Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (2023)

Steven Spielberg is a director known forhis chameleon-like ability to take on just about any genre of movie and turn out abeloved hit. He's also a proven master of literary adaptation, making him one of the most respected names in contemporary filmmaking amongst both critics and general film fans alike.

RELATED:Steven Spielberg’s 10 Best Fantasy Movies, Ranked According To IMDb

Spielberg's overall scores on IMDb are mightily impressive butthe movies of histhat the site classifies as "action" sit noticeably above the vast majority of even the biggest thriller franchises.Whether they behistorical epicsor sci-fi adventures, Steven Spielberg's best action movies contain elements that almost anyone can enjoy thanks tothe director's dedication to the processes of classic Hollywood filmmaking and his openness to cutting-edge technologies.

War Horse (2011) - 7.2

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (1)

● Available on HBO Max

Adapted from Michael Morpurgo's novel of the same name,War Horseis a much more sweeping andsentimental war movie than Spielberg is typically known for, but it's no less stirring or engaging than heavier dramas like Saving Private Ryan.

The story about a young boy and his beloved horse being torn apart by WW1 isn't as violent as some of the director's better-known epics, butthe film is still filled with a sense of large-scale action spectacle, featuring hugenumbers of extras and horses in the battle sequences. The dedication to practicality certainly paid off, as War Horsewas the sixthSpielberg-directed movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) - 7.3

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (2)

● Available on Paramount+

Spielberg's other movie released in 2011 came out in the U.S. just a few days beforeWar Horseandwas both another literary adaptation and another period piece. However, it was one with a far lighter tone that was in the spirit of the director's iconicIndiana Jonesseries.

The surface-level similarities between Spielberg's adventuring archeologist and Hergé's titular comic bookhero have been pointed out by many over the years. But despite a classic treasure-hunting plotfollowingTintinas he searches for the titular ship,The Secret of the Unicornpossesses its own fast-moving style thanks to the motion capture technology used to recreate theclassic animated look. Though producer Peter Jackson's original Tintintrilogy plan hasn't happened yet, fans of Spielberg's movies still have a lot of love for — and interest in — the action-packed adventure.

Ready Player One (2018) - 7.4

● Available on HBO Max

Another book adaptation, Spielberg'sReady Player Onebrought Ernest Cline's pop-culture adventure story to life on the big screen with a degree ofinsightfulness that few directors could have ever given it.

RELATED:20 Movies Like Ready Player One Everyone Should See

The story revolves around VR technology in a semi-dystopian not-so-distant futurein which unending pop culture references and nostalgia have begun to assist in the erosion of creative thought and even personal freedoms. These are heavy concepts for what is essentially a kid's movie, but Spielberg makes sure that the emotional moments of the story are as impactful and uplifting as the gigantic action sequences that break them up.

Munich(2005) - 7.5

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (4)

● Available on Max Go

A historical thriller that explores themes of revenge,Munichfollows a group of off-the-books Mossad agents who embark on a deadly mission to seek retribution for the deaths of the Israeliathletes killed at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

The movie is decidedly harder and colder than the vast majority of Spielberg's filmography. However, his evenhanded approach to the complexities of the political situation surrounding the story made it a widely accessible experience for audiences without sacrificing nuances in the storytelling. The highly-charged thriller would earn Spielberg his fifth Oscar nomination for BestPicture and his sixth for Best Director.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - 7.5

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (5)

● Available on Paramount+

The story of the second movie in theIndiana Jonesfranchisehas never been considered a contender for best in the series. However, Temple of Doomstill sitsas one of the best prequel movies of all timeon IMDb and has always been considered to be as culturally impactful as the other two movies in the original run ofIndiana Jonesfilms through the 1980s.

Taking the action primarily to India, the story was effectively another treasure-hunt for the franchise but followed the trend started byThe Empire Strikes Backto skew darker for the second installment. This method produced some of the series' most gruesome moments as well as some of its most memorablecharacters and action sequences.

Minority Report (2002) - 7.6

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (6)

● Available on YouTube, Pluto TV, and Paramount+

One of thebestsci-fi movies adapted from the works of authorPhilip K. Dick,Minority Reportwas the project that finallyteamed Spielberg with mega-star Tom Cruise. The breakneck pace of the futuristic thriller matched the actor's well-known onscreen energy levels.

The plot centers around a small group of "precogs" who appear to predict crimes before they happen, allowing Cruise's top cop to swoop in to prevent them. But when he himself is predicted to commit murder, he must flee to uncover the truth,prompting some of the most exhilarating chase sequences of Spielberg's career so far.

Empire of the Sun (1987) - 7.7

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (7)

● Available on Tubi

Adaptedfrom J.G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sunfollows a British boy experiencing WW2 inAsia as his comfortable life in Shanghai is uprootedand he's placed into a Japanese internment camp. Though he's not involved in the action of the conflict around him, a young Christian Bale leads the cast in what is considered to be one of his best movieroles. Thefuture Batman actor delivered an impressive early performance that demonstratedhow even the youngest talents can carry entire epics.


The unique coming-of-agestory stands apart from Spielberg's other movies about the war, showing glimmers of the childlike wonder seen in many of the director's most popular works, though it neverreached their levels of success at the box office. Nevertheless, the movie has been consistently defended and reappraised over the years, with it now sitting amongst Spielberg's most well-respected films.

Jurassic Park (1993) - 8.1

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (8)

● Available on Peacock

Still generally considered to be the best movie adapted from the work of prolific sci-fiwriter Michael Crichton,Jurassic Parkredefined what audiences would expect from blockbuster filmmaking in the '90s and beyond. Thefilm's seamless blending of impressive animatronics with even more impressive early CGI made the story of chaos at the titular dinosaur theme park a must-see cinematic event on release.

Itspopularity was not fleeting, however, with its outstanding casting choices creating immensely belovedcharacters who are still set to return to the big screen in the ongoingJurassic Worldseries, which continues the story of themovie franchise almost 30 years later.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - 8.2

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (9)

● Available on Paramount+

The thirdIndiana Jonesmovie took a more conventional approach thanTemple of Doom, bringing the eponymous hero back into conflict with Nazi villainslike inRaiders of the Lost Arkandcenteringaround a hunt for another Biblical artifact, the Holy Grail.

It was considered at the time to be a largely satisfying close to the series of movies, bringing it somewhat parallel with the original Star Wars trilogy. However, thefranchise would continue, with the fourth movie becoming one of Spielberg's lowest-rated movies on IMDb. It remains to be seen whether theupcomingIndiana Jones 5will be as highly regarded by fans as this shining example of a sequel.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - 8.4

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb) (10)

● Available on Paramount+

Though not Steven Spielberg's highest-rated movie on IMDb,Raidersof the Lost Arktops the director's list of action movies thanks in no small part to its status as a true original. Though the story of a globetrotting hunt for the Ark of the Covenant clearly drewfrom early 20th-century adventure serials, the vivid character design and daringaction sequences were stunningly modern in the early '80s.

The rough-and-tumble archeologist,Indiana Jones, rivaled Harrison Ford's other roguish screen hero, Han Solo, andthe film'sinfluence on every actionblockbuster that followed its success is immeasurably significant.

NEXT:The 10 Best Movies Directed By Steven Spielberg (According To Metacritic)

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