In the 1980s, action flicks ruled Hollywood. Theaters were overrun with iconic bad-asses like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and the one and only Chuck “Frakkin’” Norris! It’s time to grab your headband and machine gun, because we’re counting down the top 10 macho movies of that decadent decade.
10. Road House (1989)
After the success of Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze was ready to shed his twinkle-toe image. So in 1989, he appeared in the testosterone-fueled Road House. The film centers on a bouncer who tries to protect a bar from a sleazy businessman and rowdy patrons. Don’t let his size or demeanor fool you. He cleans house one swift roundhouse kick at a time.
9. American Ninja (1985)
Whatever happened to Michael Dudikoff? He’s the brave soul that went up against the Black Star Army in 1985′s American Ninja. His character’s trained in the sacred martial arts and uses his rare skills to defeat evil. Not only can he handle a gun but he also knows his way around a pair of sais (above). Like the tag line says, the deadliest art of the East is now in the hands of an American. Watch out!
8. Rocky IV (1985)
“I must break you.” It’s been 26 years since Rocky IV’s release and those words still send chills down our spine. The movie isn’t a masterpiece but what it lacks in sensible dialogue it makes up for in spirit. It was Rocky Balboa versus Ivan Drago. It was the U.S. versus The Soviet Union. It was blonds versus brunettes. You get the picture.
7. Missing in Action (1984)
James Braddock can’t forget what happened in Vietnam. After escaping a prison camp, the war hero vows to rescue every soldier stuck behind enemy lines. Armed with a machine gun, fists of fury, and a rockin’ beard — Chuck Norris kicks ass and takes names. Because in his eyes, the war isn’t over until the last man comes home.
6. Predator (1987)
Predator contains all the elements of an over the top action movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Check! Carl Weathers. Check! A popular professional wrestler. Check! Predator pits the ultimate alpha males against Earth’s biggest threat – aliens! After being dropped in a rain forest, a group of soldiers have to fend for themselves as they’re hunted like dogs. In a situation like that, only the strong survive. No weaklings allowed.
5. Escape from New York (1981)
“One man must go in where no man has ever gotten out.” Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) does the unthinkable when he tackles New York City after its gone to hell in a hand basket. Escape from New York has gunfights, knife fights, even a random brawl in a boxing ring. It’s all the action you could ask for set against the futuristic backdrop of 1997 (Ha!). Oh the ’80s, gotta love ‘em!
4. Die Hard (1988)
NYPD officer John McClane’s (Bruce Willis) plan is to spend Christmas with his family, but that goes to crap when his wife is taken hostage in a high-tech high-rise heist (say that three times fast), thanks to overzealous terrorist/ thief Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). McClane goes from Average Joe to “Yippee Ki Yay Motherf*cker” in the matter of two hours. It’s one man against a building full of professional killers. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, we don’t know what will.
3. Bloodsport (1988)
Jean-Claude Van Damme split-kicked his way into our hearts when he played martial artist Frank Dux in 1988’s Bloodsport. In the film, Dux travels to Hong Kong to participate in a dangerous, underground competition called the Kumite. Only the world’s best martial artists are invited and mild-mannered Dux has to put up or shut up. Fighters are maimed, blinded and even killed during their matches. They don’t call it Bloodsport for nothing.
2. Commando (1985)
Get your war paint ready, because Schwarzenegger’s going Commando! In this film, the bad guys have messed with the wrong man. They killed his friends, kidnapped his daughter and actually think they’re going to get away with it. Commando is one of our favorite Schwarzenegger movies because the stakes are so high and he just doesn’t give a damn!
1. First Blood (1982)
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is the ultimate ‘80s action hero. He’s a loner. He’s quiet. And he happens to be an expert in guerrilla warfare. After being tormented by a corrupt sheriff, Rambo taps into his survival training to fight back. As one man, he takes on 200 police officers and still manages to come out on top. How? Because he oozes machismo! If you send in 200 men against Rambo, don’t forget one thing – “a good supply of body bags.”
What’s your favorite Macho Movie of the eighties?