In the vaults of old movies, there are many outstanding action moments. It would be difficult, if not fruitless, to try to narrow down any tiny number of them, but what would be the pleasure in giving up? There are 30 fantastic action sequences here, divided into three categories: chases, shootouts/battles, and fight scenes.
Be aware that this list does describe individual sequences from these movies, some of which reveal the climax or conclusion of the movie, even though it has been prepared to include as little spoilers as possible.
Steven Soderbergh’s pet project, a movie that primarily exists to be a book on how to orchestrate physical action, has a number of brilliant combat scenes. Gina Carano inspired him when he saw one of her UFC fights. Even if you disagree with her acting abilities, there is no doubting the quickness, danger, and beauty of her body. Furthermore, Soderbergh structures the scenes such that they are logical and palpable in relation to that physicality.
There is merit in The Fast and the Furious movies’ mid-series turnaround, when Justin Lin revived the series by improving the workmanship while unabashedly embracing the inherent absurdity.
With The General, which supposedly has the most costly set piece from the silent period, Buster Keaton made one of the first great action comedies (though you would think Intolerance might give it a run for its money there).
How is an action movie created? You can mention firearms and explosives, but an action movie is one where the main driving force is physical action (unique to film) rather than speech or character development. Of course, this is a generalization, but it introduces us to Whiplash, the best non-traditional action movie of the previous ten years.