What are the best Arnold Schwarzenegger movies? Good old Arnie has forged a rather brilliant acting career for himself. Between maintaining his bodybuilder physique and even becoming the Governor of California, the Austrian Oak has somehow still found time to make some truly incredible movies over the last 50 years in the industry.
His huge muscles and action hero good looks were enough to get Arnie a foot in the door in the ’70s, but when the ‘80s came around, he became a bonafide star. The run of action movies he put out in that decade is most impressive, and allowed him to go down in movie history as one of the best tough guys you’re likely to see on screen.
He’s capable of far more than all-guns blazing action though. Arnie actually made a pretty wonderful Christmas movie and some comedy movies, too. Not all his movies are hits though, and some are actually pretty dire, so we’ve gone to the trouble of assembling a list of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger movies to save you from the duds.
The best Arnold Schwarzenegger movies:
- Batman and Robin
- Jingle All the Way
- The Terminator
- Total Recall
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Batman and Robin (1997)
Okay, we said no duds, but we have to make an exception when it comes to Batman content. Yes, Batman and Robin is technically a bad movie, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is clearly having fun, and that makes this Batman movie entertaining at the very least.
Taking on the role of the Batman villain Mr Freeze, Arnie imbues the character with wildly over-the-top energy and incredibly cringe puns, to the point where you just have to respect his commitment to the bit.
A movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito play long-lost twins? Count us all the way in! Born out of a scientific experiment and separated at birth, Vincent (DeVito) and Julius (Schwarzenegger) are reunited as adults in this quirky comedy.
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The chemistry between the two actors is fantastic fun to watch, and Twins is helmed by Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, so you know it’s got all the ingredients for a great family movie.
Let’s be honest, you came here for muscle-bound action, and that’s exactly what Predator delivers. The original movie in this iconic science fiction movie franchise sees Arnie take on the lead role of Dutch, and he’s just as badass as you’d expect.
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The alien movie puts our hero right in the heart of the jungle, as he takes on the mysterious and ruthless titular beast in a fight to the death. This movie also gave us the iconic “Get to the chopper!” line, so we should be forever thankful for that.
Jingle All the Way (1996)
We told you Arnie wasn’t all about action movies, and this festive flick proves just that. Jingle All the Way may not get mentioned in conversation among the likes of Elf and The Grinch, but this is a really great kids movie for the holiday season.
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The only problem with this movie is, your kids are definitely going to want a Turbo Man action figure after they watch it!
The Terminator (1984)
Of all Arnie’s roles, none are more iconic than that of the Terminator, in James Cameron’s epic thriller movie of the ’80s. Schwarzenegger was the perfect fit for the role of a killer android who, despite all his braun and brutality, was very much a fish-out-of-water when he arrived in our timeline.
The Terminator really does have it all; a brilliant hybrid between a time travel movie and a really unsettling horror movie. The titular robotic assassin is almost like a slasher killer, and it’s truly enthralling to watch him hunt. If you love this franchise check out our guide to watching The Terminator movies in order; it’s more complicated than you might think.
Total Recall (1990)
Paul Verhoeven is a director renowned for going balls to the wall and pretty much doing what he wants. Total Recall is a perfect example of his distinctive style; a movie complete with exploding heads, triple-breasted women, and a mutant underworld.
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Schwarzenegger brings a different kind of energy to his leading role here. Yes, he still kicks ass, but he’s also got to make Douglas Quaid a convincingly modest construction worker, too. Total Recall is truly wild, and the world-building of practical effects is really impressive for its time. With Schwarzenegger in the lead, it also stands as one of the best Philip K Dick movies.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Terminator 2 isn’t just one of the best movies of its genre, it’s not even just one of the best ‘90s movies, it’s genuinely one of the best movies of all time. James Cameron did the first movie and decided he needed to go even harder with the sequel, and boy did he deliver.
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Arnie made good on his promise and did indeed come back, and he knocked it out of the park as the Terminator second time around. Long gone is the relentless assassin, replaced by a true hero we can all root for! If only the movie series had ended there, on a high.
There you have it, the best Arnold Schwarzenegger movies have been decided. If you want more great movies from action heroes, take a look at our list of the best Chris Hemsworth movies or if you’re more of a ’90s kid we have a list of the best Keanu Reeves movies. On top of that, take a look at our guide to every major new movie in 2023.