Top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger Action Movies Ranked
Action movies from time-traveling murderbots to nuke-stealing terrorists, there's nothing Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't punched, kicked or detonated.
The venerable action hero and Hollywood icon Arnold Schwarzenegger owned the '80s and '90s with such action classics as "The Terminator," "Predator" and "Total Recall." Whether armed with a small arsenal or just with his fists, the once and future Governator proved that there's no problem that can't be solved without a generous helping of violence, followed by a good post-death blow quip.
While the action star fell a bit short this summer with his return to the land of Skynet in "Terminator Genisys," we still love seeing the big guy on the big screen. Let's have a look at Arnold's best action movies.
10. 'Conan the Destroyer' (1984)
"Conan the Destroyer" isn't exactly the epic, bloody sequel we were promised at the end of "Conan the Barbarian." This guilty pleasure has one or two decent sword-and-sorcery set pieces, but the highlight of the film is pairing the Governator with Grace Jones (pictured) and Wilt Chamberlain.
9. 'The Last Stand' (2013)
Arnold's post-politics efforts to return to action stardom in his 60s have been mixed; this one, where he's a Gary Cooper-ish small-town lawman taking on a plague of gangsters, is the best of the lot. It also serves as Arnold's promise that, as long as we yearn for a taciturn action hero who can shoulder a massive firearm, he'll be back.
8. 'The Running Man' (1987)
Here's a surprisingly witty take on the futuristic bread-and-circuses dystopia genre that will later give us "Family Feud"'s Richard Dawson as the smarmy host putting him through his paces.
7. 'Commando' (1985)
Action movies don't get much guilty pleasure-y than this. After his daughter is kidnapped, the amazingly named Col. John Matrix suits up and proceeds to shoot, stab and detonate an entire army in his quest to get her back. "Commando" features some of Schwarzenegger's most memorable action scenes and one-liners, including the iconic "Let off some steam, Bennett."
6. 'Conan the Barbarian' (1982)
Schwarzenegger enjoyed a star-making turn in this adaptation of the classic pulp novels. Directed by John Milius ("Red Dawn") and scripted by Milius and Oliver Stone, the movie echoes its star in walking the fine line between taking all this militaristic mysticism utterly seriously and sending it up with the slightest of winks. The film plays fast and loose with the source material, but between Arnie's rippling muscles, James Earl Jones' haunting villain, and that booming orchestral score, Barbarian remains a classic.
5. 'True Lies' (1994)
Arnuld should only make movies with James Cameron. Especially if they involve subverting the spy movie genre like this 1994 hit did, which casts the actor as a family man by day, super spy by night. At the time, "True Lies" was the most expensive movie ever made -- and every cent is on the screen. The actor-director duo capable of stunts so over-the-top that they're funny for the right reasons.
4. 'Predator' (1987)
What if Arnold wasn't the most dangerous creature in the jungle? That's pretty much the premise behind this terrific sci-fi / action / horror mash-up, which pits a team of muscle-y commandos against one "ugly muddafu!@#er" -- an invisible alien hunter. It's too bad none of the sequels or spinoffs have lived up to the original.
3. 'Total Recall' (1990)
Skip the remake and rewatch this 1990 sci-fi classic, which easily boasts some of the actor's best action scenes. Here, Arnold tries to play an ordinary, blue-collar guy, but it's just not in him, as Paul Verhoeven's mind-blowing Philip K. Dick adaptation proves. Turns out he's really, well, an Arnold Schwarzenegger hero underneath, one who gets to kick butt on two different planets.
2. 'The Terminator' (1984)
If "Conan" kick-started Schwarzenegger's Hollywood career, then this film cemented his status as one of the great action heroes of the 1980s. "The Terminator" also marks the rare time he played a villain rather than a hero. His relentless, inhuman T-800 stalked Sarah Connor throughout the film, and it still haunts our dreams 35 years later.
1. 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' (1991)
"Terminator 2" is a perfect example of a sequel taking everything that worked about the original and striving to be bigger, bolder, and just plain better. Schwarzenegger returned as the cybernetic T-800, but this time reprogrammed to defend the Connor family against an unstoppable liquid-metal Terminator. The special effects were revolutionary at the time, but it's the film's strong heart -- and the theme of fate vs. free will -- that makes it the highlight of both the franchise and Schwarzenegger's career.