Oldest motion film stars ranked

Hollywood is no stranger to adrenaline-pumping action films, with many of these popular fan-favorites being helmed by veteran acting legends. With successful careers spanning decades, some of the most exciting and compelling movie stars have proven that the action genre doesn’t have to be just a young man’s game. Iconic actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and Danny Trejo have shown that age is just a number and you’re never too old to pull off a good old-fashioned beat-down.

Viewers around the world have connected with these famous faces and watched as the phenomenal physical performers matured over the years and still remained or became exceptional action heroes later in life. Liam Neeson completely reinvented his career when he took on the role of retired CIA agent Bryan Mills in the thrilling Taken series, evolving from dramatic actor to true action superstar. Sylvester Stallone rallied some of cinema’s greatest talent for the blockbuster extravaganza The Expendables, recruiting aging action kings like Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme to the franchise. Comedian and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk also became an action hero at age 58 in the great film Nobody. These are some of the biggest older action movie stars.


Dolph Lundgren is 64

Dolph Lundgren lion gate

After first gaining critical acclaim for his breakthrough performance as Soviet boxer Ivan Drago opposite Sylvester Stallone in 1985’s Swedish star Rocky IV Dolph Lundgren quickly became an action sensation and has since appeared in over 80 films in the genre, including a surprisingly prolific selection of direct-to-video films.

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The physically imposing, 1.8m tall actor is gifted in martial arts having trained intensively in Kyokushin Karate and has demonstrated his impeccable skills in films such as Masters of the Universe, the Universal Soldier series, Showdown in Little Tokyo and Aquaman . Lundgren hasn’t let up one bit as the 64-year-old is set to kick even more butt in upcoming action movies Wanted Man and star-studded The Expendables 4.

Liam Neeson is 70

Memory with Liam Neeson Open Street Movies

Having written an impressive resume as a brilliant dramatic actor in critically acclaimed films such as ‘Schindler’s List’, ‘Michael Collins’ and ‘Love Actually’, the Irish actor is Liam Neeson He completely redefined his Hollywood persona when he helmed the action thriller Taken in 2008. In it he portrayed the determined father and retired CIA agent Bryan Mills.

The exciting yet terrifying franchise led to Neeson becoming a certified action star, spawning roles in gripping action films such as The A-Team, The Grey, Wrath of the Titans and A Walk Among the Tombstones. The 70-year-old recently launched Yahoo! News of his tough guy status: “I was an amateur boxer from the age of nine until I was 17. I just love the physicality… I turned 70 this year so I’m still getting away with it.”

Jet Li is 59

Jet Li in Mulan Released by Walt Disney Studios

Renowned retired Chinese actor, martial artist and Wushu master Jet Li is an international film star who has demonstrated his excellent kung fu skills in films such as Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon and The Forbidden Kingdom alongside fellow action great Jackie Chan. Despite suffering from hyperthyroidism for over a decade, 59-year-old Li remains a formidable presence on screen, starring in all three of The Expendables films alongside Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren. Jet Li movies remain popular and he has recently had great roles in League of Gods, Gong Shou Dao and as The Emperor of China in the 2020 live screen adaptation of Disney’s Mulan.

Jean Claude Van Damme is 61 years old

Jean Claude Van Damme in The Expendables lion gate

The Belgian superstar is affectionately known as “the muscles from Brussels”. Jean-Claude Van Damme moved to the United States in 1982 for a career on the big screen, landing his big break with the 1988 cult classic Bloodsport. After enrolling in a shotōkan karate school at age 10, Van Damme learned the craft, as well as bodybuilding, kickboxing, taekwondo and Muay Thai and earned his black belt in karate at 18.

The actor used his diverse martial arts background to become a sought-after action star, appearing in ’90s hits like Death Warrant, Universal Soldier and Maximum Risk. After a brief career hiatus, 61-year-old Van Damme appeared in The Expendables 2, the Kung Fu Panda franchise, and the Kickboxer reboot.

Chuck Norris is 82

Chuck Norris in Hawaii Five-0 CBS television distribution

Iconic action hero Chuck Norris is a revered martial artist and actor who earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tang Soo Do and Judo and began teaching the craft to celebrities when he arrived in Hollywood in the late 1960s. Norris gained widespread attention when he teamed with close friend and legendary martial artist Bruce Lee in 1972’s Way of the Dragon, with the physical role spawning roles in popular action films such as Good Guys Wear Black, Missing in Action and Code of Silence.

His performance as the badass title character in the long-running hit Walker, Texas Ranger further cemented Norris’ status as an action hero, with the 82-year-old continuing to punch and kick villains in the films The Expendables 2 and the television show Hawaii Five-0.

Danny Trejo is 78

Danny Trejo in Green Ghost Gravity Ventures

The charming, mustachioed macho Danny Trejo had a string of memorable roles in gritty action films like Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and gained further notoriety as the deadly ex-Federal of the same name in Robert Rodriguez’s film Machete. Trejo’s film career began rather accidentally in 1985 while living a sober house and working as a drug counselor when he showed up on the set of Runaway Train to help a young man he was sponsoring.

The revered Hollywood rebel showcased his boxing skills in the unexpected role, effectively ushering in a new trajectory in life and career for the actor. At 78, Trejo still dominates the big and small screen, starring in the badass franchises, All About the Money and Bullets of Justice.

Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan in Vanguard Golden Screen Cinemas

The lovable Hong Kong actor and martial artist Jackie Chan has charmed audiences with his phenomenal physicality for over five decades, having started out as a stuntman opposite Bruce Lee in 1972’s Fist of Fury and 1973’s Enter the Dragon. Chan is one of the most popular and well-known action heroes in the world, loved for his acrobatic slapstick fighting technique and heralded for roles in hits like Drunken Master, Police Story, Rumble in the Bronx, and the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon franchises. Chan, 68, has appeared in over 150 films and continues to headline action films, most recently 2020’s Skiptrace, The Foreigner and Vanguard.

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Sylvester Stallone is 76

Sylvester Stallone in The Fillet. Balboa Productions

After finding critical and commercial success as wayward underdog Rocky Balboa in the 1976 cultural phenomenon Rocky, Sylvester Stallone became a true action superstar, dominating the genre with adrenaline pumping performances like John Rambo in the thrilling Rambo franchise and mercenary Barney Ross in The Expendables series.

A permanent presence in Hollywood, Stallone is an admired film star who has been the only actor in American cinema history to lead a number one box office hit for six consecutive decades. Revered for his muscular physique, fearless demeanor and compelling performances, the 76-year-old Stallone remains a hot commodity on screens. He will star in the upcoming superhero action film Samaritan, as well as The Expendables 4 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is 74

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sabotage open road
Universal images

The one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger is a distinguished actor, businessman, and former politician and bodybuilder, who first came to prominence when he won the prestigious Mr. Universe title in 1967 at the age of just 20. After appearing in the 1977 bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger shifted his attention to the big screen and became a certified action star with iconic roles in Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator film series, Predator and True Lies. Over 40 years later, at age 74, the legendary Superstar continues to deliver rousing and gory performances, joining star-studded series The Expendables, Escape Plan, Terminator: Dark Fate and upcoming martial arts comedy Kung Fury 2 .

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