Several articles have been written about the best action movies of all time, so we narrowed our view. This time, we are exploring the 25 best action movies of the 21st century – released between 2000 and 2023.

Related: 25 Best Movies of the 21st Century, So Far

It’s showtime action, movie lovers! Whether it is the revenge storyline or the protagonist rescuing their loved ones from their deadly antagonists, this list comprises various plots. It is the best of the best guns and ammunition showdown as rated by viewers on IMDb.

25 ‘Dune’ (2021)

Dune (2021)

IMDb: 8.0/10 709K | Popularity: 58 | Metascore: 74

Duration: 2h 35m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama | Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

Box Office Gross: $402 million

Ranking 25th in this list of the top 25 best action movies of the 21st century is the action and adventure-drama “Dune.” In this first installment, a noble family finds itself entangled in a battle for the control of the most valuable asset in the galaxy. On the other hand, the heir to the throne is also troubled with nightmarish visions of a dark future.

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24 ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

IMDb: 8.0/10 620K | Popularity: 122 | Metascore: 81

Duration: 2h 44m | Genres: Action, Drama, Mystery | Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas

Box Office Gross: $259.2 million

Ryan Gosling delivers an A-level performance in this Denis Villeneuve-directed action-drama. The movie also featured other stars such as Harrison Ford, Dave Bautista, and Ana De Armas. Former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) has been missing for thirty years, but when young Blade Runner ‘K’ (Ryan Gosling) discovers a long-buried secret, he is forced on a mission to track down Rick Deckard. The ensemble cast of this movie delivers stellar performances that make the movie such a delight to watch.

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23 ‘Kill Bill: Vol. 2’ (2004)

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

IMDb: 8.0/10 782K | Popularity: 1121 | Metascore: 83

Duration: 2h 17m | Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller | Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen

Box Office Gross: $154 million

In this second installment of “Kill Bill,” Beatrix Kiddo, aka The Bride (Uma Thurman), continues her quest to exert vengeance on the trio — her former boss and lover Bill, the treacherous, one-eyed Elle, and the reclusive bouncer Budd. And she would stop at nothing in this quest. Quentin Tarantino sure did a fantastic job directing this crime thriller.

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22 ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)

Casino Royale (2006)

IMDb: 8.0/10 677K | Popularity: 219 | Metascore: 80

Duration: 2h 24m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller | Director: Martin Campbell

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench

Box Office Gross: $606 million

New 007 Daniel Craig debuted as Bond in this 2006 classic, indicating that the franchise was heading in a new direction. While the high-tech car adventures we know with the 007 franchise were still present, this was darker than we were used to. The storyline unfolds at the Casino Royale, Montenegro, where the new Bond must defeat a private banker notorious for funding terrorists in a high-stakes poker game.

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21 ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

IMDb: 8.0/10 1.2M | Popularity: 99 | Metascore: 76

Duration: 2h 1m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy | Director: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Box Office Gross: $772.8 million

In this action-packed space adventure, Ronan, a fanatical warrior, steals a powerful artifact he plans to use to purge the Earth. The titular Guardians are made up of intergalactic ex-criminals – now superheroes – such as Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), must join forces to stop him.

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20 ‘Sin City’ (2005)

Sin City (2005)

IMDb: 8.0/10 783K | Popularity: 620 | Metascore: 74

Duration: 2h 4m | Genres: Crime, Thriller | Director: Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis

Box Office Gross: $158.7 million

“Sin City” is a neo-noir crime anthology film based on a comic book series — same title — written by Frank Miller.

The story is about four individuals living in the wretched area of Basin City, Washington, whose path crosses as they try to solve their problems. As complex as the multiple plots feel, the trio — Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez — pull off a brilliant intersection of all the different parts in a beautiful way to watch.

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19 ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

IMDb: 8.1/10 1M | Popularity: 128 | Top 250: #199 | Metascore: 90

Duration: 2h | Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | Director: George Miller

Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

Box Office Gross: $374.7 million

Do you love to watch road movies with a bunch of car fights? “Mad Max: Fury Road” is your surest pick.

Related: Mad Max Movies In Order (How to Watch the Film Series)

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a group of female prisoners, a drifter, and a psychotic worshiper rebel against a tyrannical ruler. This is perhaps one of the best road movies in the 21st century.

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18 ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (2010)

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

IMDb: 8.1/10 772K | Popularity: 1310 | Top 250: #203 | Metascore: 75

Duration: 1h 38m | Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure | Director: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois

Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Box Office Gross: $494.9 million

As a passage right into adulthood, a young Viking must kill a dragon. However, in a turn of events, as he goes on his hunt, he becomes friends with a young dragon, Night Fury. His friendship with the young dragon seems to be reshaping his perspective about dragons.

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17 ‘Memories of Murder’ (2003)

Memories of Murder (2003)

IMDb: 8.1/10 201K | Popularity: 762 | Top 250: #194 | Metascore: 82

Duration: 2h 12m | Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery | Director: Bong Joon Ho

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Roe-ha Kim

Box Office Gross: $999, 157

When a small province in Korea had frequent cases of young women being discovered raped and murdered, two detectives were assigned to apprehend the culprit. The cops struggled to solve the case until they got help from a big-city detective.

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16 ‘Kill Bill: Vol. 1’ (2003)

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

IMDb: 8.2/10 1.2M | Popularity: 346 | Top 250: #151 | Metascore: 69

Duration: 1h 51m | Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller | Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah

Box Office Gross: $180.9 million

A pregnant former assassin, aka The Bride, goes into a coma after an attack from her ex-boss, Bill. The Bride wakes up after four years and sets out on a vengeful mission against her ex-boss and his associates.

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15 ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)

Batman Begins (2005)

IMDb: 8.2/10 1.5M | Popularity: 189 | Top 250: #129 | Metascore: 70

Duration: 2h 20m | Genres: Action, Crime, Drama | Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe

Box Office Gross: $373.7 million

After witnessing the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne relocates to Asia, where he learns how to fight evil under the tutelage of Henri Ducard and Ra’s Al Ghul. Bruce would later return to Gotham as Batman, ready to fight injustice and rid the city of corruption and the evil men who intend to destroy the city.

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14 ‘V for Vendetta’ (2005)

V for Vendetta (2005)

IMDb: 8.2/10 1.2M | Popularity: 879 | Top 250: #159 | Metascore: 62

Duration: 2h 12m | Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi | Director: James McTeigue

Cast: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves

Box Office Gross: $180.9 million

In the future, a British dystopian city will be ruled by a tyrannical government. To set the people free, a freedom fighter known as “V” (Hugo Weaving) attempts to overthrow the government, enlisting the help of a young Evey (Natalie Portman).

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13 ‘Inglourious Basterds’ (2009)

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

IMDb: 8.3/10 1.5M | Popularity: 115 | Top 250: #71 | Metascore: 69

Duration: 2h 33m | Genres: Adventure, Drama, War | Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth

Box Office Gross: $321.4 million

During World War II, a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers embarks on an undercover mission to assassinate Nazi leaders in Nazi-occupied France.

Related: 10 Best War Movies of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

However, their plans clash with that of a theater owner, also set on a mission to assassinate one of the German soldiers for the death of her family.

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12 ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (2022)

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

IMDb: 8.3/10 624K | Popularity: 62 | Top 250: #127 | Metascore: 78

Duration: 2h 10m | Genres: Action, Drama | Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller

Box Office Gross: $1.4 billion

In 2022, “Top Gun Maverick” was the 2nd highest-grossing film. So far, the movie has been nominated for over 170 awards, winning at least 60. The movie has also been a smash hit at the box office, raking in over $1.4 billion.

Related: Who Is Penny Benjamin in ‘Top Gun: Maverick?’

Hence, seeing the movie make this list is not a surprise. Tom Cruise reprises his 1986 role as the longtime Navy pilot, Maverick. Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller also star in this epic action-drama.

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11 ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012)

The Dark Knight - Christian Bale

IMDb: 8.4/10 1.8M | Popularity: 149 | Top 250: #70 | Metascore: 78

Duration: 2h 44m | Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller | Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway

Box Office Gross: $1 billion

In “The Dark Knight (2008),” Batman took the fall for Dent’s murder and had to go into exile. Eight years later, a new terror in Gotham — Bane — threatens to wipe out the city. Someone has to save Gotham, and Batman is forced out of exile with the help of Selina Kyle.

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10 ‘Oldboy’ (2003)

Oldboy (2003)

IMDb: 8.4/10 607K | Popularity: 86 | Top 250: #73 | Metascore: 77

Duration: 2h | Genres: Action, Drama, Mystery | Director: Park Chan-wook

Cast: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jeong

Box Office Gross: $15.4 million

Quite remarkably and in a dexterous way, director Park Chan-wook explores two opposite themes — violence and egotism — in “Old Boy” simultaneously. The story follows Dae-Su Oh, a man who was imprisoned for fifteen years. Upon his release, Dae-Su must find his captor with a 5-day ultimatum unless a worse fate befalls him.

9 ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

IMDb: 8.4/10 1.1M | Popularity: 347 | Top 250: #63 | Metascore: 68

Duration: 2h 29m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo

Box Office Gross: $2 billion

The MCU heroes are set on another rescue mission. This time, the battle is against Thanos (Josh Brolin), on a deadly mission to wipe out half of the universe. The Avengers team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and other MCU superheroes to stop him. It’s the clash of the Titans, so expect non-stop action, the Monday that leaves you at the edge of your seat.

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8 ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

IMDb: 8.4/10 1.2M | Popularity: 166 | Top 250: #80 | Metascore: 78

Duration: 3h 1m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama | Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

Box Office Gross: $2.7 billion

“Avengers: Endgame” is the concluding saga of the epic showdown between Thanos and the superhero tag team — Avengers and the Guardians. Thanos set off genocide in Infinity War that the superheroes try to reverse.

Related: Marvel Movies In Order: How To Watch MCU Chronologically

To do so, they must travel to the Infinity Stones before Thanos. The heroes embark on a save-the-earth mission like they always do, risking their lives. There is no guarantee that they will all return alive. While there will still be future releases from the Avengers franchise, Endgame carries the look and feel of the end of an era.

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7 ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

IMDb: 8.4/10 623K | Popularity: 71 | Top 250: #67 | Metascore: 87

Duration: 1h 57m | Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure | Director: Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman

Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld

Box Office Gross: $384 million

This is by every standard one of the greatest animated movies ever because of how it weaves together the numerous forms of Spider-man the silver screen has ever seen.

Related: How to Watch the Spider-Man Movies in Order

In the storyline, Miles Morales gains power through a bite from a mysterious radioactive spider. Subsequently, when a rift opens up in the multiverse, Miles forms an alliance with Spider-men from numerous alternate dimensions.

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6 ‘Inception’ (2010)

Inception - Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt

IMDb: 8.8/10 2.5M | Popularity: 59 | Top 250: #14 | Metascore: 74

Duration: 2h 28m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page

Box Office Gross: $826 million

When a movie combines action, adventure, and sci-fi, you know you are in for an experience. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a unique thief in that he steals information, and he does it by entering the dreams of his targets. Seeking to have his criminal record wiped clean, Cobb receives an offer from Saito to give him a clean slate. Cobb must do one final delicate assignment — plant an idea in the mind of a wealthy entrepreneur’s son.

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5 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

IMDb: 8.8/10 1.7M | Popularity: 534 | Top 250: #13 | Metascore: 87

Duration: 2h 59m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama | Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

Box Office Gross: $936.7 million

The second installment of the trilogy “Lord of the Rings” began with the characters separated and feeling deflated after losing some of their companions. “The Two Towers” portray what critics consider the greatest battle witnessed in the franchise — the battle of Helm’s Deep.

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4 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

IMDb: 8.8/10 1.9M | Popularity: 118 | Top 250: #9 | Metascore: 92

Duration: 2h 58m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama | Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

Box Office Gross: $898.2 million

The opening chapter of the “Lord of the Rings” franchise introduces you to the tale of Middle-Earth, where Frodo is indicted for possessing a dangerous magical ring that must be destroyed. Frodo and eight others begin their journey to Mount Doom, where the ring will be destroyed. Fellowship was a perfect way to lay a foundation for the other installments.

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3 ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ (2023)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

IMDb: 8.8/10 235K | Popularity: 11 | Top 250: #17 | Metascore: 86

Duration: 2h 20m | Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure | Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson

Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry

Box Office Gross: $684.4 million

The Oscar-winning Spider-Verse saga continues in this 2023 installment. Miles Morales travels across the Multiverse to team up with Gwen Stacy and a group of Spider-People as they face a more powerful threat than they have ever encountered.

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2 ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

The Dark Knight - Heath Ledger as Joker

IMDb: 9.0/10 2.8M | Popularity: 50 | Top 250: #3 | Metascore: 84

Duration: 2h 32m | Genres: Action, Crime, Drama | Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart

Box Office Gross: $1 billion

“The Dark Knight” is often described as the greatest of all the Batman movies ever. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has settled into his call to fight injustice. There is, however, a new evil in town, bent on disturbing the peace in Gotham — his name is The Joker (portrayed by Heath Ledger). Bale and Ledger delivered stellar performances in bringing the two characters to life.

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1 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ (2003)

Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King (2003)

IMDb: 9.0/10 1.9M | Popularity: 270 | Top 250: #7 | Metascore: 94

Duration: 3h 21m | Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama | Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen

Box Office Gross: $1.1 billion

“The Return of the King” is the concluding part of the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and what a way to end a series.

Related: The Rings Of Power: Can It Succeed Like The Trilogy?

The fate of Middle-Earth will be decided in one final epic showdown between the fellowship and the armies of Sauron. This is no doubt one of the best movies of all time.

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Dee Gambit

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Professional SEO writer & editor with 8+ years of print journalism and writing experience across different platforms — blogs, website, eBooks and social media. His writing experience also cuts across industries like IT, fashion, education management, real estate, consulting and entertainment.