Follow TV Tropes

Following

Creator / Arnold Schwarzenegger

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/schwarzenegger_with_cigar_8513.jpg
"Everything I have, my career, my success, my family, I owe to America."

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

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 equally 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 both 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 and continued to serve until 2011. Overall consensus of his tenure boiled down to "So Okay, It's Average," as he did not cover himself with glory, 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.

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


Notable filmography:

Other:

Tropes seen in Arnold Schwarzenegger's body of work:

  • Action Hero: Pretty much the Trope Codifier during The '80s. Even his poorer films are easily quotable.
  • 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 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: Deliberately averted. 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 turned down a number of roles which might have established his film career earlier (though, one imagines, in a far different direction).
  • Badass Baritone: His deep voice and accent are a major part of his persona.
  • Badass Grandpa: He can still do action films and maintains a pretty impressive physique even in his seventies.
  • 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), the trope could well be renamed "Arnold One Liner". Say what you will about his acting, it's impossible to deny that he has a good sense of comedic timing.
  • Catch-Phrase: A number of 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 look very cool doing it too.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)...
  • 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 almost 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 accent being a non-native speaker's accent, Arnold can't really do much with it. Only a few films even acknowledge that he has an non-native accent: In Commando he's from East Germany (and he doesn't attempt to change his Austrian accent to a German accent), and in Red Heat his Austrian accent stands in for a Russian accent, 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 that the accent made it sound like the T-800 can't copy human speech perfectly, though the third installment 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.
  • Running Gag: Jokes that follow him through various works:
    • His various Catch Phrases, which sometimes get subverted or lampshaded.
    • He and Sylvester Stallone shared a friendly rivalry as the musclebound action king of the 1980s. They would sometimes reference each other in their movies
  • Self Depreciation: He has a good sense of humor about himself and is always up for sending up the more ridiculous aspects of his films.

Top