Action movies are usually synonymous with explosions, big gun fights, and huge car chases. But some films prove that there could be great action in a movie without any need for guns. Today, we’re looking at films with some of the best action movies without guns, so let’s begin.
15. Shadow (2018)
Shadow is a one-of-a-kind movie that has many unique shots and one of the most aesthetically pleasing settings. The film is focused on the story of a turf war over a kingdom, where a general is keen on being victorious over his rivals.
Now, since this is a film in feudal Japan, you can judge that it won’t have any guns. But it’s the way a lot of things are weaponized, such as spears, bows, swords, etc., that make it one of the best action adventures without any gunfights.
14. Bunraku (2010)
Bunraku is billed as a movie set in a time when there are no guns. Using a lot of samurai action, the film depends on slicing and slashing weapons to deliver most of its action. As a result, you have an outstanding film that relies on fistfights. That also makes it an outstanding film, as the film delivers on its promise of being in a world without any guns.
The revenge plot makes the film feel bigger and better as it passes along. And though critics did not like it, the audience has surely loved it since its release in 2010.
13. Unstoppable (2010)
Unstoppable is another adrenaline-driving film that doesn’t need guns to elevate the tension. Because a half-mile-long freight train going at full speed without any breaks is adrenaline-pumping enough. But the tension and the setup of the film make it even better.
It all begins when an unmanned train goes out of control and is set on route to collide with a town. But two men, an engineer, and a conductor, are on the same route in another train. So, they do their best to stop the unstoppable train.
12. Old Boy (2003)
Old Boy is one of the films that leaves you baffled at every turn. Many things in this film seem to happen randomly, but none of it is, and every single thing you see is connected somehow. But all of the great action and fights happen in it without any guns.
It also inspired the film of the same name in 2013, starring Josh Brolin. That film did have gun fights, but the original didn’t. So, if you haven’t seen or heard of this movie, then prepare for a wild ride.
11. Apocalypto (2006)
Apocalypto is set around 1502, and while guns were invented by then, it wasn’t as common to see them in action. But it is an action movie and heavily relies on melee weapons and other fistfight tactics to deliver an outstanding movie.
10. Creed (2015)
Creed is one of the finest movies about boxing ever made. Now, this film might not be of the same spice as the predecessors for some people, but a lot of people still love the soul of Rocky that the film possesses. And that means incredible action and sequences that put you at the edge of your seat—without needing any guns.
That’s why Creed is one of the best movies to watch for those who want action, emotion, and an overall well-made story.
9. 300 (2006)
300 is one of those films that put names like Zack Snyder and Gerard Butler on the horizon. It may not be historically accurate; it might be more fantasy than medieval or ancient warfare, but it’s one of the finest films in terms of action, imagery, and dialogue.
The film focuses on the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, the one famous for being 300 against 10,000. The unbending King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), with his 299 troops, goes toe-to-toe against the vast Persian Army despite being so much smaller in size.
8. Drive (2011)
Drive is one of the best movies for those who like a one-man-army type of situation. Ryan Gosling’s character, simply known as the “driver” in the film, is a getaway driver working for various criminals.
Since the film’s release, it has become the face of alpha characters. But it’s his use of mind and raw strength to fend off enemies instead of ever touching a gun throughout the film that makes it one of the must-watch names on this list.
7. Mission: Impossible (1996)
Mission: Impossible is one of the best action movies ever made, and it’s the start of a blooming franchise that’s still going nearly 27 years after its release. But what’s best about this popular action movie is there are no gunfights.
Moreover, Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, doesn’t even touch a gun throughout the entire movie. Though that has changed in the later installments of the franchise, it’s still bamboozling to think that the start of one of the forefront action franchises is one without any gunfights.
6. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword may not have made a cultural impact as it hoped, but it’s one of the films to watch for its action. And since it’s set in the Arthurian era, there are no gunfights or epic shootouts.
But there are big battles and amazing sword-fight sequences with a touch of fantasy. The film’s main focus is on Arthur finding his true origins and meaning in his life. Throughout this journey, the plot takes him on an epic adventure.
5. Kill Bill 1 (2003)
Kill Bill 1 and Kill Bill 2 are widely considered two of the best action films of all time. But it’s the first one that sets the tone for this short franchise. Umma Therman’s character, The Bride, suffers a coma at the hands of her former boss.
When she wakes up 4-years later, she’s bent on revenge and wants to destroy the man who took everything from her. Now, the best part about all of this is that The Bride doesn’t rely on guns. And the film has some of the best sword-fighting sequences ever filmed.
4. Enter The Dragon (1973)
It’s impossible to not have a Bruce Lee film on a list of action movies without guns. Bruce Lee did have two guns, and those were his lean, muscular arms that moved at speeds not any less than that of a bullet.
The film’s story begins when Lee is hired by a British intelligence operator. His task is to infiltrate an island and capture the drug lord that runs everything. Though, it’s the action that ensues that makes this film the greatest martial arts film ever made.
3. The Northman (2022)
The Northman was one of the finest releases in 2022 and widely considered Oscar-worthy until it lost the race to Everything Everywhere All At Once. The film is focused on medieval times, so there’s no need to say there are no guns here.
But the action in this film is immaculate as this revenge-driven drama puts Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) on the path to avenge his father’s murder. He aims to kill the man who killed his father and abducted his mother—his uncle.
2. Gladiator (2000)
Gladiator is one of those movies that doesn’t need any introduction. Simply say, “Are you not entertained?” and people will get which movie you’re referencing. But besides popular dialogue and great direction, the film nailed something.
And that was the gladiator-era battle styles and environment. It thoroughly captured the ambiance of the time. This means there were no gunfights, as there couldn’t be. But there are some films with gunfights that don’t even come close to the action in this movie.
1. Troy (2004)
Troy is another film that may not be historically accurate, but it’s one of those films that never stops, slows down, or lets you get bored. The secret behind that is the robust action scenes and immaculate dialogues of this film.
The film racked up nearly 500 million at the box office, and that’s largely thanks to its action scenes. The one scene where Achilles and Hector have a death battle is still one of the most-watched scenes. And you have to see it to understand why.
- 13 Assassins (2010)
- The Naked Prey (1965)
- Fist of Legend (1994)
What are your favorite action movies without guns? Share with us in the comments!