The Austrian former body-builder has got 50 titles under his belt… though the only one stretching his acting skills is probably playing the Governator of California, ahah. But after a decade since he played his iconic role that catapulted him to stardom, Schwarzenegger has reportedly confirmed he’ll be back for the next Terminator movie. I thought his comeback in The Last Stand was fun to watch, harkening back to his action hero roles of the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately it tanks at the box office, earning a paltry $7 mil so far. Don’t cry for him though, I don’t think Ahnuld’s going to let his career go down without a fight
So just for the fun of it, I partnered with my pal Ted S. to list our top five fave of Arnie’s movies all the way back to the early 80s.
Please vote at the end of the post for YOUR top five favorites!
After several years of serving the public as the governor of CA, Arnold’s back on the big screen and as a fan of his work, I’m pretty excited to see him kicking ass on the big screen again. I’ve seen every single one of his films, even the awful Hercules in NY, that’s the film I wish I hadn’t seen, seriously don’t ever see it.
Anyway, here are my favorite films he starred in:
5. Conan the Barbarian
John Milius’ 1982 film is kind of underrated when it comes to Arnold’s filmography. It has everything you want in this kind of genre, magic, swords play and lots of blood. Also, Basil Poledouris’ score was pretty great.
4. True Lies
Cameron and Arnold teamed up for the third time in this loosely remake of a 1991 French film, La Totale! As with most films directed by Cameron, it was the most expensive ever produced around that time, the budget was around $120mil. The film wasn’t as big hit as the studio had hoped but it was a fun action/adventure summer tent pole. Plus Arnold played a super spy and blew a lot of sh*t up; you can’t go wrong with that.
This was Arnold’s first major big box office hit and it’s one hell of a film. Under the direction of John McTiernan (Die Hard 1 & 3), this modern day telling of The Most Dangerous Game was filled with big shootouts and explosions. Keep an eye out for young writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon series, Iron Man 3), he played one of the soldiers on Arnold’s team and he told a pretty funny and dirty joke in the movie.
2. Total Recall (1990)
Originally David Cronenberg was going to direct this film and Patrick Swayze was in talks to play the lead role. But when the producer couldn’t raise enough money, Arnold decided to buy the script and brought Paul Verhoeven on board to direct it. In an interview Verhoeven said he decided to ditch the more serious tone of the script because he knows that Arnold doesn’t have much range when it comes to acting, so he decided to make the film a little campy yet fun. Filled with shootouts, blood and a three breasts mutant hooker, the film was one of the biggest hits in the summer of 1990.
1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
James Cameron’s epic sequel to his first sci-fi hit, The Terminator, is one of my favorite films ever! I’ve seen it countless times and bought many editions on home video, from VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. The film was filled with great special effects, long and spectacular car chases and shoot outs; it’s truly a great summer event film.
- The Terminator: This one didn’t make my top 5 because well, Arnold’s the villain and he’s hardly in the movie. Originally Cameron wanted OJ Simpson to play The Terminator and Arnold was going to play the hero Kyle Reese, but upon reading the script, Arnold wanted The Terminator part. In a documentary about this film, there’s a funny story of how both Cameron and Arnold agreed that he should be The Terminator, give it a watch if you some free time.
- Red Heat: Walter Hill’s version of buddy cop action of the 80s, Arnold played a hard-nosed Russian cop who came to Chicago and had to team up with Chicago detective, James Belushi, to track down a Russian drug dealer who killed his partner. I thought Belushi was pretty funny as the not so friendly side kick and of course the film contained some good shootouts and a crazy bus chase on the streets of Chicago.
- Eraser: Warner Bros. thought they could start another famous one liner by having Arnold utter the words “You’ve been erased”, fortunately it never took off because when the trailer of the movie came out and audiences heard Arnold said that line, they bursts out laughing. So Warner decided not to use it as part of the promotion for the film. Besides that bad one liner, the film was actually a lot of fun. Filled with big stunts and shootouts, it’s the usual Arnold’s summer flick. Unfortunately it didn’t do as well as the studio had hoped since it opened in the busy summer of 1996 against heavy weights such as Mission: Impossible, Twister, The Rock and ID4. It was actually the last film of Arnold that earned $100mil domestically.
5. Kindergarten Cop
I quite like Arnold in action comedies, he should stick to this genre. Something about his acting style just lends itself to hilarious moments! He plays a tough city cop who has to go undercover as a kindergarten teacher in order to catch a drug dealer. The moment he went berserk watching kids being well, kids, yelling ‘SHUUUUUUUUUUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!’ is quite a hoot.
4. The Last Stand
As you’ve perhaps read in my review, I enjoyed this movie and it’s one I actually don’t mind watching again. Ahnuld is not the usual invincible action hero, unabashedly poking fun at the fact that he’s no spring chicken anymore. Fun action filled with plenty of humor, I thought it was a pretty decent comeback vehicle for Arnold. I really think action comedies suit Arnold the best, I do hope this wouldn’t be his last in this genre.
I know it’s not the most brilliant action thrillers out there, but I quite enjoyed this one. It’s Ahnuld doing what he does best, that is to protect a damsel in distress, even if that means fighting a slew of bad guys… and an alligator? Once again an evil corporation is involved, with James Caan as the villain. The damsel is played by Vanessa Williams, she’s not a good actress obviously, but she was sympathetic enough to make you care. I’m glad they didn’t force a romance between the two of them though. The special effects team was actually nominated for an Oscar, and the shootouts and car chases make for a pretty fun thrill ride. Plus I like the ending… yes the “You’ve just been erased” line isn’t quite as iconic as his other lines, but it actually works to great effect here.
2. Terminator 2 (1991)
This is easily the best Terminator movie of the bunch and perhaps one of the best sequels ever in the history of movie franchises. It’s got everything we love about the first movie and more! I like the relationship between Sarah Conor (the bad ass Linda Hamilton) and her son John (Edward Furlong), and the unlikely father/son bond between John Connor and the Terminator himself. There’s a lot of humor, such as when John teaches him phrases that became iconic, like ‘Hasta la vista, baby.’ Plus we’ve got a fantastic and terrifying villain in the form of a more advanced and deadlier T-1000, played in a scene-stealing performance by Robert Patrick. This is one of those classic sci-fi movies that not only entertain but actually make you think. “It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.” Sadly, that’s not far from the truth.
1. True Lies (1994)
This is easily one of my favorite movies from the 90s as it’s so wildly entertaining. It’s yet another Arnie’s collaboration with James Cameron. It’s decidedly more lighthearted than the Terminator franchise, but just as action packed and packed with humor as well. Jamie Lee Curtis is perfectly cast as Arnie’s wife who’s kept in the dark as her husband leads a double life. There are tons of memorable scenes between this husband and wife, and Arnie + Jamie Lee share a strong chemistry! Plus there’s Moses himself Charlton Heston as the secret agency’s big boss!
This is a quintessential big, loud, popcorn Summer movie, and it absolutely works. It’s a fun thrill ride from start to finish, even though the terrorist villains are hilariously cartoonish. I also love the Tango he did with Tia Carrere, even though she does most of the dancing, ahah. It remains one of my favorite movie Tangos of all time!
- Conan The Destroyer
This is one of my childhood favorite, I don’t know why I loved it so much. I must’ve watched it over a dozen times! I haven’t watched it since though, but I put it here for nostalgia sake.
- The Last Action Hero
The fantastical time travel element makes this a fun action flick, and Arnie’s never been shy of self-parody. It’s a great spoof of his go-to action genre, playing on all the cliches and stereotypes. He plays a larger-than-life action hero Jack Slater, worshiped by a young boy who ends up being transported into Slater’s world where the good guys always saves the day. John McTiernan of the Die Hard fame directed this and it has a similar absurd rock ‘em, sock ‘em sensibilities that please action fans. I remember seeing this on the big screen with my brother and we both had a good time.
- The Terminator (1984)
As Ted said, Arnold didn’t have as much screen time here compared to the second movie. Still, it’s one of the most iconic action sci-fis – full of memorable over-the-top scenes and one liners. “Come with me if you want to live.” I love Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese in this one, and of course Linda Hamilton is just perfectly cast. The idea that humans would be overtaken by the very things they created is intriguing and it’s been used many times over in various medium, but this franchise shall remains a classic even to this day. I haven’t seen this in a while, so I might rewatch this and T-2 sometime soon!
Now it’s YOUR turn! Cast your vote below.
Thoughts on our picks? Feel free to chime in about Ahnuld and his movies in the comments!