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The 11 Greatest Debut Action Movies of All Time

Some action movies are a joyous watch, with all the juicy components that make them thrilling. Charismatic actors that steal the show, great action sequences, quotable dialogues, tension, and a clever and straightforward plot all make for an adrenaline-inducing experience that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Nonetheless, action movies are a huge responsibility for directors as they often need a very high budget that encompasses actors and stunts, fluid camera work, groovy editing, and CGI, it takes a skilled director to work the room. Here are some of the best action directorial debuts that felt too good for a first trial at directing that have become some of the most beloved action classics of all time.

11 Duel (1971) – Steven Spielberg

Dennis Weaver in Duel (1971) a Film by Steven Spielberg

Universal Television 

Duel is Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut and was the beginning of an action-filled career that has impressed the masses. In his first feature film, Spielberg directs the story of a businessman, David Mann played by Dennis Weaver, who gets chased by a psychotic truck driver played by Carey Loftin who attempts to kill him. The chase begins after Mann passes the driver on the lonely desert road, which becomes the start of a very tense, suspenseful, and horrific journey. What’s thrilling about the film is that we never see the truck driver, which keeps on firing the anticipation. Someone is alone on a road, he is being attacked, and we don’t know how things will pan out.
There is a mystery that fills the screen that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you relate to the person in distress. The masterful use of cinematography and sound designs really bring out the haunting feel of the film. When it was released, Duel did not get the wide release it deserved, but it is surely a hair-raising and action film that is not to be missed.
Related: 10 of the Most Underrated Debut Films

10 The Night of The Hunter (1955) – Charles Laughton

Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter United Artists

The Night of The Hunter is an underrated film directed by Charles Laughton that blends crime, drama, and thrill perfectly. The film-noir dives into the life of a man, Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) who is both a religious extremist and a serial killer. He targets widowed women. In parallel, he gets sent to prison for car theft where meets Ben Harper (Peter Graves), another criminal who confesses to stealing ten thousand dollars in a bank robbery. What intrigues Powell is that he hid the money somewhere in his farmhouse.
As a result, he becomes determined to infiltrate Harper’s family to find the money. The disturbing film highlights some of the cruelest behaviors some individuals are willing to go through for their own motives. This darkness is brought to life by Powell’s incredible performance, which has made him one of the most memorable and evil villains in the history of cinema. On top of that, the thrilling atmosphere is complemented by the stunning imagery.

9 Reservoir Dogs (1992) – Quentin Tarantino

Reservoir Dogs Miramax Films

Reservoir Dogs is a classic by Quentin Tarantino that has gathered a world-class reputation over the years. Infused with crime and tension, the film tells the story of six criminals who are hired by a leader, Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) for a jewelry heist. However, the thugs are strangers to each other and when the robbery goes seriously wrong, they begin to suspect that one of them is a traitor.
Despite its incredibly low budget, Reservoir Dogs has managed to captivate the viewer with its clever story-telling, pacing, and dedication towards the subject-matter which rendered it as a very original piece. The film noir is extremely violent, and is full of profane language, but it is what makes this production a pure production of the criminal world.

8 Easy Rider (1969) – Dennis Hopper

Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, and Dennis Hopper ride motorcycles in Easy Rider Columbia Pictures

Easy Rider was Dennis Hopper’s first motion picture, one which he stars in, is centered around the search for freedom. Two Harley-riding, free-spirited young men decide to travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of some new truths and self-revelations, and ultimately enlightenment. Their journey becomes influenced by meeting diverse individuals who are very different from them. Their experiences also become tainted as they face hate, violence, and crime that begin to shake their sense of safety in the country and the world they thought they lived in.
The film has an authentic feel to it and encapsulates much of the happenings of the real world as it covers all kinds of interactions between humans, from connection to friendship to exclusion and enmity. It is considered one of the best counterculture films that highlighted American society back in the late 1960s.

7 Badlands (1973) – Terrence Malick

Badlands 1973 Warner Bros.

Badlands was directed by Terrence Malick that embodies what a rewarding slow burn of a movie is. The film was inspired by the real-life case murderers Charles Starkweather and Caril-Ann Fugate. A young couple, Holly (Sissy Spacek) and Kit (Martin Sheen) kill Holly’s father when he disapproves of their relationship. After the murder, they flee and begin a killing spree throughout the Midwest on their way to the Badlands of Montana. Directed by Terrence Malick, the motion picture shows a piece of the disturbing human condition while also exploring what is good and bad through the eyes of individuals who do not operate like the rest and have become desensitized to the traditions of society.
The isolated atmosphere and on-screen action make for a minimal yet intense film. Badlands has been controversial since its release of the way it portrays its story, but that’s what makes the premise interesting, the ability to debate its effect and meaning.

6 El Mariachi (1992) – Robert Rodriguez

A scene from El Mariachi Columbia Pictures

El Mariachi is an action-packed film by Robert Rodriguez that carries so much suspense. It tells the story of a mariachi (known as a musician from a Mexican folk band) who gets mistaken for a killer by a local hitman who becomes bent on killing him. With his life in danger, he tries to escape him, but the chase only gets more and more intense and dangerous as he tries to escape town.
With a very low budget, El Mariachi amazed with the entertainment and action it provides. It is filled with energy, it is simple and it flows. With only a budget of around seven thousand dollars at the time, Rodriguez proves that with a vision and a bit of creativity, one’s movie could surpass what high production values could do. The film won the Guinness World Record for being the lowest-budget film to gather 1 million dollars at the US box office.

5 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) – Guy Ritchie

Vinnie Jones and Big Chris in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Gramercy Pictures

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a BAFTA-winning film that was directed and written by Guy Ritchie. Four friends play a poker game and find themselves seriously in debt. With only one week to pay the money, they overhear that their neighbors are about to rob some drug dealers. In turn, they decide that they will rob their neighbors. However, their plan entangles them in a bigger mess that makes them the center of attention for several criminals.
This film was a stunning start for Richie’s career. It’s a multi-layered, well-thought-out motion with a lot of style. Even though it’s filled with action and violence, it’s coupled with humor and a lot of fun throughout. It’s perfect for those who love gangster-themed films that are full of life, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels truly delivers.

4 Atomic Blonde – David Leitch

Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton in Atomic Blonde Focus Features

Atomic Blonde was David Leitch’s directorial debut. It was based on the novel The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston. The action thriller follows an undercover MI6 agent who has to go to Berlin during the Cold War days before the fall of the Berlin Wall to retrieve a microfilm document that contains the list of all intelligence double agents in Berlin after her peer was shot earlier by a KGB agent.
The sexy and skilled spy is onto of the deadliest missions of her life, where she has to proceed very carefully. Charlize Theron gives a stunning performance as British agent Lorraine Broughton.

3 Bad Boys (1995) – Michael Bay

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence playing detectives in buddy cop film Bad Boys 1995 Columbia Pictures

Bad Boys is Michael Bay’s first comedy action thriller film that narrates the story of two detectives in Miami, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) only have 72 hours to bring back the stolen drugs that were taken from the police headquarters they were supervising. The problem is that the drugs are worth 100 million dollars and if they don’t reclaim them, internal affairs will get involved.
On top of that, one of the detective’s friends gets murdered by the drug dealers. Matters become worse when they have to convince a witness to the murder to cooperate so that they can clear up the big mess. Bad Boys is an excellent example of an action film that masters the friendship of two buddies that is nothing but supportive through a journey that isn’t pretty.
The action in the film helps tell the story and isn’t just for show. Each action sequence serves a purpose and introduces new ideas. You will find everything, fast car chases, explosions, gun fights all while the comedic value of the movie is ever so present at all times.

2 Blood Simple – Joel & Ethan Coen

frances-mcdormand-blood-simple Circle Films

Blood Simple was co-written and directed by the brothers Joel and Ethan Coen. Set in Texas, the drama-filled motion picture zooms in on a bar owner who suspects that his wife is cheating on him with one of the bartenders. As his suspicions rise, he hires a detective to provide him with the necessary evidence to confirm his doubts. When he realizes the affair is very much true, he decides to kill his wife and her lover and get rid of their bodies to leave no trace of the crime.
However, a misunderstanding spirals out of hand, and now an innocent bartender is thrown into this revenge-filled dilemma. Blood Simple is a dark story about betrayal, anger, oddity, and misunderstandings that results in more gloominess. Stylishly executed, the film brings out human idiocy when it comes to assumption throughout its camera work, accurate pacing, dialogue, and great acting.
Related: The 10 Best Debut Horror Movies of All Time

1 Zombieland (2009) – Ruben Fleischer

Woody Harrelson and Jessie Eisenberg in Zombieland Sony Pictures Releasing 

Zombieland is a fun zombie-fest film that has proved to be one of the most successful zombie movies ever made. It was directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Woody Harrelson. When a virus infects America turning it into an apocalyptic world filled with zombies, with a few remaining survivors, a battle for survivors ensues.
Four individuals try to make their way into an area in Los Angeles where there is an amusement park that is supposed to be safe. The road trip style motion picture is filled with fun and hilarious moments, and adventures that are given life by the amazing ensemble cast whose chemistry works together perfectly. From the very beginning of the film, we are dropped right in the middle of the horror, which only gets more and more enticing as the movie progresses.

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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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