50 Greatest Movie Action Heroes

Chan Ka-Kui

The Action Hero: Jackie Chan's signature role in Police Story and sequels saw him play Hong Kong's coolest cop - a one-man tornado who'll stop at nothing to get the bad guys.

Most Iconic Moment: How dedicated is he? Well, in Police Story he's quite happy to hang onto the back of a bus from an umbrella in pursuit of his man.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Super cops in Hong Kong are cheap and plentiful like commodities in supermarkets."

El Mariachi

The Action Hero: Wandering guitarist driven by vengeance to fill his case full of guns - first played by Carlos Gallardo in El Mariachi before Antonio Banderas popularised the role in Desperado .

Most Iconic Moment: The bar fight in Desperado , as El Mariachi and a bad guy both scramble amongst the corpses to find a gun that hasn’t fired all of its bullets.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Bless me, Father, for I have just killed quite a few men."

King Leonidas

The Action Hero: The Persian-slaying Spartan king was an actual real-life legend, but 300 still managed to supersize him with guts, gusto and Gerard Butler's abs.

Most Iconic Moment: Kicking a messenger into a bottomless pit just for having the temerity to mock him.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty, for tonight, we dine in hell!"

John Shaft

The Action Hero: Richard Roundtree plays the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks. More pertinently, he's also the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about.

Most Iconic Moment: Shaft restores pride after being spat at by a racist cop by smashing a bottle of scotch over his head.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Don't let your mouth get your ass in trouble."

Snake Plisken

The Action Hero: Eyepatch-wearing, Kurt Russell-shaped soldier-turned-criminal who is the go-to guy for covert infiltration-and-rescue missions during World War 3.

Most Iconic Moment: Snake lets the President know exactly what he thinks of him by switching a vital cassette tape for one containing swing music in Escape From New York .

Coolest Catchphrase: "I don't give a fuck about your war or your president."


The Action Hero: Wesley Snipes' 'Daywalker' is half-human, half-vampire, all action as he puts fellow blood-suckers in their place.

Most Iconic Moment: Blade makes one hell of an entrance in his 1998 debut, by dropping in on a vampire club to slaughter the ravers and rescue their human victims.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill."


The Action Hero: What do Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power, Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas have in common? They've all played characters who have adopted the mask and sword of the 19th century outlaw.

Most Iconic Moment: Fairbanks leaves the titular The Mark Of Zorro by scarring his enemies with a telltale Z to let people know who defeated them.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Never attack in anger."

Katniss Everdeen

The Action Hero: Jennifer Lawrence became a mega-star playing the District 12 citizen who breaks protocol by volunteering to take part in The Hunger Games . But that's OK, because she's pretty handy with a bow and arrow.

Most Iconic Moment: Getting the attention of haughty sponsors by firing an arrow through an apple.

Coolest Catchphrase: "May the odds be ever in your favour."

Martin Riggs

The Action Hero: Mel Gibson's loose cannon cop and Vietnam vet, literally a Lethal Weapon , who is driven into depression by the death of his wife and needs police partner Roger Murtaugh to pull him back from the brink.

Most Iconic Moment: Beating mercenary Mr Joshua - who has already been arrested - in hand-to-hand combat just to prove to a point.

Coolest Catchphrase: "This is a real badge, I'm a real cop, and this is a real fucking gun!"

Frank Bullitt

The Action Hero: Steve McQueen's cool cat of a San Francisco cop fights corruption with his gun in his shoulder holster and his hands behind the wheel of a Mustang.

Most Iconic Moment: The epic up-and-down-the-hills car chase, of course.

Coolest Catchphrase: "You sell whatever you want, but don't sell it here tonight."