The ultimate best of Chuck Norris.
We all know that Chuck Norris is about as ultimate as they come. His VHS action movie career is one of the very best. He combines his martial arts roots perfectly between tough guy with a gun antics and a dash of western cowboy. His movies are a diverse bunch, but are always pure action (although occasionally action comedy). It’s no wonder Walker, Texas Ranger was such a hit and further cemented Chuck as one of the greats.
Let’s look at a 10 of the most ultimate Chuck Norris movies of all time. Honorable mentions included at the end, but feel free to leave your rankings too! And if you’re looking for more Top 10 Lists to read up on (or argue about with your friends later), here are some more official Ultimate Action Movie Club rankings to check out:
- Top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies
- Top 10 Sylvester Stallone Movies
- Top 10 Jean-Claude Van Damme Movies
- Top 10 Steven Seagal Movies
- Top 10 Scott Adkins Movies
- Top 10 Michael Jai White Movies
10. Hellbound (1994)
You seen Hellbound? Probably not, not many of even the most ultimate Chuck Norris fans have made it through this mess. If it wasn’t for Forest Warrior (1996), it would easily be one of Chuck’s worst movies.
Hellbound is bad. It’s a supernatural thriller, that should say enough. By 1994, I guess they were running out of good old fashion action movie scripts, so they had to start trying dumbass gimmicky ideas that involve time travel and ancient scripture. But this is no badass Chuck Norris does National Treasure thing either.
It’s more he takes his Texas Ranger self (yes, he’s a Texas Ranger in this) down to Israel to kick some supernatural butt. His annoying sidekick doesn’t offer much help, but his wild misses on all his one-liners helps make it enjoyable.
9. Sidekicks (1992)
For those lucky enough to see Sidekicks while growing up, it’s kid-centric martial arts storyline recalls nicely with memories of fantasies about Chuck Norris teaching you karate and helping you overcome difficult middle school adventures.
The plot is a mix between The Karate Kid and Last Action Hero (although the latter of which confusingly came out two years later) and has some ghost dream version of Chuck guide a bullied kid through adolescent.
Still, for ultimate action movie club viewings, it’s a great pick for a smorgasbord of little one-off dream sequences which puts Chuck in some truly badass situations recounting the movies over his years. Plus, the winey kid is pretty great to make fun of.
8. Top Dog (1995)
Since this list eventually gets serious, Top Dog is left at number 8. But if we were going off of just ultimate terrible cheesiness, Top Dog is one of the absolute best. But it’s also an OK (or slightly below OK) movie.
As it name subtly implies, Top Dog features the unlikely buddy cop pairing of Chuck Norris with… you guessed it. A dog! Which is obviously a lame attempt at capturing the success of earlier buddy cop dog flicks Turner and Hooch and K-9. But, this one has Chuck Norris. And every time he gives that smug dog a pissed off look, it’s billion times more awesome than any Tom Hanks smirks.
Also, Chuck Norris gives his usual kick-butt performance with one of the best one-liners of his career wherein he shoots a clown-dressed bandit and utters a gruff: “you’re under arrest… bozo.”
7. Good Guys Wear Black (1978)
This one’s mostly on the list because of the awesome VHS cover. Doesn’t that just look. ULTIMATE! Just kidding, it’s pretty good, but it’s notable for when it came out. We forget that Chuck Norris, while a famous kick boxer, really hadn’t become an established name in action movies, this was a big one in crafting that persona.
It’s a mostly forgettable story about a Vietnam vet being hunted by the very government he swore to protect, but has its moments. Some great car scenes, overall an ultimate edition worth watching for any UAMC member or fan.
6. Firewalker (1986)
Another Canon classic on our list, Firewalker, like most of Chuck’s movies, for whatever reason, did not get great reviews. Roger Ebert particularly seemed to have it out for Chuck for most of his career, and gave the movie a thumbs down and a one-star review on his website. Yet, we’d argue that this is still one of Chuck’s greats.
Yes, it’s a blatant rip off of adventure flicks like Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone, but so what! It has Chuck go in disguise as a Catholic priest, several badass chase scenes and always ultimate Karate battles to top it off. Lou Gossett Jr. might be Chuck’s best non-dog sidekick too.
5. Missing in Action (1984)
Now we get into the good stuff. Chuck Norris really made a lunch out of this under-appreciated Vietnam vet returns to find the missing POW schtick. Not a big surprise that First Blood (the first Rambo movie) came out two years before, but doesn’t mean Chuck shouldn’t get his shot at it too.
The Missing in Action concept ended up becoming a flagship franchise for Chuck, with the second and third installments continuing its success. But the first is the best and the one to watch right away and again and again. So many great deaths, so many ultimate Chuck moments! The best might be Chuck killing a dude with an axe blade… with his bare hands.
4. The Way of the Dragon (1972)
May take some gruff for putting this at number 4, but this is an ULTIMATE ACTION MOVIE CLUB list, which measures movies by how awesome they are to watch on VHS with a group of friends on a Saturday night, not to value a movie based on its genre-significance or importance to the actor’s career.
But, it would be remiss to not mention that Way of the Dragon is arguably one of the best martial arts movies of all time and hugely important to martial arts and action movies alike. However, it’s a Bruce Lee vehicle and Chuck is really only in it for one fight scene (which may be one of the most ultimate fight scenes of all time!).
So, pay your respects and watch it for its own merits, but for a good Chuck Norris binge, focus on the three listed below.
3. Invasion USA (1985)
We’ve written at length about Invasion USA before as one of the best holiday action movies and even most ultimate action movies of all time, but for Chuck Norris purposes, it comes in at number 3 on this list. Also, here is our full UAMC review of Invasion USA!
Common, we have to spread the Chuck love! But Invasion USA is truly one of the best. Chuck does so much cool stuff in it. It starts in a bayou with one of the most badass bayou shootouts you’ll ever see in movie history. His mentor has the most ultimate action movie character name ever (John freaking Eagle – freaking added on our end for emphasis to its coolness).
It has commie butt-kicking throughout. Worth the watch time and time again forever.
2. Delta Force 2 (1990)
Now, full disclosure, Delta Force 2 is a sequel. It’s a sequel to Chuck Norris’s original movie, The Delta Force, from 1986. The Delta Force is widely considered to be a better movie.
But, for our purposes, the original is good, but also quite boring and very lacking in the butt-kicking action which we have come to love and expect from Mr. Norris. The sequel, Delta Force 2, more than makes up for that and delivers some of the absolute most ultimate action of Chuck Norris’s career. Here’s a great fight between Chuck and Ramon Cota’s right hand man.
But Cota, a creepy awful cocaine dealing Columbian, is one of the best villains in UAMC lore as well, who just doesn’t know when to shut up.
1. Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
As far as Chuck Norris is concerned, he will always be remembered for being a Texas Ranger action star. That’s all thanks to this movie, where Chuck Norris debuts his tough cop, lone wolf, Texas Ranger who straight walks out of a western and into a precinct, all dusty and covered with blood with the bad guy tied, beaten or dead ready for arrest.
This character is at the heart of everything Chuck does, and it’s truly awesome to watch in all its original glory. The opening sequence alone is worth the effort of finding and watching the VHS, but the whole movie has ultimate greatness throughout.
Take for example his truck. Chuck’s Dodge Ramcharger literally brings Chuck back from the dead when he’s knocked out in it and buried alive. Also, the bad guy is David Carradine in one of his greatest roles ever. It even has a scene where Chuck, forever a Texan badass, asks for a Pearl beer at a party and is told that they only have Heineken, so he just walks away.
Overall, you’re not going to get a more enjoyable experience from any Chuck Norris ultimate action movie classic, but we certainly encourage you to go ahead and try!
Just because I’m sure people will want to chime in, there are several more ultimate and awesome Chuck Norris movies worth watching. Probably several more worthy than these 10. Some very notable honorable mentions include Silent Rage (1982), The Octagon (1980), Code of Silence (1985), The Hitman (1991), the OG Delta Force (1986) and the two Missing in Action sequels (II and III), but for an action star whose career spans five decades (and is somehow still going, at least with TV spots and workout equipment commercials), there is always room for more mentions and Ultimate Action Movie Club viewings, reviews and discussions!