A new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie means one thing: new Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liners. Sure enough, in “The Last Stand,” right before he unloads a Vickers gun on the bad guys, Arnold unloads a big groaner of a wisecrack. I won’t spoil what it is, of course (and, truth be told, it’s not one of his best), but a Schwarzenegger movie without one-liners is like a day without sunshine (and Schwarzenegger movies).
Arnold didn’t invent the action movie one-liner — Sean Connery’s James Bond shared the same love of capping a horrible death with a terrible pun (“I think he got the point,” he says in “Thunderball” after shooting a guy with a speargun). But Schwarzenegger certainly popularized them to the point that they became synonymous with an entire decade of action movies — and with his entire onscreen persona. The two really are inseparable. Even as a politician, his stump speeches always included one-liners. These great moments in cinema history needed to be honored in some way, which brings us to the list below. The very rigorous research, evaluation, and ranking process went like this: I spent the first 30 years of my life watching these movies over and over again. And then I wrote this.
The only rule: to qualify, a line had to be written as comedy, not turned into comedy by the magic of Schwarzenegger’s accent. “Get to the choppa!” has become one of the most famous and most imitated action movie lines ever — but if any other actor says it, it’s just another barked instruction, no different than a dozen other things intense dudes scream at each other when they’re running from deadly alien predators.
With that out of the way, here, listed in ascending order — and with (often very violent) video in every single case so you can savor the nuances of each Austrian inflection — are the finest expressions of Schwarzeneggerhetoric ever committed to celluloid. These are…
The Best Arnold Schwarzenegger One-Liners of All-Time
15) From “The Running Man” (1987) before — and after! — killing a man with a flamethrower:
14) From “Last Action Hero” (1993), playing Hamlet:
13) From “True Lies” (1994), after knocking out a pair of attack dogs:
12) From “Total Recall” (1990), after severing a man’s arms in an elevator shaft:
11) From “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991), after swearing not to kill anyone:
The Top Ten Arnold Schwarzenegger One-Liners of All-Time
10) From “True Lies” (1994), before shooting a terrorist attached to a missile at a helicopter filled with more terrorists:
9) From “Predator” (1987), after impaling a man with a knife:
8) From “Red Heat” (1988), after discovering cocaine in a man’s fake leg:
7) From “Commando” (1985), after promising a man he would kill him last:
6) From “The 6th Day” (2000), telling off a scientist who specializes in illegal cloning:
5) From “Raw Deal” (1986), after his wife throws a cake at him:
4) From “Commando” (1985), after killing a man on an airplane and making it look like he’s asleep:
3) From “Total Recall” (1990), after killing his wife:
2) From every movie he’s ever made, before he does something violent:
1) From “Commando” (1985), after impaling his enemy with a steam pipe:
What is your favorite Arnold one-liner? Stick around and tell us in the comments section below.