Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-born American bodybuilder turned actor (he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1983), 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. He has also starred in dozens of blockbuster motion pictures.
Schwarzenegger first became famous as a professional bodybuilder and is still considered the most successful bodybuilder of all time. After coming in second in his first Mr. Olympia contest, he went on to win first place in six consecutive years. He came to mainstream attention through the documentary Pumping Iron about his 1975 clash with rival muscleman Lou Ferrigno. Parlaying his fame and physique into minor acting roles, he eventually landed his first major role in Conan the Barbarian. Incidentally, while filming Conan, he came out of a five-year retirement to pick up one final first-place finish at Mr. Olympia.
Schwarzenegger followed up with a string of successful action films. In spite of his odd name, lack of acting training and thick Austrian accent no matter what the role, "Ahnold" quickly became one of the biggest names in Hollywood, commanding record-breaking salaries for movies with budgets almost as high as their body counts. While his line deliveries weren't always the sharpest, Schwarzenegger had natural charisma and knew how to poke fun at himself. His works are rife with thickly-accented one-liners that became as iconic as the man himself. Anyone who was alive in the late 20th century can do a pretty decent Ahnold impression.
But time gradually took its toll on Schwarzenegger's musculature and popularity. The '90s saw the gradual waning of his relevance, and by 2000, his career was noticeably in its autumn. Schwarzenegger decided to jump ship on acting while the jumping was good and make a third major career transition: this time into politics.
In spite of his Hollywood lifestyle, fondness for JFK, and marriage into the Kennedy family, Schwarzenegger is an avowed Republican and very opinionated about politics. He was drawn to the party after listening to a Richard Nixon speech in Austria. Sensing opportunity during a special 2003 recall election for the governorship of California, Schwarzenegger entered the race on the Republican ticket and actually won. California now had a slogan-spewing, action star "Governator" in charge. Governor Ahnold's administration was California-style Republican, combining liberal social policies with fiscal conservativism. He won his reelection by a solid margin in 2006 and continued to serve until 2011. Overall consensus of his tenure boiled down to "So Okay, It's Average," as he was not glorious but didn't look like a fool either. Better than some other politicians one could name.
After exiting office, Schwarzenegger declined to run for Senator and instead got back into acting, appearing in roles that acknowledged his significantly advanced age since his heyday. He has not stopped his political activism, however, and continues to reach out to the public through social media, including Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat, which he typically uses to show people various bodybuilding expos, adventures around the world and the odd political rally.
- The Long Goodbye — Augustine's henchman
- Happy Anniversary and Goodbye — Rico (Lucille Ball's masseur)
- Stay Hungry — Joe Santo
- Pumping Iron,note a 1977 documentary about the pro bodybuilding scene.
- Hercules in New York — Hercules
- Scavenger Hunt (1979) — Lars
- The Villain — Handsome Stranger
- Conan the Barbarian (1982)note
- Red Sonja — Kalidor
- Commandonote — John Matrix
- Raw Dealnote — Mark Kaminsky
- Predatornote — Dutch (this movie also starred Jesse Ventura, who would go on to become Governor of Minnesota)
- Red Heatnote — Ivan Danko
- The Running Mannote — Ben Richards
- Twinsnote — Julius Benedict, aka Danny DeVito's twin brother.
- Total Recall (1990)note
- Kindergarten Copnote
- Last Action Heronote — Jack Slater, an Action Hero played by... Arnold Schwarzenegger (and once Slater comes to the real world, he ends up meeting Arnie).
- True Liesnote — Harry Tasker
- Juniornote — He got pregnant in this one.
- Jingle All the Waynote
- Batman & Robin — Mr. Freezenote
- End of Days — Jericho Cane
- The 6th Day note — Adam Gibson (he gets cloned in that one)
- Collateral Damage — Gordy Brewer
- The Rundown — Cameos as himself, telling The Rock to "have fun".
- Around the World in 80 Days (2004) — Prince Hapi
- The Expendables — His last official film role while governor, albeit just a cameo. Also significant in that it is the first film he has ever shared actual screen time with '80s action hero rivals Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis. His role in Expendables 2 and 3 is much larger, and acts as a post-governor return to his action-movie roots.
- The Last Stand — His first lead role in a movie since his governorship.
- Escape Plan (formerly known as The Tomb) — Swan Rottmayer
- Sabotage — John "Breacher" Warthon
- Maggie — Wade Vogel
- Killing Gunther — Robert "Gunther" Bendik
- Hamlet - A film within a film of Last Action Hero shows us what this might look like.
- Demolition Man — He doesn't appear, but is mentioned as having become President. Sylvester Stallone's character doesn't want to hear the details. The movie came out a decade before he ran for Governor.
- Kalifohrnya — Former Governor of.
- The Governator — As an animated version of himself... who's also a superhero. Apparently an Affectionate Parody of Merchandise-Driven eighties and nineties cartoons, now sadly cancelled in the wake of the personal scandal.
- Due to his age, his 1980s face was recreated through CGI in Terminator Salvation◊ and Terminator Genisys◊.
- The Apprentice: Briefly hosted it in the first year of Donald Trump's presidency of the United States.
Tropes seen in Arnold Schwarzenegger's body of work:
- Action Hero: Pretty much the Trope Codifier during The '80s. Even his lesser films are very quotable.
- Adam Westing: He honestly seems to love hamming it up as a Flanderized version of himself almost as much as he loves subverting the trope. Examples include Last Action Hero, where he plays parodies of both his on-screen and off-screen personas, and his appearance in The Expendables as a Retired Badass with Hidden Depths gone into politics.
- The Ahnold: The Trope Codifier and Trope Namer.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Defied. Arnold has said that when he first arrived in Hollywood, he was frequently asked to play Nazi villains in war movies by producers who couldn't see past his accent. Having grown up in postwar Austria (with a father who, though not linked to any specific atrocities, had been a member of the Nazi Party), Arnold adamantly refused to do so and consequently turned down several roles that might have established his film career earlier (though, one imagines, in a very different direction).
- Badass Baritone: His deep voice and accent are a major part of his persona.
- Badass Boast: His characters often make them and they always live up to them in spectacular fashion.
- Beard of Sorrow: His characters will occasionally sport one to show that they're going through a rough emotional patch.
- Billed Above the Title: And at times, only the surname given it's long enough and also looks great on a poster.
- Bond One-Liner: Arnold has always been great at these (especially in Commando); the trope could well be renamed "Arnold One-Liner". His overall acting may not be great, but it's impossible to deny that he has a good sense of comedic timing.
- Catch-Phrase: A few one-off lines that Arnold has given over the years have become famous, but "I'll be back" is his personal catchphrase, used in a wide range of otherwise unrelated film roles and sometimes lampshaded (Last Action Hero) or played with (Terminator 3, The Expendables 2).
- Cigar Chomper: Many of his characters are avid cigar-smokers. And they look very cool doing it too.
- Cool Old Guy: He can still do action films and maintains a pretty impressive physique even in his eighth decade.
- Deadpan Snarker: Arnold is an expert at delivering dry one-liners and sarcastic quips.
- Determinator: Many of his action film roles are walking definitions of this trope, with his title role in The Terminator being the partial Trope Namer.
- Dull Surprise: Schwarzenegger is not known for his fine acting, and his early career benefited from roles that required him to play stoic, silent types. However, his reputation for being a wooden actor is more based on his accent then his actual ability to convey emotion.
- The '80s: Most of his iconic roles originated in this decade, to the point that 1980s action is almost synonymous with the man.
- Genius Bruiser: He occasionally plays very intelligent people who also happen to have the physique of a professional bodybuilder. Twins is the most exaggerated version, as he plays an action hero who is also a genius.
- Gentle Giant: Despite their size, his characters are generally good men who don't go looking for violence and are generally kind and noble provided you're not a bad guy and you don't go after their family.
- Goofy Print Underwear: He wore these while filming the biker bar scene in Terminator 2 to get the desired reaction from the extras.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: His characters don't usually swear very much. Probably his greatest on-screen Precision F-Strike is "Fuck you, asshole" in the first Terminator.
- Green Eyes: Except in Batman & Robin where lenses make for literal Icy Blue Eyes.
- Heroic Build: The iconic example of the muscle-bound hero in the '80s and perhaps in film history as a whole.
- 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 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)...
- It Will Never Catch On: He was told early in his career by Mark Hamill that he should lose his accent and change his last name in order to get better parts. Needless to say, Arnold didn't listen.
- Large and in Charge: Arnold often plays men in authority positions who are almost invariably the largest man in sight.
- Large Ham: When the role allows him to definitely not take it seriously, Arnold will overact as much as possible.
- Lighter and Softer: Jingle All the Way and Junior subvert his Hollywood Action Hero persona by making him a man who isn't a killing machine and doesn't need to kill anyone. Twins and Kindergarten Cop combine Hollywood action with lighter comedic elements.
- Mr. Fanservice: Back in his heyday he was quite shameless about showing off his physique. And he still looks pretty goddamned good at around 70.
- '90s Anti-Hero: He plays a Defective Detective in End of Days who is somehow falling apart emotionally and physically while still maintaining the physique of a Greek god.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Due to his being a non-native speaker's accent, Arnold can't really do much with it. (Though amusingly, after so many years in America his accent has faded naturally a great deal — he works with a dialect coach to keep it fresh because it's what people expect and associate it with him.) Only a few films even acknowledge that he has an non-native accent:
- In Commando he's from East Germany (and he doesn't try to change his Austrian accent to a German accent), and in Red Heat his Austrian accent stands in for a Russian one, though he does at least make a token effort to sound Russian.
- In The Last Stand he makes only a vague reference to being an immigrant.
- James Cameron apparently thought Arnold's accent made it sound like the T-800 couldn't copy human speech perfectly (or, at least, American human speech), though Rise of the Machines includes a gag implying that an Austrian implanted his own voice into the machine.
- Junior was probably the only occasion where his character actually was Austrian.
- One-Man Army: A common theme of his characters, and a key part of his image, is that he can emerge victorious in a fight even when heavily outnumbered.
- 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.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: He's very skilled at delivering these.
- Running Gag: Jokes that follow him through various works: