Action films have not always been viewed with the same respect as other genres, such as drama and period films, and have often been dismissed as low films. However, there have been some great action movies that deserve credit for their ability to incorporate deep, complex stories amidst all the excitement and fun that comes with the genre. The fact that action movies have been around for, according to Priceonomics, around 80 years is a testament to the popularity and longevity of the action genre. Time Out released a list of 101 of the best action movies ever made, further testifying to the popularity of the genre.
In order to make a great action movie and not feel overproduced, a lot of decisions have to be made by the director. The craft that goes into filmmaking involves many big decisions and a skill as a director that few can master. In fact, some of the greatest directors in movie history were or are action movie directors. From James Cameron to Akira Kurosawa, here are the best of them.
7 james cameron
james cameron is one of the best-known and most successful directors in history, having made huge blockbusters like Titanic and Avatar; however, Cameron has definitely made a name for himself as a master of the action genre. Cameron made epic action movies like aliens, Terminator 2 and real lies, all of which became huge hits and developed a strong cult following. Cameron’s style is unmistakable, and he’s particularly famous for his use of special effects that were unlike anything else when his films were first released. Even now, with the broadcast of the first images of Avatar 2Cameron displays an eye that is always one step ahead.
6 The Wachowski siblings
Lilly Wachowski and Lana Wachowski rank among the most iconic film directors of all time and it was cemented with their work in The matrix franchise, which became a huge hit as well as an instantly recognizable part of pop culture. Their impressive visual style and fast-paced thrillers have become hallmarks of their work and allow their films to have a unique impact that extends beyond the films themselves. The themes of The matrix include a constantly questioning reality, as well as beautiful visuals that over time have never been seen before. In addition to The matrixthey led Relatedwhich is an erotic crime thriller centered around two women who have an affair while plotting to rob the mob.
5 Tony Scott
Tony Scott made a name for himself by making true romancewhich was a script he got from Quentin Tarantino after he was initially turned down reservoir dogs. The film is not a classic action movie that could be compared to others on this list, however, it features phenomenal shootouts and fight scenes that justify its place on this list. Scott would dedicate most of his career to the action genre and contribute to some of the best action films in history: Upper gun, unstoppableand enemy of the state.
4 John McTiernan
die hard is undoubtedly one of the most popular and impactful action movies of all time and John McTiernan is responsible for its creation. The story has been replicated many times, especially its one-location hostile takeover story. McTiernan continued his action movie legacy by directing Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator as well as The Hunt for Red October. His cinematic style is truly unique among his peers.
3 george miller
George Miller is a versatile director who is responsible for some of the best children’s films in the genre, including happy feet and Baby: Pig in the city. More than that, he is best known for his sleeper hit that revolutionized cinema, madmax. The franchise became a huge success and spawned several sequels, the most successful of which was Mad Max: Fury Roadwho truly cemented his place as the modern master of the action movie genre.
2 Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa is a hugely influential filmmaker and has made some of the most acclaimed films that have ever existed, including Ran, Yojimbo, Rashomon, throne of blood, The hidden fortressbecome a master of the art form. Seven Samurai set the bar for countless action movies that would follow, and it’s considered one of the greatest films of all time.
1 John Woo
John Woo is another action legend that needs no introduction. Woo is the original action movie expert, who has been credited with influencing the work of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. He has produced work that stands the test of time, including hard boiled, The killer and A better tomorrow. His work is famous for its dramatic slow-motion fight scenes.
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