BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Action Movies 101

MAY 1ST – 27TH

What defines an action movie? It’s a slippery genre indeed: one that perpetually reinvents itself while sticking to the tried and trusted tropes we all know and love; one that eludes definition, never quite achieving a critical consensus of legitimacy – and long may it remain so. Heaven forbid that action movies ever become respectable. What, then, defines a truly great action movie? Surely it’s the gleeful sense of giddy abandon felt when experiencing one of the purest forms of cinema: less about the destination, it’s all about the ride. It’s a given that narrative logic and character development can often take a back seat in favour of the relentless pursuit of brawls, shootouts, chases (motorised or otherwise) and/or stuff blowing up, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

As unashamed guilty pleasures go, a truly great action movie can’t be beaten. Thusly, to celebrate the release of this month’s spectacular The Raid, we offer a brief programme of seminal action classics from the past four decades, celebrating titans such as Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis while acknowledging the considerable influence Eastern filmmakers have had on a newer generation of talent, not least Indonesian-based Welshman Gareth Evans, director of The Raid. Truth be told, there is no definitive ‘Best Of’ season of action cinema, it being entirely a matter of taste. We’ll leave it to you to champion your own favourites, while expressing dismay at our omissions. Let the cheesy one-liners begin! 

Introduction and notes on individual films by season curator Derek O’Connor. 

Also, as part of the season, there will be a preview screening of The Raid on May 4th at 23.00. The Raid continues at the IFI from May 18th. 

Tickets will be available from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at from Friday 27th April. Tickets are normal IFI prices except for 70mm films which cost €12/€10.

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The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland