Thinking about it even today, it’s amazing how an Austrian boy.


who left for the United States with nothing or anyone, first became the most famous bodybuilder ever, and then one of the most famous film faces of all time, the hero par excellence. for entire generations of spectators. Arnold Schwarzeneggerturns 75, and for 40 years he has decisively put his foot into cinematic mythology, thanks to characters in which the quintessence of the concept of a classic hero, made up of muscles and daring, is accompanied by a very pleasant self-irony, not to take too much seriously. But certainly, choosing the best 5 characters within such a rich and multifaceted and highly successful career, is not an easy task, it is good or bad to fight against one’s own memories and feelings. Because there are many and too many films in which the mere presence of him was a guarantee of fun and memorable jokes.


It is useless to hide behind a blade of grass. If there is ever a role for which the former Mister Olympia will be remembered in 100 years, this will undoubtedly be Terminator , T-800 to be more precise. Born from the sick fantasy (literally since it was the result of a nightmare caused by a horse fever) of James Cameron , Terminatorhe is among the very few movie characters who have been both a villain and a hero at the same time. No one else but Schwarzenegger could have made this cybernetic killer from the future that incredible mix of Herculean strength, mechanical determination and cold cunning that was in the first, as well as perfectly making the progressive mutation into something more complex than a simple artificial being.

And to say that Schwarzenegger was not very convinced of this film, where in reality he had to be Kyle Reese, Sarah Connor’s savior. Then Cameron had the brilliant intuition, which also enhanced the strange accent of the former Austrian bodybuilder, who was in this way even more credible because it was imperfect in a certain sense. Terminator is undoubtedly one of the most iconic characters in the history of the seventh art, connected to the concept of monster and unknown, biblical demon and futuristic omen. While most of the sequels, apart from the second wonderful episode, were absolutely not up to this character, Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been.


For 40 years we have known what is the best in life because Conan explained it to us , with the cavernous and in some ways almost uncertain voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger , who was finally launched into the cinematic firmament by this fantasy masterpiece, signed by John Milius .

Without a shadow of a doubt, his Conan looks different than the character in Robert Ervin Howard ‘s novels, as well as the then very popular comic version. Yet precisely for this reason it still works in an incredible way today, because based on a purely physical and mimic acting, Schwarzenegger has perhaps given us the mythical warrior par excellence. His Conan for good or bad is an instinctive creature, made of muscles, of pure ferocity and fear, he does not know much about the world, he only knows that in some way revenge is the only thing that matters to him, along with the discovery of a universe in which one lives or dies simply as a function of the strength of one’s arm and the courage one has on the battlefield. Although conditioned by a sequel not up to the standard of the first film, this character is absolutely central to his filmography, because he has provided a prototype of a hero that many other film genres have drawn on,


In full Perestroika and a Cold War thaw, Walter Hill directs an urban western of great rhythm and charm, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Ivan Danko , Captain of the Soviet Police, traveling to the United States to get his hands on a dangerous drug dealer. Danko undoubtedly represents one of the best characters ever played by Arnold Schwarzenegger , enhanced above all by a buddy cop movie dimension in which he is supported by a crackling James Belushi .

As much Danko is adamant, inflexible, dark and testosteronic, so much is his makeshift colleague from Chicago messed up, talkative and bungler, who on more than one occasion proves to be equally brave. Danko is one of Hill’s best films, and behind the appearances, also one of the most fascinating and multifaceted characters Arnold has ever played in his career. Little by little, in fact, the actor takes off his armor and finally makes this Soviet Hercules much more human, connected not only to the duty of the uniform, but also to the ideal of virile friendship, loyalty and a sense of honor towards their own people. Character also a symbol of the restored trust between the Soviet Union and the United States, Dankois one of the most atypical detectives of the detective genre ever. More than a hound, a werewolf, but also capable of surprising us with intuition and an unexpected sensitivity.


John McTiernan in 1987 directs a sci-fi action set in South America, with a team of the Green Berets sent on a recovery mission, which soon turns into something completely different, due to a mysterious alien hunter.

Predator occupies a very respectable place within the science fiction genre, but above all the action one, because Arnold Schwarzenegger , in the role of Dutch, the leader of a group of soldiers among the toughest, toughest and most picturesque of all time, for better or for worse it completely deconstructs an archetype. He and his men are beaten, destroyed, quickly become defenseless prey for this colossal and lethal alien predator, invisible most of the time. Only with cunning, the ability to learn and control his fear, will Dutch finally survive and avenge his comrades.

Anyone who says that Arnold is not a credible or expressive actor should look carefully at this film, because in every single sequence he makes us believe what we are witnessing, he manages to be both heroic and very fragile, connecting in some ways also to the concept of mythological hero.

There are the comrades destined for death, the monster, the small traces left that indicate its nature and weak points, and above all the ingenuity that counts as much as two strong arms. An apparently classic, but actually revolutionary protagonist in an iconic monster movie.

Douglas Quaid

Paul Verhoeven has a far from indifferent place in the hearts of science fiction fans above all thanks to Act of Force , which in 1990 brought Arnold Schwarzenegger into a changing diegetic process, with many faces, in which irony, drama and extreme violence coexisted. Loosely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick , Act of Force sees him as Douglas “Doug” Quaid and together with Carl Hauser, a wicked mercenary. Two souls in the same body, two completely different people in personality, morality and past.

Beyond the visual beauty and creativity present in the film, the character of Quaid is undoubtedly the key to the charm of the whole. He is in fact a very particular hero, in which for good or bad an ideal of heroism and virility coveted by every average man is represented, the one who is always out of shape and leads a boring life. At the same time, Schwarzenegger takes away any epic, any rhetoric from him, connecting him to a world of violence and lack of truth, of loneliness, to a path that, rather than revealing his past, guides him towards a future independent of it. With clear references to the theme of the double present in Plauto, Goldoni or Wilde, Douglas Quaidhe is perhaps the most original and in some ways pleasant hero that Schwarzy has played, in a film capable of daring like very few others in those years.