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Evolution of Action Film Industry

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Beth Gamble

on 13 January 2015

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Transcript of Evolution of Action Film Industry

Evolution of the Action Film Industry

Many films used to feature as swashbuckling (action adventure sub genre films). During the 1920’s and 30’s, there would be a lot of sword fighting followed by a heroic rescue of the ‘damsel in distress’ which adds a romantic element. Films like this are Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925), The Three Musketeers (1921), The Iron Horse (1924) and Robin Hood (1922).
In the 1940’s and 50’s action films changed. As it was around the time of World War II, a lot of the films related to this. These films consisted of naval, air or land battles and sometimes had plots with prisoners of war. Some of the films in this era included The Sea Hawk (1940), The Mark Of Zorro (1940), The Westerner (1940), The Wooden Horse (1950) and The Colditz Story (1955). Cowboy films also became more common in this era.
In the 1960’s a new sub genre was introduced – the spy adventure genre. James Bond films dominated the action films of the 60’s. The films usually consisted of a ‘one man army’ who has the ability to outwit an evil mastermind. These films include high speed car chases and big fight scenes. There is also the use of gadgets and weapons in these. Other films in this time were The Great Escape (1963), Spartacus (1960) and The Italian Job (1969)
Martial Arts
Bond films faced competition in the 1970s with the introduction of detective stories and urban crime dramas. These lead to the release of many police films with car chases which followed the same stunt work as the Bond films. In the 70’s, martial arts films became common to Western audiences such as Return of the Dragon/Enter the Dragon (1972/3) and Fist of Fury (1972).
Hollywood Domination
It was in the 1980’s, action films started to dominate the Hollywood film industry. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris were some of the main actors in the popular action films. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) was a James Bond style film that was very popular. This introduced a new hero – Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford). The Rambo films were also released in the 80’s and soon became very popular. 1988 saw the release of the film Die Hard. This era introduced war-action hybrids and musical-action comedy.
The Comic Book Movie
The 1990s was an era of sequels/hybrids. Spy movies, urban action movies and the western genre (subgenres) became very popular and parodies of these were made. Sequels proved that a single successful action film could lead to a continuing action franchise. Technology had also became more advanced so a new height in film industry was reached. Tim Burton’s film ‘Batman’ was also extremely popular and created the subgenre ‘The Comic Book Movie’.
In the 20th and 21st Century, action films were completely different. Firstly, most had budgets of $100,000,000. This was because of the technology they used such as 3D graphics which allowed them to create never seen before special effects.
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