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20 Best Action Movies on Amazon Prime Video: March 2024

March 4, 202410 Mins Read


Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

This list is regularly updated as movies rotate on and off of Prime Video. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

Action movies are typically among the most popular films available on DVD, VOD, and streaming services. People love to tune in, tune out, and escape while watching beautiful people doing impossible things. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription and are looking to do exactly that, its vast library contains some of the best action titles ever made, alongside its comedies, horror films, and family-friendly options. Amazon cycles films on and off of its service regularly, but these are the best action movies on Prime Video right now.

Year: 2006
Runtime: 2h 17m
Director: Mel Gibson

Before he was shunned from Hollywood for being a garbage person and after he won Oscars for Braveheart, Mel Gibson directed this historical epic that has only grown in popularity in the years since its release. Casting unknown Native American and Indigenous actors, this period epic takes place in the year 1502 and tells of the journey of a hero named Jaguar Paw as his people are captured. A massive hit at the time, it’s only become a bigger one through cable airings in the years since.

Year: 1989
Runtime: 2h 6m
Director: Tim Burton

The modern superhero movie owes an incredible debt to what Tim Burton did in 1989 with Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger. It wasn’t the first superhero movie, but it felt darker and different from the candy-coated men in tights movies that came before, especially the superior sequel, also on Prime. Watch them both.

Year: 2006
Runtime: 2h 24m
Director: Martin Campbell

It’s hard to believe the most famous movie spy in history ever needed a comeback, but that’s really what happened when Daniel Craig stepped into 007’s shoes and it turned out to be one of the most acclaimed James Bond movies of all time. An origin story for the suave superspy, Casino Royale introduced new layers to the classic character, resulting in an action film that felt like it had real stakes. This is one of the best modern action movies, period, not just in the Bond franchise.

Year: 2006
Runtime: 2h 12m
Director: Clint Eastwood

In 2006, Clint Eastwood released a pair of excellent World War II films in Letters from Iwo Jima and this adaptation of the book of the same name by James Bradley and Ron Powers. It’s about the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, the one that led to one of the most famous photos of all time. It’s a bit hokey, but it’s also incredibly well-made, like almost all Eastwood, and a film that’s not available on streaming very often.

Year: 1986
Runtime: 1h 50m
Director: Russell Mulcahy

There can be only one! Christopher Lambert stars as Connor MacLeod, who was born in the Scottish Highlands in the 16th century and killed there, only to discover that he was born immortal and is now a part of a massive secret war to leave only one highlander remaining. Yeah, it’s all really silly, but this movie became a massive cult hit, thanks in part to Lambert and Sean Connery’s fun performances.

Year: 2007
Runtime: 2h
Director: Edgar Wright

The center of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (with Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End) remains the best film in the bunch, and they’re all on Prime, by the way. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play a pair of ordinary police officers who get sucked into a crazy case involving multiple murders in their small England town. Both a parody of action films and a legitimately great action film on its own terms, this is one of the best genre hybrids of the 2000s.

Year: 1981
Runtime: 1h 55m
Director: Steven Spielberg

Everyone is getting cautiously excited for James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, releasing later this year. It’s the perfect time to catch up with the saga of cinema’s most beloved treasure hunter in the beloved first four (well, at least three) films in this franchise. The perfect Raiders of the Lost Ark and its three sequels are all on Prime, waiting for your marathon.

Year: 2014
Runtime: 2h 49m
Director: Christopher Nolan

The most underrated film from the director of The Dark Knight and Oppenheimer remains this 2014 sci-fi epic, a film that’s better if you approach it as an emotional journey instead of a physical one. Matthew McConaughey gives one of the best performances of his career as an astronaut searching for a new home for mankind, and realizing all that he left behind to do so. It’s a technical marvel with some of the most striking visuals and best sound design of Nolan’s career.

Year: 1990
Runtime: 1h 43m
Director: Abel Ferrara

The amazing Abel Ferrara directed this crime epic that oozes with style. Three decades after its release, it’s still one of the most cited films of this kind of its era. One of the main reasons for that is the cast. Christopher Walken leads the way as the legendary drug lord Frank White, but the whole ensemble here is amazing, including Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso, Wesley Snipes, Steve Buscemi, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Year: 1996
Runtime: 1h 50m
Director: Brian De Palma

Do you think Tom Cruise thought he’d still be playing Ethan Hunt over a quarter-century after the first adaptation of the hit TV show about the super spy? He’s basically created his own notoriously unkillable, American take on James Bond. Go back to where it all began with a film that looks downright quaint now compared to the sequels but a film that still plays perfectly. Note: The first four films in the franchise are on Prime Video, including the great Ghost Protocol.

Year: 2010
Runtime: 1h 51m
Director: Robert Schwentke

Based on the DC comic series of the same name, this 2010 action flick was such a hit that it produced a 2013 sequel (that didn’t quite work). Why were people attracted to it? Most likely the A-list cast, which united Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and many more in a flick about a former black-ops agent who has to get the gang back together to stop an assassin.

Year: 2009
Runtime: 2h 28m
Director: John Woo

One of the most influential action directors of all time helmed one of his most ambitious films in this period piece war epic set during the Battle of Red Cliffs in China almost two thousand years ago. In China, it was released in two parts that totaled over four hours, but American audiences got a single combined cut, which is the one currently on Prime Video.

Year: 1989
Runtime: 1h 49m
Director: Rowdy Herrington

A tumultuous production of a remake of this cult classic drops shortly, so why not go back and check out the original again? Patrick Swayze plays the bouncer at a totally average Missouri bar who ends up getting sucked into a violent world when he crosses paths with the wrong bad guy. Sam Elliott and Kelly Lynch star in a movie that feels like a perfect distillation of the many charms of Mr. Swayze.

Year: 2015
Runtime: 2h 1m
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve has become one of the biggest directors in the world on the back of beloved films like Blade Runner 2049 and Dune, but Sicario was really his breakthrough, a thriller about an FBI agent (Emily Blunt) who gets drawn into the war between the U.S. government and the Mexican drug cartels. Benicio Del Toro gives one of the best performances of his career here.

Year: 2010
Runtime: 1h 33m
Director: The Brothers Strause

The sequel (Beyond Skyline) is way better, but you should see where it all began with this goofy sci-fi movie about the end of the world. Released in 2010, it felt like just another alien invasion rip-off, but it ended up making enough money to launch a franchise. Skyline: Warpath is to be released in 2025. See what all the buzz is about.

Year: 1939
Runtime: 1h 36m
Director: John Ford

It won’t play the same as modern action movies, but this could be the gateway to classic Westerns for someone in your family. Give them the gift of a flick that really changed the genre, in no small part because it really introduced the world to a young man named John Wayne. Based on a 1937 short story by Dudley Nichols, this is the tale of a group of strangers on a stagecoach as it travels through Apache territory. It has influenced too many action films since to count them all.

Year: 2011
Runtime: 1h 51m
Director: J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams wrote and directed this loving homage to the Steven Spielberg films of the ‘80s that he loved as a child. Long before Stranger Things, there was another group of kids in smalltown America who stumbled onto something out of this world when a train derailed in their town. An early wonderful performance from Elle Fanning helps anchor this one.

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 51m
Director: Tommy Wirkola

Who wants a different kind of Christmas movie? Hoping to start an annual tradition, Prime grabbed the streaming rights to this action flick about a Santa Claus (David Harbour) who ends up having to save a family from a group of mercenaries who have taken them hostage. It’s ridiculous in mostly the right ways.

Year: 1995
Runtime: 2h 15m
Director: Kevin Reynolds

When it was released in 1995, the stories around this Kevin Costner blockbuster centered mostly on a massive budget and an out-of-control production that led to the bloated action film disappointing audiences on the big screen. Time has been kinder to Kevin Reynolds’s film, one that’s certainly flawed but also more ambitious than a lot of blockbusters of its era, or even now.

Year: 2017
Runtime: 2h 15m
Director: Patty Jenkins

A major chapter of the DC Universe has ended, which means we can assess what worked best. This is undeniably near the top of the list. Take the recent DCU drop to Prime to go back and check out the phenomenal and best non-Batman film in the modern DC Universe. Gal Gadot stars in the title role and really anchors what’s an old-fashioned adventure film, one that owes as much to serial action flicks of the ‘40s and ‘50s as it does to movies with Batman and Superman.

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