Check Out Some of the Best Action and Adventure Movies of the 20th Century

It doesn’t matter who you are and where you live in the world, you and everyone else likes watching movies. We watch them for their sheer entertainment or we watch because we want to learn something about the world.

Luckily, sometimes a movie is released that is not just full of important messages but is also amazingly entertaining. From swashbuckling adventure flicks to grueling hand-to-hand combat, the 20th century has given us real gems. 

Action and adventure movies from the 20th century have been some of the most-watched and awarded movies of all time. Up next we’re going to tell you about some of the best of them. 

Check Out Some of the Best Action and Adventure Movies of the 20th Century
Image Source: Film Daily

The Matrix – 1999

Just before the turn of the century, the world was caught by surprise with one very obscure sci-fi action-adventure film. This movie turned the film industry upside down with its impressive visual effects, action sequences, and thoughtful philosophy. 

The Matrix was released in 1999 and took the world by storm. The film stars Keanu Reeves and directed by the Wachowskis.

The Matrix is set in a world where machines are harvesting humans while placing them under a simulation. Reeves’ character Neo begins a journey of self-enlightenment as he discovers that he is The One.

The One is the person who will liberate all humans from the Matrix and begin the fight get control away from the machines. Coupled with amazing fight sequences and special effects that hadn’t been before, the movie created a worldwide buzz.

Never has the world seen the likes of bullet time or the innovative use of slow-motion visual effects in action movies until The Matrix was released. 

Truly a classic action-adventure movie of the 20th Century, The Matrix will forever be etched in film history as the ultimate genre-defining movie of the century.

The Empire Strikes Back – 1980

The Empire Strikes Back is the second movie of the original Star Wars trilogy. While A New Hope introduced us to the vast universe of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back takes us on a wild thrilling journey across the vast galaxy.

Check Out Some of the Best Action and Adventure Movies of the 20th Century
Image Source: Hollywood Reporter

We travel that with our heroes – Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2, and C3PO. They are on the run from the Galactic Empire by skipping from one locale to the next. 

The revelation near the end of this action-packed entry to the Star Wars saga made a lasting shockwave that truly cemented this sequel as a classic action-adventure movie in the 20th century.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day – 1991

As they say in modern films, sequels tend to be inferior to the original but back in the day sequels were superior. Just take a look at Terminator 2: Judgement Day. 

Not only does the storyline move forward in their effort to save John Connor and the future, but it also brought up the original Terminator. This time he is brought up in a subversive manner as the hero of the story.

Check Out Some of the Best Action and Adventure Movies of the 20th Century
Image Source: Gizmodo

Not only were audiences caught by surprise with the sudden change of heart but the visual effects of this movie still holds very well by today’s standards. 

The long action sequences and the fight scenes in this movie were well-choreographed and the stoic performances of both Terminators sold the movie for what it was. 

Add the intense physicality of Linda Hamilton as she reprises the role of Sarah Connor, Terminator 2 was leaps and bounds better than the original film.

Speed – 1994

Who would have thought that the simple premise of Speed could be turned into a whole movie? 

The characters are on a bus that has a bomb inside it. If the driver goes below a certain speed, the bomb will go off and kill the passengers. 

Check Out Some of the Best Action and Adventure Movies of the 20th Century
Image Source: Amazon

Not only did this movie prove to expand on the simple premise but it also gave us the wonderful chemistry between stars Keannu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. 

Speed is a movie that never lets go of its intensity. Every sequence is both gripping and breathtaking at the same time. Once the action starts, it never holds back and continues up until the end of the film.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – 2000

Artful, stylish, and a true masterpiece of action film making, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon tells a very simple story about a warrior and sword but with depth and justification. 

This action-filled movie prevails in acting, storytelling, editing, choreography, music, and artform. It is heavily boosted by the performances of Chow Yun Fat, Zhang Zhi Yi, and Michelle Yeoh.

Check Out Some of the Best Action and Adventure Movies of the 20th Century
Image Source: The Dissolve

Stylistic in every frame, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon action does not hold back especially when it comes to telling the story and the emotions behind the action. 

It is an art form that many generations will truly appreciate not only for its story but for its action choreography as well.


Sure, modern movies have the edge by bringing state of the art visual effects to ramp up the action scenes but action and adventure movies of the 20th Century used sheer grit. 

The use of practical set pieces and effects make it more convincing and daring which enhances the overall quality of the film.