The Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

Looking for a little adrenaline jolt to your Netflix viewing? We’ve got you covered. Below we’ve curated a list of the best action movies currently available to stream on Netflix, from the more adventure-tinged playful flicks to big-budget superhero movies to straight-up kung fu films. It’s the perfect antidote to the same-old-same-old, and Netflix has a pretty swell and diverse library of action films to spice up your night.

So behold, below are the best action movies on Netflix.

Avengers: Infinity War

Image via Marvel Studios

Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Cast: Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Carrie Coon, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong, Letitia Wright, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Marquand

Avengers: Infinity War is so much movie, it shouldn’t exist at all. Just look at that cast list! Movies aren’t mean to have that many stars! But Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo pulled off the impossible by putting the focus on their big bad, Thanos, and swinging him across the galaxy like a wrecking ball that scatters the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and all of the MCU’s biggest heroes in an epic battle to save half of all life. Literally all life. Like, even your dog. Talk about stakes. Infinity War is as episodic as movies get, and it’s at its best when it leans into the character dynamics and crazy thrills of seeing all these heroes together on one screen. There’s a lot of joy in watching wizards fly through the streets of Manhattan and seeing Spider-Man zip through Doctor Strange’s portals on a far-off planet. Infinity War marks the culmination of a decade spent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its just as insanely jam-packed with quips and action-packed superhero mayhem as that tall order demands. — Haleigh Foutch

Hot Fuzz

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine, Olivia Colman, Rafe Spall

Filmmaker Edgar Wright certainly turned heads with his work on the beloved UK series Spaced and then broke out in a big way with the “zomromcom” Shaun of the Dead, but how to follow up that success? With a whip-smart twist on the action genre, of course. With Hot Fuzz, Wright captures the world of everyday police work with the same urgency and explosiveness as Michael Bay shoots his big chase sequences, resulting in a hilarious action film all its own that never delves into parody. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are excellent as the two lead policemen, but the entire ensemble truly shines as the film moves towards a delightful turn at the top of the third act. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the fun. – Adam Chitwood

Casino Royale

Image via MGM and EON

Director: Martin Campbell

Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis

Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, Tobias Menzies

Considered by many to be the best Bond movie of them all, Casino Royale introduced the world to Daniel Craig‘s 007 — a gritty, swaggering post-Bourne Bond who can rough and tumble with the best of them. GoldenEye director Martin Campbell returns to the iconic spy franchise, bringing a bit of old school to the new generation, perfectly toeing the line between the classic must-have Bond moments (fast cars, shaken martinis, beautiful women, etc…) while elegantly updating the material at the same time. Eva Green‘s Vesper Lynd is easily one of the most memorable Bond women, afforded a compelling and intimate relationship with the superspy beyond the standard seduction and Mads Mikkelsen‘s villainous Le Chiffre is equally memorable (pretty sure some men are still wincing from that torture scene.) The perfect balance of classic and modern, Casino Royale is one of the best spy movies ever made, jam-packed with stunning set-pieces and all the best bits of the Bond legacy. — Haleigh Foutch


Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Zach Snyder

Writers: David Hayter and Alex Tse

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Malin Ackerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie

Just in time to get you hyped for HBO’s Watchmen, Netflix is giving you a chance to catch up on Zach Snyder’s divisive adaptation of the revered graphic novel. For me, Watchmen is just shy of a stone cold masterpiece, as good of an adaptation of Alan Moore‘s seminal source material any fan could hope for in a big-budget film. Sure, there’s no squid, but the cast is aces, the visuals are brilliant, the action is brutal, and Snyder never backs down from the relentlessly bleak source material. Hell, the opening credits alone are a work of art. Now, if we can only get Netflix to upload the director’s cut. — Haleigh Foutch

Indiana Jones

Image via Lucasfilm

Directors: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, Philip Kaufman / Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, James Kahn / Jeffrey Boam, Menno Meyjes / David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson

Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliot, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, Amrish Puri, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Julian Glover, River Phoenix, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent

Hey, guess what! All four Indiana Jones movies are currently on Netflix. That’s right! So now you can argue with your friends and family about which of them is the best, or impress them with your knowledge of trivia, or just drag Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull across hot, alien coals.

And if you have yet to witness the action, adventure and excitement that Indiana Jones puts on display better than just about any other archaeologically themed feature franchise, this is your perfect opportunity to remedy that, especially since a fifth Spielberg film is due out in just a couple of years. So get your whip and your fedora ready because it’s high time for an adventure! (Plus, you get to watch Nazis getting punched all day long.) – Dave Trumbore

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Image via Lucasfilm

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Johnathan Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan

Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelsen, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandi Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

A throwback love letter to the Star Wars tradition, Solo: A Star Wars Story got the brunt of the post-The Last Jedi discourse and the dramatic behind-the-scenes squabbles during production, but the final product is a light, breezy intergalactic adventure that would have been plenty entertaining if unremarkable had it arrived in theaters without the Star Wars baggage. Given an impossible task Alden Ehrenreich does as good a job as you could ask from any actor trying to recreate one of cinema’s most iconic characters without doing a SNL impression, and backed by a supporting cast of weirdos played by Woody Harrelsen as a rougish mentor to Han, Donald Glover absolutely loving cape life as Lando Calrissian, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the kinkiest droid that ever was. It’s a strange Frankenstein’s monster of a movie and you can feel the stitches, but there’s plenty of fun to be found among the aggressive callbacks and fan service. — Haleigh Foutch

The Raid: Redemption

Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Writer/Director: Gareth Evans

Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno

Action movies don’t get much better than The Raid: Redemption, a gorgeous kinetic masterwork built around the framework of an intentionally barebones plot: a SWAT team gets trapped in a building with countless ruthless killers and takes it down, floor by floor. New room, new fight. Glorious simplicity, backed up by some of the finest fight choreography ever put on film. Gareth Evans is a wizard of the set-piece, shooting each blow for full-impact and his lead/choreographer Iko Uwais is a powerhouse, unleashing phenomenal feats of ass-kicking every few minutes. — Haleigh Foutch

The Terminator

Image via MGM

Writer/Director: James Cameron

Cast: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Lance Henricksen, Dick Miller, Bill Paxton

Part action, part sci-fi, part horror, part romance, and all excellent, The Terminator was the movie that introduced the world to what James Cameron was capable of as a filmmaker. Mixing up time travel and tech terror, unstoppable robots and impossible love affairs, The Terminator really has it all. Gritty and unrelenting, with extraordinary practical effects that often give the film a Grindhouse-adjacent flourish, The Terminator is an all-timer for a reason. From Linda Hamilton‘s performance to Cameron’s extraordinary sense of tension-building composition, every element of The Terminator is in alignment to make for a breathless, occasionally terrifying action thriller from one of blockbuster cinema’s all-time greats. —Haleigh Foutch

The Dark Knight

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Jonathan Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine

One of the best superhero movies ever made, full-stop, The Dark Knight is a masterpiece. Christopher Nolan successfully introduced the world to the idea of a “gritty reboot” with Batman Begins, but for the follow-up he crafted an epic, surprising, and downright thrilling story of escalation. Heath Ledger’s take on The Joker is iconic, offering up an enigmatic villain who consistently throws Christian Bale’s Batman for a loop. Then you have Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent, as The Dark Knight crafts a meaty, fulfilling, and heartbreaking arc for this Bruce Wayne foil. On top of all of that, Nolan is essentially making a film about the post-9/11 world—one in which fighting “the bad guys” only leads to bigger and more severe devastation. How do you confront an enemy that just wants to watch the world burn? There’s a reason The Dark Knight has lingered in the public consciousness for a decade, and it still holds up as the best of the best in the face of the bevy of superhero movies that soon followed. – Adam Chitwood

The Night Comes for Us

Image via Netflix

Writer/Director: Timo Tjahjanto

Cast: Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Zack Lee, Sunny Pang, Hannah Al Rashid

You may think you know all the ways you could inflict violence on the human body in a fight scene, but I assure you, The Night Comes for Us has something to teach you about the art of the splatter fight scene. From director Timo Tjhajanto, this Netflix action pic is packed to the brim with bloody, brutal combat. The best feature film from Tjahjanto to date, The Night Comes for Us is a relentless showcase of action and carnage, rooted on the story of a criminal turned war criminal looking for a little redemption. The cast is packed with familiar faces for action fans, especially fans of The Raid films, who will recognize Joe TaslimJulie EstelleZack Lee, and of course, Iko Uwais, who takes a supporting role but still shows up to work in some incredible fight scenes. And if fight scenes are what you’re looking for in a good action movie, there’s no shortage in this one, which stages wall-to-wall combat in a breathless, relentlessly entertaining showcase. This one will earn a lot of attention for it’s shared cast with The Raid, but damn if it isn’t impressive in its own right. — Haleigh Foutch

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Image via Marvel Studios

Written and Directed by: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russell, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Debicki, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel

Yes, all Marvel movies are technically “action movies”, but if you’re in the mood for a space-set adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is a great pick. Writer/director James Gunn doubled down on the riskiness of the first Guardians movie by crafting a sequel that’s essentially a hangout movie, where the villain and plot don’t really become crystal clear until well over halfway into the flick. That allows you to sit back and soak up the eye-popping visuals, and indeed while this is very much a hangout movie, that doesn’t mean there aren’t also massive (and massively colorful) space battles and gun fights. – Adam Chitwood


Image via Paramount

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfieffer, Ben Barnes, Henry Cavill, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett

Adapted from Niel Gaiman‘s enchanting and delightful novella of the same name, Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust is a classic, swashbuckling fantasy adventure bubbling over with charm. Charlie Cox stars as Tristan Thorn, a lovesick young man who dares to cross over to a magical land in order to capture a fallen star and win the love of his village beauty. There’s just one problem — the fallen star takes the form of a headstrong young woman (Claire Danes) and a trio of wicked witches are hot on their trail, eager to carve out her heart. They don’t often make adventure movies like they used to these days, but Stardust is a brilliant throwback in the vein of The Princess Bride that delivers on all fronts and stands as one of the best Neil Gaiman adaptations yet. — Haleigh Foutch

Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Image via Miramax

Writer/Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, David Carradine, Julie Dreyfus, Sonny Chiba, Chiaki Kuriyama

Uma Thurman has never done more rigorous or impressive work than her turn as Beatrix Kiddo, aka The Bride, in Tarantino’s martial arts homage Kill Bill. The first film follows The Bride’s bloody warpath to revenge after her assassin squad turned against her on the day of her wedding, and Vol. 2 dives deep into Kiddo, who she was before the betrayal and who she wants to be once her revenge is complete. Both films are packed to the brim with stunning action sequences, for which Tarantino recruited legendary martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping and sword fight choreographer Tetsuro Shimaguchi. Kinetic, relentless, and consummately stylish, the Kill Bill movies are some of the most artful, intense action movies in cinema history because they’re pulled from the very DNA of that history. — Haleigh Foutch

Beyond Skyline

Image via XYZ Films

Writer/Director: Liam O’Donnell

Cast: Frank Grillio, Jonny Weston, Bojana Nvakovich, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Antonio Fargas, Lindsey Morgan, Betty Gabriel

Beyond Skyline is a special kind of WTF. Of all the movies to spawn a franchise, I never would have guessed the much-derided 2010 sci-fi pic Skyline could pull it off, much less that the follow-up film would be such a gleeful, globe-trotting action-packed adventure. A proud, pulpy B-movie featuring aliens that rip the brain right out of your skull, Beyond Skyline stars Frank Grillo as a cop at odds with his son (Jonny Weston) when an alien attack sends them scrambling for their lives. Once the aliens make contact, the film ricochets through settings and characters at a breakneck pace, packing in a paperback book series worth of sci-fi lunacy into a single feature film that travels from subterranean tunnels to the nuclear wasteland of Los Angeles to an alien ship, and all the way to Laos, where Mark teams with rebels to battle the alien threat. You’ve got Frank Grillo playing hero with a baby in one hand and a space-blaster on the other, Antonio Fargas as a Vietnam vet who calls everybody “bitch”, Iko Uwais and Yaya Ruhain beating the shit out of giant aliens, and there’s even an honest-to-god Kaiju battle. Beyond Skyline won’t be for everyone, but if you love a bananas B-movie, the feature debut from writer-director Liam O’Donnell ticks all the right boxes. – Haleigh Foutch

Black Panther

Image via Marvel

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writers: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis

In case you had any doubts left after CreedRyan Coogler definitely knows his way around a fight scene. Though nothing in Black Panther matches the elegance or intimacy of the boxing ring, Coogler stages the hell outs of a number of crowd-pleasing set pieces, which are always just that much better when they involve the women of Wakanda kicking ass. Though the final fight is unfortunately a muddled CGI production, there’s still plenty of great action to love in Black Panther, which also happens to be one of the boldest and most emotional MCU movies yet. — Haleigh Foutch


Image via Netflix

Director: Jeremy Rush

Writer: Jeremy Rush

Cast: Frank Grillo, Garret Dillahunt, Caitlin Carmichael, Shea Whigam, Wendy Moniz

Frank Grillo should be one of cinema’s leading action stars. Cut from 1970s cloth, Grillo is an old-school everyman tough guy; a real blue-collar badass. Grillo can grimace and load a gun with the best of ‘em, but unlike the dominant figures in the Western action hero tradition, Grillo is also a trained martial artist who brings impressive physical command to his street-smart charisma. With Wheelman, Grillo takes on a different kind of challenge for an action star — a performance told almost entirely in close-up, from the confines of a single vehicle. That doesn’t leave a lot of room to throw punches or fire heavy artillery, but Grillo and writer-director Jeremy Rush make the most of the minimalist set-up, turning out a gripping, wisely calibrated B-movie about one high-octane night of crime that blasts off from the word go and never taps the brakes. — Haleigh Foutch

Thor: Ragnarok

Image via Marvel Studios

Director: Taika Waititi

Writers: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Karl Urban, Rachel House

Marvel’s zaniest movie yet, Thor: Ragnarok takes the MCU formula and projects it through the candy-colored lens of Taika Waititi, bringing a healthy serving of his goofy humor along for the ride. Picking up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) after they sat out Captain America: Civil War, Ragnarok galavants through the galaxy like a big-budget buddy comedy staged against the foretold fall of Asgard. Along with the fan-favorite Avengers, Rangnarok introduces Tessa Thompson’s scene-stealer Valkyrie, Cate Blanchett’s deliciously deviant (if inconsequential) villain Hela, and Jeff Goldblum’s hedonistic Grandmaster. It’s an action-packed delight from start to finish with a real sense of personality and it all comes together like a live-action Saturday Morning Cartoon. — Haleigh Foutch

Incredibles 2

Image via Pixar/Disney

Writer/Director: Brad Bird

Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Huck Milner, Sarah Vowell, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, and Samuel L. Jackson

Although it doesn’t quite reach the high bar set by the original, Incredibles 2remains a completely delight from start to finish. Writer-director Brad Bird breaks the narrative into two plotlines, one following Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as she attempts to restore the good name of the Supers, and a second following Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) as he attempts to raise the kids. Although the Elastigirl plotline has all the colorful action thrills we want from a superhero movie, the film reaches a whole new level as Mr. Incredible struggles valiantly to raise a hyperactive Dash (Huck Milner), an angry Violet (Sarah Vowell), and a Jack-Jack who is bursting with superpowers. Pixar has been uneven with its sequels, but Incredibles 2 is easily a success for the animation powerhouse. – Matt Goldberg

Ip Man

Image via Mandarin Films

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Edmond Wong

Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Siu-Wong Fan, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi

This 2008 martial arts essential stars Donnie Yen as Ip Man, the legendary Wing Chun master who went on to train Bruce Lee. A wealthy martial artist living the dream life, Ip Man’s life is thrown into chaos when the Japanese occupy his hometown during wartime. On the surfae level, Ip Man is in opportunity to watch one of the best living martial artists play one of the most famed Kung Fu masters of all time – and it certainly delivers on the fight scenes that come with that premise, including an instantly iconic Wing Chun vs. Black Belts set-piece. But Ip Man is also a fantastic character-driven period drama rooted in history and apparent affection for the martial arts genre, and Yen is extraordinary, not just for the athleticism and showmanship of his choreography work but for his charismatic, commanding performance. — Haleigh Foutch

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright

Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Jason Schwartzman.

Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s outstanding comic didn’t find much of an audience upon its release, but over the years it has grown into a cult classic. The movie follows Scott Pilgrim (Cera), a sweet if slightly selfish and misguided young man who falls for delivery girl Ramona Flowers (Winstead). He can only continue to date her if he defeats her seven evil exes. Scott’s comfortable with the video game framework, but the film is really about two people discovering they have to get over their own baggage if they’re going to find new love. Wright decorates the whole picture with video game tropes and fun little nods, but never loses sight of the core romantic story. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is funny, effervescent, and only gets better on repeat viewings. – Matt Goldberg


Image via Universal Pictures

Writer-Director: Joss Whedon

Cast: Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Alan Tudyk, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Morena Baccarin, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Jewel Staite, Ron Glass

Joss Whedon‘s Firefly spinoff film is the best space adventure you can find this side of Star WarsA tightly-wound, self-contained tale of good and evil, spun out of the mythology tapped in Whedon’s sadly short-lived series, Serenity travels to through the wonders and terrors of space with the easy ensemble chemistry that proved Whedon the right guy to take the MCU to the next level in The Avengers. Packed with plenty of one-liners, Serenity‘s also got heart where it counts and plenty of kick-ass action beats thanks to the strapping Captain Mal (pre-Castle Nathan Fillion) and some killer fight scenes from the telepathic wunderkind River (ex-ballerina Summer Glau turning in a very physical performance). As far as romps through the galaxy go, you can’t ask for much more, just be prepared for the wave of sadness when you realize we haven’t seen the Firefly gang together on screen since 2005. – Haleigh Foutch

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Image via Lucasfilm

Director/Writer: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis

Love it or hate it, you have to admit Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a bold film. It’d have been easy for Looper filmmaker Rian Johnson to simply craft a fan service-y Force Awakens sequel that follows all the expected storytelling beats, but instead he leaned hard into character POVs—specifically those of Rey and Kylo Ren, telling a story mostly through their eyes. The result is a wildly thrilling, wholly original, and surprising sequel that delivers entertainment and thematic heft in equal measure. It’s a story about self-doubt, growth, and the spark of a rebellion, and it’s lovingly crafted with show-stopping, iconic visuals like the Throne Room set piece and Holdo’s gasp-inducing moment. Whether you’re watching The Last Jedi for the first for 15th time, you’re getting a whole meal of a movie. – Adam Chitwood

Kickboxer: Retaliation

Image via Well Go USA

Look, Kickboxer: Retaliation isn’t going to win any awards, but there’s a time and place for movies like these. The place is my TV screen and the time is always. Kickboxer: Vengeance’s Kurt Sloan (Alain Moussi) returns along with his mentor Master Durand (Jean Claude Van Damme) after avenging the death of his brother in the ring. Trouble is, he killed the guy, which means he’s now locked up in a Thailand prison, where he’s constantly battling it out with his fellow inmates and taking beatings from the guards. But when his wife is kidnapped, he’s forced back in the ring against an undefinable foe (Game of Thrones mountain Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). In the Kickboxer tradition, the plot is paper thin, the training montages are extensive, the kicks are high, and most importantly, the fight scenes are cream of the crop. It’s a fun, dumb ass-kicking movie with a decent sense of scope and scale, and it shouldn’t be understated how fun it is that it basically lets Van Damme play Daredevil. — Haleigh Foutch

National Treasure

Image via Disney

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

Written by: Jim Kouf and Cormac Wibberley & Marianne Wibberley

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, and Harvey Keitel

If The Da Vinci Code was fun, it would be National Treasure. The plot follows Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage in an action hero role that suits him), a treasure hunter who discovers there’s a map on the back on the Declaration of Independence and goes on a mad dash to steal the document and find (or, in his view, protect) the treasure before unscrupulous billionaire Ian Howe (Sean Bean) does. The movie is fun from start to finish as it makes a mad dash through various points of American History with ample comedy and earnest adoration for our nation’s past. Also, Justin Bartha’s throwaway joke about the preservation room is an all-timer. – Matt Goldberg


Image via Warner Bros.

Writer/Director: Michael Mann

Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Amy Brenneman, Natalie Portman

Michael Mann perfected the heist movie with his 1995 thriller Heat. Impeccably paced and tightly scripted, Heat is all lean muscle thanks to Mann’s unadorned approach to action, nuanced character portraits and an on-screen showdown for the ages between two acting legends. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro both starred in The Godfather Part II, but they never shared the screen until the iconic diner scene in Heat, an intellectual and machismo battle of equals played in quiet stillness over a cup of coffee. Their rich dynamic — the obsession of two workaholics on opposite sides of the law — is the spark that fuels Heat, making it a tense and bracing watch, even in its quietest moments. Of course, there’s also that famed shootout sequence, a near ten minutes of pulse-pounding perfection set in the streets downtown Los Angeles. It’s one of the best pieces of action filmmaking in movie history. —Haleigh Foutch

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