The Acting Career of Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger has had an interesting career -- bodybuilder, actor, businessman (including co-owner of the Planet Hollywood theme restaurant chain), Governor of the state of California, and now soon-to-be new host of TV's reality show The Celebrity Apprentice.

Here's a quick overview of his movie roles.

Hercules in New York
His first movie in 1969 was this low-budget family fantasy adventure. He was using the pseudonym Arnold Strong.

Pumping Iron
In 1977, Schwarzenegger and other professional bodybuilders, such as Lou Ferrigno, were profiled in this critically acclaimed documentary film.

Conan the Barbarian
His first high-profile acting job came in this 1982 fantasy classic directed by John Milius, where he played the vengeful warrior.

Conan the Destroyer
Two years later, Schwarzenegger reprised his role as the Barbarian, leading a team in search of a princess.

The Terminator
His first role with director James Cameron was as a cyborg assassin in this science fiction classic.

Red Sonja
He played Conan the Barbarian again in this spin-off movie.

Arnold is a retired Black Ops soldier waging a one-man war against South American criminals who've kidnapped his daughter.

Raw Deal
As a former FBI agent who's now a small-town sheriff, Schwarzenegger infiltrates the Chicago Mafia who killed the son of the FBI chief.

One of my favorites is this sci-fi action gem, co-starring Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura.

The Running Man
Based on a Stephen King novel (which he wrote as Richard Bachman), Schwarzenegger is a wrongly convicted man trying to survive a public execution staged as a televised game show.

Red Heat
Arnold is a tough Russian policeman forced to partner with a Chicago cop, played by James Belushi, to apprehend a drug lord who killed his partner.

Schwarzenegger started acting in some well-received comedies, starting with this high-concept laugher alongside Danny DeVito.

Total Recall
Here's another fun science fiction adventure, based on a story by Philip K. Dick.

Kindergarten Cop
Part comedy, part action crime thriller, Schwarzenegger is an undercover police officer pretending to be a teacher in order to catch a violent drug dealer.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
This is one of the greatest movies ever made.

Schwarzenegger cameos as himself in this romantic comedy starring Kevin Kline.

Last Action Hero
A magic ticket transports a young film fan into the fictional world of his favorite action film character (played of course by Schwarzenegger).

True Lies
It's not my favorite James Cameron directed film, but it has its moments.

In this ridiculous comedy, Arnold plays a pregnant man.

T2 3-D: Battle Across Time
I saw this short film in Walt Disney World in 1996, and it was excellent, with some truly fine 3D effects.

Schwarzenegger plays a Witness Protection specialist in another action adventure flick.

Jingle All the Way
In this family comedy, Arnold plays a dad who needs to find and buy a Turbo Man action figure for his kid before Christmas.

Batman and Robin
In this blot on his career, the worst chapter in the otherwise mostly great Batman franchise, Schwarzenegger plays the villainous Mr. Freeze.

End of Days
Schwarzenegger plays an ex-cop battling Satan.

The 6th Day
Schwarzenegger meets a clone of himself in this sci-fi action thriller.

Collateral Damage
Arnold is a firefighter whose family is killed in a terrorist attack.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Not as good as the prior Terminator films, it still has its fun moments.

Around the World in 80 Days
Arnold cameos as Prince Hapi in this Jackie Chan action comedy adventure.

The Expendables
Schwarzenegger made an uncredited cameo as Trench in this star-studded action movie.

The Expendables 2
Schwarzenegger (and a bunch of other action stars) is back in this sequel.

The Last Stand
Arnold tried to restart his acting career after his political career concluded in this under-rated action/crime thriller as a sheriff and his inexperienced staff hunting a drug cartel leader on the run.

Escape Plan
Schwarzenegger co-stars with Sylvester Stallone, who plays a man who's set-up and tries to escape from prison.

Schwarzenegger is a member of an elite Drug Enforcement Agency task force being hunted down by a cartel.

The Expendables 3
He's back as Trench in the third part of this action series with the all-star cast.

Schwarzenegger plays a father whose daughter is infected by a disease that slowly turns her into a zombie.

Terminator Genisys
Although not the box office hit they were hoping it would be, this latest Terminator film featured the return of Schwarzenegger who skipped the Terminator Salvation movie and the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles television series.

He has a couple of other high profile movies in production -- Triplets, which is a sequel to Twins, this time co-starring Eddie Murphy, and the latest in the Conan the Barbarian franchise, The Legend of Conan.

What do you think of Schwarzenegger's thespian accomplishments?


Jeff McGinley said…
Where does "The Villain" fit in?

Early Arnold in a western, playing "Handsome Stranger" protecting Ann Margaret from the evil Kirk Douglass in a Hal Needham directed film that was basically a live action Road Runner cartoon.
Nick Leshi said…
Haven't seen that one! Will have to look it up. Thanks!