By Dan Froomkin
Affirmative action is the nation's most ambitious attempt to redress its long history of racial and sexual discrimination. But these days it seems to incite, rather than ease, the nation's internal divisions.
An increasingly assertive opposition movement argues that the battle to certain equal rights for all citizens has been fought and won – and that favoring members of one group over another simply goes against the American grain.
But defenders of affirmative action say that the playing field is not level yet – and that granting modest advantages to minorities and women is more than fair, given hundreds of years of discrimination that benefited whites and men.
This special report includes key stories from The Post, as well as select editorials and columns.
The resources and links section lists related Web sites and contains the text of President Clinton's 1995 address on the topic. You can share your thoughts in our talk area.
This essay provides an introduction to the following topics:
What Is Affirmative Action?
Born of the civil rights movement three decades ago, affirmative action calls for minorities and women to be given special consideration in employment, education and contracting decisions.
Institutions with affirmative action policies generally set goals and timetables for increased diversity – and use recruitment, set-asides and preference as ways of achieving those goals.
In its modern form, affirmative action can call for an admissions officer faced with two similarly qualified applicants to choose the minority over the white, or for a manager to recruit and hire a qualified woman for a job instead of a man. Affirmative action decisions are generally not supposed to be based on quotas, nor are they supposed to give any preference to unqualified candidates. And they are not supposed to harm anyone through "reverse discrimination."
The Politics of Affirmative Action
President Clinton, asserting that the job of ending discrimination remains unfinished, strongly defends affirmative action. "Mend it, but don't end it," he says.
Conservatives, however, see ending affirmative action as a powerful political issue. Heartened by recent Supreme Court decisions that have limited affirmative action – and by the passage in 1996 of a California ballot initiative abolishing sexual and racial preferences – Republicans are taking up the battle wherever they can.
The debate over affirmative action takes on a particularly bitter tenor in the trenches. "Angry white men" blame affirmative action for robbing them of promotions and other opportunities. And while many minorities and women support affirmative action, a growing number say its benefits are no longer worth its side effect: the perception that their success is unearned.
Judging simply by the results, the playing field would appear to still be tilted very much in favor of white men. Overall, minorities and women are in vastly lower paying jobs and still face active discrimination in some sectors.
At this point in our nation's history, does affirmative action make things better or worse? The debate rages on.
Dan Froomkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›
What’s the deal with single action vs double action handguns? Well, it’s all about the trigger and exactly what happens when it’s pressed. The only thing the trigger of a single action (SA) handgun does is release a cocked hammer to fire the gun. With a double action (DA) handgun, pressing the trigger cocks and releases the hammer. We could leave the explanation there, but as they say in calculus class, it gets complicated. It gets complicated because both revolvers and pistols come as either single or double action, and because within these two distinctions there are variations that require some explaining. So, here is a full breakdown of single action vs double action handguns.
The single action revolver is the classic cowboy six-gun, epitomized by the Colt Single Action Army or the Ruger Blackhawk or Single Six. With a single action revolver, the hammer must be manually cocked before the gun can be fired. So, the trigger of a SA revolver has a single function; when pressed, it releases the hammer, allowing the gun to fire. Once you have fired a SA revolver, you must manually re-cock the hammer to shoot it again. If you’ve cocked a SA revolver and decide not to shoot, you can press the trigger while holding the hammer back and manually lower the hammer to a safe, half-cocked position. But you’ll have to cock the hammer again when you decide to shoot.
The trigger of a single action pistol works the same as the trigger of a SA revolver. But because the slide of a SA pistol must be manually retracted to load the handgun, and because the slide cycles to the rear after every shot, in both instances it cocks the hammer. So technically, you never really have to cock a SA pistol. But, if at some point you decide to manually lower the hammer, then, just like with a SA revolver, you must re-cock it to shoot it. Because most SA pistols are carried cocked, a manual thumb safety that “locks” the pistol and prevents it from firing, like on the Colt 1911, is generally part of the package. Because some shooters are nervous about carrying a “cocked and locked” pistol, they either avoid SA pistols or carry them with the hammer down, which means they must thumb-cock the pistol before they can shoot it.
For many years, double action revolvers like the Smith & Wesson Model 686 were the most popular sidearms for law enforcement. With a DA revolver, you have options, because the trigger has two functions. If the hammer is manually cocked, the DA revolver trigger works just like a SA revolver trigger; when pressed, it releases the hammer. But if a DA revolver is not cocked, you can pull the trigger and it will cock and release the hammer. This makes the double action revolver faster to shoot and better suited to law enforcement or for self-defense. Also, just like with a SA revolver, you can manually lower the hammer on a DA revolver after it has been cocked.
If a DA pistol is not cocked, a single trigger press will cock and release the hammer. You can manually cock a DA pistol for the first shot, but after a DA pistol has been fired, the pistol’s slide cycles and cocks the hammer for you. Many DA pistols have a de-cocker, a lever that un-cocks the hammer allowing it to safely fall and return the pistol to double action mode. The difficulty with managing DA pistols is that the first trigger press is long and hard because it has to cock and release the hammer, subsequent trigger presses are lighter and crisper because after the first shot the hammer remains cocked. Also, with some DA pistols, if the cartridge fails to fire, you can pull the trigger and try to fire that same cartridge again.
Complicating the single action vs double action conversation are double action only handguns. They are a little different—but only a little. Let’s start with DAO revolvers. The only difference in a double action only (DOA) revolver and a DA revolver is that the hammer cannot be manually cocked because it has no “cocked” notch, because it’s been bobbed, or because it’s shrouded or concealed. A bobbed, shrouded, or concealed hammer is less likely to catch on clothing during the draw stroke, and that’s really the only advantage a DAO revolver offers. The inability to cock the hammer on a DAO revolver circumvents the lighter trigger action associated with firing a revolver in the SA mode, and some believe this makes DAO revolvers safer. The truth is, it’s well-trained humans that make guns safe.
The trigger of a DAO pistol it cocks and releases the hammer—every time—and since there’s no “cocked” notch on the hammer you cannot manually cock it. After you fire a DAO pistol, the slide recoils and pushes the hammer back, but as the slide goes forward, the hammer follows it to a “safe” un-cocked position. Like some DA pistols, most DAO pistols have re-strike capability. If the cartridge in the chamber does not fire you can pull the trigger for another attempt. It’s debatable if this is an advantage or a drawback. In most cases if a cartridge fails to fire, it will not fire in subsequent attempts and that can waste time. A better approach is to get the dud out of the gun as quickly as possible. As with DA pistols, DAO pistols have been largely replaced by striker-fired pistols.
© 2023 Oxfam America Inc. All rights reserved.
Oxfam is a global organization that fights inequality to end poverty and injustice. We offer lifesaving support in times of crisis and advocate for economic justice, gender equality, and climate action. We demand equal rights and equal treatment so that everyone can thrive, not just survive. The future is equal.
Oxfam America is a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law.
Privacy & Legal
Whether it's playing catch with cars, running from robots or mastering martial arts, few things can get your adrenaline pumping as much as a good action movie.
Of course, there are plenty of action movies to choose from. There are the classics like Enter the Dragon and Top Gun, superhero films such as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Shazam! Fury of the Gods and spy movies like Casino Royale — which all promise thrilling story lines, intense fight scenes and nonstop excitement.
Looking for something a little more mind-altering? Tune into The Matrix. How about a flick that's just as comedic as it is action-packed? Leave it to David Harbour in Violent Night.
Whether it is explosions, muscle cars and mayhem or treasure hunts you are after, you're sure to find an action movie you love. Here are the best action movies you can stream right now.
In the heady third installment of the Jason Bourne film series, Matt Damon returns as the titular former CIA hitman grappling with psychogenic amnesia. As he faces the danger of a new assassin program, Operation Blackbriar, Jason plunges into a globe-trotting quest to outsmart formidable enemies and unlock memories from his past.
Watch The Bourne Ultimatum on Max
Bob Odenkirk — best known as self-sabotaging attorney Saul Goodman on Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad — may seem like an unlikely action hero, but he makes it clear in Nobody that even an Everyman has his limits.
Odenkirk revealed that the film was partially inspired by his personal experience. "I think most people watching this movie will not realize the level of autobiography there is in it," he told Jimmy Kimmel in 2021. "I had two home break-ins in Los Angeles... Nobody is very related to my actual experience of having someone in the house, threatening my family, trying to keep the damage to a minimum."
Watch Nobody on Amazon Prime Video
Based on Alan Moore, David Lloyd and Tony Weare's graphic novel of the same name, V for Vendetta stars Hugo Weaving as V, an anarchist vigilante who rescues Evey (Natalie Portman) and enlists her in his chaos. The themes of fascism and authoritarianism are both timely and timeless, and the action is nonstop. As dark as the film can get, its ultimate message is one of hope.
Watch V for Vendetta on Max
In a high-stakes mission, boxing gym manager Réda (Ramzy Bedia) recruits his friends, Stan (Franck Gastambide) and Chafik (Anouar Toubali), to rescue his kidnapped brother from a dangerous narcos cartel in the titular city. With a simple and reckless plan, Réda brings his team on an action-filled adventure — involving conflict with drug ring leader El Diablo (Raymond Cruz) — that none of them could have anticipated.
Watch Medellín on Amazon Prime Video
Nerdy outcast and comic-book buff Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) takes it upon himself to become a real-life superhero despite lacking any superpowers. Going by the pseudonym “Kick-Ass” and sporting an internet-thrifted suit, the namesake hero fights crime alongside father-daughter vigilante duo Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), which catches the attention of opposing forces in New York City. This 2010 black comedy also stars Evan Peters, Garrett M. Brown, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elizabeth McGovern and more.
Watch Kick-Ass on Netflix
All of the Terminator movies have killer action scenes, but Judgment Day is a nonstop ride with high stakes and state-of-the-art special effects that blew its 1991 audience away and still holds up today. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and a young Edward Furlong deliver stellar performances, and James Cameron's sci-fi flair will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire 136-minute runtime.
Watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day on Netflix
Bruce Lee delivers the performance of a lifetime in Enter the Dragon, both for his acting and for the inimitable fight scenes he choreographed himself. This was Lee's final completed film before his tragic death in 1973 at just 32 years old. Widely regarded as the best martial arts film of all time, Enter the Dragon is also one of the most profitable movies in history, making 400 times its budget at the box office.
Watch Enter the Dragon on Max
If you like your "family" movies to have muscle and muscle cars, you're in luck. The fifth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise is a departure from drag racing in the streets, instead leaning into heists, gunfights and government agents, the latter led by none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in his Fast debut as Luke Hobbs.
Watch Fast Five on Peacock
When idling musician Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) meets the woman of his dreams (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he has to defeat seven of her evil exes through arcade-style battles in order to be her boyfriend. Packing punches left and right, this 2010 action-filled adventure features an ensemble cast including Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza and more.
Watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Amazon Prime Video
Dive into the phantasmagorical depths of James Cameron's Avatar universe with this 2022 sequel. Following a decade after the first film's events, Way of Water sees the Sully family fleeing their home to reside with the oceanic Metkayina clan, where they have to defend themselves and their hosts against brutal aggressors through a flood of action-packed battles.
Watch Avatar: The Way of Water on Disney+ on June 7
Directed by David F. Sandberg, this 2023 DCEU sequel to Shazam! (2019) finds teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and members of his "Shazamily" — who all can transform into their superhero alter egos just by saying "Shazam!" out loud — fighting against a trio of ancient gods who've come to earth with a vengeance for those who stole their magic powers. Fury of the Gods stars Zachary Levi, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren.
Watch Shazam! Fury of the Gods on Max
Being Amazon Prime Video's first original movie from Africa, this 2023 Nigerian action-thriller is worth a watch. Jade Osiberu's Gangs of Lagos follows a group of three best friends who witness their father figure's murder, and join the gang led by his cold-hearted partner Kazeem (Olarotimi Fakunle). The film stars Tobi Bakre, Iyabo Ojo, Adesua Etomi, Chioma Akpotha and Demi Banwo, among others.
Watch Gangs of Lagos on Amazon Prime Video
Directed by John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), this 1989 action flick stars Roy Schnieder as Frank Murphy, a Vietnam War veteran and Los Angeles police officer who is assigned to trial a technologically-advanced helicopter called the "Blue Thunder." While giving the chopper a spin, he quickly learns its role in a government conspiracy, as it's designed to spy on others and destroy the masses.
Watch Blue Thunder on Hulu
This 2023 Vietnamese action thriller — and prequel to 2019's Furie — follows three women who bond over shared traumas and are trained to defeat a '90s Saigon gang that traffics and assaults other women. Filled with rip-roaring violence and dynamic fight sequences, this film is a tough yet heady watch.
Watch Furies on Netflix
You better watch out, you better not cry! Stranger Things' David Harbour ditches his Hawkins police uniform and slips on Saint Nick's suit in this 2022 holiday action thriller. When Santa Claus comes to town, delivering presents to a Connecticut mansion, he discovers that mercenaries are holding the residing family hostage and comes to their rescue with brutal force.
Watch Violent Night on Amazon Prime Video
Black Panther brought much-needed Black representation to the superhero genre. Chadwick Boseman's indelible mark on cinema as T'Challa cannot be overstated, and Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger is as sympathetic and complicated a villain as they come. The supporting cast's performances, especially Angela Bassett and Sterling K. Brown, are just as moving.
Enhanced by its stunning actors, the movie's action is a blast to watch. Whether you're watching Okoye (Danai Gurira) tossing her wig in a fight scene, Shuri (Letitia Wright) showing off her genius or a mixed martial arts battle, every element works.
Watch Black Panther on Disney+
Securing Marvel its first Oscar win (three, in fact) with the first Black Panther film, this 2022 sequel earned another for Best Costume Design — yet there is so much more to take in, including the feature's eye-catching thrills. Following King T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) death, the mourning Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Princess/scientist Shuri (Letitia Wright), fellow Wakandans and allies strive to protect the kingdom from outside (and underwater) forces. Former War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) are back to help ensure the continuing legacy of the Black Panther.
Watch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney+
Welcome to the party, pal! Whether or not you think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, the 1988 thriller is easily one of the best action movies of all time. Bruce Willis' introductory jaunt as John McClane has all the makings of a classic: a working-class hero, a hard-to-get love interest (Bonnie Bedelia), a dangerously charismatic villain (Alan Rickman), earnest sidekicks Alan (Reginald VelJohnson) and Argyle (De'voreaux White) and some of the best catchphrases in the game. Did we mention McClane saves the day while barefoot?
Watch Die Hard on Hulu
What do you do when one monster attacks? Unleash another one, of course. In Godzilla vs. Kong, the real monsters aren't Godzilla or Kong — they're conspiracy theorists and technology. While the action is stellar when the larger-than-life creatures go after each other, the excitement is unstoppable once they team up.
Watch Godzilla vs. Kong on Max
Based on Adam Makos' book — Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice — this aerial war drama revolves around the real-life friendship between U.S. Navy fighter pilots Jesse Brown (Creed III's Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Top Gun: Maverick's Glen Powell, who's also an actual licensed pilot) and their time served together during the Korean War. With a supporting cast including Serinda Swan, Joe Jonas and more, Devotion honors the bond of a brotherhood forged in the early 1950s among racial and global tension.
Watch Devotion on Paramount+
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022, this German anti-war drama — adapted from Erich Maria Remarque's 1929 eponymous novel — tells the timeless story of a young man named Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) who eagerly joins the German Army to fight in World War I. But when he and his comrades find themselves amid unforgiving and inhumane violence, their once-patriotic notions of war are shattered as they make every effort to survive.
Watch All Quiet on the Western Front on Netflix
Inspired by real events, this AAFCA-winning historical action flick centers on the Agojie, an all-woman army of the West African kingdom of Dahomey. In a dazzling performance, Viola Davis stars as highly-trained General Nanisca, who has to prepare a new generation of warriors to fight a foreign invader threatening their civilization.
Watch The Woman King on Netflix
If you feel the need for speed, Tony Scott's fighter pilot action flick should be your first choice. In 1986's Top Gun, Tom Cruise soars as smug hotshot Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell," who strives to be the top naval pilot in his class — causing friction between him and rivaling classmates such as Iceman (Val Kilmer) — and swoop the flight instructor (Kelly McGillis) off her feet. From its classic soundtrack to its iconic beach volleyball scene to its fast-paced thrills, this blockbuster will "take you right into the danger zone."
Watch Top Gun on Paramount+
Thirty-six years after Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) graduated the TOPGUN Naval aviation program, he's invited back as an instructor for a new generation of fliers, including Miles Teller's Bradley ("Rooster") and Glen Powell's Jake ("Hangman"). Earning over $1 billion dollars at the global box office, 2022's Top Gun: Maverick is not only a triumphant sequel to its iconic predecessor, but is also a "love letter to aviation," as it impressively cranked up the action without VFX and filmed stunts with real U.S. Navy pilots flying top-quality fighter jets.
Watch Top Gun: Maverick on Paramount+
From Deadpool to Red Notice, Ryan Reynolds is a bona fide action star who never fails to bring the laughs. Also starring Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi and more, the 2021 action comedy follows a bank teller named Guy (Reynolds), who discovers he's a trivial background character in a violent multiplayer video game and strives to be a winning hero when faced with conflict.
Watch Free Guy on Disney+
He kneels before no one. In this 2022 Shazam! spin-off Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as the eponymous DC Comics character, who's freed from imprisonment and uses his almighty powers "born out of rage" for revenge, but is intercepted by heroes from the Justice Society, such as Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell).
Watch Black Adam on Max
Based on the first book in a YA dystopian series, The Maze Runner follows 16-year-old Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), who wakes up in an elevator with zero recollection of his past and finds himself among a group of boys (and one girl) trying to form a community on an area of land they call the Glade. And if they want to escape, they have to run through a constantly-shifting maze that's patrolled by killer cyborg creatures.
Watch The Maze Runner on Max
Famous faces like Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sandra Bullock and Bad Bunny were all on board for this off-the-rails action comedy. Based on Kōtarō Isaka 2010's novel, Maria Beetle, 2022's Bullet Train follows five cutthroat assassins, who are all assigned individual missions that are somehow connected, on a Japanese high-speed train.
Watch Bullet Train on Netflix
In this 2022 war fantasy, Chloë Grace Moretz stars as a WWII flight officer who battles with an evil creature on her mission. Also starring Taylor John Smith and Nick Robinson, Shadow in the Cloud is a bumpy ride with several jump-scares lurking in its shadows, and tells a wildly complex story about female strength.
Watch Shadow in the Cloud on Hulu
This 2009 post-apocalyptic action comedy follows a group of surviving humans — played by Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin — who have to avoid becoming "human Happy Meals" for bloodthirsty zombies while making their way to an alleged safe haven.
Watch Zombieland on Netflix
If you like your action with a side of belly laughs, tune into Adam McKay's The Other Guys. The 2010 buddy cop comedy is a send-up of the entire genre and pairs Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as clumsy wannabe detectives. They're backed by a seriously star-studded supporting cast, including Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Michael Keaton and Eva Mendes, plus cameos from Derek Jeter, Tracy Morgan and Ice-T.
Watch The Other Guys on Amazon Prime Video
From quintessential action movie director Michael Bay comes a romantic war drama that fictionalizes the historical Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This 2001 feature follows two childhood best friends (Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett), who enlist in the military as pilots during WWII and a love triangle unfolds between them and a nurse (Kate Beckinsale).
Watch Pearl Harbor on Max
Though Salt was originally written with Tom Cruise in mind as the title character, the 2010 film was reworked for Angelina Jolie. The spy thriller has high tensions, high stakes and endless twists, plus great supporting performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor and Liev Schreiber. Of course, the action and fights are ferocious, especially one scene involving handcuffs.
Watch Salt on Netflix
Marvel movies always have a ton of great action sequences, but Captain America: Civil War brings together major characters in conflict with each other in exciting ways — and the questions raised about surveillance and the police state continue to resonate. Chris Evans' fight as Captain America with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark was instantly meme-able, and the introduction of Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and Tom Holland's Spider-Man make Civil War a fan favorite.
Watch Captain America: Civil War on Disney+
Avengers, we love you 3000. Bringing back fan-favorite characters and ending several beloved MCU story lines, the epic conclusion to the Avengers saga chronicles the titular superhero group's final battle with Thanos, the demigod who destroyed the universe in Infinity War. Shattering box-office records, the 2019 superhero film became the second highest-grossing film of all time next to 2009's Avatar.
Watch Avengers: Endgame on Disney+
In addition to its prescient themes of machines distracting, subjugating and feeding off of human energy, The Matrix revolutionized action movies thanks to two words: "bullet time." Keanu Reeves dodging bullets became an iconic image, and the visual effect has been used in countless action and superhero movies since.
Watch The Matrix on Max
Road House might not have been an immediate hit with critics or audiences at its theatrical release, but it developed a cult following in the cable TV and streaming eras. The 1989 film has absolutely no frills — but with Patrick Swayze serving roundhouse kicks to curb corruption, do you really need any?
Watch Road House on Netflix
A prequel to the original Predator, Prey follows Naru (Amber Midthunder), a fledgling fighter trying to protect the Comanche Nation from the extraterrestrial hunter. Set 300 years before the events of the 1987 classic, the film features an almost entirely Native and First Nation cast and is available to stream entirely in Comanche. At its debut, Prey became Hulu's biggest streaming premiere ever.
Watch Prey on Hulu
With a cast that includes Alexander Skarsgård (who gained 20 pounds of muscle for the role), Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy and Björk, The Northman is a take on the Norse folk tale of Amleth — the very legend that inspired Shakespeare's Hamlet.
When King Aurvandill (Hawke) is murdered by his own brother (Claes Bang), Prince Amleth (Skarsgård) vows to avenge his father's death — but there's far more to the treasonous slaying than meets the eye. With elements of Norse mythology and killer battle scenes, The Northman is a must-see.
Watch The Northman on Amazon Prime Video
The 2005 action anthology Sin City is as much an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novels as it is a love letter to classic film noir. Visually stunning thanks to its mostly monochromatic palette, director Robert Rodriguez deliberately stayed as close to the source material as possible. With standout performances from Mickey Rourke and Elijah Wood, Sin City paved the way for the later comic book movie revival as a whole.
Watch Sin City on Max
Are you not entertained? Russell Crowe won an Oscar for 2000's Gladiator, which also won Best Picture. Inspiring speeches (one of which Crowe penned himself) and rousing colosseum battles abound, and Joaquin Phoenix delivers an understated and nuanced performance as the corrupt Commodus.
Watch Gladiator on Amazon Prime Video
Christian Bale is a great Bruce Wayne, but it was Heath Ledger's final completed performance as the Joker that brought The Dark Knight its critical acclaim and commercial blockbuster status. From the opening bank heist to the impossible choices the Joker thrusts upon both Batman and Gotham City, Christopher Nolan's sophomore outing for the caped crusader raises resonant questions about the nature of man.
Watch The Dark Knight on Max
Matt Reeves' The Batman, released in 2022, is less like a superhero epic and more of a detective thriller. Robert Pattinson plays a tortured Bruce Wayne and a brooding Batman equally well, while Zoë Kravitz brings Selina Kyle to life as a sensual, cynical Catwoman. Paul Dano is chilling as the Zodiac Killer-inspired Riddler, and he worked very hard to get there: He was such a perfectionist that Reeves said Dano filmed 200 takes of a single scene.
Watch The Batman on Max
Daniel Craig, with his grizzled demeanor and blonde hair, seemed like an unlikely James Bond at the outset — but once audiences saw him as 007 in 2006's Casino Royale, all doubts dissipated. Riveting from the opening bathroom brawl to his final heartbreak at the hands of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), Craig brought out a side of Bond never seen before: vulnerability and the ability to feel shaken (if not stirred).
Watch Casino Royale on Max
Alexa, play Adele's Oscar-winning song "Skyfall." After Agent 007's assignment exposes undercover spies around the globe and forces supervisor M (Judi Dench) to relocate the agency that's now under attack, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is entrusted with tracking down the threat, no matter how dangerous. Javier Bardem plays Raoul Silva, a former MI6 agent–turned–cyberterrorist Bond baddie out for personal revenge on M.
Watch Skyfall on Netflix
The Old Guard examines a power granted to many superheroes that often goes unquestioned: the loneliness and boredom associated with immortality. Charlize Theron and the rest of the cast kill it in hand-to-hand combat scenes, and it brought some long overdue LGBTQ representation to the superhero genre.
Watch The Old Guard on Netflix
Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg make an unlikely but delightful pair in Uncharted, based on the video game of the same name. Nathan "Nate" Drake (Holland), a bartender-turned-pickpocket, sets off on an adventure to find his lost brother. (Holland worked as a bartender in real life to prepare for the role.) Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Wahlberg) takes Nate under his wing to find a treasure left by Ferdinand Magellan, and it turns out that Sully and Nate are connected in more ways than they realize — and even when their friendship gets tenuous, they need each other to survive.
Watch Uncharted on Netflix
Oscar winner Ryan Gosling stars as the titular Gray Man, an assassin on the run — with the help of some chewing gum, a precocious child and Ana de Armas — from a former CIA colleague.
After nearly a decade as Captain America, Chris Evans takes a villainous turn — but it's a role he plays so well. Evans chews the scenery as the bad guy in The Gray Man, brothers Anthony and Joe Russo's first Netflix project (they previously directed Evans in four Marvel movies). The film was successful enough to greenlight both a spin-off and a sequel.
Watch The Gray Man on Netflix
A kid-friendly option, The Kid Who Would Be King is as heartwarming as it is adrenaline-pumping. Patrick Stewart is a delight as Merlin (perhaps taking notes from his real-life bestie, Ian McKellen, and his turn as Gandalf) and Rebecca Ferguson is enchanting as wicked sorceress Morgana.
Watch The Kid Who Would Be King on Disney+
While 2017's Justice League — taken on by Joss Whedon partway through production — had an obviously similar story, the stakes immediately feel higher in Zack Snyder's lengthy rendition of the superhero team-up. In the Snyder cut, villain Steppenwolf's motives are clearer, and his defeat of the Amazons proves that he is a force to be reckoned with. Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne is perfectly pensive, Ray Fisher's star turn as Cyborg is fully realized, Jason Momoa's Aquaman makes a splash and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman shows her tougher side.
Watch Zack Snyder's Justice League on Max
Released in 2008, Taken is a thriller brought to life by Liam Neeson and his "particular set of skills." The film, which follows Bryan Mills (Neeson) on a mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter, launched a full-blown franchise, making the Irish actor an action star in his golden years. "I like doing it," Neeson said of being an action hero. "The scripts are good. I'm kind of like a kid in a candy store."
Watch Taken on Starz
"Options Action" features option traders from some of the top firms on Wall Street. Each week, they gather for a fast-paced, half-hour show that focuses on how to increase profits and limit losses using common option techniques. Fresh from the trading desk, the "Options Action" panel will demystify the daunting terminology often used when talking about options, and simplify this fast-growing and crucial corner of the market.
Options Action Disclaimer
When discussing diversity in the context of candidate selection, even those leaders who in principle support Affirmative Action often struggle with the following question: how do we justify selecting a member of a minority (be it gender, race, sexual identity, creed, physical ability, etc.), while rejecting a seemingly more qualified candidate who is a white man?
The next time you hear this argument, here are some reasons why you should reject it.
1. Other Candidates May Have Been Favored For Different Reasons
To a certain extent, complaining about hiring a lesser-qualified candidate is an attempt to appeal to one’s “sense of justice.” However, applying this thinking in a direct comparison between two candidates overlooks the existence of other common biases that favor the privileged. For example, in situations where multiple candidates are evaluated and selected, such as entry-level hiring or college admissions, certain candidates may have been selected because they went to the same school as a senior executive, or perhaps because of a recommendation by mutual friends, even though they may have been less qualified than other candidates who were rejected. Hence if one wishes to appeal to fairness, that same reasoning must be applied consistently, recognizing that
Watch on FORBES:
2. Removing Favoritism Is Not Enough To Fix Legacy Imbalances
Even if all forms of favoritism and other biases were eliminated, as we have shown in a previous article it will take an extraordinarily long time to undo the existing imbalances that resulted from legacy biases. And, as long as these imbalances exist, your ability to attract and retain talent will be impaired. Hence if you believe that diversity will give your organization a competitive advantage, it is not enough to remove biases: And that means that a candidate who may seem less qualified to fill a specific role, may nonetheless be more valuable to your organization.
3. Candidate Ranking Is Imperfect
Whether or not you believe that diversity can benefit your organizations, there are quantitative reasons to reject the notion that it is unfair to select less-qualified candidates. First, the notion that anyone can objectively measure and rank the quality of candidates is questionable. This isn’t to say that companies can’t recognize an excellent candidate from a mediocre one, but selection processes are typically based on metrics that are often rooted in qualitative, subjective evaluations, and therefore cannot truly discriminate between two candidates that are not radically different from each other. Even when using a quantitative metric, such as SAT scores and grades, numerical superiority does not certain performance superiority.
4. Optimizing Selection Does Not certain Optimal Results
Even if the metrics used to rank candidates were accurate, always choosing the better candidate would not certain optimal results. In the field of optimization, algorithms that always choose the best solution at each step are called “greedy,” and there are mathematical proofs that for most real-world problems, greedy algorithms yield sub-optimal solutions. As an analogy, suppose you are walking through a foggy valley, trying to walk to the highest peak in the area: if you only take steps that move you higher than your previous position, you will climb to the top of the first hill you encounter and get stuck, and you may never find the taller peaks that break through the clouds.
5. Direct Comparisons Ignore The Bigger Picture
Leaving aside issues of accuracy and optimization, candidate selection metrics typically focus on alignment with a specific role, but neglect to consider the bigger picture of how that person may contribute to the organization as a whole by balancing the qualities of other employees. An analogy might be financial portfolio management, where a high-yield asset is balanced with an asset that has lower yield, but also lower risk. An example closer to talent management is a baseball team that may choose to trade a promising young pitcher for a catcher to fill an anticipated defensive gap, even though in a direct comparison the pitcher may seem to be more valuable.
6. People Make Bad Judgments When Considering Individual Cases
Finally, research has revealed the existence of cognitive biases that lead experts to make bad decisions when they focus on individual cases, sometimes contradicting the decisions they make when they consider a broader context. Michael Lewis’ recent book, The Undoing Project, describes the groundbreaking work of psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who showed that these biases affect even leading experts across a variety of disciplines. For example, when asked about the impact of antibiotics on the general population, physicians agreed that overprescribing antibiotics is a bad idea because it leads to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” However, when faced with individual patients, the same physicians would frequently overprescribe antibiotics. Similarly, even leaders who believe in the value of diversity may be lulled into making a bad decision if they focus on direct comparisons between candidates, rather than thinking about the well-being of the entire organization.
Conclusion: Linking Diversity To Performance
Asking whether it is fair to reject a better candidate in favor of a lesser-qualified minority candidate is a red herring. A better question would be whether the reasons for choosing any candidate are based on a sound, quantifiable understanding of how the blend of characteristics of your human capital influences the overall performance of your organization. And the only way to answer this question is to understand and quantify the link between diversity and performance.
*Deals are selected by our commerce team
Action cameras are small, lightweight, and sometimes even waterproof. They're useful because you can mount them to pretty much anything—from skateboards, surfboards, and bicycles, to helmets, body parts, and even your pets.
They have all but replaced traditional camcorders in the marketplace. Family historians and budding cinematographers now use a GoPro or similar camera for wide shots and vlogs, while smartphones and newer mirrorless cameras are the tools of choice for home movies.
Action cams also have a place in professional work. You should use a camera with a big sensor and interchangeable lenses when you can, but modern action cams capture video that's good enough to intercut. Think about shots that show the interior of an exploding car, for instance—a GoPro likely recorded the event.
Below, we highlight our favorite action cams across a wide range of budgets. And if you're not sure where to begin, check out our buying advice after the list.
Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks
The GoPro Hero11 Black is, bar none, the best action cam you can buy today. It's the latest version of the camera that defined the concept and the most technically advanced. It supports 5.3K60, 4K120, and 2.7K240 frame rates and matches them up with best-in-class stabilizaton and horizon-leveling. A nearly square image sensor boosts picture quality for creators pulling vertical 9:16 frames for TikTok, while its rugged and waterproof build means you don't need an add-on case.
The Hero11 Black is as versatile an action cam as you can find. Surfers, skateboarders, and other X Games participants can strap the camera to their person or board to get first-person views of stunts. Vloggers should appreciate its front-facing color display and Media Mod accessory system. And 10-bit video, new to this model, is a plus for use in cinema projects.
The Insta360 X3 is the camera to get for dual-lens, 360-degree video. It captures an all-around view of the world and gives you the software tools to do interesting and creative things with the video. The camera is waterproof and can survive rough handling too, so it's suitable for mounting and capturing action.
Creators who want to try their hand at 360-degree capture and the editing techniques that go with it should find a lot to like about the X3. Its HDR video profile handles mixed lighting well and you can use the camera for special effects shots like Matrix-style bullet time and time lapse with motion.
The DJI Action 2 rethinks the action cam design. It's modular and has magnetic mounting points that let you place the camera in tight spots that can't quite hold a GoPro. You can even use the camera as a wearable body cam with the included pendant necklace mount. Video quality is strong too, with 4K120 recording available for action and slow motion.
If you're looking for a small, wearable camera for travel logs and adventures, the Action 2 is a good choice. The camera's video features are competitive with GoPros and the industrial design is a winner for style-conscious influencers.
The DJI Osmo Action 4 uses a big Type 1/1.3 format image sensor to produce crisp video in dim light, better than what you get from the GoPro Hero11. The Osmo's pixel count isn't as high as the Hero 11's, but it still supports up to 4K120 or 1080p240 video and takes 10MP snapshots. We also like its 75-minute battery life, dual touch screens, and 59-foot waterproof rating.
The Osmo Action 4 is worth a look if you like to explore the world after the sun goes down. The front touch screen is handy for self-recording, and the camera's tough build quality means you don't have to worry about it breaking during rough-and-tumble use.
Now two generations old, the GoPro Hero9 Black remains in the lineup as the budget-friendly option. Its 5K30 and 4K60 video modes aren't as good for slow motion, but the camera captures sharp video with effective stabilization at those frame rates. It also works with the same Media Mod accessories as its pricier Hero10 and Hero11 siblings.
This is a good pick for action cam fans who don't want to break the bank. At around $300, it undercuts the price of other GoPro and DJI models and gives you access to some GoPro-exclusive features, such as automated video editing and direct upload from camera to cloud.
GoPro's dual-lens action camera uses two lenses to record the entire world around it, but can also function as a single-lens action cam. The Max's strengths as a 360-degree camera are its sharp video quality and software reframing tools. That's not to mention the six internal microphones that grab the best in-camera audio of any action cam we've tested. As you might expect from a GoPro, the Max is also tough and waterproof (though only to 16 feet).
The GoPro Max is a top pick for creators who want a dual-lens 360 camera and care a lot about audio quality. Travel vloggers and others who present to the camera won't have to fiddle with an external mic with this one, and the Max is waterproof to boot. GoPro offers reframing tools for creative edits too, though they're not quite as polished as what you get with the Insta360 X3.
Cameras don't get much smaller than the Insta360 Go 3. The capsule-sized model records 2.7K30 video, is waterproof, and works well for point-of-view captures, an aspect that video creators are sure to like. The included Action Pod housing turns the Go into a standard action cam with a flip-forward touch screen, so it's not a one-trick pony.
The Go 3 should appeal to creators who want a wearable camera or adventurers who want something they can mount in interesting places to capture unique perspectives. Make sure you are comfortable with video editing tools, however, since the Go 3 requires you to run footage through its app to create time lapses or apply digital stabilization.
The Insta360 One RS is an action cam that supports swappable lenses, a unique capability for sure. When we tested a basic kit with a 4K main lens for 16:9 footage and a dual-lens 360 module for all-around recording, we appreciated the versatility and creative features. For higher-quality recording, Insta360 even offers Leica-branded modules for both single-lens and dual-lens recording, thus making the camera upgradeable.
If you can't quite decide between a standard single-lens cam and a dual-lens 360 model, the Insta360 One RS might be the camera for you. It records pleasing 4K60 video with stabilization and supports extra-wide 2.35:1 recording. The dual-lens module does 5.7K30 and works with Insta360's excellent editing tools.
Buying Guide: The Best Action Cameras for 2023
The first thing to consider is a camera's video resolution. 4K is a minimum requirement these days, and the best models offer more than double that resolution. The GoPro Hero11 Black, for instance, supports 5.3K.
Next, take a look at the available frame rates, expressed as frames per second (fps). Some action cameras offer up to 240fps recording, whereas ultra-budget options may only offer 30fps. The latter is perfectly fine for standard playback, but the frame rate matters more when you want to slow footage down in editing to create dramatic scenes. You can slow 240fps recordings down and play them back smoothly at one-quarter speed, for instance. If you want a cinematic look, pick a camera that has a 24fps capture option; that's the same speed that most Hollywood productions use.
The best action cams put fast frame rates and high pixel counts together—the GoPro Hero11 Black pushes 240fps at 2.7K, for example, better than the 1080p240 you get from the DJI Osmo Action 4.
Left to right: GoPro Hero11 Black, DJI Osmo Action 4 (Credit: Jim Fisher)
If you're more serious about video, look for a model that offers a flat video profile that grades easily. We've not yet seen Raw video support in an action cam, but you can get that feature from larger models, including the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K. Some sort of stabilization is important as well, as it can help you get smooth footage without a tripod or gimbal.
Most action cams have a lens with a wide, wide view of the world. You are thus likely to encounter some fish-eye distortion, especially if you mount it really close to what it's filming, but newer models remove that effect automatically. A few cameras also let you select a narrower angle for recording to avoid distortion at the outset.
Some entries have two lenses for spherical video capture, though not as many as during the height of the 360-degree video fad. The cameras that survived serve a dual purpose, leveraging software so you can use video for both VR headsets and flat screens. Software tools allow you to manipulate video in interesting ways, as you can see in the GoPro Max clip above.
There are also outliers in the design department. The DJI Pocket 2 has a gimbal-stabilized camera—it's not rugged, but vloggers should take a look.
You should also consider your specific needs. Not all cameras are suitable for every sport and certain designs lend themselves better to particular activities. On top of that, different shapes allow for different mounting accessories and possibilities. If you want to catch a unique perspective, like an under-skateboard shot, pay close attention to a camera's size. If you're already invested in a system, like GoPro, which uses a proprietary mount, then sticking with what you've got can help you save money on accessories.
GoPro Hero10 Black (Credit: Jim Fisher)
Waterproofing is an important aspect to consider if you plan to record underwater or even around water. Some waterproof cameras can go deeper than others or even have built-in waterproofing so you don't need to worry about an extra housing.
Longtime editors might be happy working with desktop editing software, but adventurers might want to cut footage on a smartphone or tablet. Look for a model with built-in Wi-Fi at a minimum if mobile editing is important.
Mobile editing in the GoPro app (Credit: GoPro / Jim Fisher)
You get better software support from name-brand options. GoPro and DJI include full-featured smartphone apps for on-the-go editing. Both automatically create an edit from your shots, a plus when you just want to get a quick social post out.
If you go with a brand that doesn't supply an editing app, you have to bring your own. It's easy enough to use iMovie or Adobe Premiere Rush to cut clips together on your phone, however. If you need software for your desktop or laptop, check out our top video editing recommendations.
We've filmed hours of footage with many of the major contenders to determine where each device stands in the field. Ultimately, your choice should come down to performance and ease of use.