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The Most Iconic Action Movie Protagonists of All Time

They walked away from explosions without looking, looked death in the eye without blinking, and saved the day with a smirk and a one-liner. Whether they’re gritty or witty, no one captures our imaginations like the heroes of action movies. It’s no surprise that some of the most memorable characters in cinema come from these films.

The concept of a protagonist comes from Ancient Greek drama, where the term originally meant, “the player of the first part or the chief actor.” In film today, the protagonist is the character who drives the plot, pursues the main goal of the story, and usually changes or grows over the course of the film. (Source)

These are the most iconic action movie protagonists of all time.

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The James Bond Collection [Blu-ray]
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  • Various (Actor)
  • Various (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

James Bond

Spies have populated the world of fiction since Rudyard Kipling’s 1821 novel, The Spy. But of all the fictional spies, none has stood the test of time like Agent 007, James Bond.

The debonair British spy, who eight actors have portrayed over the course of 25 films since 1963, is remembered for his style, charm, and elegance as much as his more traditional action skills. He’s a master tactician, expert driver, deadly marksman, and master manipulator. It’s no wonder he has the second most successful film franchise of all time.

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Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection
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  • Steven Spielberg> (Director)
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  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

Indiana Jones

When we think of the careers of iconic action movie protagonists, most of us wouldn’t think of a college professor. But Dr. Henry Walton Jones Jr, AKA Indiana Jones, takes a desire to preserve history and turns it into a series of adventures that have left moviegoers on the edges of their seats since 1981.

Indy is a little rougher around the edges than Bond. He’s cynical from his past and more likely to make mistakes. However, his simple honor combined with his thirst for adventure makes him more accessible. And everything from his classic fedora to the first scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark is referenced across pop culture.

The Bride

Beatrix Kiddo, also known as “Black Mamba” or “The Bride,” isn’t often known by name by those who haven’t seen the film. Even so, most recognize the woman dressed in yellow armed with a sword.

The star of the 2003 revenge flick is incredible with a sword to the point that she can catch an assailant’s blade in its own scabbard. And her sword skill is only matched by her skill with her bare hands. A person isn’t able to use a technique called, “the five-point palm exploding heart technique” for no reason. Only in a Tarantino film.

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So many young people lack the confidence to start a new hobby, try a new sport, or make a new friend. They are often waiting on someone to tell them it’s okay to do something.

Confident movie characters can be positive role models for our children. Check out this list of 7 Confident Movie Characters.