Director James Gunn Unveils His List of the 54 Best Action Movies
Director James Gunn Unveils His List of the 54 Best Action Movies


There’s no way around it: Some people’s opinions on movies just hold more weight than others. And when these people give us advice on what movies we should watch, we listen. Case in point, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who just released a list of his favorite action movies of all time in an attempt to entertain us during our collective quarantine.


Gunn didn’t skimp on the list, either, as it contains a whopping 54 movies. There are some undeniable classics in there, as well as more than a few hidden gems. He includes entries from iconic action franchises such as Indiana Jones, The Matrix, James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Mission: Impossible. He lists films from acclaimed directors like Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, and George Miller. And he features several foreign films among his ranks, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Oldboy, and Seven Samurai.


There are also some curious omissions. Though Gunn’s greatest claim to fame in his career thus far has been his two Guardians of the Galaxy movies, there are zero Marvel movies on the list. You’d think at least one selection from the blockbuster MCU would show up on a list of the 54 best action movies, but alas, there are none. Maybe Gunn didn’t want to play favorites? Another glaring omission is the distinct lack of ’80s actioners. Gunn did include a handful of classics from the decade, including RoboCop and Die Hard, but loads of ’80s movies are missing. There’s not a single Schwarzenegger nor Stallone movie in the bunch, and only six ’80s movies in total made the cut. By comparison, there are 10 from the ’90s, 12 from the 2010s, and 17(!) from the 2000s. Given that the ’80s was arguably the most popular decade for action films, this seems a bit odd to us.


You can take a look at Gunn’s full list below, and then decide in which order you’d like to binge ’em.


Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
The Matrix (1999)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Die Hard (1988)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
JSA: Joint Security Area (2000)
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
Lady Vengeance (2005)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Bullitt (1968)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Yellow Sea (2010)
The Raid: Redemption (2012)
Hero (2002)
Night Watch (2004)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Taken (2008)
The Heroic Trio (1993)
The French Connection (1971)
Robocop (1987)
The Killer (1989)
The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)
The Legend (Fong Sai Yuk) (1993)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
The Villainess (2017)
Revenge (2018)
Crank (2006)
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Escape from New York (1981)
Battle Royale (2000)
Full Contact (1992)
Oldboy (2005)
Thunderball (1965)
La Femme Nikita (1990)
Leon: The Professional (1994)
Magnum Force (1973)
Speed (1994)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
’71 (2014)
Payback (theatrical cut) (1999)
Equilibrium (2002)
John Wick (2014)
Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)
Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2008)
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
Ms. 45 (1981)
Green Snake (1993)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Seven Samurai (1954)
Rolling Thunder (1977)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
V for Vendetta (2006)
Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)


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Image courtesy of MGM