Top Ten Arnie Films

With the news that Arnold Schwarzenegger is planning a return to the film industry (after a somewhat dubious career as Governor of California), it seems fitting to do a quick a career re-cap of everyone’s favourite (last) action hero.

So flex your biceps, crack your knuckles and check out my top ten Arnie experiences:

10: Jingle All The Way (1996)

Directed by: Brian Levant

‘I’m not a pervert! I was just looking for a Turbo Man doll!’ – I guess a pretty good explanation is needed for this entry… Well I love it and that’s all you’re gonna get. Personally, I reckon this is a great Christmas kids film: funny, pacey and you get to see Arnie beat the crap out of Santa. Gets me in the Holiday spirit.

9: Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Directed by: Ivan Reitman

‘Stop whining! You kids are soft! You lack discipline!’ It still cracks me up seeing Arnie driven to his knees by a bunch of kids, only to shout them into obedience. In reality, he would probably be the teacher from hell, what with his crazy eyes and ability to crush a child’s head with one hand… but I’m all for discipline in schools. Fail your exam and you get Terminated.

8: The Running Man (1987)
Directed by: Paul Michael Glaser

‘I’m not into politics. I’m into survival’ – This time it’s Stephen King that gets the Arnie treatment with his novel adapted into an action sci-fi flick. Schwarzenegger battles against a chainsaw wielding brute, a fat guy wrapped in Christmas lights and the hilariously posing Jim Brown. There’s a message in here somewhere, but all the fun, chaos and downright stupidity makes it somewhat lost.

7: Commando (1985)
Directed by: Mark L. Lester

‘Let off some steam, Bennett’ – Absurd story, bad acting and a villain who wears a chain vest: these are just some of the reasons why Commando is so fun. Arnie revels in multi weapon butchery, painting the town red with a simple message: don’t steal the big guy’s daughter.

6: Predator (1987)
Directed by: John McTiernan

‘Kill me! I’m here! Come on! Do it now! Kill me!’ – The original rumble in the jungle that spawned a huge franchise, Arnie is completely at home pumping hot lead into rebel guerrillas and aliens alike. I defy anyone not to enjoy this testosterone fuelled action fest.

5: True Lies (1994)
Directed by: James Cameron

‘First, I’m gonna use you as a human shield…’ – The American answer to James Bond, Arnie fits the secret agent bill surprisingly well, ditching the traditionally ham performance for a slightly more serious act. Of course, he still gets to blast his way through countless ammo clips, gurn like a bastard and even jumps a horse off a skyscraper. Cameron sure knows how to make ‘em.

4: Film: Total Recall (1990)
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

‘See you at the party, Richter!’ – Probably not what Philip K. Dick quite had in mind when he wrote ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’; but Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation is nevertheless a great watch. Arnie is in full swing, mashing up the bad guys in ‘the biggest mind fuck yet’. And of course, there’s that classic scene where he pulls a tracker the size of a golf ball out of his nose. If only this were the future.

3: Conan The Barbarian (1982)
Directed by: John Milius

‘Crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women!’ – Probably the best fantasy epic prior to Lord Of The Rings, Arnie rules supreme as the oafish warrior whose love of gold, women and ultra-violence put him on Crom’s good side. I pray for the day he returns as a grizzled, brutish king, wandering Cimmeria once more. Hail Conan!

2: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Directed by: James Cameron

‘Chill out, dickwad!’ – Ditching the evil programming but keeping the shades, Arnie returns to the role, this time as John Connor’s bad-ass pet cyborg. Compadre of choice when it all kicks off, T2 proves that you should never argue with an Austrian armed with a minigun. Defined the ‘90’s blockbuster.

1. The Terminator (1984)
Directed by: James Cameron

‘Nice night for a walk’ – Arnie’s introduction to the world as a muscle-bound cyborg killing machine simply has to the hit the Number 1 spot. Still best known for his part in Cameron’s cutting-edge sci-fi noir, Schwarzenegger’s verbal references to the role in political speeches does question the sanity of US politics… but you can’t fault the film. Outstanding stuff.

So there we have it. Any of your favourites not make the top ten? Let us know.

List written and compiled by @filmfellahenry
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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

5 Responses to Top Ten Arnie Films

  1. Kebaben says:

    Glad to see Jingle All The Way make the cut. It’s a very underrated christmas comedy. As for what got left out, I recall being quite fond of The 6th Day and Twins, although it’s been a while since I’ve seen either.

    • It’s nice to read that someone else likes Jingle All The Way as I normally get so much stick over it! It was a shame leaving out Twins, along with Red Heat, Raw Deal and Last Action Hero. I don’t believe his comeback will hold much promise though

  2. FlimsRruss says:

    “If it bleeds, we can kill it!” I would have thought Predator was worthy of a higher position, certainly above True Lies and Total Recall. But I can’t fault you on the ten films you have chosen. Glad to see Conan is there; can be a bit cheesy, but you’re right, you’d be hard pushed to find a better fantasy until LOTR was made.

    • Good to see another Conan fan, that film somehow gets overlooked by far too many people. I guess the whole fantasy genre generally takes a constant bashing, which is a shame as it offers so much potential as interesting backdrop. Hopefully A Game of Thrones will change some preconceptions.

  3. chris says:

    Hercules in New York and Pumping Iron need to be mentioned (at least)!

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