Great 1990s action movies are the perfect entertainment, but which are the best? Someone in a popular online forum asked for a list of the best 90s action films — here are some favorites that deliver non-stop thrills.
1. Desperado (1995)
Desperado, starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, is a no-brainer for this list. With a blend of humor and easy-to-follow action, including the clever use of a guitar case, the fun never stops. Sure, the action is ridiculous, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining 90s action flick.
2. Demolition Man (1993)
Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock, and Wesley Snipes, is a top contender for favorite 90s action movies. Many fans call it a great comfort movie when they need a pick-me-up and one film lover pointed out how Wesley Snipes looks like he's really having the best time.
3. Point Break (1991)
The 1991 film stars Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey. Reeves plays an undercover FBI agent tasked with investigating a group of bank robbers led by Swayze. It's a solid watch that many fans said they return to again and again.
4. The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix is another Keanu Reeves movie that fans love. The iconic sci-fi action film also stars Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving. Upon its release, The Matrix was lauded not just for its special effects, but also the epic fight scenes.
5. Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995)
Die Hard with a Vengeance is the third film in the Die Hard franchise and is easily a favorite. Bruce Willis reprises his role as Detective John McClane. He partners up with Zeus, played by Samuel L. Jackson, to locate a bomb in one of the schools in New York City.
The terrorist who is making demands has a personal vendetta against McClane and makes him jump through hoops playing Simon Says. It's an action-packed thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
6. Face Off (1997)
Face/Off is an exciting movie that follows homicidal sociopath Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) and FBI Special Agent Sean Archer's (John Travolta) pursuit of him and his criminal organization. After Castor Troy informs Archer of a bomb set to explode in Los Angeles, he's knocked unconscious by an explosion.
His brother is his accomplice and is in prison, but he refuses to give up the bomb's location. So Archer undergoes a top-secret experimental procedure to remove and wear Troy's face to get the information from his brother. However, when Troy wakes up, he puts on Archer's face, and the two get acquainted with each other's worlds.
7. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is an instance where the sequel surpasses the original film. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as a T-800 model of the Terminator. However, he's reprogrammed to protect the leader of the human resistance and the son of his last target, John Connor (Edward Furlong).
Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Connor and works with her son and the T-800 to destroy the T-1000 (Robert Patrick). Made from virtually indestructible liquid metal, the T-1000 terminator is an upgraded model that shape shifts and will stop at nothing until he's completed his mission to terminate John Connor.
8. Con Air (1997)
Con Air is an action thriller following a U.S. Army Ranger, Sgt. Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage). After returning home from Desert Storm to his pregnant wife (Monica Potter), he accidentally kills a man who assaulted her and is sentenced to ten years.
The film centers on Poe's release and subsequent boarding of the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System aircraft, nicknamed Con Air, and the prison break resulting from its transport. It stars a colorful ensemble cast of John Cusack, John Malkovich, Dave Chappelle, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, Colm Meaney, and Mykelti Williamson.
9. Air Force One (1997)
Air Force One is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thrill ride. It stars Harrison Ford as President James Marshall and Gary Oldman as Egor Korshunov, the ruthless Radek loyalist and terrorist who leads the hijacking of Air Force One. Believing the president bailed in the escape pod, they terrorize his family.
Egor threatens to kill a hostage every half-hour until the dictator of a rogue neo-Soviet regime in Kazakhstan, General Ivan Radek, is released. This film has it all: action, patriotism, fantastic music, and a unique storyline. It co-stars William H. Macy, Xander Berkeley, Paul Guilfoyle, and Glenn Close as the Vice President.
10. Falling Down (1993)
Falling Down takes having a lousy day to new levels. A lonely, divorced, and unemployed former defense engineer, William Foster (Michael Douglas), snaps after sitting in a hot traffic jam in Los Angeles. He abandons his vehicle and begins a trek across the city to get to his young daughter's birthday at his estranged wife's home.
However, she has a restraining order and warns him, repeatedly, not to come. Nonetheless, he continues his journey encountering various obstacles along the way. William snaps at a business owner, a violent gang, and an army surplus store owner. However, his becoming hostile at a fast food joint because his burger doesn't match the picture is probably one of the relatable scenes. It co-stars Robert Duvall as a retiring Los Angeles Police Department sergeant on his last day.
11. The Fugitive (1993)
Based on the 1960s television series of the same name, The Fugitive is an action thriller that grabs you immediately and doesn't let go. It follows Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), framed for his wife's murder before escaping to find the one-armed man he wrestled with the night she was murdered.
It's a heart-pounding manhunt starring Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard. The film co-stars Sela Ward, Joe Pantoliano, Andreas Katsulas, and Jeroen Krabbé, and there is an equally entertaining spin-off/sequel called U.S. Marshals (1998).
12. True Lies (1994)
True Lies is a hilarious spy action comedy following U.S. government agent Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who is struggling to balance his double life as a spy with his unsuspecting familial duties. After a misunderstanding, his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) gets pulled into a terrorist hostage situation and must use her wits to stay alive.
The action and story are over-the-top awesomeness. The movie co-stars Tom Arnold, Tia Carrere, Art Malik, Bill Paxton, Eliza Dushku, Grant Heslov, and Charlton Heston.
13. Speed (1994)
Speed is an edge-of-your-seat experience with heart-pounding moments throughout the film. It follows LAPD SWAT bomb disposal officers Jack (Keanu Reeves) and Harry (Jeff Daniels). After foiling a terrorist plot, the terrorist (Dennis Hopper) rigs a city bus to explode if it drops below 50 MPH.
Then, he makes his demands and challenges Jack, who boards the bus. Annie (Sandra Bullock) is the wildcat behind the wheel after the bus driver is accidentally shot in a misunderstanding.
14. Independence Day (1996)
Independence Day follows an alien invasion that threatens to destroy humanity. The aliens blow up half of the world and the survivors plot a global counterattack on July 4th, the United States Independence Day.
The special effects were insane for the time and the story is gripping. It features an ensemble cast of Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, and Harvey Fierstein.