Guess Which Action Hero Starred in These ’80s Movies!

By: Olivia Cantor
Estimated Completion Time
6 min
This '80s action hero played diverse kinds of human characters in the '80s, but he's best remembered for playing a non-human in "The Terminator." Can you guess who?
Dolph Lundgren
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger played many roles such as a twin, a kindergarten teacher, a spy, a family man, a cop, a soldier, and a barbarian, but his android role stood out during that era. Thanks to his stoic performance in "The Terminator," he became a solid action hero of Hollywood.
Sylvester Stallone
Jean-Claude Van Damme

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The name John Rambo became synonymous with this '80s action hero. Who is this Hollywood A-lister?
Clint Eastwood
Tom Cruise
Mel Gibson
Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone already made a name for himself as pugilist Rocky Balboa in the '70s and continued that role until the '80s and even this 2010s. But he also made the role of John Rambo memorable, that war veteran hero started in "First Blood."

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Before becoming a recognized action movie hero in "Die Hard," he first made a name on TV doing comedy-drama. Which actor made this '80s transition?
Bruce Willis
Aside from being an action hero of '80s movies, Bruce Willis also did other movies belonging to the comedy genre, like being the voice of "talking babies" in "Look Who's Talking." He also appeared in the rom-com "Blind Date" opposite Kim Basinger.
Alan Rickman
Reginald VelJohnson
Eddie Murphy

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He's more into directing lately, but this '80s action hero was memorable as Dirty Harry in "Sudden Impact." Can you name this Hollywood legend?
Henry Winkler
Mel Gibson
Ron Howard
Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood's Harry Callahan character appeared as early as 1971 in "Dirty Harry," and "Sudden Impact" was the fourth of the Dirty Harry film series. He directed this one, though, and this is where he utters the famous line saying "Go ahead, make my day."

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"Mission: Impossible" morphed into action movies and became identifiable with this guy, but people knew him as that pilot in "Top Gun" during the '80s. Do you know his name?
Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise appeared in '80s drama films with an ensemble cast like "Taps" and "The Outsiders" before headlining his own films like "Risky Business" and "All The Right Moves." He then had a chance to become an action hero in "Top Gun," and continued making action films until the 2010s.
Val Kilmer
Harrison Ford
Willem Dafoe

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She was one of the most memorable female action heroes of the '80s for playing headstrong Ripley in the sci-fi film "Aliens." Can you name her?
Sigourney Weaver
"Aliens" is the 1986 film sequel directed by James Cameron, and the first one, "Alien" was released in 1979 and directed by Ridley Scott. In both films, Sigourney Weaver played the lead role of Ellen Ripley. She also reprised this role in "Alien 3" and "Alien Resurrection."
Linda Hamilton
Lucy Lawless
Helen Slater

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Three different actors played James Bond in the '80s, and this one was the action hero featured in "Octopussy." Which Bond was this?
Timothy Dalton
Roger Moore
M16 Agent 007, James Bond, was portrayed by Roger Moore in the 1983 film called "Octopussy." He portrayed this role seven times, and this film was his sixth time to play this action hero-spy. His last film as Bond was 1985's "A View to a Kill."
Pierce Brosnan
David Niven

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Australia's contribution to the global action heroes list in the '80s was this toughie in "Mad Max 2." Can you name this hottie?
Tom Hardy
Mel Gibson
"Mad Max" is an Australian franchise film started by George Miller in 1979 with "Mad Max" then followed with 1981's "Mad Max 2" and 1985's "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome." Max was played by Mel Gibson in all of these three films, making him an internationally recognized action hero.
Hugh Jackman
Russell Crowe

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Martial arts action was huge in the '80s, and so was this "Missing in Action" fight expert. What's his name?
Michael Dudikoff
Sho Kosugi
David Carradine
Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris was a huge action hero of the '80s due to his martial arts prowess. He appeared in films such as "The Delta Force," "Code of Silence," and the "Missing in Action" film series which were all shown in the '80s.

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"Raiders of the Lost Ark" introduced us to a professor who's also an adventurer when not in class. Which leading man portrayed him?
Harrison Ford
It's hard to imagine that Harrison Ford worked as a carpenter prior to hitting it big with his Han Solo portrayal in "Star Wars." Headlining "Raiders of the Lost Ark" led to many other great '80s films that put him in the lead, such as "Witness," "Blade Runner" and "Working Girls," to name a few.
Michael Douglas
Richard Chamberlain
Burt Reynolds

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Action heroes were pretty comedic, too, in the '80s, thanks to this guy. Who's this "Beverly Hills Cop" lead?
William Shatner
Kurt Russell
Chris Rock
Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy was a big name in '80s comedies such as "Trading Places" and "Coming to America," but he also tried to mix comedy with some action. He was successful with that tandem in 1984's "Beverly Hills Cop," and in 1982's "48 hrs." with Nick Nolte.

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This competitive martial artist wowed people with his "split move" at the movies, especially in "Bloodsport." Can you name this champion fighter?
Michael Dudikoff
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme became known as that martial arts guy who did splits in fight movies like 1988's "Bloodsport," 1986's "No Retreat, No Surrender," and 1989's "Kickboxer." But he also did splits in his other movies like 1991's "Double Impact" and 1994's "Timecop."
Carl Weathers
Jet Li

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You can't do an '80s action movie heroes list without mentioning this real-life martial artist from Hong Kong and his impressive action films like "Police Story." What's his name?
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan was already a big name in Hong Kong and neighboring Asian countries in the '70s and '80s prior to making it big in Hollywood, thanks to his unique kung fu films laden with humor. He was proud of doing his own stunts in his films, and he even worked as a stuntman in Bruce Lee's films.
Chow Yun-Fat
Jet Li
Sammo Hung

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A debonaire leading man like him can also portray an action hero in disguise, like Clark Kent in "Superman IV." Can you read his mind and tell us his name?
Dean Cain
Brandon Routh
Christopher Reeve
"Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" starred the late Christopher Reeve in the titular superhero role. This 1987 film wasn't such a huge hit, though, unlike the first three ones, namely 1978's "Superman," "1980's "Superman II," and 1983's "Superman III."
John Haymes Newton

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Several "Young Guns" were indeed included in this '80s western. Which dramatic actor led the pack and became an action hero here?
Lou Diamond Phillips
Dermot Mulroney
Kiefer Sutherland
Emilio Estevez
As one of the leading figures of the '80s Brat Pack group, Emilio Estevez headlined 1988's "Young Guns," but no other Brat Packer was there. He was with them in 1985's "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire," though.

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"Red Sonja" showed us that the '80s also had a spot for female action heroes. Who portrayed the titular character here?
Brigitte Nielsen
Brigitte Nielsen is originally from Denmark and worked as a model prior to acting in Hollywood films in the '80s. She was in "Rocky IV" and "Cobra" with her then-husband Sylvester Stallone, but she headlined "Red Sonja" in 1985.
Anne Parillaud
Rachel Ticotin
Maria Conchita Alonso

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He thought he would never play James Bond again, but he did, for the last time, in "Never Say Never Again." Can you name this Bond?
Pierce Brosnan
George Lazenby
Sean Connery
Sean Connery started portraying James Bond in 1962 with the release of "Dr. No." He made four more Bond films in the '60s and supposedly one last Bond film in the '70s, "Diamonds are Forever." But he was called back again to reprise the role one last time in 1983's "Never Say Never Again."
Timothy Dalton

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During the '80s, he was another martial arts expert who used his fighting skills to become an action hero, like when he starred in "Above The Law." What's the name of this actor?
Michael Dudikoff
Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal was an aikido instructor prior to hitting it big in Hollywood. Thanks to the success of his debut film, 1988's "Above The Law," he enjoyed some success as an action hero of the '80s and '90s. But he also dabbled into music, and released two studio albums in the 2000s.
Ernie Reyes Jr.
Dolph Lundgren

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This "Death Wish II" actor was already making waves as an action hero since the '60s which he continued up to the '90s. Which "Magnificent Seven" actor was this?
Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson started acting during the '50s, and appeared in many memorable action-packed films. He was also in "The Great Escape" and "The Dirty Dozen" before headlining the successful "Death Wish" action film series.
Steve McQueen
Yul Brynner
James Coburn

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A child star during the '60s, this actor grew up to become one of the popular action heroes of the '80s, appearing in films like "Big Trouble in Little China." Do you know him?
Ron Howard
Nicholas Hammond
Leif Garrett
Kurt Russell
After a successful career as a TV child star, a teenage Kurt Russell became one of the most popular stars of Disney during the '70s, appearing in fun films like "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes." He then transitioned into becoming a viable action hero in the '80s with films like "Tango and Cash."

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He's a French actor who gained popularity by playing action heroes in films like "Highlander." Can you name l'homme?
Christopher Lambert
Christopher Lambert played iconic characters in '80s films. One of his most notable portrayals was the immortal Scottish fighter Connor MacLeod in the "Highlander" film series. Another is Tarzan in "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes."
Alain Delon
Jean Reno
Gérard Depardieu

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Another action-adventure '80s film, "King Solomon's Mines," gave us this dapper action hero during that decade. What's his name?
Marc Singer
David Bowie
Richard Chamberlain
For fun action-adventure films, Richard Chamberlain can be seen as Allan Quatermain in "King Solomon's Mines." But for serious spy-style action thrillers, he can be seen essaying the role of Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Identity," the first actor to play this amnesiac assassin role in a TV movie.
Val Kilmer

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When you appear in a film entitled "Action Jackson," you're definitely an action hero. Who starred in that titular role?
Wesley Snipes
Billy Dee Wiliams
Carl Weathers
When you're the original Apollo Creed who duked it out with Rocky, then you're a certified action hero indeed. That role was portrayed by Carl Weathers in the '70s and '80s, and also headlined the film "Action Jackson" in 1988. He was also a professional football player in the early '70s.
Samuel L. Jackson

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His dance background was useful in choreographing fight scenes, too, like in his film "Road House." Which of "The Outsiders" was this guy?
Patrick Swayze
The Sexiest Man Alive of 1991, Patrick Swayze's versatility was evident in the film roles he portrayed. He got the moves in "Dirty Dancing," the action hero vibe in "Road House," the drag queen fierceness in "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar," and the romantic lead vibe in "Ghost."
C. Thomas Howell
Matt Dillon
Rob Lowe

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This dramatic actor also tried his hand at becoming an action hero, especially in "Romancing The Stone." Who's he?
Don Johnson
Tom Selleck
Michael Douglas
Aside from being a dapper actor, Michael Douglas tried his hand at producing films early on. One of the most notable films he produced was the Oscar Best Picture winner "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Some of his most notable films include "Basic Instinct," Fatal Attraction" and "Wall Street."
Harry Hamlin

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He appeared in many action films with a comedic beat in the '80s, like "Smokey and the Bandit II." Can you name the man with the mustache?
Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds started as a TV actor in the '60s, appearing in shows like "Gunsmoke" and "Hawk." He then appeared in successful '70s and '80s films, some of which were action films. His memorable films include "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run."
Tom Selleck
Wilford Brimley
Hulk Hogan

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Like his actor brother, he also starred in some '80s action films like "Red Dawn." Who is this bro?
Billy Baldwin
Dennis Quaid
Damon Wayans
Charlie Sheen
Like his brother Emilio Estevez, Carlos Estevez, or more known as Charlie Sheen, also became an action hero in the '80s by appearing in action-laden films such as "Red Dawn" and "Young Guns." He was also featured in "Platoon," but that was more of a drama film with some incidental war action.

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By virtue of playing the Caped Crusader in "Batman," he became an instant '80s action hero. Do you know his name?
Michael Keaton
Moviegoers of the '80s might be more familiar with Michael Keaton as a comedian since he appeared in comedies like "Mr. Mom," "Beetlejuice," and "Johnny Dangerously." He earned his action hero cred when Tim Burton cast him to play the Caped Crusader in 1989's "Batman" and in 1992's "Batman Returns."
Jim Carrey
Val Kilmer
George Clooney

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"Say hello to my little friend," he quipped, before gunning down the bad guys in "Scarface." Who played this gangster drug lord?
Robert De Niro
Kevin Costner
Al Pacino
Al Pacino appeared in great '70s films like "The Godfather" series, "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Serpico." He continued his great career in the '80s with films like "Scarface" and the '90s with films like "Frankie and Johnny," "Carlito's Way" and many more.
Ray Liotta

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He played He-Man in "Masters of the Universe," which definitely makes him an '80s action hero. Can you name this muscle-bound man?
Jesse Ventura
Dolph Lundgren
Originally from Sweden, Dolph Lundgren used his martial arts skills to get his foot at the door of Hollywood, and he made many action films in the '80s and '90s. His latest film role, though, was King Nereus, the father of Mera, in the 2018 action fantasy film "Aquaman."
Sonny Landham
Christopher Lambert

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In "Jaws," he maneuvered a shark. In "Blue Thunder," he maneuvered a chopper. What's his name?
Roy Scheider
Prior to acting, Roy Scheider had a life that seemed to be preparing him for action stardom. He became an amateur boxer during the '40s and signed up to serve in the U.S. Air Force in the '50s where he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He started acting in the '60s.
Michael Biehn
Vernon Wells
Sidney Poitier

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TV's Kwai Chang Caine appeared in the movie "Lone Wolf McQuade" co-starring fellow martial artist Chuck Norris. Can you name this master fighter?
Michael Dudikoff
Mark Dacascos
David Carradine
David Carradine was more popularly known in the early '70s as Kwai Chang Caine, the kung fu-fighting guy in the TV show called "Kung Fu." But he also made many films in that decade, as well as the '80s when martial arts films in Hollywood became popular.
Jason Gedrick

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He came for the ride as the other action hero in the "Lethal Weapon" film series. Can you identify this other buddy in that cop movie?
Forest Whitaker
Wesley Snipes
Sidney Poitier
Danny Glover
Signing up for the "Lethal Weapon" action movie franchise made Danny Glover an action hero, aside from being a great actor of other genres. He appeared in films like "The Color Purple," "Angels in the Outfield," "Witness," and "Silverado." He is also an advocate of various social justice issues.

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Many know him from 2000's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" but he was great in 1989's "God of Gamblers" as one of Hong Kong's hottest action hero-martial artists. Who is he?
Chow Yun-Fat
Chow Yun-Fat became famous for his action movies helmed by action film director John Woo, the man who impressed Hollywood with "Face/Off." He also appeared in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" as a South China Sea pirate lord.
Jet Li
Bruce Lee
Sho Kosugi

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"Sheena: Queen of the Jungle" had this "Charlie's Angels" star as its action hero lead. What's her name?
Jaclyn Smith
Farah Fawcett
Kate Jackson
Tanya Roberts
Tanya Roberts was one of the last additions in "Charlie's Angels" after multiple cast members departed and got replaced. Aside from TV acting, she also did movies, like the comic book hero film "Sheena: Queen of the Jungle."

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