With 139 million subscribers across the globe, Netflix keeps growing by making sure it offers something for everyone. In addition to a varied selection of horror, sci-fi, documentaries, and dramas, the service also curates a solid library of action films. If you’re in the mood for some kinetic thrills, check out 10 of the best action movies you can stream right now.
1. Heat (1995)
Michael Mann’s heist thriller about a career criminal pushing the envelope in a series of high-stakes bank robberies was notable for being the first onscreen meeting between Robert De Niro (who plays thief Neil McCauley) and Al Pacino (as Los Angeles police lieutenant Vincent Hanna). That novelty eventually took a back seat to Mann’s expert staging of the confrontations between cops and robbers, a ballet of violence that pulls the viewer into the crossfire.
Hard to believe, but Daniel Craig’s first turn as cinema’s best superspy, James Bond, was initially the subject of online petitions to get him removed from the role for being blonde and “odd-looking.” Craig’s critics had little to say after actually watching Casino Royale, which serves as a reintroduction to the character as he pursues Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in the midst of a high-stakes poker game.
A decade after he revolutionized independent filmmaking with Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino filmed a two-part homage to the kung-fu genre with Kill Bill. Martial arts and weapons-equipped Bride (Uma Thurman) pursues her mentor, Bill (David Carradine), after his betrayal left her comatose on her wedding day. Swords cross, enemies collide, and Thurman earns her stripes in the yellow tracksuit made famous by Bruce Lee.
Frank Grillo stars in this claustrophobic action-thriller about a getaway driver who leaves the dirty work to the criminals who retain his services. When things go awry during a bank heist and a mysterious caller begins ordering him to reroute the money, Grillo is left to navigate the streets—and an increasingly dangerous double-cross—by himself.
All four Indiana Jones films are on Netflix, but the first still stands its ground as the best in the series and one of the finest action movies ever made. Indy (Harrison Ford) pursues the Lost Ark of the Covenant while evading and diverting Nazis chasing the power the Ark is believed to contain.
Purists may scoff at the dubbed and edited American version of this Hong Kong martial arts classic, but there’s no diluting the masterful choreography of Jackie Chan. The actor plays to his strengths in both comedy and action as a martial artist who becomes more proficient the more he drinks. If you’ve ever wondered why fans compare Chan to silent-film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, this film provides all the explanation you need.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has made good on his promise to come back in three—soon to be four—sequels and a theme park attraction. But the original The Terminator didn’t have any ambition to become a franchise. It’s a tight, lean thriller about a cyborg (Schwarzenegger) traveling through time to kill the mother of the man who will lead the resistance against the machines.
Bruce Lee’s biggest stateside hit is a well-choreographed travelogue of a martial arts tournament on a private island run by a crime czar named Han. As Lee pursues Han on behalf of British intelligence, he engages in a series of bouts that demonstrate the actor’s supreme proficiency in hand-to-hand cinematic combat. If you’ve seen it before, check it out again and keep an eye out for Jackie Chan’s brief appearance as a guard.
Fans of The Raid series will find a similar approach in this hyperactive Indonesian action film about an assassin who has to navigate a small army of Triad killers in order to protect a young girl. The violence approaches horror movie letters of splatter, but if that’s to your taste, you’ll have a satisfying evening.
Before The Expendables blew up everything in sight, this World War II drama assembled a who’s-who of grimacing alpha males of the 1960s—Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Jim Brown among them—in a story about a suicide mission to assassinate top-ranking German soldiers. The protagonists are all criminals, but up against the Nazi regime, you’ll be rooting for them regardless.