Best Action Movies of 1981
Raiders of the Lost Ark
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.
Mad Max 2
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.
Escape from New York
In the future, crime is out of control and New York City's Manhattan is a maximum security prison. Grabbing a bargaining chip right out of the air, convicts bring down the President's plane in bad old Gotham. Gruff Snake Plissken, a one-eyed lone warrior new to prison life, is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land of undesirables.
Lion of the Desert
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.
For Your Eyes Only
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.
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.
Clash of the Titans
To win the right to marry his love, the beautiful princess Andromeda, and fulfil his destiny, half-God-half-mortal Perseus must complete various tasks including taming Pegasus, capturing Medusa's head and battling the feared Kraken.
Eye of the Needle
Great Britain, 1944, during World War II. Relentlessly pursued by several MI5 agents, Henry Faber the Needle, a ruthless German spy in possession of vital information about D-Day, takes refuge on Storm Island, an inhospitable, sparsely inhabited island off the coast of northern Scotland.
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.
John Winger, an indolent sad sack in his 30s, impulsively joins the U.S. Army after losing his job, his girlfriend and his apartment.
A shy and mute seamstress goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day. She wanders the New York streets at night in a sexy black dress with her attacker's gun strapped to her garter belt, blowing away any man who tries to pick her up.
An honest marshal in a corrupt mining colony on Io, Jupiter's sunless third moon, is determined to confront a violent drug ring even though it may cost him his life. After his wife angrily deserts him, he waits alone for the arrival of killers hired by the company to eliminate him.
An international terrorist has New York in a grip of panic and it's up to Det. Sgt. Deke DaSilva to take him down.
The Cannonball Run
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.
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.
After the destruction of the Second Temple, 900 Jewish zealots hold out against a 5000 man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada.
Comic artist and writer Woody performs a simple courier operation for his friend Harry who works for the CIA. But when he successfully fends off hostile agents, he earns the respect of the beautiful Natalia, who requests his assistance for her defection. Woody uses this request as leverage to use the CIA's resources to bring his comic book creation, Condorman, to life to battle the evil Krokov.
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.
Shaolin Temple Strikes Back
A Ming princess and her faithful bodyguard are chased to Shaolin Temple by the Ching army.
...All the Marbles
A two-bit promoter tries to take a women's wrestling team to the top.
George Romero's unusual story of a modern-day Renaissance troupe whose participants follow a medieval code of honor.
Galaxy of Terror
As a lone spaceship proceeds on its long voyage across space, the crew are surprised to encounter a strange pyramid form. Surprise turns to horror as one by one, they discover that their darkest nightmares are all starting to become real. The pyramid has to be behind it all somehow, but how can they save themselves from its influence?
Zorro, The Gay Blade
George Hamilton stars in a dueling dual role as twin sons of the legendary Zorro. Soon after the dashing Don Diego Vega inherits his father's famous sword and costume, a broken ankle prevents the masked avenger from fulfilling his heroic duties. When his flamboyantly fashion-conscious brother assumes the secret identity to continue an ongoing fight for justice, the results are nothing short of hilarious!
Daryll Deever is a janitor in an office building in New York, and a big fan of TV news reporter, Tony Sokolow. When a rich man is murdered in Daryll's building, Tony comes to cover the story and Daryll introduces himself to her. Thinking he may know something about the crime, Tony pursues him, and in order to keep seeing her, he pretends that he does. As the two of them play this game, the killers are watching, assuming that Daryll and Tony both know more about the crime than they do.
An Eye for an Eye
Sean Kane is forced to resign from the San Francisco Police Department's Narcotics Division when he goes berserk after his partner is murdered. He decides to fight alone and follows a trail of drug traffickers into unexpected high places.
Four American friends, badly needing money, decide to make a commando-like raid into a South American drug lord's compound.
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
In a lake high in the mountains of New Zealand hunter Gibbie Gibson discovers a plane wreck from WW2. When he tells it around, a gang of crooks follows and threatens him and his daughter, because they know there are 50 million dollars in the wreck. Helicopter pilot Barney helps Gibbie against them, risking his life thereby.
Iancu Jianu, Tax Collector
The movie details the struggle of Iancu Jianu as he's torn between joining the struggle of the poor peasants from which he came from and being on the other side of the law working for the rich.
Berlin Tunnel 21
In Berlin in 1961, an American soldier and a German engineer join forces to build a tunnel under the Berlin Wall in order to smuggle out refugees, including the soldier's East German girlfriend.
Honky Tonk Freeway
Ticlaw, a small town in Florida, has only one attraction: a safari park. The government constructs a freeway that passes near Ticlaw, but decides not to put an exit into the town. The people of Ticlaw, leaded by its Mayor, will do anything in order to convince the governor to alter the project.
Enter the Ninja
After completing his training of ninjutsu within Japan, an American Angolan Bush War veteran by the name of Cole visits his war buddy Frank Landers and his newly wed wife Mary Ann Landers, who are the owners of a large piece of farming land in the Philippines. Cole soon finds that the Landers are being repeatedly harassed by a CEO named Charles Venarius.
The Legend of the Lone Ranger
When the young Texas Ranger, John Reid, is the sole survivor of an ambush arranged by the militaristic outlaw leader, Butch Cavendich, he is rescued by an old childhood Comanche friend, Tonto. When he recovers from his wounds, he dedicates his life to fighting the evil that Cavendich represents. To this end, John Reid becomes the great masked western hero, The Lone Ranger. With the help of Tonto, the pair go to rescue President Grant when Cavendich takes him hostage.
A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his wife's death.
A large quantity of gold is stolen from the government, so undercover martial arts constables do there detective work to find out the culprits and the whereabouts of the bullion. Awesome fight scenes, choreographed by Hwang Kwo Chu, with a lot of innovative weapon work.
Miracle on Ice
The story of the 1980 United States Olympic hockey players, a group of amateurs from around the country who were whipped into a cohesive unit by controversial coach Herb Brooks to win a gold medal at Lake Placid during the winter games.
The One-Armed Executioner
An Interpol agent is out for revenge against the gangsters that cut off his arm and killed his bride. This tragedy left him deeply depressed, and his battle with depression has to be won first before he can be thoroughly trained in martial arts. After his training, Ortega hunts down his adversaries for a final reckoning.
Return of the Rebels
An aging motorcycle gang assembles for a 25-year reunion to help out former member Mary Beth, a widowed operator of a popular campground which is being threatened by a band of arrogant groupies.
Three buddies after 'Fast Money' try flying drugs into the U.S. from Mexico. When they meet with unexpected dangers, the trip turns turbulent.
Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge
Spider-Man goes to China to help an official accused of World War II treachery. Two episodes of the TV series "Spider Man" edited together and released as a feature.
The Eagle's Killer
An assassin (Hwang Jang Lee) who operates for cold, hard cash is hired to take out a young martial artist and expert at Eagle's Claws, but first he must learn Eagle Fist to go after him.
King of the Mountain
A group of friends race their high-powered cars up and down a dangerous and deadly mountain road known as Mulholland Drive to see who can claim the title of "King of the Hill."
Killing at Hell's Gate
A whitewater rafting party is terrorized by a group of loggers who, after accidentally killing one of the rafters in a drunken session of target practice, decide to eliminate the rest of the witnesses.
Madoc County is a quiet and peaceful place until vagrant Kyle Hanson arrives. The people of Madoc County are repelled by his appearance and want to chase him out of the city. Unfortunately for them, Kyle Hanson is a former Vietnam elite soldier and he uses his skills to fight back.
The Secret Rivals 3
John Liu stars as Shao Yu Pai, master of the "northern kick" kung-fu, still seeking revenge for the death of his brother. Evidence mounts that Lu Tung Chung (Alexander Lo), master of the "southern fist" kung-fu, is the culprit. What Shao doesn't realize, however, is that the true villain is subtly manipulating both the martial artists behind the scenes, hoping to force them into a confrontation and have the dirty work done for him.
Une sale affaire
Novak is a police inspector to whom any means is fair in getting evidence on criminals - especially drug dealers. He is after a drug ring that includes a city official and desperately needs evidence to bring the corrupt politician to trial, and to close down the ring. To that end, he involves Helene, the politician's secretary, causing her intensive emotional stress as he destroys her home life and unintentionally costs the life of her sister. By the time events have completed their course, the inspector has a chance to help Helene back to normalcy, and to reflect on the ultimate worth of his methods.
The Ultimate Impostor
A series pilot about a secret agent who is armed with skills learned by a computer-brain link-up -- lasting only 72 hours at a time -- and is sent to rescue a Russian submarine commander, a defector who has been kidnapped by an agent for another nation.
Femme fatale martial arts expert teaches the mafia a lesson.
The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire
A rugged warrior is on a quest to avenge his father's brutal slaying and in search of a legendary sorcerer who can help him. Joining him on his mission is a beautiful enchantress who is also searching for the sorcerer; pursuing him is a malevolent wizard who wants him dead.
The Bushido Blade
A steel samurai blade that was to be given to the American ambassador by the Emperor of Japan is stolen. American sailors and Japanese samurai are sent to find it.
Riding High is a 1981 British drama film directed by Ross Cramer and starring Eddie Kidd, Irene Handl and Murray Salem. The screenplay concerns a bored young motorcycle messenger who begins training to take part in a major competition.