Think of your favorite movies and think the producers behind those movies. There’s a couple that frequently pops up, for sure. Maybe Kathleen Kennedy…Kevin Feige…or even (**GASP**) TheWeinsteins. But outside of those go-tos, most people aren’t familiar with their body of work. That’s intentional. A producer’s job is to let the director and the stars have the limelight while, in the background, he/she has the less than glamorous task of coordinating all the pieces of a production to get $#!+ done. and, when it came to getting $#!+ done, Dino De Laurentiis filmography very much speaks for itself.

De Laurentiis’ name showed up in big letters during the credits of many of your favorite movies. He worked with the best of the best directors — from Fellini to Cronenberg to Ridley Scott. The Italian producer also made stars like other people make breakfast.

Arnold Schwarzenegger before Conan? An oddity. Brigitte Nielsen after Red Sonja? Still an oddity, but you know who the hell she is. The point still stands! Dino left behind a lifetime of movies to watch and enjoy and here are my 5 FAVORITE ACTION FILMS BY DINO DE LAURENTIIS.

5.     ASSASINS (1995)

Written by the Wachowski Brothers, directed by Richard Donner, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas, and Juliane Moore — ASSASSINS is a classic “getting out of the business” action movie. Stallone plays Robert Rath, a grizzled veteran looking to retire while Antonio Banderas, playing Miguel Baine, is the upstart that wants to prove himself by taking Rath out.

Judging by the ingredients listed above this movie should have been more of a hit, but it stands as a solid, under-appreciated action movie.

Easily, the best part of the film is Banderas, but Stallone gives an understated performance. As does Julianne Moore, who plays a computer expert that get’s wrapped up in their murderous game. It’s a good movie, and worth a watch if you feel the need for an assassin fueled adrenaline-filled flick.

4.      U-571 (2000)

Nothing spells tension like being caught in a tin can underwater surrounded by bombs and enemies you can’t see.

This star-driven thriller is one of the better examples of the submarine action subgenre. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, and more, U-571 tells the story of a group of Americans that manage to take over a German submarine during World War II. This is one of those movies that gives you a history lesson while blowing stuff up, and it also has excellent performances from all-star cast. Check it out.

3.      Army Of Darkness (1992)

This is just one my favorites. I quote it all the time, reference it whenever I can, and HAVE to watch it until the end when it’s on TV.

Ash, who works at S-Mart, get’s thrown back in time to the medieval ages by the Necronomicon and he ends up fighting an army of undead.

Unofficially, it’s the third in the Evil Dead franchise, which launched Sam Raimi to fame. The series as a whole is unique because the first is a totally low budget horror film, the “sequel” is pretty much just a remake of the first one, and ARMY OF DARKNESS goes in a totally different direction altogether.

On Dino De Laurentiis’ watch, director Raimi is able to fully show off his unique talents by creating a great comedy/action-adventure that is still loaded with spine-tingling horror aspects. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, and all the better for it.

2.      Dune (1984)

THE SPICE IS LIFE! That, along with any number of memorable quotes can be had from this sci-fi bonanza.

Based on the bestselling books of Frank Herbert and directed by David Lynch, this movie is still somehow totally Dino. Largely because it is a star-studded, sprawling, and grandiose experience that is the producer’s trademark.

The costumes, the alien designs, Sting, Jean-Luc Picard, space worms…the money, time, and effort is all on screen.

1.      CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982)

The masterpiece of John Milius. The movie that cemented Arnold as THE action star. The best example of the genre there ever will be! There is no disputing that Conan the Barbarian is the greatest action gift ever given to us from Dino De Laurentiis.

If you’re on then I’m sure you’ve CONAN: THE BARBARIAN before. It is a movie that has an incredible lack of flaws. It is perhaps one of the finest sword and sorcery films ever made (I write this with an absolute straight face). It’s a epic about power, brutality, and revenge. And if it wasn’t for Dino De Laurentiis we wouldn’t have it.

That’s it, the best of the best action movies form one of the biggest producers to ever grace cinema. With a career spanning more than 50 years and a stable of directors and actors nestled comfortably under his thumb, he was an integral part of movie history — the likes of which will rarely be seen again thanks to Hollywood’s modern corporate mentality.

Big Ego’s still run Hollywood, but in the land of giants, Dino put the rest in his shadow. Rest In Peace.

Honorable Mentions:

ORCA (1977)

Take JAWS (1975) and set it in a coldest corners of Canada. Then replace the whale with a shark and you have ORCA. It goes a bit deeper than that, (a subtext of the film deals with the limits of obsession) but it really is JAWS with a whale. Definitnely worth watching at least once for the great performance from Richard Harris, and others.


A cult classic of the highest order, I love watching FLASH GORDON for the little details that shine so bright (costumes, set design, etc.) It’s a riot that, like ORCA, you have to watch at least once. You can’t go in expecting it to be a great movie, because, if you do, you’ll walk away disappointed. However, if you sit down and expect to see a relic of a bygone era that is something unique and colorful, you’ll walk away impressed and satisfied.