Many consider the action films of the 80s to be the true classics. I can certainly jump on that bandwagon. This shortlist of the best 5 will lend some credibility to the action films of this decade.
5. Red Dawn
This movie is recognized primarily since it featured so many young actors before their prime (and some in the midst of their primes): Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey. The plot was surprisingly not explored in depth before 1984: the commies invade mainland United States. As this small town is invaded and most of its inhabitants are captured and placed in camps, a small band of teenagers heads for the hills. Eventually they progress from surviving to attacking and the result is totally awesome.
4. First Blood
They say no man is an island but John Rambo proved that he isn’t just an island, he’s an island that can take on the police force of an entire town and a small squad of Army soldiers. The premise for this movie is exciting in itself but the actors (Stallone, Dennehy, Crenna) were made for the movie.
3. Lethal Weapon
Possibly the best comedy/action film of any decade. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are the perfect odd-couple that succeed in being macho, getting the bad guys and being hilarious all at once.
One of the best action films of all time, James Cameron added this to his list of blockbusters. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) common for female leads to succeed in action roles but Sigourney Weaver did it well.
1. Die Hard
One man against the world or against some crazy Germans bent on ripping off millions and holding a small number of hostages to ensure their success. If he wanted to, Bruce Willis could make more and more of these Die Hard movies until he actually died.
It is difficult to choose only five for the entire decade so I needed to mention the following films as being great.
Robocop: This movie was a bit more dark and morbid than most popular 80s action flicks. It was also one of the best.
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The most overlooked of the Indiana Jones series. Still a must see.
Beverly Hills Cop: The only true competition for best comedy/action film is from this movie. More comedy than action but all good.