1970 HERCULES IN NEW YORK
Hercules journeys to Earth from Mt. Olympus and gets mixed up with wrestling promoters--and mobsters--in this lumbering comedy. Inept, but irresistible for the opportunity to watch a young, badly dubbed Schwarzenegger in his movie debut. Reissued as HERCULES--THE MOVIE at 82m, and HERCULES GOES BANANAS at 75m. For TV release a three-minute prologue has been added. Aren't you glad you asked
1973 THE LONG GOODBYE
Strange, almost spoofy updating of Raymond Chandler's novel, with Gould as a shabby Philip Marlowe involved with mysterious Van Pallandt, alcoholic Hayden, evil Gibson, missing pal Bouton, and Jewish gangster Rydell. Some nice touches, especially John Williams' jokey score, but Altman's attitude toward the genre borders on contempt. Screenplay by Leigh Brackett, who had earlier coscripted THE BIG SLEEP. Look for Arnold Schwarzenegger as a muscleman.
1976 STAY HUNGRY
Jeff Bridges is a bad ol' boy. He is involved in a real estate deal with a group of high-powered partners--and his only responsibility is to evict the tenants of a gym filled with body builders. He feels a bond to these outsiders, particularly the surprisingly articulate, fiddle-playing Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also finds himself attracted to gym employee played by Sally Field and so becomes an impediment to his own business partners. A sleeper that never had much of a release.
1977 PUMPING IRON
Fascinating documentary about men's bodybuilding, centering on Schwarzenegger and his pursuit of yet another Mr. Olympia title. Schwarzenegger exudes charm and registers strong screen presence; his main rival is Ferrigno, pre-Incredible Hulk. Followed by a distaff sequel.
1979 THE VILLAIN
This curiosity is breathtaking in its dreadfulness. This was an attempt at creating a Roadrunner cartoon with live actors includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, before Hollywood smoothed his rough edges. He plays the invulnerable sheriff who rides blithely through life, unaware that the evil Kirk Douglas wants to kill him and kidnap his squeeze, Ann-Margret. Schwarzenegger shows exactly why he was known as "the Austrian Oak."
1979 SCAVENGER HUNT
Vincent Price dies, and his relatives and servants are practically forced to kill each other for his inheritance by collecting commodes, wild animals, etc. in an allotted time. Hard to believe a comedy with so much talent could misfire so greatly, but it does; only Mulligan manages to get some laughs.
1980 THE JAYNE MANSFEILD STORY
The story of Jayne Mansfield, who traveled to Hollywood in the 1950's with the idea of becoming the next Marilyn Monroe. Made for television.
1981 CONAN THE BARBARIAN
The sword-wielding warrior seeks vengeance on the cult leader who enslaved him and massacred his village in this full-blooded (and bloody) adventure epic based on Robert E. Howard's pulp tales. Ron Cobb's spectacular production design and Basil Poledouris' vibrant score help make this superior to the many low-grade imitations it spawned. Written by Milius and Oliver Stone. Also shown at 115m. and 123m. Sequel: CONAN THE DESTROYER. Todd-AO 35.
1984 THE TERMINATOR
A cyborg is sent here from the future to kill a seemingly innocent woman. Schwarzenegger is perfectly cast as violence-prone robot who cannot be stopped. Terrific action picture never lets up for a minute--a model for others to follow. Director Cameron cowrote with producer Gale Anne Hurd (inspired by the works of Harlan Ellison).
1984 CONAN THE DESTROYER
This rousing sequel has one of the campiest casts ever assembled. This time, Conan is assigned by a duplicitous queen to escort a princess on a treacherous trek to a palace where they will retrieve a priceless gemstone. Wilt Chamberlain plays Bombaata, a warrior sent to kill Conan, and Grace Jones plays Zula, a wild woman who becomes Conan's loyal ally. The film makes no apologies for its silliness, and that's the key to its success as gloriously pulpy entertainment.
1985 RED SONJA
Spectacularly silly sword-and-sorcery saga with female lead, based on pulp writings of Robert E. Howard (of CONAN fame). Might amuse juvenile viewers, but only point of interest for adults is deciding who gives the worse performance, Nielsen or villainess Bergman. Schwarzenegger has a brief guest spot.
Exceptionally noisy comic-book yarn about retired special agent Schwarzenegger, who's forced to go back into action when vengeful goons kidnap his daughter. Film's sense of humor (courtesy scripter Steven E. de Souza) is largely obliterated by all the noise and mindless violence.
1986 RAW DEAL
Stupid action movie about brawny ex-Fed who helps an old pal clean some dirty laundry--and bust a major crime ring. Sense of humor helps... but not enough. J-D-C Scope.
1987 THE RUNNING MAN
It's 2019, and the U. S. is a totalitarian state; framed mass murderer Arnie is ordered to take part in a Most Dangerous Game-type TV show where convicted felons get their one chance for freedom. Relentlessly trashy big-bucks exploitation picture gets big boost from Dawson's sleazy portrayal of the game-show host. Based on a novel by Richard Bachman (Stephen King).
Schwarzenegger and his super-SWAT-team-for-hire are assigned by the U. S. to a delicate rescue mission in South American jungle... but Arnold and his men soon find themselves battling a faceless, ferocious enemy that's picking them off one by one. Solid, suspenseful action film takes time getting started, but emerges a grabber.
Entertaining comedy about genetically designed twins (Schwarzenegger and DeVito!) who discover each other's existence at the age of 35. Effectively blends sentiment and roughhouse humor, with the two mismatched stars packing extra punch in their delightful performances
1988 RED HEAT
Grim-faced Soviet cop (played by Guess Who?) tracks a scummy Russian drug dealer to Chicago, where he's partnered with belligerent Belushi from the Chicago P. D. Cheerless, foul-mouthed action film with two of the least appealing characters imaginable as the good guys. This was the first American production allowed to shoot scenes in Moscow's Red Square (... but why?).
1990 KINDERGARTEN COP
Macho cop is forced to masquerade as a kindergarten teacher in order to find a youngster who's living with his mother incognito. Amusing but overly contrived Schwarzenegger vehicle blends elements of comedy, cop thriller, and romance. Despite the presence of cute kids, this is definitely not for children--especially the finale.
1990 TOTAL RECALL
Schwarzenegger learns he's a victim of mind-tampering in this 21st-century tale--and once he discovers his true identity, journeys to Mars to help fight a power-hungry madman there. Riveting yarn (based on Phillip K. Dick's short story ``We Can Remember It for You Wholesale'') offers endless twists and intriguing ideas... and the kind of over-the-top violence for which director Verhoeven is known. Dazzling, Oscar-winning special effects throughout.
1991 TERMINATOR 2
A ``kinder, gentler'' cyborg from the future returns, this time to protect the soon-to-be savior of humanity from destruction by a rival terminator. Box-office smash has special effects to knock your socks off (especially the ``liquid metal''), and action to spare, but like so many sequels, lacks the freshness of the first film and gives us no one to root for. Oscar winner for Best Makeup, Sound, Sound Effects Editing, and Visual Effects.
1993 LAST ACTION HERO
Noisy, smug, self-conscious blockbuster-wannabe about a boy whose ``magic ticket'' transports him into an action movie alongside his No. 1 hero, Jack Slater (Schwarzenegger). Genuinely bad writing and an overall air of unpleasantness torpedo this film; good action scenes and occasional clever ideas can't save it. (And how exactly did an Ingmar Bergman picture work its way into the story?) A raft of cameo appearances add to the in-joke tone of the picture.
1994 TRUE LIES
In-your-face entertainment from the Schwarzenegger/Cameron team, with Arnold as a spy in a super-secret, high-tech government agency whose wife thinks he's just a nerdy computer salesman. With humor and action in equal doses, this film makes all the right moves--until it gets bogged down in plot (and a general putdown of women) midway through. A slam-bang action finale brings it back on-course, as credibility is gleefully tossed aside.
Pleasant-enough comedy about a straitlaced scientist (Schwarzenegger) who's persuaded by an aggressive colleague (DeVito) to try injecting sperm into his body and becoming pregnant. Unexpected result: he doesn't want to give up his baby! This ``politically correct farce'' boasts enthusiastic performances from its three stars, and precious few laughs after the initial joke is presented. Instead, Arnold becomes a better man by experiencing childbearing like a woman.
1996 JINGLE ALL THE WAY
Neglectful father promises his son a Turbo Man action figure, then frantically searches to find the sold-out toy the day before Christmas. His chief rival in the search (Sinbad) turns out to be not just a competitor but a major sicko. Even at 88 minutes this feels prolonged and protracted, a dubious 90s addition to the canon of holiday movies.
High-octane, high-tech, violent and cartoonish action-thriller about a specialist in the Federal Witness Protection Program who vows to keep a female witness safe and sticks to his word even after he becomes as much a target as she. Explosive, cutting-edge action and special effects give fans their money's worth, and then some. Indefensible on any artistic level, but lots of fun.
1997 BATMAN AND ROBIN
Batman #4 spotlights two colorful villains, Schwarzenegger's lusty Mr. Freeze, and Thurman's deliciously nasty Poison Ivy, who (for different reasons) want to destroy Gotham City, but even their antics can't sustain an overlong, episodic film in which the story often makes no sense. Clooney is OK but unremarkable in his first outing as Bruce Wayne/Batman, ditto for Silverstone as the new Batgirl.
1999 END OF DAYS
"When 'End of Days' gets involved in the theology of the events, it gains momentum and never looks back, gathering a poignancy on par with such religiously-oriented films as 'The Exorcist.'"