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Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb)

Steven Spielberg is a director known for his chameleon-like ability to take on just about any genre of movie and turn out a beloved hit. He's also a proven master of literary adaptation, making him one of the most respected names in contemporary filmmaking amongst both critics and general film fans alike.

RELATED: Steven Spielberg’s 10 Best Fantasy Movies, Ranked According To IMDb

Spielberg's overall scores on IMDb are mightily impressive but the movies of his that the site classifies as "action" sit noticeably above the vast majority of even the biggest thriller franchises. Whether they be historical epics or sci-fi adventures, Steven Spielberg's best action movies contain elements that almost anyone can enjoy thanks to the director's dedication to the processes of classic Hollywood filmmaking and his openness to cutting-edge technologies.

10 War Horse (2011) - 7.2

● Available on HBO Max

Adapted from Michael Morpurgo's novel of the same name, War Horse is a much more sweeping and sentimental war movie than Spielberg is typically known for, but it's no less stirring or engaging than heavier dramas like Saving Private Ryan.

The story about a young boy and his beloved horse being torn apart by WW1 isn't as violent as some of the director's better-known epics, but the film is still filled with a sense of large-scale action spectacle, featuring huge numbers of extras and horses in the battle sequences. The dedication to practicality certainly paid off, as War Horse was the sixth Spielberg-directed movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

9 The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) - 7.3

● Available on Paramount+

Spielberg's other movie released in 2011 came out in the U.S. just a few days before War Horse and was both another literary adaptation and another period piece. However, it was one with a far lighter tone that was in the spirit of the director's iconic Indiana Jones series.

The surface-level similarities between Spielberg's adventuring archeologist and Hergé's titular comic book hero have been pointed out by many over the years. But despite a classic treasure-hunting plot following Tintin as he searches for the titular ship, The Secret of the Unicorn possesses its own fast-moving style thanks to the motion capture technology used to recreate the classic animated look. Though producer Peter Jackson's original Tintin trilogy plan hasn't happened yet, fans of Spielberg's movies still have a lot of love for — and interest in — the action-packed adventure.

8 Ready Player One (2018) - 7.4

● Available on HBO Max

Another book adaptation, Spielberg's Ready Player One brought Ernest Cline's pop-culture adventure story to life on the big screen with a degree of insightfulness that few directors could have ever given it.

RELATED: 20 Movies Like Ready Player One Everyone Should See

The story revolves around VR technology in a semi-dystopian not-so-distant future in which unending pop culture references and nostalgia have begun to assist in the erosion of creative thought and even personal freedoms. These are heavy concepts for what is essentially a kid's movie, but Spielberg makes sure that the emotional moments of the story are as impactful and uplifting as the gigantic action sequences that break them up.

7 Munich (2005) - 7.5

● Available on Max Go

A historical thriller that explores themes of revenge, Munich follows a group of off-the-books Mossad agents who embark on a deadly mission to seek retribution for the deaths of the Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

The movie is decidedly harder and colder than the vast majority of Spielberg's filmography. However, his evenhanded approach to the complexities of the political situation surrounding the story made it a widely accessible experience for audiences without sacrificing nuances in the storytelling. The highly-charged thriller would earn Spielberg his fifth Oscar nomination for Best Picture and his sixth for Best Director.

6 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - 7.5

● Available on Paramount+

The story of the second movie in the Indiana Jones franchise has never been considered a contender for best in the series. However, Temple of Doom still sits as one of the best prequel movies of all time on IMDb and has always been considered to be as culturally impactful as the other two movies in the original run of Indiana Jones films through the 1980s.

Taking the action primarily to India, the story was effectively another treasure-hunt for the franchise but followed the trend started by The Empire Strikes Back to skew darker for the second installment. This method produced some of the series' most gruesome moments as well as some of its most memorable characters and action sequences.

5 Minority Report (2002) - 7.6

● Available on YouTube, Pluto TV, and Paramount+

One of the best sci-fi movies adapted from the works of author Philip K. DickMinority Report was the project that finally teamed Spielberg with mega-star Tom Cruise. The breakneck pace of the futuristic thriller matched the actor's well-known onscreen energy levels.

The plot centers around a small group of "precogs" who appear to predict crimes before they happen, allowing Cruise's top cop to swoop in to prevent them. But when he himself is predicted to commit murder, he must flee to uncover the truth, prompting some of the most exhilarating chase sequences of Spielberg's career so far.

4 Empire of the Sun (1987) - 7.7

● Available on Tubi

Adapted from J.G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sun follows a British boy experiencing WW2 in Asia as his comfortable life in Shanghai is uprooted and he's placed into a Japanese internment camp. Though he's not involved in the action of the conflict around him, a young Christian Bale leads the cast in what is considered to be one of his best movie roles. The future Batman actor delivered an impressive early performance that demonstrated how even the youngest talents can carry entire epics.

RELATED: 5 Ways That Batman's Bruce Wayne Is Christian Bale’s Best Role (& 5 Other Options)

The unique coming-of-age story stands apart from Spielberg's other movies about the war, showing glimmers of the childlike wonder seen in many of the director's most popular works, though it never reached their levels of success at the box office. Nevertheless, the movie has been consistently defended and reappraised over the years, with it now sitting amongst Spielberg's most well-respected films.

3 Jurassic Park (1993) - 8.1

● Available on Peacock

Still generally considered to be the best movie adapted from the work of prolific sci-fi writer Michael CrichtonJurassic Park redefined what audiences would expect from blockbuster filmmaking in the '90s and beyond. The film's seamless blending of impressive animatronics with even more impressive early CGI made the story of chaos at the titular dinosaur theme park a must-see cinematic event on release.

Its popularity was not fleeting, however, with its outstanding casting choices creating immensely beloved characters who are still set to return to the big screen in the ongoing Jurassic World series, which continues the story of the movie franchise almost 30 years later.

2 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - 8.2

● Available on Paramount+ 

The third Indiana Jones movie took a more conventional approach than Temple of Doom, bringing the eponymous hero back into conflict with Nazi villains like in Raiders of the Lost Ark and centering around a hunt for another Biblical artifact, the Holy Grail.

It was considered at the time to be a largely satisfying close to the series of movies, bringing it somewhat parallel with the original Star Wars trilogy. However, the franchise would continue, with the fourth movie becoming one of Spielberg's lowest-rated movies on IMDb. It remains to be seen whether the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 will be as highly regarded by fans as this shining example of a sequel.

1 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - 8.4

● Available on Paramount+

Though not Steven Spielberg's highest-rated movie on IMDb, Raiders of the Lost Ark tops the director's list of action movies thanks in no small part to its status as a true original. Though the story of a globetrotting hunt for the Ark of the Covenant clearly drew from early 20th-century adventure serials, the vivid character design and daring action sequences were stunningly modern in the early '80s.

The rough-and-tumble archeologist, Indiana Jones, rivaled Harrison Ford's other roguish screen hero, Han Solo, and the film's influence on every action blockbuster that followed its success is immeasurably significant.

NEXT: The 10 Best Movies Directed By Steven Spielberg (According To Metacritic)

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