Every decade has its great collection of action movies. Can you successfully identify the action heroes who starred in such films?
Let's take the '80s, for instance. That decade was definitely such a productive time for action film producers and filmmakers. One of the Hollywood trends of that era was the discovery of martial arts, the very ancient style of training and fighting. One can see Hollywood's early fascination with it by featuring actors with real-life martial arts training in their backgrounds. That's why we have a good collection of karate, kung fu and other martial arts-focused '80s films.
Since that decade was still at the heels of the Vietnam War, war-laden and war-torn memories got translated into war scenes full of action and drama during the '80s. We also saw many military veteran characters populate the genre, featured in films where they try to cope with getting back into the groove of civilian life. Of course, their police counterparts were also there, as crimefighting never takes a vacation anytime anyway. That's why we also saw many permutations of police-themed action films during that time.
And if you think only men became action heroes back then, you'd be surprised to find out some great action heroes of the femme kind. So try to take this quiz, and see if you're up for the action!
Lights! Camera! Action!
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 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."
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.
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."
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.
"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."
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."
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."