ACTION FILMS


Part 1


Action Films

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Examples


Action Films: This major genre type includes films that have tremendous impact, continuous high energy, lots of physical stunts and activity, possibly extended chase scenes, races, rescues, battles, martial arts, mountains and mountaineering, destructive disasters (floods, explosions, natural disasters, fires, etc.), fights, escapes, non-stop motion, spectacular rhythm and pacing, and adventurous heroes - all designed for pure audience escapism with the action sequences at the core of the film.

Action films and adventure films have tremendous cross-over potential as film genres, and road films often overlap with action films. (See the adventure film genre listings for examples of these action/adventure pictures.) Both types of films come in a variety of forms or genre-hybrids: sci-fi or space, thrillers, crime-drama, war, horror, westerns, etc. Oftentimes, action films are great box-office hits, but lack critical appeal because of their two-dimensional heroes or villains.

The main action centers around a male action hero or protagonist - portrayed by these most prominent actors: Bruce Lee, Steven Seagal, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Bruce Lee, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Chuck Norris, and Jean Claude Van Damme. Women in action-films usually play the roles of accomplices or romantic interests of the hero, although modern action films have featured strong female characters to broaden demographic appeal.

They almost always have a resourceful hero(ine) struggling against incredible odds, life-threatening circumstances, or an evil villain, and/or trapped or chasing each other in various modes of transportation (bus, auto, ship, train, plane, horseback, on foot, etc.), with victory or resolution attained by the end after strenuous physical feats and violence (fist fights, gunplay). Action films have traditionally been aimed at male audiences, ages 13 to the mid-30s in both American and world-wide markets.

The Beginnings:

This film genre actually began with the silent era's serial films around the time of Edwin S. Porter's classic action-western The Great Train Robbery (1903). And it has remained strong throughout all of cinematic history. Action films then expanded in the 80s and 90s, with the growth of special effects techniques and in response to jaded audiences who demanded faster plots (coherent or not), greater violence, and stimulation.

James Bond - Agent 007 Spy Series:

Dr. No - 1962According to Guinness World Records, the most profitable film series of all time is "James Bond" - although it has since been superceded (by the Star Wars and Harry Potter films). It is the longest continuing series of English language films. The modern day action-hero - the James Bond '007' character that was employed for Her Majesty's Secret Service - was loosely based on the character in Britisher Ian Fleming's twelve James Bond novels. A number of Fleming's short stories were developed by other writers. Before the movies, Bond made his first appearance on TV, debuting on CBS in 1954, with Barry Nelson as the American 007 agent named Jimmy Bond in an adaptation of Fleming's first Bond novel Casino Royale. Fleming made his sole cameo appearance in the Bond film From Russia With Love (1963).

Beginning in the Cold War 60s (after restrictions on violence and sex were lifted somewhat), the slick, escapist Bond action/adventure Spy Films appealed to large audiences with their exotic, travelogue locales, tongue-in-cheek humor and dialogue, nifty gadgets and ingenious toys to combat evildoers, fast-action suspense and audacious stunts, and gorgeous scantily-clad sexy women. The action-oriented, sophisticated and skillful agent, with a taste for fancy clothes (often tuxedos), dry martinis ('shaken, not stirred') and cars (notably the Aston Martin DB5, the Lotus Esprit, and various BMWs), battled various types of eccentric, deadly and infamous criminals who planned to assault the world. The intriguing superhero lead role has been played by six actors - Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. Also included below are the main villains and Bond girls in the films:

See more detail at Greatest James Bond Films in this site.
See also Greatest James Bond Girls (illustrated)

See also Greatest Film Series Franchises: James Bond Films (illustrated)

Official Bond Films
and Director
Distributor
Number in Series
Actor Playing Bond
Main Villain(s)
Main Bond Girl (s)

Dr. No (1962)
d. Terence Young

United Artists
1
Sean Connery
Dr. Julius No (Joseph Wiseman) Honeychile Ryder (Ursula Andress)
Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson)
From Russia With Love (1963)
d. Terence Young
United Artists
2
Sean Connery
Donald 'Red' Grant (Robert Shaw)
Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya)
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Anthony Dawson)
Tatiana Romanova (Daniella Bianchi)
Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson)
Goldfinger (1964)
d. Guy Hamilton
United Artists
3
Sean Connery
Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe)
Oddjob (Harold Sakata)
Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman)
Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton)
Thunderball (1965)
d. Terence Young
United Artists
4
Sean Connery
Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) Domino Derval (Claudine Auger)
Paula Caplan (Martine Beswick)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
d. Lewis Gilbert
United Artists
5
Sean Connery
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasance) Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama)
Casino Royale (1967) - a spoof comedy
d. multiple directors
Columbia
-
David Niven (as retired spy Sir James Bond)
nephew Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen) Vespa Lynd (Ursula Andress)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
d. Peter Hunt
(The only Bond film with a tragic ending)
United Artists
6
George Lazenby
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
d. Guy Hamilton
United Artists
7
Sean Connery
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray) Tiffany Case (Jill St. John)
Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood)
Live and Let Die (1973)
d. Guy Hamilton
United Artists
8
Roger Moore
Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto) Solitaire (Jane Seymour)
The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
d. Guy Hamilton
United Artists
9
Roger Moore
Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) Miss Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) and
Andrea Anders (Maud Adams)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
d. Lewis Gilbert
United Artists
10
Roger Moore
Karl Stromberg (Kurt Jurgens)
Jaws (Richard Kiel)
Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach)
Moonraker (1979)
d. Lewis Gilbert
United Artists
11
Roger Moore
Sir Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
d. John Glen
United Artists
12
Roger Moore
Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover)
Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet)
Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson)
Octopussy (1983)
d. John Glen
MGM/UA
13
Roger Moore
Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan)
Octopussy (Maud Adams)
Never Say Never Again (1983)
d. John Glen
Warner Bros.
-
Sean Connery
Largo ( Klaus Maria Brandauer)
Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera)
Domino Petachi (Kim Basinger)
A View to a Kill (1985)
d. John Glen
MGM/UA
14
Roger Moore
Max Zorin (Christopher Walken)
May Day (Grace Jones)
Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts)
The Living Daylights (1987)
d. John Glen
MGM/UA
15
Timothy Dalton
General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe)
Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo)
Licence to Kill (1989)
d. John Glen
MGM/UA
16
Timothy Dalton
Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi)
Lupe Lamora (Talisa Soto)
Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell)
GoldenEye (1995)
d. Martin Campbell
MGM/UA
17
Pierce Brosnan
006 Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean)
Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen)
Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
d. Roger Spottiswoode
MGM/UA
18
Pierce Brosnan
Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce)
Colonel Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh)
Paris Carver (Teri Hatcher)
The World is Not Enough (1999)
d. Michael Apted
MGM/UA
19
Pierce Brosnan
Elektra King (Sophie Marceau)
Victor 'Renard' Zokas (Robert Carlyle)
Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards)
Die Another Day (2002)
d. Lee Tamahori
MGM/UA
20
Pierce Brosnan
Zao (Rick Yune)
Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens)
Giacinta "Jinx" Johnson (Halle Berry)
Casino Royale (2006)
d. Martin Campbell
MGM/UA
21
Daniel Craig
Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian)
Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen)
Vesper Lynd (Eva Green)
Solange (Caterina Murino)
Quantum of Solace (2008)
d. Marc Forster
MGM/ Sony /Columbia
22
Daniel Craig
Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric)
General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio)
Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko)
M16 Agent Miss (Strawberry) Fields (Gemma Arterton)
Skyfall (2012)
d. Sam Mendes
MGM
23
Daniel Craig
Raoul Silva
(Javier Bardem)
Severine (Berenice Marlohe)

Sean Connery made a reluctant comeback as Bond for Never Say Never Again (1983) - a virtual remake of Thunderball (1965). The film was reportedly titled that way since Connery was quoted as saying "Never again!" after making Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Currently, Roger Moore is the longest continually-serving James Bond actor (with 12 years and 7 films).




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