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10 Biggest Action Movie Stars of the ’80s and ’90s

The 1980s and 1990s were great decades for action movies. From Terminator 2: Judgment Day to The Matrix, there always seemed to be a steady stream of explosive thrillers for audiences to check out. Whether you liked martial arts movies starring Jackie Chan, or shoot-em-up films with Tom Cruise doing his own stunts, the ’80s and ’90s had movies for film fans of all action genres.

Some of today’s biggest stars made a name for themselves in the ’80s and ’90s. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for instance, was a huge star in the worlds of bodybuilding and movies long before he was the Governor of California. It’s quite surprising how many of the Hollywood action heroes from those eras are still around, which is a testament to their real grit, longevity, and true acting skills. While it’s not an exhaustive list, here are the biggest action movie stars from the ’80s and ’90s.

10 Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis as John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard

20th Century Fox

Bruce Willis is a bona fide action star. Although he got his start alongside Cybill Shepherd in the 19080s TV series Moonlighting, Most fans know him from the Die Hard franchise. The first Die Hard film is considered a seminal action film of the 1990s. In it, Willis plays John McClane, a normal guy who is trying to come home for Christmas to reunite with his estranged wife. Instead, his wife’s office Christmas party is hijacked by a group of terrorists, led by the evil (but awesome) Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).
Many of Bruce Willis’ subsequent films have been full of memorable moments. Highlights from the ’80s and ’90s include Die Hard 2, The Last Boy Scout, The Jackal, Armageddon, and The Fifth Element. In 2022, Willis was forced to retire from acting due to his suffering from aphasia, a brain condition that affects the areas of the brain that control expression and comprehension. Bruce Willis is definitely an action movie legend in many people’s eyes.

9 Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan as Lee in Rush Hour New Line Cinema

Jackie Chan started acting in small roles in the 1960s, but he really burst onto the American movie scene in the 1980s. Hailing from British Hong Kong, Chan successfully starred in ’80s action movies like Police Story, Drunken Master, and The Young Master. Chan’s popularity in the USA boomed in the ’90s with hit movies such as Rush Hour and Rumble in the Bronx. Chan famously performs all his own stunts in his movies. He’s appeared in more than 150 films but has slowed down in recent years. He’s almost 70, after all.
Jackie Chan is one of Hollywood’s most fascinating actors. He received an honorary Academy Award in 2016 for his “extraordinary contribution to film” and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Chan’s martial arts and hand-to-hand combat scenes were signatures of his ’80s and ’90s films, and his ability to do his own fight scenes make him a great action star.

8 Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York AVCO Embassy Pictures

Kurt Russell is a jack-of-all-trades in American cinemas. Before he was Santa in The Christmas Chronicles, he was a cowboy in Tombstone and a hockey coach in Miracle, among others. Russell got his start much earlier, though, and stared in some great ’80s and ’90s action films. His first notable movie was 1981’s Escape From New York, directed by John Carpenter, where he played Snake Pilssken, an ex-soldier who is tasked with saving the President of the United States.
Later, Kurt Russell starred in a string of popular action movies, including Big Trouble in Little China, Executive Decision, Escape from L.A., and Tango & Cash. Russell dominates the big screen with his gruff style, bad-boy attitude, and willingness to shoot anyone who gets in his way. Radio Silence Productions is working on a “requel” of Escape from New York, though Russell has not been confirmed to be involved in the project just yet.
RELATED: Kurt Russell’s Best Action Movies, Ranked

7 Sylvester Stallone

Expendables 2- Bike v Chopper Lionsgate

It’s nearly impossible to talk about ’80s and ’90s action stars without mentioning Sylvester Stallone. Sly has been captivating audiences with his signature voice and looks for over five decades. His big breakthrough came in 1976 with the boxing movie Rocky, where he played the small-time title character who is chosen to fight the heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).
Stallone’s career exploded when he got into action movies. His physique is impressive and it made him the ideal candidate to play Rambo in 1982’s First Blood. Sly would play the character several more times over the next three decades. His robust ’80s and ’90s action resume also includes hits like Demolition Man, Cliffhanger, and Judge Dredd, to name a few.

6 Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver as Ripley 20th Century Fox

Sigourney Weaver is an incredibly talented and intelligent actor. She grew up in New York City and went on to earn a Graduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale. Her career took off after she appeared in James Cameron’s 1979 sci-fi action flick Alien. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the sequel, Aliens.
While Weaver’s filmography is vast and varied, she also starred in 1984’s Ghostbusters, 1992’s Alien 3, and 1995’s Copycat. Her confidence and presence on screen make her a great action hero. Lately, Weaver has been lending her voice talents to Pixar films such as Finding Dory and WALL-E, as well as starring in Cameron’s Avatar franchise.

5 Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando 20th Century Fox

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the king of action movies. He was born in Austria and got started in bodybuilding as a young man in the 1960s. From there, he transitioned into movies in the 1970s and had his first action hit with The Terminator in 1984. He’s in tons of great movies, but the best has to be the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where he plays the reprogrammed T-800 Terminator who is sent back in time to protect John Connor (Edward Furlong).
“The Governator” crushed action roles in the ’80s, starring in Commando (1985), Predator (1987), and The Running Man (1987). He scored a pair of classics in the ’90s: 1990’s Total Recall and 1994’s True Lies. Schwarzenegger is always tough and cool on screen, making him one of the world’s best action actors.

4 Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner Warner Bros.

Harrison Ford isn’t your typical action star. He’s not typically shooting guns or starting massive explosions, but he has a wide range of action, adventure, and science fiction films. Ford is charismatic and great at utilizing a lot of stunts in his movies. He hit it big time as Rick Deckard in 1982’s Blade Runner and has never looked back.
After the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films of the 1980s, Ford got more into pure action movies. His highlights include Clear and Present Danger, Air Force One, and Patriot Games. His latest flick Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny hits theaters in June 2023 and fans will be happy that Ford has no plans to retire anytime soon.
RELATED: 10 Harrison Ford Movies That Deserve More Credit

3 Jean-Claude Van Damme

Bloodsport with Jean-Claude Van Damme The Cannon Group

If you remember Tamagotchis, Blockbuster, and Grunge music from the ’90s, then you definitely remember Jean-Claude Van Damme. The martial arts action star worked odd jobs and struggled financially until his breakout role in Bloodsport in 1988. Van Damme rose in popularity through the ’90s with movies like Timecop, Street Fighter, and Sudden Death. It seemed like everyone at the time wanted to be like Van Damme.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s movie career has been much more varied since the ’90s. He even had a voice cameo in 2022’s Minions: The Rise of Gru as a mock character of himself named Jean Clawed. Van Damme’s best days may be in the past, but he’s a legend of martial arts movies who became a huge star for his unique delivery, athleticism, and charismatic image.

2 Steven Seagal

Under Siege Reboot Planned at HBO Max, Will Steven Seagal Return as Cook Casey Ryback? Warner Bros.

Another martial arts action star that skyrocketed to fame in the 1990s is Steven Seagal. He’s a 7th-dan black belt in martial arts and got his start in a dojo in Japan in the early 1970s. Seagal began acting in 1987, but his biggest breakthrough movie was 1992’s Under Siege. He then directed and starred in 1994’s On Deadly Ground, and shared the screen with action star Kurt Russell in 1996’s Executive Decision.
Seagal has been in the hot seat as of late, often criticized for his controversial political views and ties with Russian leaders. He’s also been the subject of several lawsuits since the ’90s and has been accused of mistreating his stunt performers on set. Seagal and Van Damme also had a bit of a feud going on in the ’90s, with fans still arguing about who is the better action star.

1 Wesley Snipes

Blade Wesley Snipes New Line Cinema

Before he was an action star, Wesley Snipes was featured in comedy movies like White Men Can’t Jump and Major League. Snipes became a household name after he played the iconic title character in 1998’s Blade. Snipes was a “daywalker”, a half-human, half-vampire that roamed the night hunting vampires. Blade was a movie that was considered especially gory for its time, and Snipes was a dynamic leading man.
Although he’s mostly been in the news in the 2000s for his tax and legal troubles, Wesley Snipes was a huge action star in the ’90s. His impressive filmography includes Demolition Man with Sylvester Stallone, Rising Sun with Sean Connery, and U.S. Marshals with Tommy Lee Jones. Snipes finally made a comeback with a small part in the 2019 critically acclaimed Eddie Murphy movie Dolemite Is My Name.

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‘I am officially off the market’: When Margot Robbie revealed she made the ‘conscious’ decision of not dating actors

Margot Robbie revealed her decision to not date actors because of the media scrutiny that came with a public relationship of two high-profile actors
Back in 2015, A-lister Margot Robbie made a declaration that she would not be dating any actors. The actress may have alluded to her fiance Tom Ackerley, who she married the following year in 2016. In an exclusive interview with Marie Claire, she revealed that being in a relationship as an actor herself came with its own set of challenges. She believed that dating someone who was popular would add on to the media scrutiny.

Margot Robbie opened up on why she made a conscious decision to not date actorsTalking to Marie Claire, she claimed, “I am officially off the market.” She then shared the reasoning behind her decision and added, “I made a conscious decision not to date actors.” She continued to explain, “But not because I hate actors. That’s a nasty generalization to make, and that’s not the case. People take such an interest in your love life when you have a profile, it puts a lot of stress on a relationship.”
The Barbie actress continued, “So two people with profiles, I figure it’s just double the amount of scrutiny, and I’d like to avoid that at all costs.” This came after reports of her locking lips with Tarzan co-star Alexander Skarsgard started making rounds. It was reported that she was caught kissing the actor during the Sundance Film Festival.

Margot Robbie revealed she opted for a minimal lifestyle even after becoming an actorIn the interview, Robbie also opened up about how she was adapting to fame. She shared, “I have a normal 24-year-old life. If I were a waitress, I’d probably have the exact same lifestyle. I’d go to the same clubs I go to already, live in the same house with the same housemates, hang out with the same people.”
However, Margot Robbie tied the knot with Tom Ackerley who is an English producer and actor. The duo met on the sets of 2013 movie Suite Francaise where Tom was working as an assistant director. Post marriage, both of them launched their production company LuckyChap Entertainment.

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Monica Bellucci and Tin Burton at lunch in the restaurant in Selci Lama

For All Saints’ Day, the Hollywood star from Tiferno returned to his native Umbria to enjoy a moment of relaxation and then visit his parentsOn the occasion of the All Saints’ Day celebrations, the Hollywood star of Tiferno origin, Monica Bellucci, returned to her native Umbria to enjoy a moment of relaxation and to visit her father Pasquale and her mother Brunella.Flanked by her current partner Tim Burton, she went to lunch, together with about twenty old friends, at the Osteria del Musicista, which has always been her favorite restaurant, in Selci Lama.Menu dedicated to typical dishes of the area, which includes an appetizer with breadsticks lined with coppa, duck in porchetta and grilled pork livers, polenta with wild boar sauce accompanied by the very typical cappelletti in broth.To conclude, a dessert based on fried “ciaccia” with Nutella and roasted chestnuts.
Having paid the bill and greeted the restaurant owner and lifelong friend, Roberto Polchi, Monica brought home cappelletti and broth for a family dinner.

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‘Rocky’ Was Quite Different In His Original Screenplay, Sylvester Stallone Claims

Sylvester Stallone took his friend’s advice on a rewrite of the original screenplay to Rocky. A few tweaks later, he was on his way to major success.
In the new Netflix documentary Sly, Stallone discussed how he initially conceived of the project, which had a much harder edge. In the early version, Rocky was depicted as a “thuggish” character, inspired by Martin Scorsese’s crime drama, Mean Streets.

But Stallone’s perspective changed when a friend read the script and thought the boxer was too cruel for audiences to actually care about him.
Stallone recalled her crying.

“She goes, ‘I hate Rocky. I hate him. He’s cruel. He hits people. He beats them up.’”
Stallone took it to heart, and asked what he could do to soften the character.

“I said, ‘what if you stop short of it?’ Like, maybe he almost did. He could have, that’s his job, but he doesn’t?’ ‘That’d be nice,’” he added. “I said, ‘What if he had a girlfriend or something?’ ‘Yeah, that’s nice.’ So I go back, start writing that: ‘Girlfriend. Nice.’”
$117 million in box office later, a franchise was born.

Stallone also revealed that actor Dolph Lundgren sent him to the hospital during one fight scene in Rocky IV.
“Dolph Lundgren… he pulverized me,” Stallone says in the documentary. “Later that night, my heart started to swell—which happens when the heart hits the chest—and then my blood pressure went up to 260, and they thought I was going to be talking to angels. Next thing I know, I’m in intensive care, where I’m surrounded by nuns, and I thought, ‘OK, that’s curtains.’”
Stallone was in the hospital for nine days following the incident, praying for “one more round.”
“For the first minute of the fight, it is going to be a free-for-all,” Stallone told Lundgren. The Swedish actor joked in a separate interview that all he did was “obey orders,” explaining, “[Stallone] was the boss. I did what he told me.”
Doctors allegedly told Stallone that he received a blow to the ribs that made his heart rattle around in his ribcage, a condition typically seen in head-on collisions. “I did hit a bus, of sorts,” Stallone joked.

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