3. Himself - Pumping Iron (1977)
Arnie has played himself a number of times over the years - most notably in Last Action Hero (more of which soon) - and though most have been in works of fiction, one of his most intriguing performances comes in a documentary that remains a staple for anyone with any interest in body building. Before he made it big as an actor, famously Schwarzenegger was a champion of the sport, inspiring hyperbole from every gym-bunny focused on making the most of their body mass. He was also a competitor in Mr Universe competitions, which thrust him into focus for George Butler and Robert Fiore's 1977 documentary Pumping Iron, which also starred a pre-Hulk Lou Ferrigno. Playing the charismatic villain to Ferrigno, in a role that he himself suggested was a caricature to help the film'e entertainment factor, Schwarzenegger is irresistible, dominating every scene he appears in and offering the kind of T-Shirt slogan soundbites that continue to make him a favourite source for anyone looking for inspiration. Pumping Iron officially got Arnie the Conan gig, as well as giving Ferrigno the opportunity to play The Incredible Hulk, but it is notable more for its insights behind the artifice of Arnie than it is for his portrayal of any character.