During the 1920s and 1930s, action-based films
were often "swashbuckling" adventure films
which Douglas Fairbanks, wielded swords in
period pieces or Westerns.
The 1940s and 1950s saw "action" in a new form
through war and cowboy movies.
Alfred Hitchcock ushered in the spy-adventure
The film, along with a war-adventure called The
Guns of Navarone, inspired producers Albert R.
Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to invest in their own
spy-adventure, based on the novels of Ian Fleming
The long-running success of the James
Bond films or series (which was the best action
films of the 1960s) introduced a level of the
modern-day action film with the resourceful
During the 1970s films such
as Bullitt (1968), The French Connection (1971)
and Dirty Harry (1971) competed with James
Dirty Harry basically lifted its star, Clint
Eastwood, out of his cowboy typecasting, and
framed him as the hero of the urban action
film, proving that the modern world offered
just as much glamour, excitement, and
potential for violence as the Old West.
The 1980s saw the action film take over
Hollywood to become a dominant form of
In the action era actors such as Sylvester
Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce
Willis, and Chuck Norris helped the genre to
really take off.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) was inspired by
1980s and 1990s saw a rise in both budgets and
the number of sequels a film could generally
have. This led to an increasing number of
filmmakers to create new technologies that
would allow them to beat the competition and
take audiences to new heights. The success
of Tim Burton's Batman (1989) led to a string of
financially successful sequels. Within a single
decade, they proved the viability of a novel
sub-genre of action film: the comic-book movie.
In modern day with such big budgets the
action films are getting more and more realistic
and adventures making huge profits on release
and bring old actors back into the lime light.