50 Greatest Movie Action Heroes

Hit Girl

The Action Hero: Eleven years old (on-screen and off, since that's how old Chloe Grace Moretz was when she filmed Kick-Ass ) and just about the fiercest, sweariest girl in town. See, this is what happens when you're home-schooled by a vigilante.

Most Iconic Moment: When Kick-Ass gets in over his head, Hit-Girl storms an apartment and slaughters an entire gang of drug dealers.

Coolest Catchphrase: "OK, you cunts, let's see what you can do now."

Wong Fei-hung

The Action Hero: How cool must this Chinese folk hero have been? Well, he's been played by both Jackie Chan (in Drunken Master ) and Jet Li (in Once Upon A Time In China ). So, very cool, then.

Most Iconic Moment: Once Upon A Time In China 's final showdown with arch nemesis Yim Chun-Tung in a room full of ladders, allowing the men to climb, jump and clamber around in between attacks.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Win or lose, it's just a game."

Dirty Harry

The Action Hero: Officially, Clint Eastwood's scowling scourge of criminals is a San Francisco cop… but if it wasn't for the badge, he'd pretty much be a vigilante.

Most Iconic Moment: Daring serial killer Scorpio to go for his gun, on the off-chance that Harry has fired all of his bullets. He hasn't.

Coolest Catchphrase: "I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"


The Action Hero: To his friends, he's just computer-programmer wage slave Thomas Anderson. But to those who have escaped The Matrix , Keanu Reeves' character is saviour-in-waiting Neo. All he needs is to be trained in bullet time.

Most Iconic Moment: Rescuing Morpheus, from hotel lobby shoot-out to roof-top bullet dodging.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Guns. Lots of guns."


The Action Hero: Born James Howlett, known as Logan but just 'Wolverine' to you and me, Hugh Jackman's grouchy mutant has a self-repairing body that's been augmented with adamantium to make him the most action packed of superheroes.

Most Iconic Moment: The scorching fight with fellow adamantium-assisted mutant Deathstrike in X2 .

Coolest Catchphrase: "I'm the best there is at what I do and what I do best isn't very nice. I'm the Wolverine."

Sanjuro Tsubaki

The Action Hero: Toshiro Mifune's amoral, beard-scratching samurai mostly used brains to save the day in Yojimbo and Sanjuro but could slice and dice when required.

Most Iconic Moment: Villainous Hanbei insists on a duel, so Sanjuro kills him in a single move.

Coolest Catchphrase: "I'm not dying yet. I have to kill quite a few men first."

Ethan Hunt

The Action Hero: As an IMF agent, Tom Cruise's character in the Mission: Impossible series is a master of disguise, an early adopter of really cool tech and an able tactician. All he's missing is a quiet life at home with the missus.

Most Iconic Moment: Hacking into a CIA computer room by gliding down from the roof to avoid detection by motion and noise sensors.

Coolest Catchphrase: We just rolled up a snowball and tossed it into hell."

Bryan Mills

The Action Hero: Ex-CIA spook played by Liam Neeson in Taken and Taken 2 , whose efforts to live a normal life are continually compromised by his daughter's habit of getting, well, taken. Best bring out his particular set of skills to rescue her.

Most Iconic Moment: Ice-cool as he explains to the bad guys exactly what is about to happen - see coolest catchphrase. Shame they didn't listen, really.

Coolest Catchphrase: "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money... but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it - I will not look for you, I will not pursue you... but if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you... and I will kill you."

Max Rockatansky

The Action Hero: Driven 'mad' by the death of his family, feral biker gangs and other aspects to life in post-apocalyptic Australia - not to mention being Mel Gibson - it's no wonder that ex-cop Max has become a road warrior.

Most Iconic Moment: Max takes the wheel of a tanker to help a convoy of settlers break free from a pursuing gang in Mad Max 2 .

Coolest Catchphrase: "I'm just here for the gasoline."

Robin Hood

The Action Hero: Whether human or Disney fox, Sherwood Forest's finest outlaw has been on on-screen outlaw nearly as long as cinema has been going.

Most Iconic Moment: Saving Will Scarlet in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves by firing a flaming arrow into the face of his would-be executioner.

Coolest Catchphrase: "Rob? Tsk tsk tsk. That's a naughty word. We never rob. We just sort of borrow a bit from those who can afford it."