It’s hard to remember this, but there was a time when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the king of big-blockbuster sci-fi. In the era before mega-franchises like Marvel and Star Wars, Arnie helped create not only a few notable sequel-machines (Conan, Predator, Terminator) but also some classic stand-lone sci-fi flicks that hold up pretty damn well even today.
With Terminator: Dark Fate storming theaters this weekend (and shooting up some nostalgia along the way) why not kick back with some old-school Arnie flicks?
Here are four essential movies, all streaming on Amazon you can hit up right now.
The original 1984 Terminator is streaming for free on Amazon Prime, and it’s really worth a rewatch before you hit up Terminator: Dark Fate. Not only will some of the time travel shenanigans feel easier to understand relative to the new film, but it was really the last time Arnold got to be the bad guy. (At least in this franchise anyway.)
- Watch The Terminator for free on Amazon Prime right now.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
If you want to watch the classic T2: Judgement Day, you’re gonna have to rent it, it’s not streaming for free, but because Dark Fate is basically a direct sequel to this movie, consider it essential viewing before you see the new Terminator movie.
Also, and perhaps most relevantly, this was the first time the Terminator franchise flipped the script and had the T-800 become the good guy. While this Terminator is 100 percent dead, Schwarzenegger returns in Dark Fate as another robot of the same make and model.
- Rent Terminator 2: Judgement Day on Amazon Prime right here.
The Running Man
Imagine a kooky one-off Doctor Who-ish premise combined with Mad Max and The Hunger Games.
The result is a classic Arnie sci-fi flick called The Running Man. This movie is about a “futuristic” game show in which convicts are hunted on live television for sport. Arnold, of course, has been falsely accused. He chews the scenery the entire film, forcing you to understand that fact in a wild adventure that’s unlike anything else out there.
- Rent The Running Man on Amazon Prime right here.
This is literally one of the greatest and most absurd sci-fi movies of all time.
Loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” the film is all about Arnold Schwarzenegger wanting to get some false memories implanted so he can think he had a great vacation on Mars. But, wait, his wife (Sharon Stone!) isn’t really his wife and maybe he’s already been to Mars?
In some ways, Total Recall is the quintessential ‘90s sci-fi movie: really violent, directed by Paul Verhoeven (Showgirls, RoboCop, Starship Troopers), and sort of biting on the style of Blade Runner. It’s also weirdly perhaps Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best movie.
Plus, nothing, nothing beats this classic Jerry Goldsmith score.
- You can watch Total Recall on Amazon Prime for free right now.