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The 11 Best Arthouse Action Movies of All Time

The arthouse action genre is one that sets out to subvert the commercial action genre by making stylistic and complexly narrated stories. Originating in Asian and European cinema in the 1950s with directors like Akira Kurosawa, the arthouse style has lived on in modern-day directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, and Nicolas Winding Refn, all of whom make an appearance on this list.

These niche-marketed films may not have received the widespread appeal of your typical action movie but have nevertheless lived on as some of the finest pieces in cinema history. Come along as we examine the eleven best arthouse action movies of all time.

11 The Hurt Locker (2008)

TheHurtLocker (1)

Voltage Pictures

Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece, The Hurt Locker, examines the psychological impact of war on the members of an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal team when they become hunted by insurgents. Despite receiving criticism from actual Iraq War veterans for the accuracy with which the war on soldiers was portrayed. As a work of fiction, the movie was praised for its direction and the acting performances of those involved.

10 Drive (2011)

Ryan Gosling in Drive (2011) FilmDistrict and Wild Side Films

Drive could be described as the textbook definition of an arthouse action film. This 2011 adaptation of the James Sallis novel features Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver in Hollywood by day and a getaway driver by night. The stylized violence and non-linear storytelling are both hallmarks of a great arthouse action film, something Drive does incredibly well.
Related: These Are the Best Nicolas Winding Refn Movies, Ranked

9 Léon: The Professional (1994)

Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in Léon: The Professional Buena Vista InternationalGaumont

Léon: The Professional is a film that is bursting with style as director Luc Besson presents his arthouse version of New York City. The action thriller stands out for its performances, including one of the best of Jean Reno’s career, as well as the feature film debut of 13-year-old Natalie Portman. This cult classic remains a fixture of the arthouse action genre twenty years after its initial release.

8 Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino Miramax

1994’s Pulp Fiction is a melting pot of Hollywood’s history. Mixing elements like blaxploitation, Japanese period pieces, Roger Corman direction inspiration, postmodernism, and other big Hollywood terms all combined into one tremendous arthouse film that, despite its laundry list of inspirations, works flawlessly. Arthouse or not, Pulp Fiction has all the makings of being the best action film of the 1990s.

7 Oldboy (2003)

Yoo Ji-tae in Oldboy 2003 gun bleeding Show East

Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook has enjoyed a 30-plus-year career and boasts an impressive resume of films, with Oldboy standing out among them. The hyper-violent revenge thriller is praised for its psychological characterizations, another hallmark of the arthouse action genre. The film would influence later 2000s work from Quentin Tarantino, who would cite Oldboy as one of his favorite films.

6 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Clint Eastwood Produzioni Europee Associate Releasing

The Sergio Leone classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is perhaps the greatest spaghetti western ever made. Starring Clint Eastwood, the film received near universal acclaim when it was first released in 1966. It is also a sneaky arthouse film, captivating audiences with incredible landscapes, and a superbly compelling narrative.
Related: The All-Time Best Shootouts in Movies

5 Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Everything-Everywhere-All-At-Once-2022 (2)

Everything Everywhere All at Once was the darling of the 2022 award season, winning more than 250 awards worldwide, including best picture at the 95th Academy Awards. With a visually spellbinding narrative and emotionally charged performances from Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, and Key Huy Quan. This modern-day arthouse action film holds up to any that have preceded it or will follow it.

4 Battle Royale (2000)

Battle Royale Toei Company

Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku helped define a decade in the hyper-violent action genre with his 2000 film, Battle Royale. With a controversial narrative, one consisting of adolescents being forced to fight one another to the death by the Japanese government. The film dives into this premise headfirst, crafting a visually stunning, blood-splattered, and culturally relevant masterpiece.

3 Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill Miramax Films

Kill Bill Vol. 1 is a blood-soaked, colorful comic book come to life. Drawing inspiration from several films on this list alone, director Quentin Tarantino mined the world of arthouse action to produce one of the most visually beautiful and uber-violent films of all time. Vol. 1 and its follow-up standout in Tarantino’s filmography for all the right reasons.

2 The Matrix (1999)

Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Warner Bros.

To say that The Matrix completely changed the game would be an understatement. Upon its release in 1999, the Wachowskis-directed action sci-fi film was unlike anything seen before on the big screen. Drawing inspiration from literary, film, and television works that had come before it. The Matrix cemented its place in cinematic history.

1 Seven Samurai (1954)

Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai Toho

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai can be considered the Godfather of not just the arthouse action genre, but the entire action genre of films. Influencing films for nearly 70 years, its legacy can be felt in every corner of Hollywood. The film is both beautiful to look at and as emotionally compelling as any action narrative that came before or after.

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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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