Here are the seven best Schwarzenegger films, ranked from least to most awesome, starting with one that co-starred the last, great Carl Weathers.

Predator (1987)

Predator Carl Weathers

For people who like biceps and sweat with their aliens, this is the one. Vietnam veteran Dutch Schaefer (you know who) leads a military rescue team deep into a jungle on an impossible mission… which turns out to be the easy part. An alien hunter with the ability to turn invisible decides Dutch and his team are the worthy prey he’s crossed a galaxy to find.

The very powerful cast includes not just Carl Weathers (above), but Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Bill Duke.

And so begins the Predator franchise.

Commando (1985)


Smart in all the best ways and dumb in all the best ways, this one finds former commando John Matrix (Schwarzenegger, of course) trying to save his daughter (Alyssa Milano) from the deposed leader of fictional Val Verde, a country that also pops up in Die Hard 2 and other films by writer-producer extraordinaire Steven E. DeSouza.

Arnold delivers some masterful one liners, none better than the one after he drops a baddie off a cliff, and then flight attendant/pilot/rocket launcher operator Rae Dawn Chong asks what he did to him. “I let him go,” Matrix replies.

Total Recall (1990)


The future governor of California plays a seemingly normal guy in this one, but director Paul Verhoeven fills his world with madcap grotesquery. It’s kind of sci-fi, kind of satire, and it gives you the chance to watch the Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Sharon Stone fight no one thought to ask for.

True Lies (1994)


Future Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis is Arnold’s perfect female counterpart in this James Cameron crowd-pleaser about a couple keeping secrets from each other. He’s a spy, and she’s flirting with a fake (Bill Paxton). It stars cute but ends with a nail-biter of a finale as they try to, yes, save their daughter (Eliza Dushku).

The Running Man (1987)


Probably the most underrated Arnold film, this Steven E. DeSouza scripted film — based on a story by Stephen King’s nom de plume, Richard Bachman, feels more ahead of its time every time you watch it. It anticipated both reality TV and a U.S. government that blends governing with bread-and-circuses entertainment under the Trump-like Damon Killian (Family Feud host Richard Dawson.)

Fun fact: Both Predator and The Running Man, both released in 1987, pair Arnie with Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who later became the governor of Minnesota and whose celebrity candidacy arguably paved the way for Schwarzenegger’s run for governor of California.

The Terminator (1984)


Our guy is at his best when he doesn’t try to seem like a normal human: His outstanding turn as an unstoppable killer cyborg made him a superstar in The Terminator, his first collaboration with James Cameron.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)


One of the best sequels ever made, Terminator 2 twisted Schwarzenegger’s persona as a deadpan killing machine by making him the hero this time around, charged with saving young John Connor (Eddie Furlong) from an upgraded opponent, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick). This time the T-800 Terminator is working alongside Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), who one of his Terminator bros was sent back in time to kill in the original Terminator. Packed with guns and explosions as the movie is, Schwarzenegger is at his funniest, and by the end of the film he shows that he can he vulnerable, too.

If you enjoyed this gallery, may we also recommend this list of 10 Phenomenal Action Movies on Netflix, and this gallery of the 7 Most Surprising Details From Arnold?

Main image: Sharon Stone in 1990’s Total Recall, directed by Paul Verhoeven. Tri-Star Pictures.

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You might also like this list of the 5 Deadliest Movie Dads, featuring John Matrix in Commando.

Editor’s Note: Updates images, and with Carl Weathers’ passing.