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
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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, James Belushi, Robert Prosky, Tom Signorelli, Dennis Farina, Nick Nickeas, W.R. Brown, Norm Tobin ..
Directed by: Michael Mann
Release date: 1981-03-27
Best Action Movies of 1981 : Lion of the Desert
5.

Lion of the Desert

5.1
8.4/10 IMDB

This movie tells the story of Omar Mukhtar, an Arab Muslim rebel who fought against the Italian conquest of Libya in WWII. It gives western viewers a glimpse into this little-known region and chapter of history, and exposes the savage means by which the conquering army attempted to subdue the natives.

Starring: Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Oliver Reed, Irene Papas, Raf Vallone, John Gielgud, Andrew Keir, Gastone Moschin, Stefano Patrizi, Adolfo Lastretti ..
Directed by: Moustapha Akkad
Release date: 1981-04-17
6.

Southern Comfort

5.1
7.2/10 IMDB

A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes. Without live ammunition and in a strange country, their experience begins to mirror the Vietnam experience.

Starring: Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward, Franklyn Seales, T. K. Carter, Lewis Smith, Les Lannom, Peter Coyote, Alan Autry, Brion James ..
Directed by: Walter Hill
Release date: 1981-09-25
7.

For Your Eyes Only

5.0
6.8/10 IMDB

A British spy ship has sunk and on board was a hi-tech encryption device. James Bond is sent to find the device that holds British launching instructions before the enemy Soviets get to it first.

Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Chaim Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Cassandra Harris, Jill Bennett, Michael Gothard, John Wyman, Jack Hedley ..
Directed by: John Glen
Release date: 1981-06-23
8.

Stripes

4.9
6.9/10 IMDB

John Winger, an indolent sad sack in his 30s, impulsively joins the U.S. Army after losing his job, his girlfriend and his apartment.

Starring: Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P.J. Soles, Sean Young, John Candy, John Larroquette, John Voldstad, John Diehl, Lance LeGault ..
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Release date: 1981-06-25
9.

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, Hilary Thompson, Joe Spinell, Walter Mathews, E. Brian Dean ..
Directed by: Bruce Malmuth
Release date: 1981-03-17
10.

The Cannonball Run

4.5
6.2/10 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

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