No. 4: Arnold Schwarzenegger — Top Action Movie Stars
Arnold Schwarzenegger is easily the most improbably named action hero of all time. But this list isn’t about improbable names, is it?
Arnold, like Sly Stallone, is immediately identifiable across the globe as the name and face of American action movie excess. Sure, Arnold dabbled in comedy with such notorious films as ‘Junior,’ ‘Jingle All The Way,’ ‘Kindergarten Cop’ and ‘Twins.’ But even in those comedic roles, Arnold embodies the antithesis of method acting in that Arnold always plays Arnold.
The man is so iconic in build, appearance and accent, that America and the world simply fell in love with him and have flocked for decades to see his unique brand of beefcake action and cheesy one-liners. Arnold even has a recurring spoof character on ‘The Simpsons’ in McBane. And I promise no other legitimate politician in history will be so universally referred to with a nickname as omnipresent as The Governator.
While I would suggest that Arnold’s move to politics was a brilliant one for his career, it counts as a knock against him in the rankings of all-time action hero greats. The Arnold brand was hit hard in the 1990s but the 1980s was a decade filled with almost uparalleled success. ‘Conan The Barbarian’ in 1982, ‘The Terminator’ in 1984 and then an unbroken chain of awesome with ‘Commando,’ ‘Raw Deal,’ ‘Predator,’ ‘Running Man’ and ‘Red Heat’ from 1985-1988.
‘The Terminator’ franchise secured Arnold’s eternal and lasting action stardom, with ‘Terminator 2’ being one of this writers’ all-time favorite action films ever made. Add ‘Conan’ and Dutch from ‘Predator,’ Arnold scored a trifecta of iconic movie heroes early enough in his career to warrant the No. 4 spot on this list. His post-politics action film output is looking crazy prolific and quite promising as well. Could Arnold actually move up this list in the near future?
Best Quote: This subcategory probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the plethora of post or pre-kill one liners that Arnold has perfected over his career. But if you have to choose just one, you kind of have to go with:
“If it bleeds, we can kill it” -– Dutch, ‘Predator’