to fight after suffering arduous preparation and starting a relationship with journalist Janice Kent (Leah Ayres). Is he, nevertheless, capable of surviving?

10. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writers: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Adam Baldwin, Dorian Harewood, Matthew Modine

IMDB Rating: 8.3/10

A two-part examination of the impact of military attitude and conflict on Vietnam-era Marines. The first section follows Joker, Pyle, and others as they endure the horrors of USMC boot camp at the hands of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, a colorful, foul-mouthed character. Despite a terrifying detour, Joker joins the Marine Corps and is assigned to Vietnam as a journalist, chronicling the horrific Battle of Hué and eventually taking part in it.

11. Road House (1989)

Director: Rowdy Herrington

Writers: R. Lance Hill

Cast: Kelly Lynch, Ben Gazzara, Julie Michaels

IMDB Rating: 6.6/10

Dalton is a skilled “cooler,” a bartender who can break up fights without being murdered in the process. The Ph.D.-educated bouncer may not appear to be much, but he reveals himself to be more than adept, breaking the skulls of malcontents and transforming the roadhouse into a leaping hotspot. However, Dalton’s infatuation with the stunning Dr. Clay puts him in the crosshairs of local tycoon Brad Wesley.

12. Akira (1988)

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Writers: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Cast: Nozomu Sasaki, Hiroshi Ôtake, Mitsuo Iwata

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

After ESP tests on children go wrong, the Japanese government fires an atomic weapon on Tokyo in 1988. Kaneda seems to be the leader of a motorcycle gang, and his long-time friend Tetsuo is involved in the administration’s Akira project. When a secret military project transforms a member of a motorcycle gang into a rampaging mental psychotic who can only be defeated by a youngster, his gang of biker pals, and a group of psychics, Neo-Tokyo is put in jeopardy.

13. The Living Daylights (1987)

Director: John Glen

Writers: Richard Maibaum

Cast: Maryam d’Abo, Joe Don Baker, Timothy Dalton

IMDB Rating: 6.7/10

During a symphonic concert, British secret agent James Bond assists KGB officer Georgi Koskov in defecting. James Bond is assisting a Soviet general in escaping the Iron Curtain when he notices a cellist with a weapon. Bond’s assignment takes him to Afghanistan, in which he will deal with a weapons dealer named Brad Whitaker. Everything shows itself to Bond in the end.

14. A View To A Kill (1985)

Director: John Glen

Writers: Richard Maibaum

Cast: Tanya Roberts, Patrick Macnee, Roger Moore

IMDB Rating: 6.3/10

A silicon chip taken from the Soviets is discovered to be similar to a hypothetical British design able to withstand nuclear explosion electromagnetic radiation. Bond’s investigation leads him to Max Zorin, the CEO of Zorin Industries. Agent 007 soon finds himself in a fight with the evil Zorin and his strong Amazonian bodyguard, May Day, who are plotting tremendous destruction to wipe out the competitors.

15. Red Dawn (1989)

Director: Jorge Fons

Writers: Guadalupe Ortega

Cast: Jorge Fegán, Héctor Bonilla, Ademar Arau

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

The events took place in Mexico City on October 2, 1968, in reaction to a student movement in America that attempted to interrupt the 1968 Summer Olympic Games. A claustrophobic experience that immerses a Mexican middle-class family in the atrocities perpetrated by savage and ruthless army troops whose primary target appears to be students who refuse to allow the 1968 Olympic Games to go normally.


Action movies dominated the box office, and they were generally led by muscular men who shot or knocked out every bad guy who got in their way. The 1980s were a decade of excess, mullets, and slo-mo. Throughout the decade, muscle-bound men with unrelenting weaponry blew evil people to non-existence. To ease your work, you can also search for the above-mentioned best ’80s action movies on Netflix and enjoy the movie night with your friends.


Joshua Garner

Joshua calls himself nerd+geek who is also passionate about football. He enjoys comics, animes, and science fiction. He finds his comfort in writing about suspense, thrillers and science fiction shows and movies.

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