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The 100 Greatest Action Movies on Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Reggie W

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I've been meaning to make this post for some time. What triggered the idea was when I moved last year I came across a variety of items that had been packed away in the attic of my old house. One of which was a copy of a magazine with the 100 Best Action movies on DVD on the cover. So, yes, the list I am going to run through here is really from February of 2003, so it is 20 years old. The point of posting this list is to first generate discussion of what you might feel are the best action movies and the Blu-ray versions of them but also, and to me this is one of the big things about this list, to show how in the last 20 years what we think of not just as a great action film but what an action movie is in general, has changed kind of radically. I think some of the films on this list would not even be viewed as action movies at all by today's standards. This sort of fascinates me.

Once upon a time, an "action" movie might have only one or two action scenes in it. A great car chase, a huge shootout, a massive fight. The idea way back when was to make a great action scene, you built up to it. There was an art to pacing. So, you could spend an entire picture building up to a great action scene.

Now action movie means it is nonstop, wall to wall action, with nothing more than very brief breaks in between. The cutting is so fast paced that there will be hundreds of cuts in single action sequence rather than staging the action in front of the cameras so you can shoot it in longer takes and actually see it. Now the editing is a lot of how the sequences are presented and to give a sense of motion to the scene. I would also say with today's pictures they now like to have some sort of action scenes in all of them no matter the genre. The action hybrid is kind of the way they roll.

Now, upfront here, this list is 20 years old and about pictures released on DVD. I have not checked to see if all of these pictures have had a Blu-ray release, I suspect they have, but part of the fun with this is that you will be able to check and comment on if they have been released on Blu and how you feel about the Blu-ray. Also, obviously these were considered the 100 best action films on DVD 20 years ago, so it is not, unless you still feel it is, the 100 greatest action films out now on Blu.

I am using the list as a jumping off point for discussion, to show how what we think of as an action film has changed and so that perhaps we eventually come to a list of great action films with everybody's additions and comments. A lot of films have been released in the last 20 years.

OK, so obviously all the films are open for discussion. What you feel are great action films are certainly allowed to be suggested and discussed. What you feel makes a great action movie, sequence, set piece, is all open for discussion. Lists are designed to be picked apart, so feel free to pick this one apart.

I will list the pictures 10 at a time starting from 100 and working my way up to number 1. I think you will be surprised and entertained by this list. What I like about this list is it covers many decades of film and includes pictures from around the world. So, there is a nice diversity to it that considers what action films were in previous decades. I won't comment on the films as I first list them just to allow you to soak them in and to keep it short. I figure as films get listed people want to comment on we can get deeper into the discussion of individual films.

I think current day action films are much different than what an action film was in the past. It will be fun to see how people react to this list and what films not on this list that you would add. So, please enjoy the list and have fun discussing it and adding to it.

So, here we go...lights, camera, ACTION:

100 - Zulu (1964)

99 - You Only Live Twice (1967)

98 - Yojimbo (1962)

97 - The Wild Bunch (1969)

96 - The Warriors (1979)

95 - The Wages of Fear (1954)

94 - The Untouchables (1987)

93 - Unforgiven (1992)

92 - Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

91 - True Romance (1
993)
 

Reggie W

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90 - Training Day (2001)

89 - The Train (1964)

88 - Total Recall (1990)

87 - T-Men (1947)

86 - Three Kings (1999)

85 - Thelma and Louise (1991)

84 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

83 -The Terminator (1984)

82 - The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

81 - Starship Troopers (1997)
 

Reggie W

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80 - Stagecoach (1939)

79 - Spider-Man (2002)

78 - Speed (1994)

77 - Spartacus (1960)

76 - Shaft (1971)

75 - The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

74 - The Seven Samurai (1954)

73 - Set It Off (1996)

72 - Saving Private Ryan (1998)

71. Saboteur (1942)
 

Reggie W

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70 - Runaway Train (1985)

69 - Run Lola Run (1998)

68 - Ronin (1998)

67 - Robocop (1987)

66 - The Road Warrior (1981)

65 - Rio Bravo (1959)

64 - Reservoir Dogs (1992)

63 - Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

62 - Predator (1987)

61 - Platoon (1986)
 

Reggie W

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60 - Patton (1970)

59 - Patriot Games (1992)

58 - The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

57 - Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

56 - North By Northwest (1959)

55 - Nighthawks (1981)

54 - Minority Report (2002)

53 - The Matrix (1999)

52 - The Magnificent Seven (1960)

51 - Mad Max (1979)
 

Reggie W

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50 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

49 - Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

48 - Lethal Weapon (1987)

47 - Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

46 - The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

45 - L.A. Confidential (1997)

44 - The Killer (1989)

43 - Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

42 - Independence Day (1996)

41 - The Hunt for Red October (1990)
 

Reggie W

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40 - The Hidden Fortress (1958)

39 - Heat (1995)

38 - Hard-Boiled (1992)

37 - The Guns of Navarone (1961)

36 - The Great Escape (1963)

35 - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966)

34 - Goldfinger (1964)

33 - Gladiator (2000)

32 - The Getaway (1972)

31 - The Fugitive (1993)
 

Reggie W

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30 - From Russia With Love (1963)

29 - The French Connection (1971)

28 - A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

27 - La Femme Nikita (1991)

26 - Excaliber (1981)

25 - Escape From New York (1981)

24 - Enter the Dragon (1973)

23 - Earth VS. The Flying Saucers (1956)

22 - Diva (1981)

21 - Dirty Harry (1971)
 

Reggie W

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20 - The Dirty Dozen (1967)

19 - Die Hard 2 (1990)

18 - Die Hard (1988)

17 - Desperado (1995)

16 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

15 - Clear and Present Danger (1994)

14 - Bullitt (1968)

13 - Brother (2001)

12 - The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

11 - Breakdown (1997)
 

Reggie W

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10 - Braveheart (1995)

9 - The Bourne Identity (2002)

8 - Das Boot (1982)

7 - Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

6 - Blade Runner (1982)

5 - Black Hawk Down (2001)

4 - Ben-Hur (1959)

3 - Battleship Potemkin (1926)

2 - Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

1. Aliens (1986)
 

David Weicker

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I would add
Remo Williams
To Live And Die In L.A.
The Lives Of A Bengal Lancer
The Three Musketeers / The Four Musketeers
(Richard Lester versions)
The Mark Of Zorro
The Adventures Of Robin Hood


Only on DVD (so far)
Captain Blood
Gunga Din
They Died With Their Boots On
The Charge Of The Light Brigade
Scaramouche
 

Reggie W

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So, one thing I think has really been lost is building up to an action sequence in a picture. This always made the moment that much bigger and more dramatic. These days they kind of just throw the scenes at you rapid fire. It's more about sheer quantity and movement on screen than it is making the scenes meaningful. I think you can kind of feel battered by current action films because they just throw more and more at you because they think you will get bored if they don't.
 
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Reggie W

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Also, the list I posted is from the February 2003 issue of Premiere magazine. A special issue in which they wanted to highlight the best action films you could own on DVD.

Now, some secrets of the list...

...it is not in order of worst to best, it is just in alphabetical order, which some may have noticed.

They claim they chose these pictures based on how wonderfully cinematic they are.

They did limit their choices to only what was available on DVD at the time.

So, films may be missing they would have included if they had a DVD release.

All the films were considered great action films but you would need to order them from best to worst based on your own opinion.

My feeling was this was good because people will not all feel the same on which pictures are better than others.

Interesting that Aliens did end up at the top because when looking at best action film lists it does end up, quite often, in the top 10.
 

John Dirk

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I nominate Battleship (2012) although it probably belongs closer to the bottom of the list based on plot believability.
 

Reggie W

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Alright, so there it is, the Top 100 Action Movies on this list from 2003 that were available on DVD. Typing that, I think most of them did get a Blu release.

So, John has made the first nomination post 2002, which is a picture I don't think I have seen Battleship from 2012.

Also John guessed right and Aliens topped this list.
 

John Dirk

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I don't think I have seen Battleship from 2012.
It is a treat for your senses but not so much your brain. :cool:

1658852282646.png
 

Walter Kittel

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A couple of comments.

I'd quibble with some of the films being considered "Action". I'd suggest that "Adventure" is a better categorization for some films. (Lawrence of Arabia and North by Northwest for instance. This may have to do partly with how the action genre has evolved over the years. I tend to associate a large amount of sustained mayhem with the action genre these days.)

My list of action films starts with Die Hard.

- Walter.
 

Reggie W

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A couple of comments.

I'd quibble with some of the films being considered "Action". I'd suggest that "Adventure" is a better categorization for some films. (Lawrence of Arabia and North by Northwest for instance. This may have to do partly with how the action genre has evolved over the years. I tend to associate a large amount of sustained mayhem with the action genre these days.)

My list of action films starts with Die Hard.

- Walter.

Die Hard is another picture that seems to be at the top of best action film lists most of the time.

In part my reason for posting this 20 year old list of films is that I thought some people might feel films on the list are not actually action films because what people expect now is a non-stop action fest.

Action pictures can come in a variety of formats. Western, War, Crime, Science Fiction, Superhero, Adventure...they all can be action films. Today, basically I think to be considered an action film it has to be wall to wall packed with action.

In the past most of a film could be buildup to an action finale and the picture would be considered an action movie. A single great car chase would be reason to label a film action.

I mean, there is more action in some of today's comedies or dramas than there was in older action films but there was good reason for that. In the past they did want to build up to the action scenes to make them matter more. It was like piece of music that could build to a crescendo, ebb and flow, so that the tension could rise until the release. Now it is all just right to the action scenes.
 

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