Best Action Movies of 1981

1.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

6.8
8.4/10 IMDB

When Dr. Indiana Jones – the tweed-suited professor who just happens to be a celebrated archaeologist – is hired by the government to locate the legendary Ark of the Covenant, he finds himself up against the entire Nazi regime.

Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, Ronald Lacey, Wolf Kahler, Anthony Higgins, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina, Vic Tablian ..
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Release date: 1981-06-12
2.

Mad Max 2

6.1
7.6/10 IMDB

Max Rockatansky returns as the heroic loner who drives the dusty roads of a postapocalyptic Australian Outback in an unending search for gasoline. Arrayed against him and the other scraggly defendants of a fuel-depot encampment are the bizarre warriors commanded by the charismatic Lord Humungus, a violent leader whose scruples are as barren as the surrounding landscape.

Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Max Phipps, Vernon Wells, Kjell Nilsson, Emil Minty, Virginia Hey, William Zappa, Arkie Whiteley ..
Directed by: George Miller
Release date: 1981-12-24
3.

Escape from New York

5.9
7.2/10 IMDB

In 1997, the island of Manhattan has been walled off and turned into a giant maximum security prison within which the country's worst criminals are left to form their own anarchic society. However, when the President of the United States crash lands on the island, the authorities turn to a former soldier and current convict to rescue him.

Starring: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Frank Doubleday, John Strobel ..
Directed by: John Carpenter
Release date: 1981-05-22
4.

Thief

5.3
7.4/10 IMDB

Frank is an expert professional safecracker, specialized in high-profile diamond heists. He plans to use his ill-gotten income to retire from crime and build a nice life for himself complete with a home, wife and kids. To accelerate the process, he signs on with a top gangster for a big score.

Starring: James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, Jim Belushi, Robert Prosky, Tom Signorelli, Dennis Farina, Nick Nickeas, W.R. Brown, Norm Tobin ..
Directed by: Michael Mann
Release date: 1981-03-27
5.

Nighthawks

4.7
6.4/10 IMDB

An international terrorist has New York in a grip of panic and it's up to Det. Sgt. Deke DaSilva to take him down.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Rutger Hauer, Billy Dee Williams, Lindsay Wagner, Persis Khambatta, Nigel Davenport, Hilarie Thompson, Joe Spinell, Walter Mathews, E. Brian Dean ..
Directed by: Bruce Malmuth
Release date: 1981-03-17
6.

The Cannonball Run

4.6
6.3/10 IMDB

A cross-country road race is based on an actual event, the Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, organized by Brock Yates to protest the 55 mph speed limit then in effect in the U.S. The Cannonball was named for Erwin G. "Cannonball" Baker, who in the roaring 20's rode his motorcycle across the country. Many of the characters are based on ruses developed by real Cannonball racers over the several years that the event was run.

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dean Martin, Dom DeLuise, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Elam, Terry Bradshaw, Jackie Chan, Bert Convy ..
Directed by: Hal Needham
Release date: 1981-06-19
7.

Eye of the Needle

4.4
7.1/10 IMDB

A ruthless German spy, trying to get out of Britain with vital information about D-Day, must spend time with a young woman and her crippled husband.

Starring: Donald Sutherland, Kate Nelligan, Stephen MacKenna, Christopher Cazenove, Philip Martin Brown, Ian Bannen, George Belbin, Faith Brook, Barbara Graley, George Lee ..
Directed by: Richard Marquand
Release date: 1981-07-24
Best Action Movies of 1981 : Masada
8.

Masada

4.1
7.9/10 IMDB

After the destruction of the Second Temple, 900 Jewish zealots hold out against a 5000 man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada.

Release date: 1981-04-05
9.

Death Hunt

3.6
7.0/10 IMDB

Yukon Territory, Canada, November 1931. Albert Johnson, a trapper who lives alone in the mountains, buys a dog almost dead after a brutal dogfight, a good deed that will put him in trouble.

Starring: Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens, Carl Weathers, Ed Lauter, Scott Hylands, Angie Dickinson, Maurice Kowalewski, Henry Beckman, William Sanderson ..
Directed by: Peter R. Hunt
Release date: 1981-04-15
10.

Sharky's Machine

3.5
6.4/10 IMDB

Police officer Tom Sharky gets busted back to working vice, where he happens upon a scandalous conspiracy involving a local politician. Sharky's new 'machine' gathers evidence while Sharky falls in love with a woman he has never met.

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Rachel Ward, Henry Silva, Brian Keith, Vittorio Gassman, Charles Durning, Earl Holliman, Bernie Casey, Richard Libertini, Darryl Hickman ..
Directed by: Burt Reynolds
Release date: 1981-12-18

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