40 best action movies

Thrills, spills, chills, and kills: this is why we go to the movies, to see big, amazing, improbable and/or impossible stuff happen on the big screen. It just gets the blood pumping to see impressive feats of stunt work and death defiance—which is why tons of action movies come out every year. While many are certainly satisfying, only a few contain that elusive combination of a great story, unforgettable characters, and an unmatched technical mastery of stunts 'n' squibs necessary to transcend genre thrills and achieve great cinema. These movies have all reached that lofty status. Here are Looper's picks for the best action movies ever made.