Arnold Schwarzenegger became a household name in 1984 with his iconic performance as a cyborg assassin in The Terminator. The film launched the Austrian-born professional bodybuilder into the forefront of Hollywood action cinema. His take on the cold demeanor and rugged physique hero that actors such Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood personified in the 60s and 70s, became refined staples of the action genre in the 80s and 90s–often imitated but yet to be replicated.
Most people in the 25-35 age bracket have fond childhood memories that involve “Ahnold” movies. Kids born from the mid-90s on mainly know him as the Governor of California but my generation knew him as a bad-ass that single-handedly killed the Predator and saved Mars. We had the action figures, video-games and VHS tapes. The poster for T2: Judgement Day (see image above) hung in the local video-store for years–a sun-faded, wrinkled reminder of which movie to rent when in doubt.
Some of my most fond memories of being with my father involve watching a Schwarzenegger movie. Sounds silly, but it’s true. Dad would tell mom we were going to see the latest Disney movie only to sneak us into the latest Schwarzenneger movie. “Don’t tell mom” was the rule, and my brother and I are grateful for it. Most of our peers had helicopter parents that forbid them from the excitement of such films–we felt part of a privileged class of 90s kids that would recite lines verbatim on the playground during recess that few others got.
Since his tenure as governor ended, Arnold has returned to the business that gave him worldwide fame. Recent additions to his film canon include Escape Plan and The Last Stand–both giving us glimpses of a vintage brand of action film long since retired by a PG-13 superhero obsessed culture.
The James Cameron sci-fi classic The Terminator celebrates it’s 30th anniversary in 2014–the original release being October 28, 1984. In 2015, Schwarzenegger will reprise his most famous role in the highly anticipated Terminator: Genisys (Terminator 5). Rent It Today looks back on the Austrian Oak’s most memorable classics that we highly suggest you rent from Netflix in preparation for his next big role.
Predator (1987) – The sequels never matched the excellence of the original. A special forces team led by Dutch (Arnold) heads into Central America for a rescue mission but end up facing off against an alien predator who systematically kills them off, one by one–leading to a macho battle at the end.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) – One of the greatest sequels ever made–arguably better than the original. The terminator travels back in time to protect John Connor from the T-1000. Revolutionized CGI-effects in film-making.
Total Recall (1990) – In 2084, humans inhabit Mars and have elaborate tastes in entertainment–implanted memories. Quaid (Arnold) visits Rekall Inc. to have a fantasy memory implanted in his brain but something goes wrong. Is Quaid really a secret agent?
Last Action Hero (1993) – Underrated action-comedy that satirizes the action genre while being one at the same time. Creative script that allowed Arnold a chance to expand his comedic chops. Excellent hard rock soundtrack featuring AC/DC, Megadeth and Anthrax.
True Lies (1994) – With a budget over $100 million in 1994, this movie stood alone. Reuniting Terminator director James Cameron with Arnold one more time for one of their biggest films. Arnold plays a secret agent who suspects his wife is having an affair with a used car salesman. Jamie Lee Curtis does a sexy dance in this.