John Wick, Diehard, Aliens
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The Best Action Films Ever Made, Ranked + Where to Stream Them

From the ventilation system of Nakatomi Plaza to the bowels of a freighter ship in deep space, here are the best action-packed blockbusters the genre has to offer.

Action and adventure is the most popular film genre in the world by a huge margin. In the United States and Canada alone, total box office revenue for action and adventure films exceeded $121 billion from 1995 to 2023 — drama films came next with only $36.35 billion.

The success of the action-packed popcorn blockbuster lies in its fast-paced and adrenaline-fueled thrills, its straightforward good guy versus bad guy dynamic, and its universal appeal. The action flick is deliciously pacey, dragging the eyeballs from one gorgeous set piece to the next, but not before destroying that set piece in a ball of fire. The hero is easy to get behind with conventionally attractive looks and a righteous cause: avenging a loved one or saving the planet from a cataclysmic evil. These elements make the action film enticing to filmgoers worldwide, transcending language and cultural barriers to resonate with audiences of diverse backgrounds.

To celebrate the action film and its utter timelessness, we've ranked the best the genre has to offer, from the ventilation system of Nakatomi Plaza to the bowels of a freighter ship in deep space.

Let's start the countdown (don't sweat — no bomb will go off when this countdown is over) of the very best action films ever made.

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