50 greatest fighting movies of all time: the ultimate list

50 greatest fighting movies of all time: the ultimate list

Discover some of the best fighting movies you can add to your watch list. With their fast-paced storylines, vitalizing fight sequences, and heroic leads, these films continually sell out at the box office and can even spawn franchises that last for decades.

Fighting movies
People watching a movie. Photo: @dmitry-demidov-515774, @pavel-danilyuk, pexels.com (modified by author)
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Fighting movies are best to watch with friends or family. They can keep you engaged and entertained through the film, making it an enjoyable and fun-filled experience.

Best fighting movies of all time

There are plenty of fighting movies to watch on various movie streaming platforms. Here is a list of top fighting movies you will enjoy with your friends and loved ones.

1. The Transporter (2002)

Frank Martin is a transporter who gets hired to move any package with no questions asked. He sticks to his three rules for every assignment: never change the agreement, no names, and never open the package, but something goes wrong.

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2. The Terminator (1984)

good fighting movies
People in Times Square pass a theatre marquee featuring the film "The Terminator" in 1984 in New York City, New York Photo: Thomas McGovern
Source: Getty Images

This film is one of the good fighting movies that was the first in the Terminator franchise. The Terminator travels from the future to the present to eliminate Sarah Connor. She then bumps into Kyle Reese, who tries to protect Sarah by distracting an artificial intelligence system known as Skynet that intends to spark a nuclear catastrophe.

3. Gladiator (2000)

fighter movies
A picture shows a general view of the interior of the Colosseum in Rome during a charity screening of the award-winning 2000-released blockbuster "Gladiator". Photo: TIZIANA FABI
Source: Getty Images

It is one of the ultimate fight movies that follows the story of a Roman general who is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor's son. He, therefore, comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.

4. Speed (1994)

Los Angeles cop Jack disappoints a retired member of a bomb squad Howard Payne by obstructing his effort to take captives. To take revenge, Payne puts a bomb in a bus and sets it to explode if the speed drops below fifty miles in an hour. With assistance from a passenger, Annie, the police officer, and his assistant, Harry saves the commuters before the explosion occurs.

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5. Point Break (1991)

top fighting movies
Takanui Smith (Rear) rides a wave as fellow surfers and filming crew react during the shooting of a remake of the 1991 classic "Point Break" in the Hava'e pass in Teahupoo. Photo: GREGORY BOISSY
Source: Getty Images

After a bizarre bank robbery in Southern California, a state agent, Johnny Utah, infiltrates a gang. The robbers are mainly surfers led by Bodhi and addicted to the adrenaline that comes with thievery. Johnny falls for one of the lady surfers, Tyler, compromising his duty.

6. Kickboxer (1989)

Eric Sloane is a kickboxing pro, assisted by his sibling, Kurt, in pursuit of glory. When the two individuals head to Thailand to fight Tony Po, Eric is badly beaten and paralysed by the opponent.

7. 300 (2006)

300 was directed by Zack Synder. In the film, King Leonidas leads 300 Spartans into a battle against the Persian Xerxes and his invading army of over 300,000 soldiers.

8. The Karate Kid (2010)

This film was released in 2010 and directed by Harald Zwart. It stars Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Ken Stovitz and Jerry Weintraub. It is a martial arts film that is a remake of the original 1984 movie.

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9. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

best fighting movies
General view of the store at the Avengers Endgame "We Love You 3,000" Fan Event At Best Buy in Hialeah, Florida. Photo: Alexander Tamargo
Source: Getty Images

In the movie, Tony Stark drifts into space without food, water, and a steadily declining oxygen supply. He then decides to send a message to Pepper Potts for help. The other Avengers, Thor, Black Widow, Bruce Banner and Captain America, are, on the other hand, trying to unite their discouraged allies towards a great fight against Thanos.

10. Blood and Bone (2009)

This film was written by Michael Andrews and directed by Ben Ramsey. The top actors include Michael Jai White, Eamonn Walker and Julian Sands. An ex-con fulfils a promise to a dead friend by taking the underground fighting world in Los Angeles by storm.

11. Hero (2002)

The story is loosely based on a failed real-life assassination attempt. Hero tells the tale of a fictional group of assassins from the Kingdom of Zhou who set out to kill the tyrannical king of Qin because he is waging total war on their literate and civilised kingdom.

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12. Fearless (2006)

It is a martial arts film that follows the story of a young Huo Yuanjia who always dreamed of being the greatest fighter in China, which was against his father. He challenges foreign fighters in highly publicised events, restoring pride and nationalism in China.

13. Drunken Master (1978)

Drunken Master is one of the best fighting movies of all time. Wong Fei-hong's dad has been working hard to teach his son Kung Fu. Unfortunately, his son is not teachable, so he sends him to his uncle, a renowned 8-Drunken Genii Kung-Fu Master.

14. Police Story (1985)

This film tells the story of Kevin Chan, played by Jackie Chan, a Hong Kong-based cop who single-handedly pins down a drug lord. Although it is a big win in his career, it is also the beginning of trouble. The drug lord is unhappy about his arrest, so he frames Kevin for the murder of another policeman.

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15. The Raid: Redemption (2011)

The film showcases a newly recruited member of an elite team of commandos called Rama. He is ordered to remain as the rest of the team goes on a mission to take down a crime lord named Tama.

16. Enter the Dragon (1973)

cool fighting movie
The film stars actors Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly, John Saxon and Ahna Capri. Photo: Movie Poster
Source: Getty Images

This film is about a man called Lee who is hired to investigate an event hosted by Han, as Han is believed to trade opium. Williams and Roper, former army friends, join the tournament as they need money.

17. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

top fighting movies
Joe, Ang Lee, James and Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics Michael at the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" Q&A celebrating the 4K Ultra HD release of the film. Photo: Matthew Eisman
Source: Getty Images

The film is about a young Chinese warrior who steals a sword from a famed swordsman. She then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man on the nation's frontier.

18. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

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Actor Stephen Chow poses for pictures with Beijing Opera performers during an event to celebrate the box office success of his movie "Kung Fu Hustle" in Beijing, China. Photo: China Photos
Source: Getty Images

The film was directed by Stephen Chow and set in Canton, China, in the 1940s. Sing desires to join the Axe gang. He randomly comes across some slum landlords who teach him kung fu. Eventually, he makes the gang face the landlords in a massive kung fu battle.

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19. The Matrix (1999)

Thomas A. Anderson is a computer programmer by day and a hacker named Neo by night, making him question his reality. Later, he discovers the police are targeting him. Hacker has to confront government agents and their super-powerful computer programs.

20. Taken (2008)

The film tells the story of a retired CIA agent who travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter. She has been kidnapped by an Albanian gang of human traffickers while travelling to Paris with a friend named Amanda.

21. The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

The plot revolves around a man called Wong Fei-Hong, a dangerous fighter. After a shopping expedition with his father, he finds himself caught up in a brawl between foreigners who want to export ancient Chinese artefacts and loyalists who oppose it.

22. IP Man (2008)

IP Man is the undisputed martial arts champion, although he has not yet dedicated his life to teaching others his skill. It then makes all other Kung Fu masters of the city eager to fight him so that they can improve their reputations.

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23. Fast Five (2011)

This film is one of the best fighting action movies. In the beginning, Dominic Toretto is broken out of custody by his sister, Mia, and Brian O'Conner, an ex-cop. To get their freedom, they must do one final assignment dealing with the corrupt business person who wants to kill them.

24. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

An ex-assassin named The Bride wakes up one morning from a coma that lasted four years. It was after her jealous boyfriend, Bill, tried to kill her on the wedding day eve. Fired by the desire for revenge, Bride swears to have revenge on everyone who was part of the plan.

25. Aliens (1986)

top fighting movies
A staff member holds a wooden clapperboard used in production of "Aliens", Twentieth Century Fox, 1986 in London, United Kingdom. Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz
Source: Getty Images

Lt. Ripley's aircraft is discovered to be in a salvage team after fifty-seven years of floating. The Marines find a 9-year-old baby girl called Newt, the only survivor.

26. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

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The 178-minute movie was directed by Sergio Leone. It follows the story of three gunslingers during the American Civil War who compete to find a gold fortune buried in a remote cemetery.

27. Ali (2001)

Ali was released on 25 December 2001 and was directed by Michael Mann. The film showcases the story of the boxer Muhammed Ali—his rise to the heavyweight champion of the world and his life while that occurs.

28. Seven Samurai (1954)

ultimate fight movies
A Japanese poster for the 1954 Japanese historical drama film 'Shichinin no Samurai', or 'Seven Samurai', directed by Akira Kurosawa. Photo: Movie Poster Image Art
Source: Getty Images

The film tells the story of a veteran Samurai who faces numerous challenges. Despite his shortcomings and defeats, he accepts a request to protect a village from bandits.

29. Cinderella Man (2005)

fighting action movies
Russell Crowe during 2005 Venice Film Festival - "Cinderella Man" Premiere at Palazzo del Cinema in Venice Lido, Italy. Photo: Daniele Venturelli
Source: Getty Images

Cinderella Man was written by Cliff Hollingsworth and Akira Goldsman. The film is about James J. Braddock, or Cinderella Man, who accepts a string of dead-end jobs to support his wife, Mae and their children while not abandoning his dream of boxing again.

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30. Hard to Kill (1990)

Hard to Kill is an American thriller released in 1990 and directed by Bruce Malmuth. The film tells the story of a cop who wakes up from a bullet-induced coma to bring those who put him there to justice.

31. Rocky (1976)

The film is about a blue-collar man, Rocky Balboa, who tries to gain self-respect and love by going the distance with the heavyweight champion of the world, Spider Rico. He gives the champ everything he's got, and to the surprise of most, he still stands in the end.

32. Bloodsport (1988)

The film was released in 1988 and was written by Sheldon Lettich, Christopher Cosby and Mel Friedman. It is about an American martial artist, Frank Dux, who leaves the army to compete in a martial arts tournament in Hong Kong, where fights to death can occur.

33. Goldfinger (1964)

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A British secret agent, James Bond, is tasked by the Bank of England and MI6 to investigate a man named Auric Goldfinger. They suspect Goldfinger is building up a vast inventory of gold bars.

34. The Fighter (2010)

The Fighter is based on the true story of 1990s welterweight boxer Micky Ward and his crazy ex-fighter brother Eklund. Throughout the film, Micky has to battle not just his opponents in the ring but also his feuding team comprising his mother, Alice Ward and his brother Eklund.

35. Romeo Must Die (2000)

A Chinese former police officer's brother is killed after a fight at a dance club. Therefore, the officer travels to the United States to avenge his brother's death.

36. The Black Pirate (1926)

The Black Pirate is among the best old fighting movies. The film is about an athletic young man whose father is killed by a pirate gang. Before he dies, he gives a ring to this young man, who vows to seek revenge.

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37. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The film is based on the novel The Bourne Ultimatum, written by Robert Ludlum and a sequel to The Bourne Supremacy. Jason Bourne is on a mission to uncover his dark past.

38. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

The film was directed by Clint Eastwood. It revolves around an old boxing coach who runs a gym and a woman who tries to fulfil her dream of becoming a professional boxer.

39. The Fugitive (1993)

Dr. Ricard Kimble is a well-known surgeon who is unjustly accused of murdering his wife. He escapes from the prison to discover why his wife was killed and who the murderer is.

40. Casino Royale (2006)

Special Agent James Bond earns 00 status and a licence to kill. He thus embarks on a first mission as 007, to defeat Le Chiffre, a private banker funding terrorists in a high-stakes gamble at Casino Royale, Montenegro.

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41. Fist of Fury (1972)

Fist of Fury was released on 22 March 1972 and was directed by Lo Wei. A young martial arts student grieves greatly after Chen Zhen's death as his Master. He, therefore, seeks vengeance.

42. Accident Man (2018)

Mike is a tough hitman who makes his hits look like accidents or self-destruction. He is part of a gang of hitmen. The gang dragged his ex-girlfriend into the London underground and killed her. Mike Fallon decides to terminate his crew to avenge the one person who meant something to him.

43. City of God (2002)

greatest fighting movies
Director Fernando Meirelles for the Brazilian film City of God, released in 2002 in Brazil, poses for a portrait at their film production company called O2 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Paulo Fridman
Source: Getty Images

The film takes place in slums constructed by Rio to isolate the poor people from the city centre. It dramatises crime and drug dealing in Brazil as part of life in slums.

44. Bullitt (1968)

greatest fighting movies
American actor Steve McQueen on location during the filming of Peter Yates' 1968 thriller, 'Bullitt'. Photo: Screen Archive
Source: Getty Images

The movie was written by Alan Trustman, Harry Kleiner and Robert L. Fish and directed by Peter Yates. Mc Queen plays a San Francisco cop who becomes determined to find the undergrowth Kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.

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45. Under Siege (1992)

Under Siege is a story of meeting and attacking. It follows a Navy cook and a model as they fight to regain control of a battleship from a group of mutinying military men.

46. John Wick (2014)

best fighting movies
Actor Keanu Reeves arrives at a screening of Lionsgate Films' "John Wick" at the Arclight Theatre 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Kevin Winter
Source: Getty Images

John Wick is directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch and written by Derek Kostad. A retired hitman who seeks revenge on the son of a Russian crime Lord for stealing his vintage car and killing his puppy, gifted by his late wife, Hellen.

47. Mortal Kombat (1995)

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Cary Hirouki-Tagawa Star of Mortal Kombat at On the beach in Malibu in Malibu, California, United States. Photo: SGranitz
Source: Getty Images

It follows the story of the soldier Sonya, actor Johnny Cage and the warrior Liu Kang. They are guided by Raiden on their journey to combat the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung and his forces in a tournament to serve Earth.

48. Batman: Soul of the Dragon (2021)

Batman: Soul of the Dragon stars David Giuntoli, Mark Dacascos and Kelly Hu. It opens in the 1970s with a secret agent, Richard Dragon, infiltrating a shady millionaire's mansion.

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49. Skyfall (2012)

James Bond's new task goes wrong, leading to unfortunate events unfolding. Espionage agents worldwide get exposed, and MI6 is attacked, forcing M to transfer the agency elsewhere.

50. First Blood (1982)

greatest fighting movies
The movie "First Blood" was directed by Ted Kotcheff. Based on David Morrell's novel of the same name. Seen here in the foreground, Brian Dennehy as Sheriff Will Teasle. Paramount Pictures. Photo: CBS
Source: Getty Images

Vietnam veteran and drifter Rambo walks to a town in Washington searching for a friend but meets with a brutal local sheriff named Will Teasle. Teasle, together with his deputy, restrain and shave out Rambo.

The above greatest fighting movies have received acclaim for their excellent work and will remain awe-inspiring for generations to come. If you are a film buff, watch these films and add them to your movie list.

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