The 10 Clean Action Movies You Need to Stream Right Now

If you’re anything like me, action is your genre. 

Why sit through an hour and a half of predictable romantic fluff? I’d much rather transport back in history amidst legendary heroes and masked vigilantes, or go hunting for treasure in the far reaches of the earth.

Despite our passion for an epic battle or a thrilling romp in pursuit of treasure, we can’t deny that there’s a lot of other “stuff” that likes to creep in and ruin our cinematic experience unnecessarily.

And 9/10 times the content that Hollywood tosses into an action flick isn’t critical to the plotline at all, which truly irks me. 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not anti-romantic. I’m just against unnecessary smut, excessive foul language, and horrifying levels of violence. 

Especially when younger kids are around, you don’t want to worry about what might flash on the screen, or what kind of foul language will proceed from a character’s mouth. 

In short, sitting through your movie night with your finger on the “Fast Forward” button is no fun.

BUT. Every once in a while there comes a solid action/adventure movie that is virtually free of garbage and equally entertaining. That’s what we’re highlighting in this article.

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10 Clean Action-Packed Movies

They’re like unicorns, and we cherish them for the magical creatures they are. 

They have action, they have heart, they have adventure, and they may even have some history/life lessons mixed in there, too!

We’ve picked out ten of our favorite unicorns for you today. Some you’ve most likely seen or heard of but may have forgotten. Others may be completely new to you.

Now, action movies are going to have some action-related violence—i.e. war movies will have some blood, someone’s gonna get slashed in a swordfight, fists will land, and stuff will get blown up—but none of the movies on this list contain excessive violence. 

(I don’t know about you, but watching Keanu Reeves send 77 souls to eternity because someone offed his dog was not for me at all.) It’s just not necessary, nor is it okay to be desensitized to the loss of life.

We’ll give you a thorough content run-down of any violence, language, or sexual innuendo that may be present in each of these movies, as well as a suggested audience.

This list of action/adventure movies is primarily intended for adults and teens, though we’ve highlighted a few kid-friendly titles, as well.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama & Action
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03/26/2024 02:54 pm GMT

This is one of those rare instances where I enjoyed the movie adaptation a whole lot more than the book. 

Primarily because the book was really, really long, and the protagonist was a lot less likable. Also, if you ever take it upon yourself to read the book after watching the movie, well, just keep in mind they are very different. 

All of that aside, Alexander Dumas’s classic story of loss, betrayal, revenge, and restoration takes on a much more vibrant life in this sweeping film. 

At the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to Edmond Dantes (played by Jim Cavaziel, The Passion), a young man who seems to have the heavens cheering for him. He has an upcoming promotion, a beautiful woman who loves him, and a bright outlook and prospects.

But through a wicked political twist, combined with the jealousy of his “friend” Fernand, Edmond finds himself in the Château d’If (one of France’s most bleak and formidable prisons) with no hope and waning faith in the God he once feared.

During his time at Château d’If, Edmond is befriended by an aged priest who becomes his mentor, transforming him from a common sailor to a refined scholar and swordsman. Edmond eventually escapes and—using the tools granted him by his mentor—sets out to exact his revenge on those who wronged him.

This movie has a lot of merit and, despite its overarching theme of revenge, it has some solid messages. Most of them are delivered to us by “Priest,” but there are themes of faith, friendship, loyalty, as well as the emptiness of revenge sprinkled throughout.

Content: Foul language is almost entirely absent. Two uses of b******, but in its literal sense. Violence/graphic scenes are moderate (Edmond suffers abuse in prison and there are duel-related wounds), but aren’t overly gory. Sex is implied in two scenes, though nothing is shown. The second instance is infidelity.

Audience: Dove Media gives this film a 12+ rating, but I’d have to disagree. I’d place this at older teens and up due to the presence of infidelity and some graphic/frightening action sequences.

National Treasure (2004)

Rating: PG
Genre: Action & Adventure
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03/26/2024 08:15 pm GMT

Ah, National Treasure. The movie that bred a generation of wannabe treasure hunters (no shade, I’m included) and cast more than a few side glances at our founding fathers and their conspiracies.

Whether you choose to buy into the Masonic musings or not, you can’t deny that National Treasure is a national treasure of an action/adventure movie. History buffs revel in its well-planned and surprisingly believable plot, a fun and feisty cast brings the adventure to life, and there’s even a little love story for the romantics.

Nicolas Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, a third-gen treasure hunter who believes he’s hot on the heels of a legendary treasure. The rest of the world thinks he’s crazy, and even his father begs him to give up the chase and live a “normal” life to avoid the mistakes he made. But Gates is the definition of determined, and it pays off. 

National Treasure is one of those good, clean action movies for the whole family that they don’t make the likes of these days.

Content: No sexual content, one use of d***, six uses of omg. Little to no violence. A man dies from falling down a staircase. Shots are fired, but no one is harmed.

Audience: This is a great action film for the whole family.

Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)

Rating: PG
Genre: Action & History
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03/26/2024 02:28 pm GMT

Another sweeping film that is both beautifully crafted and historically based. 

Following the true story of the rise and fall of T. E. Lawrence, the bigger-than-life historical figure that some have dubbed the “real-life Indiana Jones,” the film is quite the spectacle visually. Escapism at its best, Lawrence of Arabia truly transports you to another land.

Peter O’Toole plays the titular role of the British lieutenant sent to act as a liaison between British troops and the Arabs during WWI. Captivated by the peoples and cultures of the desert, Lawrence eventually defies orders and helps to unite the Arab tribes in their fight for freedom against the Turkish Empire.

Beyond its wartime setting, the film tackles a much bigger, much more psychological topic—that of identity. Lawrence is at odds with himself mentally and physically by the middle of the movie, and it’s a bitter fight to the end.

Lawrence himself is a bit of a mystery—the full reality of his person lost to history. While the movie takes liberties with its historical accuracy at turns, much like Lawrence’s memoirs, it does remain faithful to first-hand accounts in most areas of importance. 

Overall, a very good movie about an extraordinarily interesting character. Excellent acting, a beautiful score, and award-winning cinematography combine to make this a must-watch movie to add to your list.

Content: No sexual content, though it is implied in one scene that a man was sexually assaulted. A sprinkling of language (a few instances of d*** and h***). Some battle scenes can be mildly graphic but are not excessively gory.

Audience: I’d classify this film as 12 and up. 

Sahara (2005)

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action & Comedy
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03/26/2024 02:29 pm GMT

This is one of my top action comedy movies.

Does it have unexpected and mind-blowing plot twists? Nope. Does it feature intricately crafted hand-combat sequences that would earn the MMA masters’ stamp of approval? Nah. Then why do I love it so much? 

Simple. It’s just a great time. 

I admit I may be a bit biased because I’m a Civil War history nerd and tend to enjoy anything that highlights the subject, but it’s also got a stellar cast, a boss soundtrack (for those who enjoy oldies), a far-fetched treasure hunt, car chases, and some genuinely funny one-liners courtesy of Steve Zahn. 

Of course, the bad guys go down and the good guys save the day, too, which we always love.

Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino (played by Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn) are lifelong cohorts in adventure; from kindergarten to the Navy to where they find themselves at the film’s opening—as modern-day treasure hunters operating on a NUMA boat.

When a clue to the whereabouts of one of Dirk’s life-long obsessions—a missing Civil War ironclad—surfaces, the two head out on yet another adventure. Along the way, they run into a determined young doctor (Penelope Cruz) who’s trying to find the cause of a mysterious illness plaguing African villages, only to realize their missions are inexplicably intertwined.

If you’re looking for some far-fetched fun that’s low on questionable content and high on heart, adventure, and plenty of stuff getting blown up, this is your film.

Audience: Older teens and up. 

Content: This film earns its PG-13 rating primarily for the action scenes. There’s pretty heavy gunfire exchange in several scenes (though the results aren’t overly graphic), and some hand-to-hand combat scenes can be intense. Fairly mild language (h***, d***) is sprinkled throughout, with one instance of J****. No sexual content, though the ML/FL share a kiss on the beach at the close of the movie while she’s wearing a swimsuit.

Indiana Jones: The Raiders of the Lost Ark Adventure (1981)

Rating: PG
Genre: Action & Comedy
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03/26/2024 02:31 pm GMT

What kind of authority would we be if we didn’t include good ol’ Indy on this list? I mean, film historians consider Raiders of the Lost Ark one of the greatest motion pictures ever made.  

Not too much of a surprise considering that its conceptual “parents” were none other than George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Harrison Ford shines in his first role as Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, the seemingly bookish archeology professor with a penchant for moonlighting as a high-risk, globe-trotting artifact hunter. 

In this installment, he’s out to beat the Nazis to the Ark of the Covenant. Along the way, Indy reluctantly teams up with his disgruntled yet witty ex to give that fun little hint of romance that pairs so perfectly with this type of adventure.

If you’re looking for a classic adventure to get your swashbuckling spirit on, this is your film.

Content: This is one of those typical 1980s PG movies. Today, it would probably earn closer to a PG-13 rating due to some innuendo and a fair sprinkling of moderate language. Violence is pretty mild, though the graphics can be a bit gory in places and could be frightening for younger viewers.

Audience: I give RotLA a teens and up rating, especially for the fright factor of some scenes.

Fun Film Fact: ​​Because of his epic, on-screen portrayal of Indy, Harrison Ford was elected to the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Institute of America in 2008.

The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action & Adventure
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03/26/2024 02:32 pm GMT

A great movie that doesn’t get talked about much, and I’m not sure why. 

Is it a little cheesy? Sure. But most legendary, masked-up, cape-donning heroes are. That doesn’t mean we love them any less.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century Mexico/California, this adventure highlights a lot of values often overlooked in movies. One is a heady sense of honor, along with respect for family and tradition, and the shouldering of responsibilities.

The film plays out like your typical “making of a hero” trope. There’s the big baddie, the scoundrel with potential, the aged and wise mentor, the grave injustice to deal with, and—of course—the beautiful and feisty love interest. 

It may sound boring and predictable, and while I can’t contest the latter at points, it’s anything but boring. Rather, it’s bursting with humor and wit, has the zest expected of a good Latin folktale, and boasts a beautiful soundtrack courtesy of James Horner. 

One commentator dubbed it a “James Bond film on horseback,” which makes sense considering it shares a director with Golden Eye and Casino Royale. Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas also give wonderful performances in the titular role.

If you’re a legends-over-superheroes type like me, I think you’ll genuinely enjoy this film.

Content: TMoZ earns its PG-13 rating in a couple of ways. While there are only a few instances of mild language (d***, h***), some mild innuendo is littered throughout a few scenes. There is one instance of non-sexual, rear-male nudity (guards are robbed and tied to a cactus and their buttocks are seen), and one scene where the female lead’s top falls to the ground, but her hair hides her torso. The violence in this film is pretty toned down, but there are a few graphic moments here and there (ie the bad guy keeps a head in a jar, and a man shoots himself in the chest to avoid capture).

Audience: Overall, I’d give this film an older teens and up rating. 

Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga 9-Movie Collection + Bonus

Rating: G, PG, & PG-13
Genre: Action & Science Fiction
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03/26/2024 08:21 pm GMT

What are you even doing if Star Wars isn’t on your list of action movies? 

There’s nothing like the battle between good and evil, interplanetary politics, blaster shootouts, and lightsaber battles for a fantabulous evening of adventure. 

We won’t go into plot breakdowns for the entire saga or we’d be here all day. After all, this is a franchise that spans nearly five decades. But we’ll still give you some episodic content ratings by release. 

Note: I’m only covering the first six movies, because… Just because.

  • Episode IV: No sexual content, no nudity. One use of d***, one use of h***. Mild, sci-fi action-related violence. 
  • Episode V: No sexual content, no nudity, characters kiss. One use of h***. Mild, sci-fi action-related violence. 
  • Episode VI: No sexual content, characters kiss, and a skimpy costume is worn in one scene. No foul language. Mild, sci-fi action-related violence. 
  • Episode I: No sexual content, a skimpy alien costume is seen at a distance, no foul language, mild sci-fi action-related violence. 
  • Episode II: No sexual content, kissing between characters, a few skimpy costumes in one scene, one use of d***. Mild, sci-fi action-related violence.
  • Episode III: No sexual content, no nudity, no language, moderate sci-fi action-related violence.    

Audience: I’m not sure about the “entire family” as some scenes could be scary for little ones, but I’d say these movies are a good fit for older kids and up. Some parents may find them suitable for younger viewers at their discretion. 

The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Fantasy & Action
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03/26/2024 02:39 pm GMT

Okay. This one comes with a pre-curser. 

If you are unfamiliar with the world of martial arts movies, The Forbidden Kingdom may seem a little funny/ridiculous at first. Western movies are designed to look as realistic as possible, even if they’re fantasy-action. Eastern movies of this genre are a breed of their own, though, and impossible leaps and fantastical flying feats via special effects are standard fare. 

I’d encourage you to allow the film to prove itself, though. It’s a goodie. 

The Forbidden Kingdom stars two legendary Kung Fu artists, Jackie Chan and Jet Lee, and having them both in the same film is honestly such a treat. 

Near the opening of the film, we find Jason—a Kung Fu film-obsessed American teen who fatefully gets pulled through a portal into ancient China. While there, he gets roped into the adventure of a lifetime and teams up with martial arts masters to help them free the imprisoned Monkey King.

Non-stop action and witty banter fill this vibrant film that will sweep you into ancient and mystical realms that you may or may not have ever considered.

Content: One of the things I love about martial arts films is that while the combat is well-choreographed and the action is pretty much non-stop, they tend to be relatively bloodless/goreless. The same is true of The Forbidden Kingdom. Lots of fighting, very little blood. There is a sprinkling of mild language (1 s***, 1 d***, 1 b****), but no sexual content, and only one instance of mild innuendo.

Audience: I’d rate this film at older teens and up. While it isn’t gory, the fight scenes are still very intense and could be too much for young kids.

Paths Of Glory (1957)

Rating: PG
Genre: History & Action
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03/26/2024 02:40 pm GMT

If you enjoy a well-executed war film, then Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory is a must-see. If Kubrick’s name sounds familiar, that might be because he was also the mind behind the cult classic The Shining. 

While hard-hitting in terms of morals and virtues, Paths of Glory remains an excellent lesson on the subject of humanness. 

Kirk Douglas stars in this 1957 film as the virtuous Colonel Dax, a guy you can’t help but side with as he is surrounded by much less likable higher-ups in the French army amidst WWII. 

Despite facing seemingly impossible levels of opposition, Dax continues to fight injustice within the ranks all while maintaining the fight against the entrenched Germans that sit just beyond no man’s land. 

Recognized as one of the greatest war films ever made, as well as the best performance of Douglas’s career.

Content: No nudity or sexual content, one use of h***, gore is relatively mild, though a realistic, historical portrayal of war.

Audience: 12 and up, as the reality and harshness of war may be too heavy for young viewers.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Rating: PG
Genre: Action, Adventure, & Comedy
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03/26/2024 02:50 pm GMT

A personal favorite and one of the best movies in the action/adventure for kids category.

But don’t be fooled, How to Train Your Dragon isn’t just for kids! Due to its stellar writing, perfectly cast voice actors, beautiful animation, and sweeping soundtrack, teens and adults can enjoy this movie equally as much as the little ones.

My father (who’s nearly 70) watched this series with me a couple of years back, and he cried in almost every installment. It’s that good.

In the title film, we’re introduced to Hiccup Haddock and the charming, small town of Berk. Set against a fictional Viking village backdrop, Berk bustles with all sorts of interesting characters who thrive on a common goal. To eradicate their longtime nemeses—dragons.

As the son of the village chief, Hiccup is determined to take down the most menacing dragon of all, the legendary Nightfury, and earn his father’s approval in so doing. He soon learns, though, that the creatures he was raised to hate may not be as abominable as he once thought. 

Content: No content that would be inappropriate for young viewers, though some scenes could be frightening for very small children if they are sensitive to dragons and fire.

Audience: Perfect for family movie night! The second film and the third film in this franchise are also very good, though the original is still my top pick.

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