10 Best Action Scenes in Non-Action Movies

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
January 14th, 2014

Action movies are a long-standing staple of Hollywood. The action scenes that drive them have become an art in themselves. They have developed to the point that even non-action movies occasionally sport exciting thrill sequences that stand with the best of their more action-oriented brethren.

titanic_0.jpgPhoto Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Titanic Sinks in "Titanic”

A historic drama of romance and social class becomes a desperate fight for survival for the film's two nascent lovers, Jack and Rose. The famous passenger liner sinks toward its inevitable doom after striking an iceberg. "Titanic” is one of the most successful movies ever made, and with good reason. The nail-biting action of the ship sinking is intermixed with powerful character moments.



beauty-beast_0.jpgPhoto Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

The Wolf Battle in "Beauty and the Beast”

Disney's animated romance "Beauty and the Beast” is the story of a bitter prince and a bookworm girl who find love with each other despite the curse that makes him a half-animal monster. At first their relationship is strained and hostile, but as Belle is trapped and about to be torn apart by wolves, the Beast appears to defend her. Facing down a huge pack of wolves in a thrilling and vicious fight, this is the turning point of the entire film.

wizard-of-oz.jpgPhoto Credit: MGM

The Castle Chase in "Wizard of Oz”

A whimsical fantasy musical, this movie is about Dorothy's quest for home after a tornado whisks her off to the land of Oz. With songs, funny characters and comical misadventures, the movie is best remembered as a light-hearted romp. However, when Dorothy is captured by the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy's companions show remarkable courage, heart and brains as they rescue their friend in the film's thrilling climax.

they-live.jpgPhoto Credit: Universal Pictures

The Alley Fight in "They Live”

The film is a dark thriller of one man penetrating a worldwide conspiracy of mind control. It is mostly a mystery story with only two significant action pieces: one in its climax, and the other in what many consider to be the greatest one-on-one fight in cinematic history. Trying to convince his friend to put on special glasses that will reveal the truth, drifter Nada is forced into the longest knuckle-grinding fight of his life.

rocky.jpgPhoto Credit: MGM

Going the Distance in "Rocky”

The first "Rocky” film is a dramatic character study of a man on a downward spiral who is given one last chance to prove himself. Despite Rocky's chosen profession, we see very little actual fighting until his much-hyped showdown with Apollo Creed in the film's climactic bout. A 15-minute brutal slugfest ensues. Rocky has nothing to lose and is determined to show once and for all that he can go the distance.

curse-of-the-were-rabbit.jpgPhoto Credit: DreamWorks Distribution

Gromit to the Rescue in "Curse of the Were-Rabbit”

This wacky and witty send-up of horror films features the stop-motion duo of Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit. Wallace is transformed into a monster and becomes the garden-gobbling terror of the veggie-loving town. In the film's final scenes at a carnival, Gromit pulls out all the stops to rescue his beloved master from meeting a horrible fate at the hands of a hunter.

united-93.jpgPhoto Credit: Universal Pictures

The Cockpit Siege in "United 93”

Based loosely on true events, this film follows the passengers of the doomed flight United 93 as they fight back against their hijackers during the events of September 11, 2001. In the climactic battle, the passengers try to retake the cockpit even as the jet begins its final plunge. Many find the scene difficult to watch knowing its inevitable outcome, but it is also so compelling that it proves equally difficult to turn away.


godfather_0.jpgPhoto Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Baptism Murders in "The Godfather”

The gritty drama of the Corleone crime family is depicted in this much-lauded film. Michael, long resisting the pull of involvement in the family business, finally embraces his destiny. The killings he orders are carried out while he attends a baptism. Michael's calm demeanor contrasts starkly with the horrors he sets in motion, making for a very powerful scene.

karate-kid.jpgPhoto Credit: Columbia Pictures

The Tournament in "The Karate Kid”

After being harshly beaten by a bully, new kid in town Daniel is taken under the wing of an unassuming groundskeeper and secret karate master. After much hardship and training, Daniel finally faces down his tormentors during a karate tournament. Wounded and exhausted by the end, Daniel must rely on an untested technique to win it all.

animal-house.jpgPhoto Credit: Universal Pictures

Havoc at Homecoming in "Animal House”

The Deltas, the most fun-loving fraternity on campus, get suspended by the dour Dean Faber. To get revenge, Bluto and company rig a number of pranks and stunts to sabotage the college's homecoming parade. Complete comedic chaos ensues throughout the town as everyone gets their karmic comeuppances.

Just as laughs and quiet emotions are a good break from the non-stop thrills of action movies, a bit of excitement also serves dramas and comedies to keep the audience engaged. No entertainment experience is ever considered complete by relying only on one unbroken mood. A little heart-pounding action is very useful in emphasizing a film's other qualities.