Action movie is a genre where usually a lonecharacter or maybe a group of characters that usually have a problem or scenario that need solving. They occasionally have a resourceful character going against life threatening situations, with a main villain/bad guy trying to cause harm or stopping the character achieving what their trying to achieve.
In the 1920’s and 30’s action movies were ‘swashbuckler’ which is an action adventure subgenre, this genre usually interlinks with the sword-and-sandal genre, in ‘swashbuckler’ films there is usually a mainheroic character that uses sword and shield to fight, and were generally set in western Europe.
The Three Musketeers, based on the Novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Pumas, pere. The film was directed Fred Niblo, the film then had a sequel called the Iron Mask which was then released in 1929.
In the 1940’s and 50’s action movies were in the form of war and cowboy films. Out of the 1940 and 1950’s also bought the first spy- adventure genre and the use of action orientated ‘set pieces’, this was bought to us by a British film director and producer called Alfred Hitchcock.
The Guns of Navarone is a war based film from the 1957 novel called the Guns of Navarone written by Alistair MacLean, and narrated by James Robertson Justice. The film is based in World War 2, about a team of commandos sent to destroy a German fortress.
The first James Bond Dr. No, directed by Terence Young was released in 1962, then followed by From Russia with Love,Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice then On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the James Bond films dominated the 1960’s action movies.
Dr. No was released in 1962, the film was produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R.Broccoli, Sean Connery playing James Bond. Dr. No was released on a low budget of $1 million, and ended up with a box office of $59.6 million. After the film was released it then had a spin off comic book and soundtrack album as part of its marketing.
James Bond movies were almost the first tointroduce the ‘one man army’, James Bond isalways a resourceful hero who has ever-more creative ways to dispose villains, Bond movies always have guns, quick car chases, and gadgets, something that a lot of characteristics that other action films developed from the James Bond movies.
1970 bought films such as Bullitt, The French Connection and Dirty Harry these all cameunder the ‘new action style’, all containing carchases and gritty detective stories inspired by the stunt work from James Bond. The 1970’s also saw the era of ‘cowboys and indians’ genre come to an end, war films, detective and western films become the ‘norm’ in 1980
The 1970’s also bought martial arts films towestern cinemas. Bruce lee’s films Enter the Dragon and Return of the Dragon exploded onto western cinemas. Chuck Norris alsomade his first appearance in The Way of theDragon in 1972. The first of The Streetfighter series was also released in 1974.
Dirty Harry was released in 1971, directed byDon Siegel. Clint Eastwood plays the star role a inspector called Harry Callahan. The film was then followed by 3 sequels called Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer(1976), Sudden Impact (1983) and The Dead Pool (1988).
Action films became very dominant in Hollywood in the 80’s, also popularizing actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis. The first of afew very big film sequences were released in the 80‘s such as the first Indiana Jones,Rambo, Terminator and Preadtor, the first of the Alien Vs. Preadotors.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) directed bySteven Spielberg, produced by George Lucasand main character played by Steven Ford. Itthe first of 5 Indiana Jones movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark still being one of the highlygrossed films of all time then went on to win eight Academy Awards in 1982.
Growing revolution in CGI (computer generated imagery) real world setting were increasing creating more futuristic and realistic environments. For this reason the 90’s saw an increase in budgets of films, Dirty Harry and James Bond also proved that a successful film could lead to a continued action sequence.
Golden Eye (1995), directed by MartinCampbell and written by Michael France, was the seventeenth James Bond film to be released, it was also Pierce Bronson’s firstappearance as James Bond. The film received an award for ‘Best Achievement in SpecialEffects’ and had a worldwide gross of $350.7 million.
2000’s have bought many big sequels onto the big screen such as The Lord of the Rings, Mission Impossible, Star Wars, Batman and the Bourne Trilogy. Mission Impossible 2 being the highest grossed film with a worldwide gross of $546,388,105.
Mission impossible 2, second of the 3, soon to be 4 Mission Impossible sequel, produced by John Woo and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Also starring Tom Cruise as main character Ethan Hunt, who also produced the film. The film is the most highly grossed film of the 2000’s.