21 Old-School Action Flicks That Still Pack a Punch

Although today’s movies are bursting with the latest special effects and CGI, some of the best action movies were made decades ago. The fact is that good stunts and great storylines will always stand the test of time.

Let us remind you of some of the best old-school action movies of all time.


Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Hopper, this film is an action-packed adventure. A young police officer (Keanu Reeves) must stop a bomb from exploding underneath a runaway bus full of passengers.



Photo Credit: MGM.

This is one of the best old-school action/sci-fi movies ever made. Set in a futuristic version of crime-ridden Detroit, a mortally wounded policeman returns to duty as a powerful cyborg, only to be confronted with memories of his real identity and former life.


The Running Man

Photo Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

Set in 2025 and adapted from a novel by Stephen King, this film brings us old-school action in a way that we don’t see anymore. It’s a retro, sci-fi, action masterpiece that sees the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger battling for his life on a sadistic game show that forces convicts to fight against hardened killers to gain their freedom.


Lion Heart

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

A martial arts film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, what more can we say? This film has all the ingredients necessary for some classic, old-school action that will have you practicing your round-house kicks afterward.


The Sum of All Fears

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This action/thriller has everything you need for a great action movie: Russian spies, CIA agents, and a plot to instigate nuclear war.


Die Hard

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

This action/thriller movie sparked a five-film series spanning over 25 years as fans simply could not get enough of this dramatic film. It stars Bruce Willis as the besieged cop John McClane, who tries to de-escalate a hostage situation. This movie still has a rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.


Total Recall

Photo Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

If you want old-school action, adventure, and sci-fi all rolled into one, Total Recall is your movie. Hailed as a cult classic, this film has everything, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and intergalactic space fights.


Road House

Photo Credit: United Artists.

Starring the legend that is Patrick Swayze as a bouncer (Dalton) who is hired to tame a rowdy dive bar in the backwaters of Missouri. Funnily enough, some of Swayze’s Karate skills come in extra handy as he teaches a few locals a lesson or two.



Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer; need we say more? This movie is packed with old-school action and has been hailed as one of the best cops and robbers movies ever.


The Fugitive

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones make this film. Prepare for an adventure-packed roller coaster ride in this old-school action movie that sees Harrison Ford go on the run as part of a nationwide manhunt.


The Long Kiss Goodnight

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

This often underrated film still packs a punch with plenty of old-school action at its fingertips. Starring Samuel L Jackson, and Geena Davis, you already know that this movie has potential. 



Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Most people have forgotten about this epic film. But if you are looking for an action/horror movie with a few laughs thrown in, Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward will ensure that you get it.


The Ultimate Weapon

Photo Credit: Lionsgate Entertainment.

While the prize for the cheesiest movie title ever might just be awarded to this film, don’t let that put you off. This movie still holds some classic, nostalgic, and action-packed value. Plus, it stars the iconic Hulk Hogan.



Photo Credit: Silver Pictures.

Playing an ex-black ops commando, Arnold Schwarzenegger (John Matrix) sets out to rescue his daughter, who some revenge-seeking criminals have kidnaped. Cue lots of action, fight scenes, and explosions.


Under Siege

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Steven Seagal plays a former Navy Seal turned cook aboard a Marine battleship that is seized by a CIA agent who is intent on stealing the ship’s nuclear weapons. A masterpiece of legendary old-school action ensues.


Man On Fire

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox .

Denzel Washington plays an assassin who is hired as a bodyguard and who ends up vowing to take revenge on the criminals who kidnapped the daughter of the family that he was charged with protecting.


Lethal Weapon

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This old-school action-packed masterpiece stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as two cops who discover a massive drug trafficking ring.

Minority Report

Photo Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell, we already know that we are in good company in this epic, action/sci-fi film.


Top Gun

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Billed as an action/romance film, this movie has lots of both. The prequel to the recently released Top Gun: Maverick, this film is bursting with old-school nostalgia as we watch a young Tom Cruise battle it out with 80s style in high-powered fighter jets.



Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

A man-eating alien, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is in the jungle with explosives and a chopper that he must get to; this epic movie has all the old-school action anyone can handle.


Assault on Devils Island

Photo Credit: Turner Network Television.

South American drug lords, a treasure island, innocent hostages, and Navy Seals; this 1997 action thriller has it all – including Hulk Hogan.

Share Article:

Catherine Keating

Writer & Blogger

Join the family!

Sign up for a Newsletter.

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.
Edit Template