With Sly Stallone bringing back the action heroes of yesteryear for another star-studded celebration of machismo in The Expendables III, Top 10 Films takes a look at a selection of great actions films with ensemble casts…
10. Cannonball Run II (Needham, 1984)
Peppered with stars including Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ricardo Montalbán, Telly Savalas, Marilu Henner, Shirley MacLaine, Catherine Bach, Jackie Chan, Richard Kiel and even Frank Sinatra, this mixed-bag of a sequel is still better than the original. A fun, cross-country road-race film.
9. Predator (McTiernan, 1987)
What could be more enjoyable than watching Arnie Schwarzenegger lead a bunch of toughened soldiers through a forest wilderness while being pursued by an invisible, bloodthirsty alien creature. The answer: NOTHING!
8. Airport ’77 (Jameson, 1977)
Airport ’77 might not be the best of the Airport franchise but it’s arguably the most enjoyable due to its crazy set-up. With Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, George Kennedy, Olivia de Havilland, Christopher Lee, Joseph Cotten and James Stewart in the ensemble cast, the film follows passengers on a Boeing 747 trying to survive after their plane crashes into the sea and sinks to the bottom. It’s great to see the so often mild-mannered Lemmon take on the hero role.
7. From Dusk Till Dawn (Rodriguez, 1996)
Director Robert Rodriguez, still in the early days of his career, was able to assemble a great cast for this genre-twisted action-horror thanks largely to the presence of the film’s writer and star Quentin Tarantino and supporter and fellow star Harvey Keitel. Tarantino and Keitel are joined by Juliette Lewis, George Clooney, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo and Tom Savini.
6. Heat (Mann, 1995)
Another brilliant cast – De Niro, Al Pacino, Jon Voight and Val Kilmer – get involved in a heist, this time of an amoured car. Critics praised its intelligent dialogue and poignancy.
5. The Great Escape (Sturges, 1963)
Allied prisoners of war stage a daring escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp during WWII with Steve McQueen heading up a cast that includes James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence and James Coburn.
4. Die Hard (McTiernan, 1988)
Bruce Willis in a vest doing good. Alan Rickman in a suit doing bad. And, a bunch of crazy, highly armed terrorists. With all this going on inside a skyscraper there’s no time to check your watch… Exciting action from beginning to end!
3. Aliens (Cameron, 1986)
This time it’s war, says the tagline. Yep – this time, our unfortunate heroine Ripley has a group of marines to help her out of a tight spot. Sadly, she’s still (almost) the only one left standing by the end. This exciting, fast-paced sci-fi classic is clearly one of the best action films with an ensemble cast ever made.
2. The Magnificent Seven (Sturges, 1960)
Another classic western sees an incredible cast including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Robert Vaughn team up to protect a small agricultural town in Mexico from a group of bandits. The film also stars the great Eli Wallach as bad guy Calvera.
1. The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969)
Sam Peckinpah’s classic western sees a cast including William Holden, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson and Warren Oates play aging outlaws out to make one last big score.