Those looking for a big night with the best Netflix action movies have come to the right place. From comedy to sci-fi and even more heartwarming drama, Netflix’s selection of action movies is so vast that there’s something for everyone, even if you don’t usually watch them very often.
From the amazing Minority Report to the epic Lord of The Rings movies, you won’t be leaving your couch for a long time to come as you scroll through Netflix’s catalog of action movies. Want something more ... animated? Our list of the best Netflix anime shows and movies has you covered. While those who want something more realistic should check out the best Netflix documentaries.
You'll likely discover a few new favorites of your own, too, as Netflix has enough great films to ensure its spot on our list of the best streaming services. The never-ending list of the best Netflix shows doesn't hurt its rankings either.
Want to cut the cord? We tested the best cable TV alternatives, so you can tell the difference from the replacements and the failures.
The best Netflix action movies are:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
He came back, and we loved every minute. Yes, Terminator 2: Judgement Day saw the return of Arnold Shwarzenegger, this time as the reprogrammed T-800 Terminator. Back to protect John Connor (Edward Furlong) and prevent a dystopic future where Skynet takes over and ruins humanity.
Pretty perfect as action movies go, Judgment Day is a dash better than most thanks to director James Cameron's eye for novel special effects. Oh, and Robert Patrick's highly-focused T-1000 Terminator is one of the best baddies of all time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick
Director: James Cameron
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Much like positive moments in Spider-Man and Peter Parker's life, enjoy Spider-Man 2 while it's still on Netflix. The best live-action comic book movie ever shows Pete (Tobey Maguire) at his lowest, estranged from his friends and burying himself in Spidey-work, and his new science buddy, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina). Unfortunately, one of Doc's experiments goes haywire.
Fortunately, Parker's Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) hasn't abandoned him, and Mary-Jane Watson may still hold hope for this tiger, too. An atypical second chapter of a trilogy, Spider-Man 2 feels special thanks to the horror touches from director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead).
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons
Director: Sam Raimi
Léon: The Professional
In a quiet Little Italy building in New York City, a corrupt DEA agent (Gary Oldman) is making the worst mistake of his life as he ruins the life of young Mathilda (Natalie Portman). Messing with her father only pushes the child into the helping hands of her modest neighbor Léon (Jean Reno) — who is a hitman.
Mathilda, if you can believe it, begs for Léon's help in learning his trade. Luc Besson's film is utterly gripping, as Portman processes rage and grief, Reno plays it straight and Oldman is unhinged.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%
Cast: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello
Director: Luc Besson
Love The Dark Knight? I hope you've seen Michael Mann's Heat, the film that Christopher Nolan pays homage to in his best Batman movie. Instead of Batman and The Joker, we've got the LAPD's Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and a heist genius named Neil (Robert De Niro).
Even though Heat's on the lengthier side of cinema, it uses and earns every minute of your attention. Not only are its action scenes fantastic, but the drama in its dialogue is superb, especially when you get to the classic diner scene.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd
Director: Michael Mann
RRR, one of the biggest surprises in cinema from the last year, had my audience break out into rhythmic clapping to the beat during a massive action scene. What else would you expect, though, from a film whose director describes it as focusing on an "imaginary friendship between two superheroes."
Yes, S.S. Rajamouli's film about Indian folk heroes taking on British Colonialists is an utter delight. A little cartoonish at times, it's pure fun if you can let yourself enjoy the silliness.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Cast: N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Ajay Devgan, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran
Director: S.S. Rajamouli
A cinematic child of Quentin Tarantino and John Wick, Bullet Train continues the latter's premise of "what if hitmen and spies were everywhere?" But its big twist is throwing them all into a high-speed train to Tokyo, and giving Brad Pitt the equivalent of Clerks' Dante: Ladybug (Pitt) doesn't even want to be here today.
PItt and his costars get plenty of well-crafted fight scenes throughout. Memorable pairings include Ladybug tangling with a vengeful assassin (Bad Bunny) who blames him for ruining his wedding, and our protagonist's attempts t pilfer a briefcase from a pair of wise-talking siblings (Taylor-Johnson and Henry). – HTC
Rotten Tomatoes score: 54%
Cast: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Hiroyuki Sanada
Director: David Leitch
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson plays an FBI profiler pursuing the world's most wanted art thief, played by Ryan Reynolds. They need to pair up to try and catch an elusive crook, The Bishop (Gal Gadot). This movie is as full of jokes as it is action sequences and broke Netflix records when it first launched in November 2021, becoming the streamer’s biggest-ever movie release. Fun, fast-paced and action-packed. — Charlotte Henry
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36%
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
The Pirates - The Last Royal Treasure
This Korean action movie from January 2022 tells the story of a tough crew of Joseon pirates and bandits who work to unpick clues in a bid to find some royal gold that has seemingly disappeared. Not only must they take on the elements, they aim to find the missing treasure ahead of their rivals. — Charlotte Henry
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%
Cast: Kang Ha-neul, Han Hyo-joo, and Lee Kwang-soo
Director: Kim Jeonghun
The Harder They Fall
Jonathan Majors and Idris Elba team up for this modern, humorous twist on a Western. Major plays cowboy Nat Love, while Elba is Rufus Buck, a notorious outlaw. The two are enemies, and Love decides to track down Buck when he discovers he has been freed from prison. The film also features an attention-grabbing soundtrack to accompany a star-studded cast. — Charlotte Henry
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Cast: Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, RJ Cyler, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, Deon Cole
Director: Jeymes Samuel
This Netflix original action film follows a corrupt cop’s extreme attempts to cover up an accident, and the way his life falls out of control after doing so. This movie was originally shot in French, but is also available in English (the original language always seems to fit best, though). It also happens to be a remake…of a remake. The first version came out in 2017 as a Korean dark comedy/thriller entitled A Hard Day. — Charlotte Henry
Cast: Frank Gastambide, Simon Abkarian, Michaël Abiteboul, Tracy Gotoas, Jemima West
Director: Régis Blondeau
A group of veterans who engage in one final mission. This is not a military action though. Instead, the team plan is to rob one of the most violent cartels in the world. They want to claim the drug lord’s fortune, but things don’t exactly go to plan, and the fallout is huge. Can the soldiers-turned-thieves handle the consequences of their actions? — Charlotte Henry
Cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal
Director: J.C. Chandor
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%
Against the Ice
This suspense-filled Netflix action movie is based on a true story - an expedition that took place in 1909. That said, a lot of what went on is, in reality, unknown, so some…creative license…has been taken. That mission was a Danish captain’s attempt to prove that Greenland is all one piece of land, and consequently disprove the United States’ claim to Northeast Greenland. He leaves all but one inexperienced crew member behind on their ship, and sets off. The pair have to fight hunger, fatigue, and even a polar bear as they first look to get back their ship, and then await rescue. — Charlotte Henry
Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Joe Cole, Heida Reed, Charles Dance
Director: Peter Flinth
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%
The Forgotten Battle
This World War II movie takes place in November 1944 during the Battle of the Schelde on Walcheren in Zeeland. The island has been flooded, and allies are fighting the German army. The film, originally shot in Dutch, tells the story of three intertwined lives - a Dutch boy who has joined with the Germans, a glider pilot from England, and a girl from the island who has joined the resistance. All must consider their choices, freedom, and the freedom of others. — Charlotte Henry
Cast: Gijs Blom, Jamie Flatters, Susan Radder, Jan Bijvoet, Tom Felton, Coen Bril
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Outside the Wire
A young drone pilot is sent into a war zone to help stop a nuclear attack after he is found to have broken the chain of command and disobeyed orders. He finds that his new senior partner is an android and a top-secret piece of military equipment with the ability to go rogue, with messy consequences. — Charlotte Henry
Cast: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Michael Kelly, Pilou Asbaek, Enzo Cilenti, Bobby Lockwood, Henry Garrett, Velibor Topic
Director: Mikael Håfström
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%
The Old Guard
What happens when a team of self-healing mercenaries who have lived for hundreds of years are set up to be killed off? Well, it doesn't go well, that's for starters. Charlize Theron stars as Andromache, aka "Andy," the leader of this team that's soon out for revenge. This graphic novel adaptation was a hit for Netflix and we're already wondering when we get to see The Old Guard 2. — Henry T. Casey
Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
One of the latest in the ever-growing genre of "the secret world of spies" movies (see: John Wick), Gunpowder Milkshake gives Karen Gillan the lead role for a story all about family. Expertly shot, with a sense of humor, the film focuses on Sam, who's trying to save an 8-year-old girl on the wrong end of a hit. Her an estranged relationship with her mother has something to do with her need to save the child, and (of course) Sam reunites with her mother Scarlet, who also happens to be a lethal force. — Henry T. Casey
Rotten Tomatoes score: 61%
Cast: Karen Gillan, Joanna Bobin, Freya Allan and Lena Headey
Director: Navot Papushado
You can always rely on Chris Hemsworth to bring the goods in movies like this, and Extraction doesn't disappoint. Based on the graphic novel Ciudad, Extraction is all about a black ops mercenary hired to rescue a drug lord's kidnapped son in the Bangladeshi city of Dhaka. While there's plenty of gratuitous violence here and some gaping plot holes, the 99 million people who watched the movie in its first four weeks on Netflix can't be wrong... right? — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, David Harbour, Golshifteh Farahani, Randeep Hooda, Sam Hargrave
Director: Sam Hargrave
The newest entry on the list, Sweet Girl is basically a vehicle for Jason Mamoa to be hot, and he does a pretty good job of it here. The movie definitely has heart - the crux of the action happens because a woman named Amanda (Adria Arjona) dies of a rare form of cancer after a greedy CEO pulls a potentially life-saving drug off the market. That's when Amanda's husband Ray (Mamoa) decides to get revenge. Is it Oscar-worthy? Obviously not. Is it still packed full engaging of action? Definitely. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 21%
Cast: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Raza Jaffrey
Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza
The Last Mercenary
If you like your action with a side of humor, you'll love The Mercenary, not least of which because it stars perhaps one of the most legendary action stars of all time: Jean Claude Van Damme. The plot is straightforward enough - a former secret service agent is forced to go back to France when the son he's been out of touch with for years is falsely accused by the French government of drugs and arms trafficking. Thankfully, Richard Brumère/The Mist (Van Damme) is there to save the day. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 57%
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Assa Sylla, Samir Decazza, Valerie Kaprisky, Nassim Si Ahmed
Director: David Charhon
If one of your biggest fears is being wrongly accused of a crime you didn't commit while traveling through a foreign country, Beckett will likely fill you with anxiety. That's pretty much exactly what happens here - Beckett (John David Washington) is an American visiting Athens, Greece, but he and his girlfriend leave when political unrest begins to spread. However, when a terrible accident occurs, Beckett finds himself the target of a manhunt and has to try and dodge the authorities chasing him and make it to the U.S. Embassy to clear his name. This one is definitely a wild ride, even if the plot is a little silly. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 48%
Cast: John David Washington, Alicia Vikander, Boyd Holbrook, Vicky Krieps
Director: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
Originally filmed entirely in French, The Decline was later dubbed by the original cast in English for your viewing pleasure. The movie focuses on a survivalist training group that becomes extremely tense after one of the attendees accidentally dies. To say that things get a little dicey between the remaining survivalists is putting things lightly, but as one of the best action movies of 2020, it's deserving of a watch. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Cast: Marie-Evelyne Lessard, Real Bosse, Guillaume Laurin, Marilyn Catonguay
Director: Patrice Laliberté
Rim of the World
Screenwriter Zack Stentz wanted to do a modern take on the classic kids' action movies of the 1980s, which is exactly what he accomplished with Rim of the World. Perfect for younger viewers, it incorporates science fiction with plenty of adventure between a group of misfits at summer camp. They're the best of friends... and then the aliens invade Earth. Luckily, they know how to stop the invasion, but it'll take a lot of bravery and a little luck to get there. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 27%
Cast: Annabeth Gish, Alessio Scalzotto Miya Cech, Jack Gore, Benjamin Flores Jr.
More science fiction, only this time for the adults. An engineer named Peter (Michael Peña) begins having the same nightmare night after night in which all of his loved ones keep being violently attacked by aliens. These dreams take over his waking life and affect all of his relationships, especially the one with his wife. Sadly, Peter wasn't just dreaming - the aliens are really there and the role Peter will play in defending the earth is more complex than anyone would have expected. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 32%
Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Michael Peña, Amelia Crouch, Erica Tremblay
Director: Ben Young
While Sand Castle is more technically a war drama, the very act of battle lends a sense of unavoidable action, and that's the case here. Based on the real-life experience of screenwriter Chris Roessner, the movie follows Matt Ocre, a US Army soldier who's assigned to restore water to a small village in Iraq. Of course, things don't go quite so smoothly in the middle of a warzone. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%
Cast: Henry Cavill, Nicholas Hoult, Logan Marshall-Green, Neil Brown Jr.
Director: Fernando Coimbra
History buffs will love this movie about 14th century Scottish King Robert the Bruce. He started a war against the English army in rebellion against Edward I's rule over Scotland and as you can imagine, things get pretty grizzly. Chris Pine plays the title character and while Outlaw King does play a bit fast and loose with the facts, it's high on adrenaline which makes it worthwhile. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 62%
Cast: Chris Pine, Florence Pugh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Billy Howle
Director: David Mackenzie
For fans of artsy foreign films, Okja is definitely a must-see. The 2017 Korean movie directed by Bong Joon-ho (who you'll likely know from his work on Parasite) is all about a little girl who raises a genetically motified "super pig" named Okja that's taken away from her to the US. However, she's not about to let her beloved pet go easily, and she embarks on an adventurous rescue mission to save the animal's life. The cast here is spectacular, especially young Ahn Seo-hyun and Tilda Swinton, and it will stay with you long after the credits roll. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Steven Yeun
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Beasts of No Nation
The critically-acclaimed 2015 war drama isn't a typical action movie, but that doesn't mean it doesn't fit the category. A child soldier who participates in his country's horrifying civil war sees and experiences things that no person, let alone any child, ever should. There's a lot of violence and destruction here, but also some pretty thought-provoking messages that give viewers something to think about. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Cast: Abraham Attah, Idris Elba, Ama K. Aberese, Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
How It Ends
Many of the best action movies are set during an apocalypse, and that's where we're at in How It ends. The world may be ending, but Will (Theo James) is desperate to get home to his pregnant wife Sam (Kat Graham). There's just one issue: she's thousands of miles away. To get back to her, he'll have to navigate his way through fires, violent shoot-outs, and life-threatening injuries. If you're into doomsday dramas, this is a good one to add to your list. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 66%
Cast: Theo James, Forest Whitaker, Grace Dove, Nicole Ari Parker, Kat Graham, and Mark O'Brien.
Director: David M. Rosenthal
Another action comedy film, Spenser Confidential sees Mark Wahlberg as a disgraced Boston police detective who immerses himself in the criminal underworld in order to solve a murder conspiracy. Of course, it seems that wherever Spenser goes, trouble follows, and that leads to him getting into all kinds of dangerous situations, some more hilarious than others. While not an outright comedy, there are enough moments of levity to make the sillier plot decisions a little more enjoyable to watch. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 37%
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Marc Maron
Director: Peter Berg
The French are shockingly good at action movies, and Lost Bullet is definitely one of the best. The story follows a mechanic named Lino who's bribed by dirty cops into doing their bidding in order to avoid going to jail. If he doesn't want to be stuck with a murder charge, he'll have to track down one particular car that contains a single bullet that would prove his innocence. If you're into fast cars and reckless driving, you'll love Lost Bullet. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 72%
Cast: Alban Lenoir, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Ramzy Bedia, Stéfi Celma, Sébastien Lalanne
Director: Guillaume Pierret
By looking at the cast list, you can probably immediately tell that all the action here is splashed with a pretty large dose of comedy, and thank goodness for that. The premise is hilarious enough on its own: Charlie (David Spade) and Max (Adam Sandler) decide to fake their deaths to start new lives. Sadly, the men whose identities they steal were up to no good in their past lives, which gets Charlie and Max into not a small amount of trouble. There's definitely plenty of excitement here, but you'll be laughing all the way through. This is certainly the least critically-successful film on this list, but it's got its own charm about itself — and who watches action movies because of what the critics say, anyways? — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 9%
Cast: Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kathryn Hahn, Paula Patton
Director: Steven Brill
Project Power centers on a near-future New Orleans in which some mysterious company offers a group of drug dealers a free pill that gives its taker any number of superpowers for five minutes. To find out who's behind the pill, a cop and a former soldier team up and hit the streets, and what they find isn't what anyone expects. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 61%
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback, Machine Gun Kelly
Director: Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost
Hold the Dark
After three kids are suspected to have been killed by wolves, an animal expert named Russell (Jeffrey Wright) heads out to a remote Alaskan village to find out what happened. However, what he discovers is much more sinister than the community would ever have believed. There’s something refreshingly different about Hold the Dark, and action here is more understated but no less satisfying for it. — Jennifer Still
Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Jeffrey Wright, James Badge Dale, Riley Keough
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
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Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.