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'80s Action Movies That Have Stood the Test of Time

'80s Action Movies That Have Stood the Test of Time including Top Gun, Batman, The Terminator, and more.

The '80s were a booming time for Hollywood. Action movies started getting popular and many famous actors made their debut in films which went on to become classics.

You'd spot many heroes in denim and guns, taking the streets for a fierce battle. Most of the time it was to fend off the bad guys, while aliens and cyborgs in some films. There was no place the good guys weren't willing to go to save the day. Sometimes, you would see fight scenes at casinos and while they couldn’t play blackjack at Ignition Casino back then, we all remember the exciting action stunts that we loved in these movies.

Here are the top Hollywood action movies from the '80s that are now considered a part of any film buff's curriculum, creating worlds and franchises that stood the test of time.

The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator is one of the first movies that toyed with the idea of robots taking on humans. Today, it is a classic as we see artificial intelligence and robotics become a part of our lives. Arnold played a solid role of a villain robot on a mission to kill Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton. The movie not only stands out as a classic action movie but also is known for its sci-fi theme.

The latest iteration of the Terminator series was released as recently as 2019, under the supervision of James Cameron, the director of the original film. While it did receive its share of (often harsh) criticism, Terminator: Dark Fate is a laudable effort to reboot the Terminator universe, but hopefully, it won’t be the last movie in the series.

Die Hard (1988)

The original Die Hard is hard to beat even though several sequels and remakes exist. Everyone in the casting put in hard work to create one of the most intense action movies of the '80s. The hostage situation really makes you sit at the edge of the chair in anticipation. However, the comic relief sequences in between make it a classic melodrama. Of course, Bruce Willis deserves a word of appreciation too.

With Willis retired, we don’t expect him to be in any subsequent Die Hard movies. Considering the popularity of the original even today, it wouldn’t be a surprise for the franchise to be revived with another unlikely hero in the main role.

Commando (1985)

Arnold once again steals the show in Commando with his display of acting and destruction skills. He is a retired colonel out to save his daughter, who is kidnapped by a group of miscreants. The movie has several memorable action scenes that still play on in the minds of the viewers. One of the most striking sequences presents Arnold flying a jet fighter while managing to keep the villain at bay. It's surely a great watch!

Few movies have as many '80s tropes as Commando – perhaps there are a few that it itself has given birth to. While today, the movie may feel a bit too cheesy, it’s still a fun watch even without the nostalgia factor.

Top Gun (1986)

Tom Cruise acted in a series of dramas before he got a chance to feature in Top Gun. He proved his worth playing the role of a US Naval Aviator, highly skilled at flying the jet fighter. However, we also see him romancing Kelly McGillis, his flying instructor. The plot is not that great, but the action sequences fill in your dissatisfaction. Not the least, the film awarded a look into the lives of fighter pilots.

With the sequel Top Gun: Maverick released to theaters with raving reviews, Top Gun has become one of the longest-lived Hollywood franchises with the fewest films in it. This may change in the near future, though, so keep your eyes peeled for some more high-octane air force fun.

Batman (1989)

Tim Burton is best known for his affinity for weirdness – think of his classics like Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks, Corpse Bride, and Frankenweenie. And, of course, his 1989 take on Batman.


He took a major risk by casting Michael Keaton – a comedian at the time – for the role of the Caped Crusader of Gotham, a risk that paid off big time.

The Joker has been recast twice in films since then, but arguably none of them could top Jack Nicholson’s rendition of the criminally insane villain.

Final Thoughts

The '80s produced some of the best action movies that are now classics. Most of them have stood the test of time – while many others still produce material to this day.

Photos courtesy Depositphotos
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