Top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger films

Published by Jos Austin

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From True Lies to The Terminator, we count down Arnold Schwarnegger’s finest moments…

arnold schwarzenegger - top 10 films

With the recent release of the trailer for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest upcoming movie Sabotage, the Terminator, Mr Universe, and former Governor of California is showing no signs of retiring (again) any time soon.

But at 66, Arnie can’t have many gun-wielding, explosion-escaping, cheesy line-dropping scenes left in him (even if Chuck Norris still manages it at 73).

So, in a celebration of everything Arnie, Jos Austin offers a list of the Austrian Oak’s top 10 films.

10. “Who is your Daddy, and what does he do?” – Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Arnie plays undercover cop John Kimble who must act as a kindergarten teacher in a mission to capture his nemesis, a drug dealer, who Kimble believes will reach out to his family. In a reflection of his own career at this point in time, Kimble’s hardened Detective mellows as the film plays out, leading to a more PG-friendly Schwarzenegger (even though this film arrived on the back of Total Recall). As brilliant as it sounds, Kindergarten Cop serves up some classic Arnie one-liners and hilarious scenes with a 6ft 3″ muscle bound Schwarzenegger, and really tiny children.

Arnie’s golden moment: Losing his cool at school, dashing out of the building and screaming “SHUT UP” and the top of this Austrian-American lungs.

9. “Crom laughs at your four winds.” – Conan the Barbarian (1982)

If you haven’t seen Conan the Barbarian and you think the quote above somehow makes sense, or is of any relevance to anything at all in the film, then you’re more in the know the rest of us who’ve seen it. Set in a fantasy world that’s sort of a mixture of Thor and Game of Thrones, Arnie plays Conan the Barbarian, hell bent on seeking revenge for the death of this entire family by the hands of evil (snake morphing) sorcerer Darth Vader – I mean James Earl Jones. Blood, violence, and women randomly jumping to their deaths ensue. In his first big role in a major motion picture, Arnie had to actually tone down his workout in order to properly wield a sword.

Arnie’s golden moment: Biting a vulture to death whilst crucified. Brilliant.

8. “Its turbo time!” – Jingle All The Way (1996)

It’s Christmas and work obsessed Howard (Arnie) has forgotten to pick up his son’s (Star Wars’ Jake Lloyd) Turbo Man doll in time for the big day. I mean, Turbo Man “is only the world’s fastest selling toy ever, durhhh!” In a battle to get their hands on a doll, Howard and crazy postal worker Myron (Sinbad), pit their wits against each other in a race against time (and Howard’s next door neighbour who is eating all the big man’s cookies), culminating in a showdown at the Christmas Eve parade. Needless to say, this one isn’t exactly a classic, but Christmas and Arnie go hand in hand like… something that goes hand in hand.

Arnie’s golden moment: Nothing shouts Christmas like punching a reindeer in the face.

7. “No sequel for you.” – Last Action Hero (1993)

Ever wanted to step inside your favourite character’s movie and kick some ass? John McTiernan’s (Die Hard, Predator) film does just that. Young kid Danny Madigan’s dream comes true when he gets hold of a magic cinema ticket that thrusts him into the movie world of badass cop Jack Slater (Arnie). Slater’s world is just like a PG-13 movie; bad guys die, the good guys win, and every girl’s phone number begins with 555. Brilliantly tongue-in-cheek and playing on the success of Arnie’s previous action movies, Last Action Hero is as fun as it is corny.

Arnie’s golden moment: Quoting Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” before blowing a whole load of shit up. “Not to be”, then.

6. “I’ve seen you before. You’re the asshole on TV.” – The Running Man (1987)

Very loosely based on the novel by Stephen King, Arnie plays the wrongly accused Ben Richards, who is arrested after refusing to gun down innocent civilians and forced to work in a labour camp by the totalitarian government of 2019. Escaping with the help of his buddies (and poor Chico), Richards is then recaptured and made to feature in everyone’s favourite uber violent TV show, The Running Man – where fugitives are given a head start from an elite squad of killers, all with ridiculous gimmicks. Arnold and friends must battle their way through each stage of the hellish game show, with the body count really totting up in this one.

Arnie’s golden moment: After slaying the first elite killer, ice hockey obsessed Sub Zero, Arnie delivers the film’s best, and most head-scratching line, “here lies Sub Zero, now… plain zero!” Anyone!??

5. “What can I say? I’m a spy.” – True Lies (1994)

Reuniting with director James Cameron for the third time, True Lies is an action-packed Arnie blockbuster. Harry Tasker (Arnie) has two lives. One of these lives, a computer salesman, is a front to keep his wife Helen (Jamie-Lee Curtis) from finding out the truth that he is in fact a top secret intelligence agency spy. From its James Bond style opening (tuxedo and all), to Arnie casually circling skyscrapers in a Harrier jump jet, True Lies is hard to imagine without anybody but Arnie in its leading role, and is one of his most entertaining outings. Get the popcorn in.

Arnie’s golden moment: Chasing a terrorist on a motorcycle through a busy posh hotel whilst riding a horse. A HORSE!

4. “Get your ass to Mars.” – Total Recall (1990)

Am I really who I think I am? Aliens. Mutants. Women with three boobs. Does Benny have five or four kids to feed? What a mind f***. Based on Phillip K. Dick’s short story ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’, Total Recall is true science fiction farce. From the brilliant Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Starship Troopers), Doug Quaid (Arnie), an average construction worker, has nightmares about Mars. Curious, Quaid visits ‘Rekall’, a fake memory implant company offering package holiday type deals where you can be anyone and do anything. But, something goes wrong and Quaid slowly begins to remember that he is in fact a secret agent. Or is he? Journeying to Mars in a quest to reveal his true identity, Arnie blows the lid off the whole damn place. Literally. One of his best.

Arnie’s golden moment: It’s hard to choose one. But Arnie throwing Michael Ironside’s arms down a lift shaft after his falling corpse is probably the best. Unfortunately, Richter won’t be going to the party after all.

3. “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” – Predator (1987)

Working once again with director John McTiernan, Arnie plays Major Dutch, leader of a crack commando rescue team sent in to the Central American jungle to rescue some guys who’ve been kidnapped by guerillas (not be mistaken for gorillas). Realising his team has been set up by Dillon (Carl Weathers), Dutch’s old pal, CIA pencil pusher, and all-round son-of-a-bitch, Arnie’s team begin to be picked off one by one by an unseen foe in the heart of the jungle. Featuring one of the sci-fi/horror genre’s most renowned characters, Predator remains one of the best sci-fi/action films to date, as well as being one of Arnie’s best performances.

Arnie’s golden moment: In the film’s climax Arnie goes all Rambo on us, setting traps and fashioning sharp pointy sticks to lure in the Predator and kill it dead, before bellowing an almighty scream reportedly heard round the world.

2. “I’ll be back” – The Terminator (1984)

Well, here it is ladies and gentlemen. The film that made Arnie’s career. Sent from the future to the year 1984 to kill Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). She is the mother of an unborn son John, who in the future leads a human resistance against the machines. Arnie plays the horrifyingly disturbing cyborg killing machine, the Terminator. Written and directed by James Cameron (who almost bankrupted himself in order to make the film) this tech-noir action/thriller gained cult success overnight when it was released in 1984, and thrust our beloved Arnie into the big time. Pulpy, intensely thrilling, and as dark as they come, The Terminator is not only Arnie’s best film, but one of the best films of the ’80s, and perhaps of all time.

Arnie’s golden moment: Emerging from the time-travelling lightning storm to the year 1984, the Terminator stands tall in all his hyper-masculine glory, scanning the cityscape meticulously with a look of absolute dread and terror. Awesome stuff.

1. “Hasta la vista… baby.” Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

It was a toss-up for the No.1 spot between this and The Terminator, but T2 just pips it to the finish line. Terminator 2: Judgement Day is Arnie at his brilliant best. Collaborating with Cameron on this hugely big-budgeted sequel, Arnie plays the hero this time round, with the Terminator sent back in time by an older John Connor to protect his younger 10-year-old self. Out-matched by a newer, more deadly model of Terminator, the shape-shifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick), our much-loved Arnie becomes a father figure to John, again becoming a reflection of his real-life self at this point in time – a family man with children of his own. T2 cites everything that was right with its predecessor, but this time gives it a nice Hollywood varnish. Well done everyone.

Arnie’s golden moment: Saying goodbye to John whilst being lowered into the steel. “I know now why you cry.” Gets me every time.

So, there you have it folks. Thanks for reading.

“No problemo.”

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Jos is a film fanatic and writes regularly on movies and television

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