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16 Action heroes over 50 and still killing it

BY Farhana Gani

1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

16 Action heroes over 50 and still killing it

Age is no object when it comes to all-action movies. Don't believe us? Here's a list of incredible actors over 50 and still showing the young'uns how it's done!

Tom Cruise

tom cruise ageing action heroes

No one can forget the heartthrob that was Mr Cruise in the unforgettable movie Top Gun. It hit our screens back in 1986 when Tom was a mere 24 years old.

This was only the start of his action career as Tom shot to fame as the fantastic Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise, the latest instalment of which was released in 2015. At 53—that's 30 years in action—and at 53, another Mission Impossible is rumoured.



Liam Neeson

liam neeson ageing action hero

Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills acquired over a very long career—and you're a true Neeson fan if you get that reference. But for those who are just getting to know the wonders of this fantastic action man, it's from the awesome Taken trilogy.

Taken 3 landed in 2014 when Liam was 62, he's still got it!


Sigourney Weaver 

sigourney weaver older action hero

It was her role as Ripley in Alien (1979), and its sequels that got Sigourney Weaver lumbered with the nickname ‘The Sci-Fi Queen’. But this action hero has played some very diverse roles; she was in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977), played Dian Fossey in the 1988 movie Gorillas in the Mist, and 2009 smash Avatar.

At 66, she’s now making an appearance in the all-female Ghostbusters reboot.



Bruce Willis

bruce willis older action hero

We are all die hard fans of Bruce but it nearly didn't happen for him. Believe it or not, his iconic role as John McClane was initially offered to Frank Sinatra (who was 73 at the time!). Thankfully, Sinatra declined and Willis got the job.

He made his first appearance as John McClane in Die Hard back in 1988 and there were many more to come. His 2015 action hit Vice had Willis showing the world how it’s done at the age of 60.



Denzel Washington

denzel washington ageing action hero

Washington's first major title saw him star as the analytical Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter, in action-thriller Crimson Tide. 

More recently he has made appearances in American Gangster and The Equalizer. At 61 years of age, Denzel shows no signs of leaving the action scene. 



Harrison Ford

harrison ford action hero

Some call him Indiana Jones, others Han Solo—whichever Ford action role jumps to mind first, there is no denying his iconic status.

He shot to fame as the fedora-donning, tomb-raiding Indiana Jones back in 1984 and fast-forward to 2019, some 35 years on, and we should expect to see the fifth instalment of the franchise. Harrison will be 76 years old, and still rocking the hat.



Sandra Bullock

sandra bullock older action hero

Bullock hit the ground running in the 1987 action-thriller Hangmen, but it was 1994's Speed that sent her career sky-rocketing.

Although her very impressive filmography is packed with nearly as many romcoms as action thrillers, there’s no question that at 51 she’s still way up there in the action stakes.

If any evidence were needed, look no further than 2013's incredibly exciting and gorgeous Gravityfor which she won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Oscar.



Samuel L Jackson

samuel l jackson old action hero

67 years old and Samuel L Jackson consistently shows what a badass he is. Perhaps the coolest actor to ever have graced the planet, whether it's a Tarantino shooter, a lightsaber-wielding Jedi, or heading up superhero espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D—Jackson does it with style.

Appearing in such blockbusters as Star Wars and the Marvel Avengers franchise, it came as a surprise when Jackson said yes to what seemed like awful action parody movie Snakes on a Plane. Jackson took on the role with a sense of humour: "I knew I was going to do the movie when I saw the title."



Famke Jansen

famke jansen action hero

It hardly seems possible that former Famke Janssen—who played Xenia Onatopp in 1995’s Golden Eyehits 52 this year.

Soon after her famous death-by-thigh move in the Bond classic, she found her signature role as telepathic superheroine Jean Grey and the Earth-shredding Phoenix in the X-Men franchise. And there’s no sign that the half-century’s slowing her down: she’s about to star with Ryan Eggold in an imminent new US spin-off from the hugely popular The Blacklist series. 


Keanu Reeves

john wick action hero older keanu reeves

Keanu Reeves made his action debut in 1991's surf-action-thriller and cult classic Point Break and got our hearts racing in his big action breakthrough Speed back in 1994. Before this, we'd known him as lovable high school idiot Ted Theodore Logan in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Incredibly, he shed the association with this goofy character and eventually became the ultra serious Neo in The Matrix trilogy. But he didn’t stop there and now in his fifties he’s still pretty nifty with a gun in John Wick. But don't count Ted Theodore Logan out just yet, both Reeves and co-star Alex Winter (Bill S Preston Esquire) have confirmed the middle-aged return of the duo. Party on, dudes.



Pam Grier

pam grier older action hero

Perhaps the original female action heroine, Grier kicked her career off in a 1970s Blaxploitation groove with films such as The Big Bird Cage (1972), Foxy Brown (1974) and Sheba Baby (1975). Good old Quentin Tarantino cranked things up several notches by casting her in Jackie Brown (1997), for which she received a Best Actress Golden Globe.

Now 66, Pam’s been described by Rotten Tomatoes as the second greatest female action heroine in film history, and Tarantino has dubbed her cinema’s very first female action star.



Kevin Costner

kevin costner older action hero

Now 61 years old, Costner has gained quite a reputation as an action hero. Nailing it with such classics as The Untouchables and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. 

Costner is still landing action leads in his sixties with his 2016 cracking action movie Criminal. Here he stars as an unpredictable and dangerous death-row inmate, who has the memories of a CIA agent inserted into his mind. 



Michelle Pfeiffer

michelle pfeiffer action hero older

Believe or not Michelle Pfeiffer is 57 and her career’s lasted almost four decades so far. But is she an action hero? If you go by the strict genre definition of the majority of an actor’s career then you could argue not. But we reckon two blockbusting Pfeiffer roles alone make her an action-heroine supreme.

Firstly, she exuded a career’s worth of badass as junkie Mafia moll Elvira Hancock in her breakout Scarface role in 1983… and secondly, she was universally acclaimed for the way she totally owned the role of Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992), which, according to Rolling Stone gave the "feminist avenger a tough core of intelligence and wit." 



Linda Hamilton

linda hamilton ageing action

Although her role as Sarah Connor in the very first Terminator movie back in 1984 was far from Linda Hamilton’s first, it was arguably the one that set her career rolling—and it’s certainly the one that made her a first-class action heroine who went on to save the world in Terminator 2.

Now 59, Linda’s a regular guest star on the huge US TV series Lost Girl and Defiance



And it wouldn't be a complete action list without these two...

Sylvester Stallone

Stallone older action

Sylvester Stallone is a classic. His roles as Rambo and Rocky cemented him as one of the first action heroes. With the action-packed The Expendables franchise, Stallone proved he's still got it starring in its last instalment in 2014 at the age of 67. 

In 2015 he reprised his most famous role as Rocky Balboa in Creed, where the retired boxer coaches the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed. Proving he's more than just an action-man, Stallone regularly receives writing credits in his films, with The Expendables, Creed and Rocky included. 



Arnold Schwarzenegger

arnie older action hero

Our 'last action hero'. The Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, Commando, Kindergarten Cop, is anyone's filmography as action-packed as Arnie's? Schwarzenegger hit the acting scene around the same time as Stallone, the pair becoming the archetype for all action heroes to come.

Having taken a break from acting to become a politician, Schwarzenegger returned to our screens in 2010's The Expendables, resurrected The Terminator in 2015 and will be making another appearance as Conan the Barbarian in sequel The Legend of Conan, although there isn't a release date for this one just yet


Halle Berry

hallee berry action hero

Catwoman in 1984. Storm in Marvel's X-Men franchise. Bond girl Jinx Johnson in Die Another Day (2002)—the first black Bond girl (except for baddie Bond girl Grace Jones 17 years earlier).

Voted the fourth toughest girl on screen of all time in an ITV poll.

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