Best 15 Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a well-known Austrian-American actor and former California governor. He rose to international prominence after appearing in several action flicks. He also won a bodybuilding competition and wrote a book about healthy living. Many individuals were motivated to pursue their aspirations after seeing his success as an action star. Others, on the other hand, compared him to James Bond.

Schwarzenegger has the body and charisma of a spy, but he was Austrian and did not speak with a British accent. Schwarzenegger was renowned as the Austrian Oak as a world-famous bodybuilder. He earned his first Mr. Universe title in 1967 and three more in the following years. From 1970 to 1975, he held the Mr. Olympia title in succession before resigning from bodybuilding and pursuing his childhood passion of becoming an actor.

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His debut film, Hercules in New York, in which he played the titular role, is well-known, although his dialogues were dubbed by someone else. Later that year, Arnold appeared in the documentary Pumping Iron, which earned him the right to play the lead in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian.

In 1984, he helped launch the Terminator franchise, and throughout the next two decades, he appeared in films such as Predator, True Call, and Kindergarten Cop. He returned to the Terminator franchise for the subsequent two sequels, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Best 15 Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

  1. The Terminator

    Director: James Cameron

    Writers: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, William Wisher

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn

    Genres: Action, Sci-Fi

     The Terminator (1984) on IMDb

    Directed by James Cameron, the 1984 horror sci-fi film marked Arnold’s stardom. The plot is set in a post-apocalyptic 2029 Los Angeles. The world is in ruins after the machines turned hostile and took over the planet. As a last resort against the successful human resistance led by John Connor, Skynet( an artificial intelligence defense system turned rogue) sends the Terminator( a virtually indestructible cyborg efficient at killing) disguised as a human back in 1984 to kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor.

    Kyle Reese, one of the human resistance soldiers, is also teleported back in 1984 to stop the Terminator and save Sarah. After killing two other Sarah Connors, the Terminator finally targets the intended one. Reese rescues her and the couple manages to escape. In a thrilling pursuit and the twists that slowly unfold, this action flick has perfectly incorporated the horror genre into the world of science fiction all thanks to James Cameron’s blockbuster formula.

  2. Predator

    Director: John McTiernan

    Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

     Predator (1987) on IMDb

    Directed by John McTiernan, Predator is one of those Rambo-style movies that were on a streak in the 80’s action genre. The story is about Vietnam War Veteran Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) with fast-paced, gory, and action sequences with portentous music in the background. Dutch and his military rescue team are assigned an extraction operation.

    CIA officer Al Dillon, Dutch’s war veteran buddy is tasked to tag along with him on the mission. As they dig into the matter, Dutch suspects Dillon’s presence is not just related to the extraction. They fight with local guerillas when they enter the jungle to rescue others. Dutch and his team manage to beat them. Soon after, they find that men of their caliber were grotesquely torn apart, which is almost impossible given their level of training.

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    Men from Dutch’s team disappear or get picked off one by one. It was only a matter of time before they realized they were against something inhuman, something otherworldly, and they were the ones being hunted by a Predator. Fast but accurately paced action and perfect build-up of the mysterious creature still earned the movie poor critics. Much like many other movies, critics did not stop this action flick from being liked by the majority of the male viewers for its full-on machoness.

  3. Total Recall

    Director: Paul Verhoeven

    Writers: Philip K. Dick, Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

     Total Recall (1990) on IMDb

    A uniquely thought-out scenario by the director Paul Verhoeven. Total Recall perfectly captures the nightmarish aspects of dreams turned into reality on a scientifically advanced futuristic Earth. Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a supposed construction worker, has visions of Mars and an unknown woman. Suspecting his memories are implanted, he goes to a memory implanting company to check his memories.

    After his supposed colleague and wife attack him, Quaid’s suspicions fade into reality. He was a Martian secret agent of the Cohaagen Agency. Recognizing Douglas as a major threat to their power, the government planted false memories inside Quaid’s head and set up a normal lifestyle for him to live out.

    To completely know his true identity and those behind the cover-up, Quaid travels to Mars only to be dragged down the rabbit hole. With escapism at its core and prosthetics, the movie is a perfect balance of action, sci-fi, and a pinch of Arnold humor.

  4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

    Director: James Cameron

    Writers: James Cameron, William Wisher

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton. Edward Furlong

    Genres: Action, Sci-Fi

     Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) on IMDb

    If you thought that the “I will be back!!!” Terminator was just a character thing then sorry to break it with the second part of the franchise that is critically claimed to be better than its prequel. Better action, special effects, and Terminators- this cries out James Cameron’s demands for Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

    Sarah learning about the apocalypse that will occur shortly, raises her son John for the end times. Her efforts to spread the word of the “Judgement Day (the day Skynet turns against humanity)” worsen the matter. She is sent to an asylum and John gets adopted. The year 1995 and John’s life is about to change for the worst after T-1000 (an improved version of the legacy Terminator) travels back in time to kill humanity’s savior.

    To battle the murdering unit of a cyborg, humans send a less improved version of the T-1000, the T-800. The nearly destructible and shape-shifting T-1000 is an unstoppable force that John, T-800, and a doubtful Sarah need to deal with simultaneously, stopping the progressive creation of Skynet. This is a turning point in the entire movie industry. With James Cameron’s exceptional direction, other movie elements significantly boost portraying his otherworldly sci-fi ideas.

  5. Commando

    Director: Mark L. Lester

    Writers: Jeph Loeb, Matthew Weisman, Steven E. de Souza

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

     Commando (1985) on IMDb

    Considered Arnold’s ride to extravagant action stardom, Commando is one of 80’s guns and glory with muscles and brawn type American action film. Director Mark L.Lester has completely utilized Arnold’s unwavering cliche role type to its fullest in a much more thrilling plot. Colonel Matrix has to get himself involved in a political dispute after a bunch of men kidnap his 10-year-old daughter under the order of a dictator. Holding his daughter hostage, the dictator wants Matrix to kill the President of his country to gain power over the nation.

    Unwillingly, Matrix accepts the job momentarily but jumps out of the plane that was carrying him to his mission. With Cindy helping Matrix to bring down the dictator, the one-man army dives straight into the enemy lair to save his daughter and put an end to the villain’s plan. Loaded with action-packed sequences, explosions, and ammunition, this over-the-top action movie is enjoyed for its flaws, not despite them.

  6. Last Action Hero

    Director: John McTiernan

    Writers: Zak Penn, Adam Leff, Shane Black

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, Art Carney

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

     Last Action Hero (1993) on IMDb

    Another of John McTiernan’s anomalies. A unique yet overloaded plot for an action movie. With Arnold in the frontier, the story does make a lot of sense of the nonsensical elements. Danny Madigan is an 11-year-old boy who is obsessed with pop cultured action movies. Sometimes, to escape from his boring New York City lifestyle, the boy fantasized about his favorite action hero Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

    Danny’s friend Nick, an elderly movie projectionist allows the little boy to come to the theater and watch Jack in action in his new movies. Nick gives Danny a magic ticket. Danny enters the theatre with the magic ticket stub. During the movie, the boy gets flung across and lands on the rear seat of Jack’s sports car in Jack Slater IV.

    As Jack’s sidekick, Danny helps his hero battle three bad guys. Things start getting messy after one of the bad guys steals Danny’s magic ticket and comes to the real world with the other two. As they wreak havoc on New York Broadway, Slater reluctantly comes to the real world to put an end to the bad guys.

  7. True Lies

    Director: James Cameron

    Writers: Claude Zidi, Simon Michaël, Didier Kaminka

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold

    Genres: Action, Comedy, Thriller

     True Lies (1994) on IMDb

    It might not be the best collaboration between James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it’s still up there. The 1994 spy action-comedy film gives has the typical good guy bad guy scenario but it always satisfying to watch the bad guys get what they deserve. And what better there is to watch our muscle-bound action star do the deed?

    Based on the French movie La Totale, True Lies is about Harry Tasker, a nerdy computer salesman by the day and a secret agent by night. Keeping his actual job discrete, it becomes challenging for Harry to be a good husband and a father. Harry suspects his wife Helen to be in an extramarital affair but deals with the man who was trying to seduce her by claiming to be a secret agent; he was a car salesman.

    Helen later learns about Harry’s true identity but things do not look good for the couple when a group of Islamic terrorists kidnaps them. In an attempt to stop the Jihad group and save his wife, Harry, with the help of his secret agent friends, have to make it through and stop the detonation of four nuclear warheads.

  8. Conan The Barbarian

    Director: John Milius

    Writers: Robert E. Howard, John Milius, Oliver Stone

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

     Conan the Barbarian (1982) on IMDb

    Based on the comic books from the 1930s and directed by John Millius, the epic fantasy movie full of beasts and sorcery technically has a splendid lead role for the muscle man. Some say this catapulted Arnold’s career from bodybuilding to an action star. The story begins with the massacre of young Conan’s parents at the hand of Thulsa Doom.

    With the death of his parents, the young boy is captured and enslaved in The Wheel of Pain. Enslaved for years, the boy grows up to be a huge and muscular man with strong willpower. Being the lone survivor of the massacre, Conan achieves freedom and learns the ancient art of fighting. He hones and masters his skills to avenge his parents’ death.

    On his vengeful journey, Conan encounters and befriends two thieves, Valeria and Subota. Learning the connection between Doom and a snake cult, the trio raid one of the cult’s temple. King Osric later requests the trio to rescue the princess who joined the snake cult. Now fixated on a proper goal, the trio set off on an adventure to put an end to Doom and his sinister occult.

  9. The Running Man

    Director: Paul Michael Glaser

    Writers: Stephen King, Steven E. de Souza

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto

    Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

     The Running Man (1987) on IMDb

    Apart from his mechanical and cyborg character (Terminator), Arnold has an energetic role in another post-apocalyptic set movie. A blended mix of senseless but entertaining action, The Running Man is a dystopian action film with weird costumes that is loosely based on a story written by Stephen King. The unique Martian effects, even after thirty years, look promising.

    Set in a corrupted world of 2017 and humoring the wrestling and game shows in the transformed totalitarian state of America, The Running Man is a game show where criminals and government are goose-chased by armed gladiators (“stalkers”) to earn their freedom upon surviving. Ben Richards, a cop in the corrupted country, is jailed after being accused of massacring protestors during a famine.

    He escapes jail to prove his innocence, only to be used as a scapegoat for other regimes. Richards is arrested with another innocent woman, Amber Mendez. They are forced to participate in The Running Game. With the help of other contestants, Richards manages to survive and is willing to do anything to prove his innocence.

  10. Kindergarten Cop

    Director: Ivan Reitman

    Writers: Murray Salem, Herschel Weingrod, Timothy Harris

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed

    Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime

     Kindergarten Cop (1990) on IMDb

    Adding kids to a police chase might lighten the plot’s mood. Not when six-year-olds make it their objective to give you a tough time. A mildly paced but quite entertaining, Kindergarten Cop is an Americana action comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman. LAPD detective police John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his partner Phoebe O’Hara are pursuing a wanted drug lord Cullen Crisp and his mother Eleanor.

    The cops learn that Cullen is searching for his ex-wife Rachel and their little boy. Seeking the opportunity, John and Phoebe try to get to the mother and child first, who have supposedly changed their name. The duo tracks them down to Astoria, Oregon, where the son is studying in kindergarten. With her experience as a school teacher, Phoebe is permitted to teach the kindergarten class. Later, she gets sick due to food poisoning, and a reluctant John replaces her as a substitute teacher and embraces new challenges apart from his police career.

  11. Red Heat

    Director: Walter Hill

    Writers: Walter Hill, Harry Kleiner, Troy Kennedy-Martin

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Belushi, Peter Boyle

    Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Thriller

     Red Heat (1988) on IMDb

    I wondered where Arnold’s “Cocainum” came from. The memetic scene where the muscle man breaks off a fake leg and pours out cocaine is from Red Heat. Besides, the movie is more than just a source of memes. Moscow Militia’s Captain Ivan Danko and his partner are pursuing Russian drug kingpin Viktor Rostvaili.

    In the process, Danko’s partner dies and Viktor escapes to America. Danko is tasked to capture Viktor and bring him back to Russia without unveiling their true intention. Ivan is escorted by two police detectives Art Ridzik and Max Gallagher.

    Viktor who was arrested in a minor trafficking case is interrogated by Danko, who secretly confiscates a key from the drug lord. While being transported, Viktor manages to escape and Max loses his life in the ambush.

    Ridzik and Danko, who don’t get along quite well have to partner up to put an end to the menacing Russian drug trafficker. Reviewed as fast-paced and packed with gunfights and a generic buddy-cop thriller, the movie is entertaining with director Walter Hills’ 48 hours formula plotline.

  12. Raw Deal

    Director: John Irvin

    Writers: Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Donati, Gary DeVore

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Sam Wanamaker

    Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller

     Raw Deal (1986) on IMDb

    One of Arnold’s typical shoot ”em-up movies. Raw Deal is an American action film directed by John Irvin only for Australian Oak fans. Mark Kaminski, a small-town sheriff, and retired FBI agent, is living a secluded life with his wife and constant family disputes. He has been forced to resign from his post for violently beating up a sexual assault.

    Kaminski gets an opportunity to be reinstated by his former FBI buddy Shannon if he manages to bring down Luigi Patrovita, one of the strongest Chicago Outfit Dons who was also responsible for killing Shannon’s son. Kaminski infiltrates Patrovita’s mob as a bodyguard.

    While dealing with his love interest Monique, he tries to interrogate her from the inside discretely. Kaminiski’s facade stops when he is assigned to assassinate none other than Shannon. Poorly criticized but subsequently claimed to be entertaining as a classical 80’s action-thriller, Raw Deal is one of Arnold’s flicks that marked his box-office appeal.

  13. Hercules in New York

    Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman

    Writer: Aubrey Wisberg

    Stars: Arnold Stang, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Deborah Loomis

    Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

     Hercules in New York (1970) on IMDb

    Being Arnold’s first motion picture debut, we can cut him slack. No more obvious than this, the low-budget movie with doubtful retakes and Hercules’s voice-over makes gives it an unappetizing taste to a movie-craving mind. Why did it make it to the list? Well, why not.

    The Australian Oak starts his acting journey from here. It’s his legacy and fans would respect his flaws all the more. Bored of his godly life on Mount Olympus, Hercules decides to take a trip to Earth. Not heeding his father, Zeus’ warning, Hercules was hit by a wild thunderbolt, gets misdirected, and tumbles down the mountain to New York City.

    He befriends pretzel seller Pretzie. He runs afoul of a crooked wrestling promoter, gets mixed up with gangsters, rides his chariot through Times Square, descends into Hell, and dines at the Automat. As he gets used to his life on Earth, an angry Zeus orders Nemesis and other gods to bring his son home.

  14. Escape Plan

    Director: Mikael Håfström

    Writers: Miles Chapman, Jason Keller

    Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 50 Cent

    Genres: Action, Thriller

     Escape Plan (2013) on IMDb

    Unexpectedly a thought-out plot for two of the greatest macho stars, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Surely not devoid of loopholes for the 80s action stars’ typo, Escape Plan barely manages to scratch the surface of the mind-boggling plot that might have come out from Spielberg’s fantasy.

    Aside from that, it is mostly entertaining for fans from the Stallone and Arny era. Founder of a high-security development company and former prosecutor, Ray Breslin’s sketches of prison plans have become world-renowned. To lure out the weak points and loopholes in those plans, Breslin, with the help of his teammates, imprisons himself and tries to escape jail.

    Breslin and his team are approached by the CIA and offered an irresistible deal in exchange for testing a prison’s security based on Breslin’s sketches. They agree to it. After a microchip tracker is implanted in him, Breslin starts suspecting, so his team knows his current location has been removed. The private contractors drug him, and he wakes up in The Tomb.

    Breslin realizes that he has been set up, and it is no longer an escape game. Warden Hobbs, in charge of the Tomb, keeps his eyes on the inmates 24×7 and has a rigorous schedule for his masked guards not to slack off. Breslin meets Emil Rottmayer, another inmate equally eager to make it out of the Tomb. Rottmayer’s determination reinstates Breslin’s hope of escaping the prison if they plan it together.

  15. Stay Hungry

    Director: Bob Rafelson

    Writers: Charles Gaines, Bob Rafelson

    Stars: Jeff Bridges, Sally Field, Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Genres: Comedy, Drama

     Stay Hungry (1976) on IMDb

    One of Bob Rafelson’s quirkiest and unformulated thoughts put to reality. It seemed a wild idea to include bodybuilding in a much more dramatic plot that gave birth to Stay Hungry. The story is about a rich kid, Craig Blake, who lost his parents in a plane crash. Blake is tired of his rich, luxurious, and boring life and enters society’s hustling side.

    He starts working with real-estate dealer Jabo, who plans to buy a district in Birmingham to start a new construction project. Craig is sent to the location to negotiate with locals and offer a reasonable amount in exchange for the district. He finds out about the Olympia Spa, famous among the local weight-lifters. Fascinated by the people in the gym, Blake struggles with his real-estate task, rich lifestyle, and newfound friends (where his heart truly lies).

    Things get more complicated after Mary Tate, the gym’s receptionist, starts liking Blake and he reciprocates her feelings. With doubtful romance, a hint of drama, and 100% bodybuilding, Rafelson’s making has contributed as Kickstarter for Arnold’s acting career.


What are some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most popular movies?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has starred in numerous popular movies throughout his career. Some of his most well-known films include “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Predator,” “Total Recall,” “Kindergarten Cop,” and “The Terminator.”

How many Terminator movies did Arnold Schwarzenegger appear in?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has appeared in multiple movies from the “Terminator” franchise. He played the iconic role of the Terminator in the first film, “The Terminator” (1984), and reprised the role in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991), “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003), “Terminator Salvation” (2009), and “Terminator Genisys” (2015). He also made a brief appearance in “Terminator: Dark Fate” (2019).

Did Arnold Schwarzenegger star in any comedy movies?

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger has showcased his comedic side in several movies. One of his notable comedy films is “Twins” (1988), in which he co-starred with Danny DeVito. He also appeared in “Kindergarten Cop” (1990), “Junior” (1994), and “Jingle All the Way” (1996), among others.

What is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s highest-grossing movie?

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s highest-grossing movie to date is “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” The film, released in 1991, grossed over $500 million worldwide.

Has Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in any recent movies?

Some of his notable recent films include “Escape Plan” (2013), “Terminator: Dark Fate” (2019), and “Kung Fury 2: The Movie” (2022).

Has Arnold Schwarzenegger directed any movies?

Yes, he directed the 1992 TV movie “Christmas in Connecticut” and the 1997 action-comedy film “The 6th Day,” in which he also starred.

Did Arnold Schwarzenegger ever take a break from acting?

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger took a break from acting for a period of time. After completing his second term as the Governor of California in 2011, he temporarily stepped away from the film industry to focus on political and personal endeavors. However, he returned to acting after his tenure as Governor.

What is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most famous movie role?

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most famous movie role is undoubtedly that of the Terminator in James Cameron’s “The Terminator” (1984) and its subsequent sequels.


Here are the top 15 Arnold Schwarzenegger movies of all time. The pumping muscles and perfect aesthetic that smoothly blends with action and adventure will keep you at the edge of your seat. The violence and the explosions giving the macho feel make it all the more entertaining if you are craving some intense action on your movie night. Robots, cops, undercover agents; you name it. Classic as well as new. For 80s Arnold fans or an action craze, this watchlist is perfect to be checked out one by one.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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