Creator: Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California. There's a perfectly ordinary English sentence."

Austrian-born bricklayer-turned-actor (born in 1947, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1983), bodybuilder, and former Governator of the world's 7th largest economy (from 2003 to 2011) whose journey started with his ability to lift really heavy things.

As a child he idolized British bodybuilder Reg Park (among others), star of the cult sword and sandal favorite Hercules In The Haunted World opposite Christopher Lee, and took up bodybuilding as a teenager; he even befriended Park in the 1960s and had the honor to train with him. After making a name for himself with multiple Mr. Universe wins, he broke into acting with an unfortunate Hercules movie - the infamous Hercules In New York AKA: Hercules Goes Bananas (where he was billed by the very porn star sounding name "Arnold Strong" and his voice was actually dubbed, which just makes the film even funnier - an alternate version with his original voice performance is said to be available), which he then followed with a number of lesser films, the exception being Stay Hungry opposite Jeff Bridges and Sally Field, before landing his first real hit in Conan the Barbarian (1982).

He is now most famous for his roles in action films such as the Terminator series and Predator, with characters that always have a thick Austrian accent (it has, in fact, become so iconic of him that he has a speech coach to help him maintain the accent after years in America). Even better, they were best featured in stories leven with a welcome touch of tongue-in-cheek humor acknowledging how the action was over-the-top almost to the point of cartoon silliness. His comedies (and even his later action films) vary. He was also a lifelong friend of Stan Winston, the master-puppeteer who quite literally made The Terminator out of him.

Also famous for his pithy one-liners, many of which are more famous than the movies they originate in.

Arnie does not know what it means to "fail". He was smart enough to graduate with a University Degree in Business and Economics. When he made his breakthrough as an action star with Conan the Barbarian (1982), he had already been a self-made millionaire for yearsnote , due to a number of smart business decisions. The acting was more of a hobby, and you could call him a Genius Bruiser in Real Life. Indeed, if you watch the documentary Pumping Iron (a proto-reality TV competition with Arnold as the "conniving" contestant), a young Arnold speaks of using psychological warfare against his competitors in what just about everyone else would consider a purely-physical contest. Imagine if Bruce Wayne was born poor and smoked cigars.

As governor of California, was a real-life case of Asskicking Equals Authority. He's also the biggest JFK fan known to man, being the man who paid thousands for a set of golf clubs used by JFK as well as marrying into the family... and yet, somewhat oddly, he's a Republican. A rather liberal Republican (especially in an era where Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly are major opinion leaders), but a Republican nonetheless. Also, he credits his loyalty to the Republican Party to a speech by an American President while he was still in Austria. The president? Richard Nixon. Chew on that for a while.

Went on record saying that when he was up for reelection in 2010, he would not seek another term, nor will he run for a House or Senate seat. Most likely because the harsh realities of politics have been less than kind to him due to him being too far to the left of his own party and too far to the right for the Democrats. The sex scandal didn't help either. He has since returned to films (he also later admitted that he originally threw his hat in the ring as a throw-away joke during an interview, and was astonished that so many people took him seriously). Unless the Constitution is amended to allow foreign-born citizens to run for President...

Also of note in being a real life Determinator, claiming that choosing it as a life philosophy was the key to his success.

Released an autobiography in 2013, called Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story.

Not to be confused with The Ahnold, though he's the Trope Namer.

YMMV tropes may be found here.


Notable for:

Other:

Tropes associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger

  • Adam Westing: He seems to honestly love hamming it up as a Flanderized version of himself almost as much as he loves subverting the trope. Examples include Boisterous Bruiser Jack-Slater!Arnold's confrontation of Ditzy-Movie-Star!Arnold in Last Action Hero, and his appearance in The Expendables as a Retired Badass with Hidden Depths gone into politics.
  • The Ahnold: The Trope Codifier and Trope Namer.
  • Badass / One-Man Army: A common theme of his characters, and a key part of his image.
  • Badass Grandpa: Arnold isn't going to be old. He may age, but he's not going to be old. Fitness guys like him stay spry til they're dead. Clint Eastwood is better at being a scary old man, but Arnold wins at aging.
    Darren Mooney: There is something almost heartwarming about seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger step back into his classic role – affectionately identified as “Pops” and steadfastly insisting that he is “old, not obsolete”...There is a sense that Schwarzenegger’s aging wise-cracking Terminator makes a more life-like protagonist that Courtney’s Kyle Reese.
  • Billed Above the Title: And at times, only the surname given it's long enough and also looks really good on a poster.
  • Bond One-Liner: Arnold has always been great at these (especially in Commando). Say what you will about his acting, it's impossible to deny that he has a good sense of comedic timing.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "I'll be back". Many times lampshaded (Last Action Hero) or played with (Terminator 3, The Expendables 2).
    • "Get to da choppa" is probably the second most famous and most often quoted. There was one time Arnold participated in a kitchen talk show and refers about getting to the part where you chop down food with knives with the phrase, it generated laughter.
  • Determinator: Not only are many of his action film roles walking definitions of this trope, (one in particular being partial Trope Namer), the man himself is a Real Life example. When Arnold decided he wanted to become the world's best bodybuilder, he did it. Then he wanted to be a successful buisnessman, so he got a degree in Business and Economics and became a millionaire. Then he decided he wanted to become the biggest movie star on the planet, he did that also. Then he decided to become the Governor of California and pulled that off as well. When Arnold decides he wants to do something, it's wise not to bet against him.
  • Dull Surprise: His most notable roles are an emotionless robot, an emotionless soldier, an emotionless ex-soldier and an emotionless barbarian warrior. Really, Schwarzenegger is the best when he can play a killing machine (either literally or figuratively). Honestly, you do not want to see him try to act emotions. It can alternate between bad acting (Jingle All the Way), weird facial expressions (Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall (1990)), overacting for the sake of it (Batman & Robin) or for fun (True Lies). His best performance ironically came in a parody film: Last Action Hero. He actually shows some emotional depth in the film.
  • The '80s: Most of his iconic roles originated in this decade.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Ahnold, an approximation of pronouncing his given name in his trademark Austrian accent.
    • The Governator, a portmanteau of "Governor" and his most iconic role "The Terminator", in reference to his time as Governor of California.
  • Genius Bruiser: His muscles may have made him a household name, but his brains are what made his fortune via success in business (most of his money comes from investments, real estate, and ownership of several companies) and politics.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: He wore these while filming the biker bar scene in Terminator 2 to get the desired reaction from the extras.
  • Green Eyes: Except in Batman & Robin where lenses make for literal Icy Blue Eyes.
  • Handsome Lech: In Real Life, he's known to be a bit...touchy with the ladies, and has boundary issues. Supposedly, his father thought he might be gay so he often tried to encourage little Arnie to chase skirts as much as he could, so this is likely a result of that up bringing.
  • Hollywood Action Hero: One of the most successful and iconic of all time. Parodied in Last Action Hero.
  • I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: To the point that whole films have been made specifically to be Arnold does X: "Ahnold gets pregnant," "Ahnold shops for Christmas toys," etc.
  • I Am Not My Father: Arnold's father was a member of the Nazi Party in Austria before and during World War II, along with the SA (the Nazi storm troopers) and Arnold has spent much of his career battling accusations that he is a fascist sympathizer because of this. Arnold eventually commissioned the Simon Wiesenthal Center to research his father's wartime record. No evidence that the elder Schwarzenegger committed any atrocities was uncovered.
  • I Have Many Names: His nicknames are various. Arnie, Austrian Oak\Styrian Oak (from his bodybuilding days), Conan the Republican (bestowed to him by Ronald Reagan himself!), Governator (after being elected in California)...
  • Informed Flaw: Apparently the long and complicated surname, the thick accent, and the bodybuilder physique\bad reputation were all Fatal Flaws against attempts at fame. Arnold manage to put all of those in his favor.
  • Large Ham: When the role allows him to definitely not take it seriously, Arnold will overact as much as possible.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Back in his heyday he was quite shameless about showing off his physique.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Arnold has expressed regrets that he was never able to do a movie with Eddie Murphy. Though he now plans to do a sequel to Twins with Murphy as the third son (?!) that had been languishing in Development Hell for a while.
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: Mostly his turn in Terminator 2, where his popularity led to James Cameron writing the script so that his T-800 was the protagonist instead of the villain. Eraser and End of Days also count.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Arnold ALWAYS talks in his well-known accent. No matter what part he's playing. In most cases, this can be excused because his characters are rarely, if ever, claimed to be native-born, so there's nothing stopping the character from being an immigrant like in Commando where it is said his character hails from East Germany. Still, one has to wonder why the T-800 has an accent that will make him stick out almost as much as his horrifying metal skeleton.note 
    • This gets Lampshaded every now and then. For instance, a deleted scene in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines shows him as the human the T-800 was modeled on, speaking with a silly and whimsical Southern accent. When someone comments on the voice, a scientist, speaking in Arnold's actual voice, responds "We can fix it."
    • Arnold has gone so far as to work with a voice coach to help him retain his accent, as it has become as iconic as the man himself.
  • Old Shame:
    • Arnold has expressed quite a bit of Self-Deprecating Humor over several of his less iconic performances:
      • He's flat-out stated on a few occasions that Red Sonja was the worst movie he ever appeared in and has joked that he used to punish his children's bad behavior by making them watch it from start to finish.
      • He also humorously threatened the California legislature with 13 consecutive screenings of Jingle All the Way if they couldn't come up with a budget by August. Its not clear if he was entirely joking.
      • He also disliked Hercules in New York, once suggesting the film should be used as an alternative to waterboarding in Guantanamo.
    • On a more serious note, his infamous sex scandal has become this, albeit somewhat mitigated by the fact that he had taken responsibility for his actions and financially supported his mistress and their son (which is how the story came out in the first place) and despite ultimately separating with his wife in 2011, public appearances suggest they remain amicable.
  • Papa Wolf: As shown by Commando, Kindergarten Cop and even Terminator 2: Judgment Day, hurt a child or a teenager near to him and Arnie WILL fuck you up so bad that you'll need more than one coffin to be buried in.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • First, and most famously, his role as a cold-blooded, ruthless villain in The Terminator.
    • End of Days (not least as this is the only non-Terminator movie to date where his character's killed off at the end). His character is a cop but isn't an unstoppable One-Man Army.
    • Maggie, where he plays a father trying desperately to spend as much time with his daughter as possible until the inevitable when she gets bitten by a zombie and is liable to turn.
  • Running Gag: People love to make jokes disputing his height. Arnold has always given his height as being 6'2" while his old body building rivals claim he was 6'1.5" (6'1" in other words). And that's not the half of it.
  • What Could Have Been: He actually auditioned for the role of the Hulk in the 1970s TV series The Incredible Hulk based on the Marvel comic, but lost out to bodybuilding rival Lou Ferrigno. Reportedly the 6-foot-2 Arnold was deemed "not tall enough", especially when compared to the 6-foot-5 Ferrigno.
    • Additionally, when James Cameron first approached Arnold with The Terminator he actually originally considered him for the part of the film's hero Kyle Reese (which eventually went to Michael Biehn) while considering the more slimmer, more averagely built Lance Henriksen for the Terminator, but during their meeting Cameron changed his mind, figuring Arnold was practically a living machine anyway and hired him for the Terminator instead - which was just fine by Arnold since he felt the Terminator was the more interesting part anyway.
    • He was planning a movie with director Stuart Gordon called Berserker, about a muscle builder who turns into a monster after abusing steroids. However, it fell through because they couldn't agree on the final script.
    • He had plenty of scripts on his sight in 1997, including an adaptation of I Am Legend directed by Ridley Scott and Minority Report as a sequel to Total Recall. Then Arnie was forced to go through open heart surgery, and studios became afraid (to the point he only returned in 1999 with End of Days).