Arnold Schwarzenegger has been in a lot of movies over the years.
I always thought Conan the Barbarian was Arnold Schwarzengger’s first film after his breakout role in the docu-drama Pumping Iron, but I was, way wrong. A quick check on IMDB shows quite a few more appearances.
Arnold made many film and television appearances from 1970-1980.
I’m a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, but I had never even heard of most of these, let alone seen them.
Hercules in New York
A classic fish out of water story. Low budget, but not low on muscles.
Full of bad acting and lame jokes, this comedy is a bit of a dud. Arnold plays Hercules; bored and tired of his life on Mount Olympus, he defies his father, Zeus, and heads to Earth where he looks for: true love, money and enters a bodybuilding contest. Read more about Arnold’s first role in my Hercules in New York Review.
The Long Goodbye
A private detective story staring Elliott Gould, Arnold only makes a brief, uncredited appearance with no speaking lines.
Happy Anniversary and Goodbye
Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a memorable appearance as Rico, the masseur. Arnold has some pretty funny lines while working with Lucille Ball and Art Carney.
Pumping Iron is the classic docu-drama that brought Arnold Schwarzengger onto the movie scene.
A film that follows bodybuilders competing in the 1975 Mr Universe & Mr Olympia contests. We follow around Arnold and other bodybuilders as they train and compete.
Pumping Iron is considered a docu-drama because many of the story elements have been scripted or shot after the fact to make it more interesting. Regardless, it’s a quality watch, especially if you’re into lifting weights or Arnold Schwarzenegger in general. It’s quite entertaining.
Stay Hungry is the film role Arnold was given after the success of Pumping Iron.
Arnold plays a bodybuilder (seeing a theme here for these early roles?) who befriends the main character Craig Blake (Jeff Bridges). An awesome dramatic performance let down by a bit of an odd movie.
Bridges’ character is trying to get the owner of the gym that Joe Santo (Schwarzenegger) lifts at, to sell to him and some hot shots so they turn the building into a high-rise for profit. The problem is Blake is already rich! His parents passed away and left him all their money and a mansion. Blake doesn’t really have any motivation to do any of this. Tack on a love story and an odd final act and it’s just kind of, meh.
It’s really a shame because I loved Arnold’s performance; it may be the strongest acting of his career. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch this one, though.
The Streets of San Francisco – Dead Lift
A hilarious performance by Arnold in this television show.
Arnold basically plays a bodybuilder with roid-rage and loses his cool when people make fun of him for being big and musclar. Was bodying building seen as a joke to people in the 70’s?
Arnold shakes a woman to death. No, really. Watch below.
The San Pedro Beach Bums – Lifting Is My Life
I could not find anything about this other than Arnold’s credit on IMDB. Comment below if you know anything about it!
The Villain stars Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside Kirk Douglass and Ann-Margret in what is basically a live-action western version of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. A lot of the gags from Looney Tunes are brought to life, but I really didn’t find much of it funny.
Scavenger Hunt is a comedy with a large ensemble cast. Arnold has a minor, but memorable role as Lars, an instructor in a gym. His appearance is short but sweet.
The Jayne Mansfield Story
A TV movie about the tragic life & death of Jayne Mansfield. Arnold plays her husband, real life bodybuilder and 1955 Mr. Universe, Mickey Hargitay.
Arnold does well in another dramatic role and actually narrates the film. Could be an interesting enough movie if you care about Jayne Mansfield, but full disclosure, I skipped any scene Arnold wasn’t in.
Have you seen any of these early Arnold Schwarzenegger appearances? I consider myself a pretty big Arnold fan, and hadn’t even heard of most of these.