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The 10 Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies, According To Metacritic

We love Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s an action movie icon. We love him so much we talk about his roles along with his one-liners again and again. However, when you look at the actor’s vast catalog of movies, what were his best? More specifically, what movies did critics actually enjoy?

Digging through all the movie reviews on GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic, we took a look at the entirety of Schwarzenegger’s work in film–stopping to marvel at how underrated Last Action Hero is. Metacritic is a review aggregate of critics reviews, giving movies a score based on the average of its reviews.

Taking a look at Schwarzenegger’s career, we found the top 10 movies the bodybuilder-turned-actor starred in. Keep in mind, documentaries and films where he played a smaller role will not be considered for this list. We want to take a look at those starring roles where Schwarzenegger spouted out classic catch phrases and slammed people through steam pipes.

Below, you’ll find the top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, according to Metacritic. For more actor movie lists, check out the top 10 films of Nicolas Cage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sylvester Stallone, and Johnny Depp.

As for Schwarzenegger himself, he’s not acting as much as he used to. He appeared as Zues in a BMW Super Bowl ad this past year. He’s also slated to reprise his Twins role of Julius Benedict in Triplets, which is in pre-production.

10. Eraser (1996)

Metacritic score: 56

Compared to the rest of Schwarenegger’s action movie career–especially during the ’90s–Eraser isn’t much of a standout. He plays US Marshal deputy John Kruger, who specializes in witness protection. Kruger must protect a woman who has to testify in court for the FBI.

9. Total Recall (1990)

Metacritic score: 57

Schwarenegger plays Quaid who wants to go on a virtual vacation to Mars by having memories implanted in his brain. However, it goes wrong, and he realizes–or thinks–he’s a spy involved in something greater. From there, Quaid has to get his ass to Mars. But again, this could all just be in his brain.

8. Junior (1994)

Metacritic score: 59

In this comedy, Schwarzenegger plays Dr. Alex Hesse, a scientist who becomes pregnant and carries a child for a fertility experiment. He stars alongside Danny Devito and Emma Thompson.

7. Stay Hungry (1976)

Metacritic score: 60

One of Schwarzenegger’s first roles, Stay Hungry stars Jeff Bridges and Sally Field, in which the former infiltrates a dirty gym–in the business fraud sense. Schwarzenegger plays Joe Santo, a–surprise–bodybuilder. In this film, he lifts weight, pumps iron, plays fiddle, poses while oiled up, and drinks light beer.

6. Red Heat (1988)

Metacritic score: 61

Diving into an action comedy with Jim Belushi, Schwarzenegger plays Ivan Danko, a Russian police officer who heads to Chicago to extradite a crime lord. The criminal escapes and it’s up to the Russian and American cops to bring him back to justice.

5. Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Metacritic score: 61

One of the weirdest movies on this list, Arnie plays an LAPD detective named John Kimble, and he’s on the hunt for a drug kingpin. What’s the best way to stop them? Find the criminal’s ex-wife, who is an elementary school teacher, go undercover as a substitute teacher, learn how to be a teacher, and find out who the ex-wife is so she can help him with his case. Regardless of how “weird” this movie is, it’s a lot of fun.

4. True Lies (1994)

Metacritic score: 63

Before the T-800 dump, there’s True Lies, one of Schwarzenegger’s most enjoyable movies. The James Cameron movie comes in at two and a half hours–but doesn’t feel like it–and follows secret agent Harry Tasker, who keeps his real job a secret from his family. However, Tasker’s home life is struggling and because of this, Harry’s real job bleeds over into his real life, and things go off the rails.

3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Metacritic score: 66

Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the T-800, and he travels back in time to stop John Connor from being assassinated by the T-X (Kristanna Loken). While this part of the plot is exceptionally paint-by-numbers, the story of SkyNet slowly taking over computer systems during the early 2000s is very intriguing.

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Metacritic score: 75

Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the T-800, and he travels back in time to stop John Connor from being assassinated by the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), a terminator that is made of liquid metal and can look like anyone. The two are joined by Connor’s mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton), who is dealing with some extreme PTSD as she was the T-800’s target before Connor was born. Director James Cameron delivered one of his best action movies with T2.

1. The Terminator (1984)

Metacritic score: 84

It’s pretty obvious that Arnold’s best movie was going to be The Terminator. It’s the movie that started it all, as Schwarzenegger plays a robot assassin from 2029, sent to 1984 to kill a woman who would eventually give birth to the leader of the human resistance. It is Schwarzenegger’s most iconic role and still holds up 38 years later.

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