Arnold Schwarzenegger has had one of the more interesting careers in all of Hollywood. He is the subject of the new Netflix Limited Series Arnold. The three-episode docuseries divulges the three phases of Arnold. First, it takes a look at the Athlete and how Arnold got his start as a bodybuilder. Then, it looks at Arnold the Actor and his rise in the Action movie world. Lastly, they dive into Arnold the American and his rise in the political world.
Arnold Schwarzenegger clawed his way to the top.
On the surface, Schwarzenegger is one of the most successful movie action stars ever. However, most people don’t know the whole story, and this three-part series takes us behind the scenes of watching one of the hardest-working men on the planet achieve every bit of success by earning it.
Most people know Arnold Schwarzenegger as this big action star, but most of this current generation doesn’t know he was also a bodybuilder. He broke into the bodybuilding world at a young age when he won Mr. Universe, followed by being a multiple-time Mr. Olympia. He is widely considered as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.
As a fan of Schwarzenegger, his story isn’t something I’m unfamiliar with. I knew about his trek through the world of bodybuilding, his struggle to become a movie star, and the decisions that led to him running for office, but I didn’t know the battles he faced to get to the top. From his strict upbringing of his hard-nosed father to the language barrier in acting, you become inspired by Arnold’s hard work to the top.
Thankfully, it’s the Arnold show.
One of my biggest pet peeves regarding documentaries and docuseries is when directors take the focus off the documentary principle. With the title Arnold, director Lesley Chilcott wisely lets Arnold tell his story, making it more personal and enjoyable. The adversity feels more authentic from the person who lived and breathed it. That said, the stars show up for this docuseries, with director James Cameron telling the story of casting Arnold in Terminator, Linda Hamilton speaking about working with him on the film, to Sylvester Stallone making fun of Arnold.
My favorite story of the entire series was the creation of one of the most famous lines in film history, “I’ll be back.” The script read for Arnold to say, “I’ll come back,” and instead, he didn’t say it that way. Cameron changed it to “I’ll be back,” Arnold was hesitant to say it, but Cameron reminded him that he was the writer and to just say the line. The rest is history.
Sylvester Stallone vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger was competitive his whole life. It started with the relationship with his brother, in competing with him to see who was the bravest of the two. And we find out that never stopped, as Schwarzenegger began to garner star power in the world of film. Sylvester Stallone saw this unfold, and quickly it became a competition between the two men.
From who had the bigger guns in their films, to who had the bigger muscles, to who could be the box office king, they wanted to one-up each other in everything they did. While Schwarzenegger eventually took that crown from Stallone, he credits that without Stallone, he wouldn’t have been as motivated to make the movies that he did.
Top-notch editing and story structure
Often documentary directors forget that chronological order works best for the storytelling of their documentary principle. Sure, this had the benefit of being told in three parts, but they did it correctly, structuring it in the proper order and never weaving in and out of the stories. As a result, I give the editing team a ton of credit for taking hours upon hours of found footage and editing it perfectly with the sit-down stuff with Arnold.
Arnold is a must-watch for fans of the superstar
I mentioned that Schwarzenegger being the star of the docuseries was the right way to go. That said, Arnold being a version of himself with his vulnerability, honesty, and sincerity translates to a more authentic and enjoyable experience for the viewer. We rarely get to see this side of these larger-than-life personalities, so it was a treat to see it and witness it firsthand with these endless interviews they did with him.
Overall, I loved this entire series and hope that maybe it’s a trend of limited series that Netflix can hone in on and get more stars to do them. Not everyone has had a storied career like Schwarzenegger’s, but many of them have overcome so many different things to rise to that stardom. This provided not only informative storytelling, but right from the man himself. It’s a can’t-miss for fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even people that aren’t fans can even maybe find this inspiring.