Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best films show an obvious pattern that has dominated the Austrian actor’s cinema since its inception: Action Heroes of All Time. That is the figure that has characterized him in his career and the one that has led him to be one of the most important stars in Hollywood history. With muscles that seemed from another planet and irrefutable charisma, Arnold a.k.a ‘Arnie’ won the hearts of billions of viewers around the world. The people loved him so much, still do, that they even made him 38th Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. As of 2022, he is the most recent Republican governor of California.
We want to celebrate the actor’s legacy with his best works, which we order in this ranking following the notes of IMDB, the most complete film database on the internet. What better way to measure which films are most loved by the public? The result will not surprise you too much: we find of course the first two installments of ‘ Terminator ‘, with special affection for ‘ Terminator 2: Judgment Day ‘, one of the highest-grossing films in history and one of the most remembered. It is pure action cinema with a futuristic touch, something that Schwarzenegger has explored on numerous occasions: we will also find ‘ Persecuted ‘, where the actor lives a dystopian future in which life or death games are broadcast on television (as in ‘ The Games of hunger’), and also ‘ Predator’, one of his most recognizable films and where he faced a deadly alien from space. Of course, we wanted to leave out of this list cameos like the ones he has in Robert Altman’s ‘The Long Goodbye’ or ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ because we want to focus on his most leading roles.
Without further ado, these are the best films of the great and inimitable Arnold Schwarzenegger, as inspired by IMDB. Without a doubt though, his most favorite role has to be his portrayal of the Terminator, and he’s one of the highest paid actors for a single production for his performance in Terminator 3, netting more than $30 million!!!
The Last Challenge (Jee-woon Kim, 2013)
IMDB Rating: 6.3
The late Arnie is still as forceful and effective in action movies as he was in his early days. Well, maybe with less muscle and some mixed emotions on his face, but he’s still a star. This is demonstrated in this film by Jee-Woon Kim, who finds a national villain in Eduardo Noriega.
Wracked with guilt after a failed operation, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) leaves his post with the Los Angeles Police Department’s narcotics division to move to the quiet border town of Sommerton Junction, where crime isn’t exactly plentiful. But this peaceful existence is cut short when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most prominent drug lord in the Western Hemisphere, makes a spectacular and bloody escape from an FBI prisoner convoy.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Jonathan Mostow, 2003)
IMDB RATING: 6.3
Somehow, the IMDB Ratings have slipped us here this third installment that, although it is not as bad as the fifth, it is not very easy to enjoy either. It turns out that the sacrifice for which we cried in 1991 had been in vain. Come now! Even so, we include it here, being faithful to the votes of the public, which is (almost) always wise.
This new installment starts a decade after that fateful day that was going to be the last for humanity. John Connor (Nick Stahl) is now a lonely 22-year-old, who will again receive visitors from the future: on the one hand, the Terminator TX model (Kristanna Loken), ready to finish the work that the T-1,000 left pending, and on the other, the friendly face of the T-850 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) … or not so friendly.
The Last Great Hero (John McTiernan, 1993)
IMDB RATING: 6.4
John McTiernan never fails. He has that ability to sign iconic films, and, although this would not be at the top of the list along with another of his productions, it is a wonderful adventure film with Arnold Schwarzenegger being what he has always been: a great star. of action.
Danny Madigan is an ardent admirer of Jack Slater, an action movie hero. Thanks to an entrance with magical powers, he manages to enter the screen and live exciting adventures with Jack. Things get complicated when the bad guys from the movie snatch her ticket and escape to the real world.
Hunted (The Running Man)’ (Paul Michael Glaser, 1987)
IMDB RATING: 6.7
This remarkable dystopian film by Paul Michael Glaser is based on the interesting novel ‘The Fugitive’ by Richard Bachman (then the pseudonym of Stephen King). The picture it paints of the future (in 2017): that those who possess an indecent amount of power and resources have access to the media turns society into a circus of lies and manipulation. Of course, one of those science fiction movies that seem to talk about the present.
The year is 2019 and the United States is under its first totalitarian government. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Hunted, fleeing for his life. A deadly, futuristic carnival in which they fight for their survival.
Escape Plan (Mikael Håfström, 2013)
IMDB RATING: 6.7
Contemporary action cinema is still rich in creators interested in formal innovation, but the cultural fever for retro makes the trend, rather, the nostalgic carousel. ‘Escape Plan’ by Mikael Håfström has the texture and narrative development of a high concept born in the mid-90s, although it succeeds in strengthening the current virtues of two headliners. And on top of that, it has two stars in front like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. What can go wrong? It can also be considered one of the best Sylvester Stallone movies.
Ray Breslin (Stallone) is the ultimate prison security expert. He will have to prove it when, the victim of a conspiracy, he finds himself imprisoned in an escape-proof prison. There he will join forces with another prisoner, Emil (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who will help him take revenge and escape.
Commando (Mark L Lester, 1985)
IMDB RATING: 6.7
It was his great moment, little by little he managed to pronounce entire sentences in English and Mark Lester trusted the Austrian to play John Matrix, a retired colonel who will be forced to overthrow a coup army by himself to be with his Jenny again. Damn Bennett and the sexy outfits of him…
John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the former leader of a special operations group, currently lives away from the noise of the city, in the middle of a forest with his daughter. Years ago, the Matrix unit overthrew a dictator of a South American country and replaced him with a democratic president. But after a few years, the deposed dictator kidnaps his daughter, to force him to carry out one last mission: assassinate the current president to regain power.
Conan the Barbarian’ (John Milius, 1982)
IMDB RATING: 6.9
The resemblance between John Milius’s film and Robert E. Howard’s Cimmerian hero leaves much to be desired, but even so, discovering the secret of steel has been an adventure for more than thirty years. Whether because of the magic of that time, because of the wonderful soundtrack by Basil Poledouris or because of seeing the young Jorge Sanz, it seems that the years have only improved this tale of sword and sorcery.
In a remote world, little Conan watches as an enemy town massacre his family. He is a boy who belongs to a primitive tribe. His memory is engraved with the faces of the warriors who have exterminated his family and who have sold him to slave traders. Years later, the young man has become a strong and brave warrior.
Bad Lies (James Cameron, 1994) 20th Century Studios
IMDB RATING: 7.2
Many maintain that this is the last great action movie, at least the one that we framed between the 80s and 90s. Others even point out that it was the end of James Cameron’s career, ignoring two little movies he made after they blew up the box office for the centuries of centuries. One way or another, Schwarzenegger harnesses like never before a perfect blend of breakneck sequences and well-chosen jokes alongside a surprisingly effective Tom Arnold. And what about Jamie Lee Curtis, who is a couple of minutes more and is done with the absolute protagonist.
Agent Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) leads a double life. He speaks six languages, masters all forms of counterintelligence, and is an international spy for a top-secret US government agency tasked with neutralizing nuclear terrorism. For National Security reasons, Harry hides his true profession from Helen (Lee Curtis), the woman he married fifteen years ago and who is growing bored with the man she thinks is a computer salesman.