The 10 most famous action movies are all about stories that move at a lightning-quick pace and have the hero getting in and out of jams until he (or she) finally has a showdown of some kind with his nemesis. Every film on this list of the 10 most famous action movies also has great characters in the lead and scenes that will stick with you forever.

  1. "Die Hard" Bruce Willis takes on high-tech and bloodthirsty thieves in a skyscraper, while his wife is held captive and his kids are menaced at home by one of the great douchebag movie TV reporters of all time. It's a blast every time you watch.

  2. "Gladiator" Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe team up in a sword-and-sand epic that delivered awesome fight scenes and an emotional story that raised this movie above the typical action movie.

  3. "The Matrix" Every once in awhile a movie comes along that changes the way other movies are made. As one of the most famous action movies, and one of the most successful such films around the world, "The Matrix" can take its place among the real game-changers in cinema history.

  4. "Aliens" Sigourney Weaver ends up teaching a bunch of crazed Marines how to fight in one of the best sci-fi action movies ever made.

  5. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" Maybe the definitive action movie, Harrison Ford takes off from the rolling boulder at the start of the film and doesn't slow down until the ark is "safely" stored away and out of the hands of the Nazis. This is one of those classic action movies you grew up with and still enjoy as much today.

  6. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" With better special effects at his disposal, along with a bigger budget, James Cameron directs a slam-bang action movie that has guns, explosions, fights, chases and characters you care about, in between all the violence and suspense.

  7. "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" and "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" Quentin Tarantino's send-up of martial arts movies, and a few other genres, is one of the bloodier action films to come along in awhile, and yet still one of the most fun. (Okay, two of the most fun, since the movies were released separately).

  8. "The Bourne Ultimatum" Of all the "Bourne" movies, the pace and action in this one manage to outdo its predecessors. Like "The Matrix," the Bourne movies' editing style helped redefine how modern action movies look and sound.

  9. "The Incredibles" Just a kids' movie you say? Just try taking your eyes off the action from the minute Mr. Incredible and his family touch down in the city to take on Syndrome's giant robot. The Pixar guys definitely know how to end their movies with suspense, high drama and plenty of action.

  10. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" All three movies in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy have their share of action, but the epic battle scenes in the final installment lift this one slightly above the others.