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Flashback Friday: “Top Ten 80s Action Movies” by Blade Brown

Ah, the 80s. The “Golden Era” of action movies. This was the decade that actors such as Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone became superstars. Many of the films from the 80s started franchises that have either since been rebooted or have continued on over the years. While the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises are both considered classics, they’re more fantasy/adventure than action in my opinion. So unfortunately, those films will not be on this list.

*Honorable Mentions*
“Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior(1981)”
“Tango and Cash(1989)”
“Kickboxer(1989)”
“Rocky IV(1985)”
“Scarface(1983)”
This is the only movie I feel necessary to explain why its not on my actual top ten. The movie itself is iconic. Al Pacino gives one of his best performances ever and the movie is insanely popular, and quotable. But its more along the lines of a crime saga than a action movie. Sure, the final scene goes all out, but the movie is mainly about Tony’s rise and fall. And while there is action, its not enough of it for me an action flick. Its more along the lines of The Godfather than Rambo.

10. “Escape From New York(1981)/RoboCop(1987)”
When you think of the actors of these two movies(Kurt Russell and Peter Weller) these are the movies that come to mind. Both characters are legendary figures in cinema, and both films have cult like followings. While both have had sub par sequels(although RoboCop had a underrated reboot in 2014) the original films are classics in their own right.

9. “Top Gun(1986)”
This high octane Tom Cruise vehicle was recently re-released to theaters in IMAX form, and to this day it still holds up well. Directed by the late Tony Scott, this story of Naval Aviators is regarded as one of Cruise’s best movies. Its also responsible for my favorite TV Character, Sterling Archer’s catch phrase: DANGER ZONE.

8. “Commando(1985)”
The story of a retired black ops Commando who wages a one man war on those who kidnapped his daughter is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s more brutal movies. Lacking the humor that a lot of his later action movies blended, this was a hard hitting action flick that is vintage Arnold at his best.

7. “Terminator(1984)”
This futuristic action film set of a franchise that is still going strong 30 years later! Arnold stars as a Cyborg sent back in time to kill a woman who will give birth to the leader of the human resistance in a future where humans are at war with machines.

6. “First Blood: Part 2(1985)”
To be honest, to this day I still have no clue what this movie is about. I just know it has some of the best action scenes I’ve ever seen. John Rambo is a action icon. The final showdown of the movie goes all out.

5. “Lethal Weapon(1987)/Lethal Weapon 2(1989)
The franchise is the ideal buddy cop movie. The original stars Mel Gibson & Danny Glover as two homicide detectives who investigate a suicide that leads to a drug smuggling ring. Its widely considered one of the best movies of the 80s and its sequel is just as good. Especially when you add Joe Pesci to the mix as the entertaining Leo Getz. Without these movies, we’d have never gotten a Bad Boys or a Rush Hour.

4. “Batman(1989)”
Tim Burton is the first director to bring The Dark Knight to the big screen. His film is considered by many to be the best in the history of the character, as Michael Keeton is widely regarded as the best Batman. While significantly older than the character, Jack Nicholson gave one hell of a performance of The Joker. This movie was everywhere during its release. Just YouTube old commercials and Google old toys. The merchandise was selling at every outlet. And the batmobie from this movie is still the best. Its not up for debate!!

3. “Predator(1987)”
One of the most recognizable creatures in film history. Another Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle about a group of special forces team who while on a rescue mission, are hunted by an extraterrestrial being in a jungle of Central America. While there have been sequels and spinoffs, nothing is as good as the first film.

2. “Aliens(1986)”
This James Cameron(Terminator, Avatar) sequel blew the lid off of the first film. After years in stasis, Ripley is rescued and debriefed by the Weyland Company. They then send her back to the planet where she encountered the creature with a group of space marines. Only to come across the Queen of the Aliens and her army of offspring.


1. “Die Hard(1988)”
My favorite movie in my favorite franchise. John McClane(Bruce Willis) is the a fish out of water. A New York City cop visiting his family for Christmas, who is stuck in his wife’s job as terrorist take over and take the employees hostage. This movie made Bruce Willis a star and spawned of of the best franchises ever. While the sequels are all solid(excluding A Good Day To Die Hard), Die Hard is the critically acclaimed action movie of all action movies. Story. Acting. Action. It fires on all cylinders.

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"Top Ten 80s Action Movies"Blade BrownBlogFlashback Friday:

brandonw • May 8, 2015


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