Greatest Action Heroes – The Top 10

Sylvester Stallone is the greatest old-school action hero!

We asked you to tell us who was the best of the bunch of muscular screen heroes who burst onto the screen in the 1980s and early 90s – and your verdict, by a long way, was Sly Stallone for his iconic role as Rambo.

Sly has bragging rights over rivals Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger according to our poll – and he’s still kicking ass at the age of 64 in his new film The Expendables, which relives the glory days of the action movie genre. He’s now measuring himself up against such younger contenders as Jason Statham, but our chart shows him coming out on top of a list of screen rivals who’ve stood the test of time.

Here’s the top 10 in full.

1. Sylvester Stallone

First Blood - Sylvester Stallone’s maverick Vietnam veteran reckons small-town redneck cops can go to blazes

Key role & film:      John Rambo in First Blood (1982)
Best quote:            “Don’t push it or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe.”
Trademark:            Bandanna
Iconic moment:      Stitching up a gash in his arm with fishing line.

2. Bruce Willis

Die Hard - Bruce Willis’s sardonic New York cop hangs in there while battling crooks in the classic action thriller

Key role & film:      John McClane in Die Hard (1988)
Best quote:             “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”
Trademark:            Sweaty vest
Iconic moment:      Bungee-jumping off the roof of the exploding Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper with a fire hose wrapped around his waist.

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Terminator - Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the unstoppable killing machine in James Cameron’s classic 1984 sci-fi thriller.

Key role & film:      The Terminator in The Terminator (1984)
Best quote:             “I’ll be back.”
Trademark:            Sunglasses   
Iconic moment:    Arnie’s killing machine briefly scopes out the police station and then utters that immortal catchphrase.

4. Linda Hamilton

Judgement Day - Linda Hamilton shows off her gym-honed buff body as Sarah Connor in the sci-fi sequel.

Key role & film:      Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Best quote:            “There’s 215 bones in the human body. That’s one.”
Trademark:           Biceps    
Iconic moment:

5. Jean-Claude Van Damme

Double Impact - Jean Claude Van Damme in high-kicking action in his 1991 action film.

Key role & film:      Twins Alex & Chad Wagner in Double Impact (1991)
Best quote:           “Look like me? You, of all people, should know I would never in my life wear black-silk underwear!”
Trademark:           Roundhouse kick
Iconic moment:    JCVD’s long-lost twins turned avengers – LA aerobics teacher & bad-ass smuggler – fight each other.

6. Steven Seagal

Under Siege - Steven Seagal plays ex-Navy SEAL Casey Ryback in the 1992 action thriller.

Key role & film:      Casey Ryback in Under Siege (1992)
Best quote:           “Come on, that’s not striking an officer… That’s striking an officer.” (See iconic moment below.)
Trademark:           Ponytail (well, it was before Under Siege). 
Iconic moment:    Punching out Gary Busey’s Commander Krill for spitting in his soup.

7. Chuck Norris

Delta Force - Chuck Norris’s commando Scott McCoy gets ready for more ass-kicking action in the 1986 action film.

Key role & film:      Major Scott McCoy in Delta Force (1986)
Best quote:            “Sleep tight, sucker.”
Trademark:           Sleeveless denim shirt.
Iconic moment: Taking down the terrorists with his rocket-firing motorcycle.

8. Dolph Lundgren

Universal Soldier - Dolph Lungren’s state-of-the-art cyborg soldier looms over co-star Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Key role & film:      Andrew Scott in Universal Soldier (1992)
Best quote:            “Are we having fun yet?”
Trademark:           Raised lip     
Iconic moment:     The bruising final showdown between Dolph’s psychotic cyborg and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s fellow universal soldier.

9. Kurt Russell

Escape from New York - Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken takes a breather during his Madison Square Garden bout with giant opponent Slag in John Carpenter’s 1981 sci-fi classic.

Key role & film:      Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981)
Best quote:            “Call me ‘Snake’.”
Iconic moment:   
Defeating his humungous opponent in the ring in a gladiatorial bout with nail-studded baseball bats – to the delight of the bloodthirsty spectators.

10. Sigourney Weaver

Aliens - Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley protects young survivor Newt (Carrie Henn) in James Cameron’s sci-fi action blockbuster.

Key role & film:      Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1986)
Best quote:            “Get away from her, you bitch!”
Trademark:            Maternal instinct   
Iconic moment:

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