The 10 Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

With 139 million subscribers across the globe, Netflix keeps growing by making sure it offers something for everyone. In addition to a varied selection of horror, sci-fi, documentaries, and dramas, the service also curates a solid library of action films. If you’re in the mood for some kinetic thrills, check out 10 of the best action movies you can stream right now.

1. Heat (1995)

Michael Mann’s heist thriller about a career criminal pushing the envelope in a series of high-stakes bank robberies was notable for being the first onscreen meeting between Robert De Niro (who plays thief Neil McCauley) and Al Pacino (as Los Angeles police lieutenant Vincent Hanna). That novelty eventually took a back seat to Mann’s expert staging of the confrontations between cops and robbers, a ballet of violence that pulls the viewer into the crossfire.

2. Casino Royale (2006)

Hard to believe, but Daniel Craig’s first turn as cinema’s best superspy, James Bond, was initially the subject of online petitions to get him removed from the role for being blonde and “odd-looking.” Craig’s critics had little to say after actually watching Casino Royale, which serves as a reintroduction to the character as he pursues Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in the midst of a high-stakes poker game.

3. Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2 (2003 and 2004)

A decade after he revolutionized independent filmmaking with Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino filmed a two-part homage to the kung-fu genre with Kill Bill. Martial arts and weapons-equipped Bride (Uma Thurman) pursues her mentor, Bill (David Carradine), after his betrayal left her comatose on her wedding day. Swords cross, enemies collide, and Thurman earns her stripes in the yellow tracksuit made famous by Bruce Lee.

4. Wheelman (2017)

Frank Grillo stars in this claustrophobic action-thriller about a getaway driver who leaves the dirty work to the criminals who retain his services. When things go awry during a bank heist and a mysterious caller begins ordering him to reroute the money, Grillo is left to navigate the streets—and an increasingly dangerous double-cross—by himself.

5. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

All four Indiana Jones films are on Netflix, but the first still stands its ground as the best in the series and one of the finest action movies ever made. Indy (Harrison Ford) pursues the Lost Ark of the Covenant while evading and diverting Nazis chasing the power the Ark is believed to contain.

6. The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

Purists may scoff at the dubbed and edited American version of this Hong Kong martial arts classic, but there’s no diluting the masterful choreography of Jackie Chan. The actor plays to his strengths in both comedy and action as a martial artist who becomes more proficient the more he drinks. If you’ve ever wondered why fans compare Chan to silent-film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, this film provides all the explanation you need.

7. The Terminator (1984)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made good on his promise to come back in three—soon to be four—sequels and a theme park attraction. But the original The Terminator didn’t have any ambition to become a franchise. It’s a tight, lean thriller about a cyborg (Schwarzenegger) traveling through time to kill the mother of the man who will lead the resistance against the machines.

8. Enter the Dragon (1973)

Bruce Lee’s biggest stateside hit is a well-choreographed travelogue of a martial arts tournament on a private island run by a crime czar named Han. As Lee pursues Han on behalf of British intelligence, he engages in a series of bouts that demonstrate the actor’s supreme proficiency in hand-to-hand cinematic combat. If you’ve seen it before, check it out again and keep an eye out for Jackie Chan’s brief appearance as a guard.

9. The Night Comes for Us (2018)

Fans of The Raid series will find a similar approach in this hyperactive Indonesian action film about an assassin who has to navigate a small army of Triad killers in order to protect a young girl. The violence approaches horror movie letters of splatter, but if that’s to your taste, you’ll have a satisfying evening.

10. The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Before The Expendables blew up everything in sight, this World War II drama assembled a who’s-who of grimacing alpha males of the 1960s—Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Jim Brown among them—in a story about a suicide mission to assassinate top-ranking German soldiers. The protagonists are all criminals, but up against the Nazi regime, you’ll be rooting for them regardless.

8 Facts About Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Bloomsbury Children's Books via Amazon
Bloomsbury Children's Books via Amazon

Longtime Harry Potter fans who feel like first-years at heart may find it hard to believe, but the books have been around for decades. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series, which follows Harry as he faces Dementors, investigates the mysterious Sirius Black, and gets through his third year at Hogwarts.

From Rowling’s writing process to how it changed The New York Times Best Sellers list, here are some facts you should know about the wildly popular book.

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was J.K. Rowling’s "best writing experience."

In a 2004 interview with USA Today, Rowling described the creation of Prisoner of Azkaban as “the best writing experience I ever had.” This had more to do with where Rowling was at in her professional life than the content of the actual story. By book three, she was successful enough where she didn’t have to worry about finances, but not yet so famous that the she felt the stress of being in the public eye.

2. The Dementors represent depression.

Readers who live with depression may see something familiar in Prisoner of Azkaban’s soul-sucking Dementors. According to the book, “Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself ... soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life."

Rowling has stated that she based the Dementor’s effects on her own experiences with depression. "[Depression] is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again," she told The Times in 2000. "The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It's a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different."

3. Rowling regretted giving Harry the Marauder’s Map.

In Prisoner of Azkaban, the Marauder’s Map is introduced as a way for Harry to track Sirius Black and learn of the survival of Peter Pettigrew. But this plot device proved problematic for Rowling later on this series. In Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, she wrote, “The Marauder’s Map subsequently became something of a bane to its true originator (me), because it allowed Harry a little too much freedom of information.” She went on to say that she sometimes wished she had made Harry lose the map for good in the later books.

4. Rowling was excited to introduce Remus Lupin.

One of the aspects Rowling most enjoyed about writing Prisoner of Azkaban was introducing Remus Lupin. The Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and secret werewolf is one of the author's favorite characters in the series, and as she told Barnes & Noble in 1999, “I was looking forward to writing the third book from the start of the first because that's when Professor Lupin appears.”

5. Crookshanks is based on a real cat.

Harry had Hedwig the owl, Ron had his pet rat Scabbers, and in book three, Hermione got a pet of her own: an intelligent half-Kneazle cat named Crookshanks. J.K. Rowling is allergic to cats, and she admits on her website that she prefers dogs, but she does have fond memories of a cat that roamed the London neighborhood where she worked in the 1980s. When writing Crookshanks, she gave him that cat’s haughty attitude and smushed-face appearance.

6. Prisoner of Azkaban was the last Harry Potter book Americans had to wait for.

Harry Potter fans based in America will no doubt remember waiting months after a book’s initial release in England to buy it from their local bookstore. Prisoner of Azkaban was the last Harry Potter book with a staggered publication date: Beginning with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the rest of the books in the series were published in both markets on the same date.

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban broke sales records.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban sold 68,000 copies in the UK within three days of its release, making it the fastest-selling British book of all time in 1999. The book has since gone on to sell more than 65 million copies worldwide and helped make Harry Potter the bestselling book series ever.

8. It changed The New York Times Best Sellers List.

For part of 1999, the first three Harry Potter books—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (which is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone pretty much everywhere besides America), Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban—occupied the top three slots on The New York Times Best Sellers list. It didn’t stay that way for long, though: Prisoner of Azkaban was the book that pushed the paper to create a separate list just for children’s literature, leaving more room on the original list for books aimed at adults. That’s why Harry Potter is missing from the famous bestsellers roundup during the 2000s, despite dominating book sales at this time.

Game of Thrones Star Emilia Clarke Turned Down the Lead in 50 Shades of Grey

Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images
Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images

Though Emilia Clarke is undoubtedly best known for her starring role on Game of Thrones, she has landed some other plum parts over the past several years, including Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys, the role of Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the lead in Phillip Noyce's upcoming Above Suspicion opposite Jack Huston. But there's one major role Clarke passed on, and has no regrets about it: Anastasia Steele in the 50 Shades of Grey franchise.

The movies, based on E. L. James's erotic book series, trace the sadomasochistic/romantic relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and millionaire businessman Christian Grey. Both the books and the movies have garnered a lot of criticism for their graphic nudity and sex scenes. While Clarke is no stranger to appearing nude on film for her role as Daenerys Targaryen, she said that 50 Shades of Grey would have taken her too far out of her comfort zone.

“There is a huge amount of nudity in the film,” the British actress told The Sun of her reasons for not wanting to get involved with the film series. “I thought I might get stuck in a pigeonhole that I would have struggled to get out of.”

Even without 50 Shades of Grey on her resume, Clarke says she has dealt with a lot of negative backlash because of the nudity in Game of Thrones. “I get a lot of crap for nude and sex scenes,” the 32-year-old star said. “Women hating on women. It’s so anti-feminist.”

When we last left Daenerys, she seemed to be getting serious about Jon Snow—who, unbeknownst to the two of them, is her nephew. We'll see how that unpleasant discovery plays out when Game of Thrones returns on April 14, 2019.

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