As far as escapism goes, it doesn't come much better than sitting down to watch a good action movie. From the swashbucklers of the 1920s to the $200m blockbusters of today, the genre remains as popular as ever with audiences across the world. Whether you're after a hero you can relate to, a superhero you've always been a fan of, groundbreaking CGI effects, or you're just in the mood to see some good old fashioned fistfights and shootouts, action cinema will continue to entertain fans of the genre for as long as it exists.
With that in mind, this article will knuckle down and attempt to rank the 50 greatest action movies ever made. It is a list that features all of the genre's biggest names from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson to James Cameron, Michael Bay and John Woo, encompassing dozens of iconic movies, a body count that runs into the thousands, no shortage of broken bones and enough spent ammunition to batter any army into submission.
There is a simple reason why Die Hard is often labelled as the greatest action movie of all time; because it is exactly that. Redefining both the action movie and their heroes, John McTiernan's classic has been countlessly imitated and often plain ripped off, but never bettered.
A great script, an instantly-iconic protagonist, one of the all-time great villains and a simple high-concept pitch all combined with McTiernan's efficient and tension-building direction to craft what has been regarded as the pinnacle of the action genre for over 25 years, a reputation that no amount of terrible sequels can tarnish.