33% Of Fans Said This Is Arnold Schwarzenegger's Best Movie - And It Probably Won't Surprise You

(Welcome to Survey Says, a feature where we conduct a movie-related survey for a random group of people and explain why they're completely right, completely wrong, or somewhere in-between.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger's career has some pretty spotty sections, but the man has an undeniable cinematic legacy. We could spend all day trying to narrow down the best movie of his career, but why do that when we can punt the question to random observers and then dissect their responses instead?

We Crunched the Numbers

Frankly, folks, you'd be hard-pressed to find a process that's more scientifically rigorous than this one: we sent out a SurveyMonkey prompt, and 628 people responded. High tech labs across the world, take note – this is how you get results. If you're not a fan of bar graphs, here's the breakdown of their reactions for you:

The Terminator 33.12%

True Lies 14.49%

Terminator 2: Judgment Day 12.42%

Total Recall 11.78%

Twins 11.15%

Predator 9.08%

Last Action Hero 7.96%

The Voters Have Spoken...

Let's take a quick look at the bottom tier of options here. "Last Action Hero" has a great premise but admittedly could have been executed on a higher level. "Predator" is a stone cold action classic, "Twins" was a big deal in its era, and "Total Recall" is a stimulating thrill ride with some big ideas on its mind; it's a B-movie with the polish of an A-movie. Aside from "Predator," which I'd personally argue is a little too low (that meme-worthy Arnold/Carl Weathers handshake alone should have bumped it up a few percentage points), I can see why these responses shook out the way they did. But let's talk about the films that earned the top three slots.

...And The Results Are Complicated

On one hand, of course "The Terminator" would top this list. Arnold has built a huge part of his public persona around the work he's done in the Terminator franchise (remember "The Governator"?), and he adopted that film's most popular catchphrase ("I'll be back") as something of a personal mantra. Make no mistake: "The Terminator" rules. It's a scrappy, propulsive, and at times straight-up terrifying piece of science fiction storytelling. I sometimes wonder if there's ever been a better series of movie lines strung together than, "That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead!" That is top-shelf stuff, and it's easy to see why the film launched both James Cameron and Schwarzenegger himself to household name status.

On the other hand, though, I'm actually slightly surprised that "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" didn't top the list. That's a movie which, anecdotally, feels like it has a larger cultural footprint than the original. "Hasta la vista, baby" was widely quoted, the T-1000 is one of the great movie villains, the decision to make Arnold's character the protector instead of the hunter was a stroke of genius, and the movie's bigger budget allowed it to revolutionize the way CG technology was used in movies. Simply put, it's one of the greatest action films of all time. I'm far from the first person to make this observation, but the original "Terminator" is more of a horror movie than an action movie, and I find it interesting that the people who responded to this survey value something from the horror genre (which, historically, has been more overlooked or looked down upon) than a game-changing action classic.

Both are great answers, and a valiant case can definitely be made for each of them to take home the very prestigious honor of winning this survey.

Wait, Some Of You Voted For True Lies Over Terminator 2?

And then there's this baffling piece of data: "True Lies," which reteamed Schwarzenegger with James Cameron yet again, ended up out-performing "T2" in this survey. 

I really like "True Lies," don't get me wrong. It has a lot going for it: it's an exceptionally well-made film that's a metaphor for the secrets people keep in a marriage, Jamie Lee Curtis is great as the female lead, the late Bill Paxton delivers one of his best supporting performances, and Arnold's repartee with Tom Arnold is wonderful. But there's some stuff in it that does not hold up super well, and in a straight-up comparison with "Terminator 2," I would have bet the farm that "T2" would come out on top. Guess it's a good thing I don't own a farm!