When you compile a list of the greatest action movies ever made, the first question you have to ask is: what's an action movie? An action movie should thrill, consistently, stringing together a combination of speed, stunts, shock-ya twists, and simple acts of heroism. Fights, shootouts, chases, and explosions are part of the DNA, but there's no quota. And size matters; Star Wars, The Avengers, and so many modern summer blockbusters are emphatically epic, deserving of their own classification: "spectacle." The pulsating truck robbery and bank heist sequences from Michael Mann's Heat are both legendary, but they're also a small fraction of the crime saga's three-hour runtime. To whittle down this list, we had to divide "movies with action" from "action movies."