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A Brief History Of The Lesser Known Or Forgotten Action Star!

by  |  December 16th, 2011  |  Blog

For the past few months I have been doing a lot of research in to movie history, you know the various genre’s and actors and the like. Now last night I got to thinking that for my generation, everyone knows about action stars such as Dolph Lundgren

(Retrograde), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Bloodsport), and even Arnold Schwarzenegger (Red Sonja)… But a lot of people these days probably don’t think with people like William Smith (Chrome And Hot Leather), or even Lee Marvin (The Dirty Dozen), etc…

That’s why I thought that I would give a brief history of some of the more awesome yet not so well known action stars:

Now one of the earliest actors that I thought that I would mention here is actor, Douglas Fairbanks! Now this guy is probably best known for doing some of the earliest action movies in the history of film, having done some great silent films such as, The Lamb (1915), The Man From Painted Post (1917), His Majesty, The American (1919) to name a few!

Douglas Fairbanks in, ‘The Mark Of Zorro’ (1925).

Now with over 50 credits to his name, I thought that you guys might enjoy this scene from a movie that he did called The Thief Of Baghdad (1924):


The next person that I thought that I would mention, who seemed to be a real popular action star in the 1930s and 1940s is actor Tyrone Power (A Yank In The R.A.F.)!

Actor Tyrone Power (Circa: 1930s).

Now Tyrone Power is an interesting actor, because I have heard his name circulated around those that were alive when he was, that he was a sex symbol, but he has also done such truly classic action films as, In Old Chicago (1937), Jesse James (1939), Crash Dive (1943) to name a few…

Now with that in mind, I thought that you guys might enjoy the trailer for a movie that he did in 1947 called, Captain From Castille (1947):

Now the next one that I wanted to mentions is actually Lee Marvin!

Actor Lee Marvin with John Wayne!

Now Lee Marvin is an interesting one, with a career spanning from 1950 – 1986. this guys has done such classic movies as the western movie Cave Of Outlaws (1951), as well as the movie that he is probably most well known for, The Dirty Dozen (1967), and even Emperor Of The North (1973)!

With that said, and with more then 100 movies to his name, I thought that you guys might enjoy the trailer for probably his most well known movie, The Dirty Dozen (1967):

Now the next person that I thought that I would mention here is actor Charles Bronson (The Mechanic)

Charles Bronson

Now Charles Bronson is some one who would probably rate up there in one of my top 10 favorite action stars having done such truly great films as, The Great Escape (1963). The Dirty Dozen (1967), The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Death Wish (1974) to name a few!

Now with over 160 credits to his name, in a career that spanned 50 years. I thought that you guys might enjoy this trailer for the movie that Mr. Bronson is probably best well known for, Death Wish (1974):

The next person that I thought that I would mention here is actor William Smith (Maniac Cop)

William Smith in Hell Comes to Frog Town (1987)

Now this guy I really like and am still convinced that he is one of the most unsung actors in general to have come out of the 70s! But I mean this guys career is just sheer brilliance! With such films as, Chrome And Hot Leather (1971), Invasion Of The Bee Girls (1973) and even Maniac Cop (1988) which he did with Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead) and Bruce Campbell (Bubba Ho-Tep)!

With all of this in mind, Mr. Smith has more then 250 credits to his name in an impressive career that has gone on for over 60 years!

For more information on this man’s epic career, please enjoy this trailer for the movie, The Frisco Kid (1979):

Now I thought I would dive a little more deeply in to 70s action stars for a minutes… There is one actor whom unfortunately I have not seen in to much, but from literally everything I have seen this man in, I have come to find that I really love! This guy of course being Lee Van Cleef (Escape From New York).

Actor Lee Van Cleef!

Now I started off on Mr. Van Cleef’s career with John Carpenter’s Escape From New York (1981), and since then unfortunately I have not had much of an opportunity to watch much else of his work, but one that I thought that I would mention is a movie that I just recently saw, which is, Death Rides A Horse (1967)!

Now that is just one of the movies in this guys incredible career, which also included such films as Der Commander (1988), The Perfect Killer (1977), to name just a few…

For more information on Lee Van Cleef’s career please enjoy this trailer for the movie, The Octogon (1980):

Now the last one that I thought that I would mention here is a man that albeit may not be very well known, but is still a truly great action star from the 1980s and 1990s, that person is, actor Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja)

Now it seems like this guys biggest claims to fame seem to be the movie series, American Ninja, and the movie Tron (1982)… But I got to know his work in the American Ninja series, and I gotta say that I am very impressed with this guys work! Now unfortunately this guy has ended up going very low bow when it comes to the movies that he does, which is unfortunate, because this guy is a truly classic action star!

For more information on Mr. Dudikoff’s work, please enjoy this trailer for the movie, American Ninja (1985):

Now some of these guys are still alive, and some aren’t, and this is just a very small cross section of movie/TV stars that have done truly terrific action movies, and for those of you who know these guys work, enjoy! For those just discovering them, enjoy!

Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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