You know what really gets our blood pumping? A great action flick. Fight scenes, chase scenes, race scenes — all the hallmarks of a cinematic adrenaline rush. Live vicariously through your favorite heroes (or villains) by streaming one of the best action movies on Netflix right now. We’ve also included a few standout thrillers and suspense movies.
Craving Netflix shows or the best movies instead? We’ve also found the best food shows streaming on Netflix right now. If you like all kinds of docs, we’ve found the best (or maybe you’re just really into crime docs and travel shows).
Director: Martin Scorsese
Main Cast: Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
This story follows Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert Deniro), a former labor union official and hitman as he recalls his past. With an emphasis on the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), this biographical crime drama is worth a watch.
Director: Michael Bay
Main Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Melanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
We’re tentatively filing this new Michael Bay movie under “crime” because the characters operate outside of the law, but they aren’t exactly criminals. Ryan Reynolds plays a badass billionaire who recruits other badasses to his cause: toppling a dictatorship. The catch? This team is technically dead, meaning they all faked their deaths to operate off the grid. The action is surprisingly brutal.
Bad Boys 1 and 2
Director: Michael Bay
Main Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence
Bad Boys 3 (aka Bad Boys for Life) hit the theaters back in January. If you haven’t seen it yet, or you forgot some major plot points from the previous movies, catch up with Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett by watching Bad Boys 1 and 2, both streaming now on Netflix.
Director: Adam McKay
Main Cast: Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton
While we’re already talking about funny action movies, let’s chat about The Other Guys. This Will Ferrell production is as hilarious as it is action-packed, with a dash of social commentary. It’s hard to beat the opening scene. If you haven’t seen it, we won’t ruin it.
Director: J.C. Chandor
Main Cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam
This action-adventure movie follows a crew of ex-military Americans who plan on robbing a known cartel member and setting themselves up with the retirement funds their jobs did not provide.
Director: Timo Tjahjanto
Main Cast: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Joe Taslim
This relatively recent new-noir action flick also comes from Indonesia. Ito, a deadly and powerful gangster, has a 180-degree change of heart after he rescues Reina, a young girl, from the remains of her massacred village. The resulting carnage — and there’s a lot of carnage — revolves around one man battling his former gang members to save one girl and, in some ways, himself.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Main Cast: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth
In an alternate history, we watch as Shosanna, a Jewish woman who lost her family, and a group of Amerian soldiers led by the quotable Lieutenant Aldo Raine, hunt Nazis and, ultimately, Hitler himself.
Director: John Milius
Main Cast: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen
What happens when a bunch of high school students form a militia to fight off Soviet invaders in ’80s-era United States? Red Dawn happens. The plot isn’t exactly realistic, but it is still a fun watch.
Director: Scott Cooper
Main Cast: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi
This western war drama is set in 1892 after nearly two decades of fighting between the U.S. and Native American tribes. The story follows a legendary Army Captain as he reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous lands.
Director: Peyton Reed
Main Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña
The second installment in the Ant-Man series takes place in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War. As he struggles to bring balance back to his life, Scott Lang must put the suit back on once again to fight side by side with The Wasp.
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin
As the second to last film in the Avenger series, Infinity War brings the main conflict of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an epic crescendo. Our favorite comic book heroes clash against Thanos (Josh Brolin) as he and his army as they attempt to gather all of the Infinity Stones. It also makes for a great movie drinking game if you’re into that sort of thing.
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey
Main Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
As far as animated Marvel movies go, Spider-Verse is one of the best so far. In a string of parallel universes, teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) finds himself becoming Spider-Man. Aided by the Spider-Men — and woman — from other timelines, he must learn to be like Peter Parker.
Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Main Cast: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis
Based on Frank Miller’s popular comics, this film follows four tales of crime. A muscular brute looking for the person responsible for the death of his gal, a man who decides to take law enforcement into his own hands, a cop who risks his life to protect a girl, and a hitman looking for cash. The black and white atmosphere provides that nice noir feel, but the rest is all action.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Main Cast: Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans
There may be a newer version of this movie, but everyone knows the original is where it’s at. This fantasy-horror film follows Hellboy, a demon who was conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, as he becomes a defender against the forces of darkness.
Director: Wison Yip
Main Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam
The Ip Man series is the story the real-life Chinese martial artist, Ip Man (also known as Yip Man), who is credited with bringing the practice of Wing Chun to the global stage. The three movies highlight different parts of his life, from his education in Wing Chun to the legacy of his own teaching in Hong Kong (which included Bruce Lee as one of his pupils). The Grandmaster (2013) is another interesting take on the legend of Ip Man and Ip Man 4: The Finale hit theaters in December 2019.
Director: Ang Lee
Main Cast: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Yang
The acclaimed movie has it all: Hand-to-hand combat, swordplay, drama, romance, intrigue, and more. If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely add it to your queue. If you’ve already seen it, add it to your queue anyway; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon stands up to repeated viewings.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Main Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine
Kill Bill is another difficult movie to assign to a genre. While it certainly isn’t your typical martial arts film, the action and exposition are definitely reminiscent of the film style. Uma Thurman is the Bride, who is out to exact revenge on Bill and a whole cohort of her fellow assassins. Both installments are streaming until the end of March.
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Main Cast: Yoo Gong, Yu-me Jung, Dong-seok Ma
Train to Busan, which hails from South Korea, is one of the more refreshing zombie films to come out in recent years. The makeup effects are convincing and the terror palpable. Watch as divorced father Seok-Woo struggles to protect his daughter and other passengers from a swarm of zombies as they all travel by train to the city of Busan, a supposed safe zone. An American remake and a South Korean sequel are both in the works.
The Lord of the Rings
Director: Peter Jackson
Main Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen
The second (The Two Towers) and third (The Return of the King) movies in The Lord of the Rings trilogy are worth revisiting on Netflix. Who doesn’t love a good ole fashioned fantasy flick? If you’ve already binged Netflix’s hit Witcher series, these are a good follow-up, but they’ll only be here until the end of March. Luckily there are plenty of sci-fi movies to watch.
Director: Edgar Wright
Main Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin
This comedy movie isn’t exactly your traditional action film, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it in the genre. The story follows Scott Pilgrim, an aspiring guitarist, as he falls for a girl named Ramona Flowers. However, to be with her, he must first defeat her seven evil exes in a battle to the death.
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Main Cast: Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Emily Watson
If you’re in the mood for a dystopian action drama, Equilibrium is here to deliver. Set in the middle of a totalitarian regime, peace is maintained amongst the populace with a drug that removes emotions. Books, Art, and music are all strictly forbidden and punishable by death. With some of the coolest gunfights you’ll ever see, this is a must-watch movie.
Director: Dong Siegal
Main Cast: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino
If you’re feeling lucky, you need to watch the first movie that kicked off the series starring Clint Eastwood. It’s an iconic film that made being a dirty cop seem cool. As far as classic movies go, you don’t want to skip this one.
Indiana Jones Series
Director: Stephen Spielberg
Main Cast: Harrison Ford
The entire Indiana Jones series — the original trilogy and the less-than-satisfactory fourth installment — are available on Netflix. Obviously, you should start with Raiders of the Lost Ark, but whether you follow Indy from The Last Crusade on to The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull … well, that’s up to you.
Director: Phillip Noyce
Main Cast: Harrison Ford, Sean Bean, Anne Archer
More Harrison Ford? Yes, please. Ford portrayed Jack Ryan, Tom Clancy’s famous CIA desk jockey turned spy, in two hits from the ’90s. While John Krasinski is the latest actor to pick up the character’s mantle for an Amazon Prime series, the original Patriot Games still holds up.
GoldenEye, Die Another Day, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World Is Not Enough — all starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond — are on Netflix. What do you think about a 007 marathon? We’re not going to say that GoldenEye is our favorite, but we did include a link to where to watch below (it is our favorite).
- 25 Best Netflix Movies to Stream Right Now
- The 10 Best Movie Drinking Games to Play on Netflix
- 12 Best Crime Documentaries on Netflix Right Now
- The Best Netflix Shows and Original Series to Stream Right Now
- 12 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Made