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25 Best Action Screenplays You Can Read and Download

By Cherise Teed · April 7, 2021

Want to write great action films? Download these scripts and learn from the best.

For a lot of movie lovers, watching an action flick is the most fun you can have while sitting on the couch with your hand plunged into a bowl of popcorn. The car chases, the explosions, and the ticking time bomb that reads 10 seconds but that 10 seconds last long enough for the hero to untie every hostage, flex his pecs, and deliver a solid one-liner before jumping through a window without so much of a singe to his hair — absolutely splendid!

But for aspiring action screenwriters, crafting these types of scripts can be a real challenge. How do you write an action set piece? What does a car chase actually look like on paper? What does the pacing look like from scene to scene? How are great action heroes developed?

All of these questions and more can usually be answered simply by reading the screenplays that do it best. So, below are 25 action screenplays from the TSL Script Library for you to download and study until you can write a skyscraper fight scene like a pro.

2 Guns

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This screenplay explores the relationship between two criminals – Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg – as they clash with U.S. border patrol in this fast-paced adventure. 


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Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ Oscar-nominated script gives a new meaning to “unflinching” action. (You know…because it was filmed to make it look like one continuous shot?)

The Bourne Ultimatum

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This screenplay shows how to give a sense of urgency to action sequences as the screenplay’s frenetic style matches the tone of the film. 

Casino Royale 

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Secret Agent James Bond sets out on a mission as 007 in a screenplay that can show writers how to keep audiences guessing. 

Charlie’s Angels

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This is a great example of how to take a story from television and transport it to the big screen while staying true to the characters and plot. 


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Set in the Rocky Mountains with Sylvester Stallone as the protagonist, this tells the story of a botched heist. 

The Dark Knight

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Christopher Nolan and brother Jonathan Nolan paired up to write this screenplay that successfully gave a darker spin to the Batman franchise. 

Die Hard

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Diving into the script behind this quintessential action film starring Bruce Willis is a must for any aspiring action writer. 

The Fugitive

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Dr. Richard Kimble is wrongly accused of murdering his wife, so he goes on the run until he can find the true killer and prove his innocence. 

Gone in 60 Seconds

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A retired car thief must return to crime to steal 50 cars in one night to save his little brother’s life. 

Got an action script that could blow everyone away? Enter it into the ScreenCraft Action & Adventure Screenplay Competition!

Indiana Jones & The Raiders of the Lost Ark

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An archaeologist sets out to find the Ark of the Covenant before Nazi Germans can use it for evil purposes. 


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A killer shark terrorizes a beach town with perfect attack scenes woven into the plot. 

Last Action Hero

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A boy finds himself in the fictional world of his favorite action movie hero in this fun script. 

Lethal Weapon

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Two cops find themselves having to work together to catch drug smugglers. 

Lone Survivor

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Author Peter Berg underwent months of research including a month with Navy Seals to bring this story to life. 


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Rian Johnson crafted a heavily character-based screenplay that is worth a read. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings

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This colossal script shows how to tackle an epic film or series with a large cast of strong characters and weighty themes. 

The Matrix

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Many screenwriters agree that this may be a perfectly executed film, so any writer seeking to work in this genre should download it and give it a read. 

Mission Impossible

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An American agent must discover who he can trust in this fast-paced script that keeps viewers guessing throughout the story. 

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

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A married couple that has fallen into a rut discovers that they are both assassins when they are hired to kill each other. 

Ocean’s Eleven

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This adaptation of the 1960 story is a must-read for an action writer to see how author Ted Griffin gave this a modern spin to create a timeless franchise of heist films. 


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John Rambo joins mercenaries to rescue aid workers in Burma. 


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A police officer helps a city bus driver keep the bus above 50 miles per hour to prevent a bomb from exploding in this breathtaking classic.  

The Terminator 

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A cyborg assassin called The Terminator travels from the future to kill Sarah Connor. 


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Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick cleverly follow survivors of a Zombie apocalypse.

Read More: Hasta La Vista, Baby: The Best 90s Action Movies

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