Arnold Schwarzenegger’s First Acting Role Took Away His Voice

Arnold Schwarzenegger had his humble beginning in Hercules in New York, which saw the man's voice dubbed over in the original version of the movie.

By James Brizuela | Published

Arnold Schwarzenegger might be one the biggest action stars in the world, and the former Governor of California, but the man had one of the rockiest starts to his acting career. Schwarzenegger’s first movie was a 1970s action-comedy called Hercules in New York, one that was shot entirely on location, and featured the actor with his voice dubbed over because of his thick Austrian accent.

Hercules in New York was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, who had only previously directed theater before traversing into the world of feature films. What made this situation that much odder, is that Arnold Schwarzenegger had an agent that lied about his own acting experience stating that he had plenty of “stage” experience when that stage experience was only the times he stepped on stage for a body-building competition. The movie was also shot for a meager $300,000.

Arnold Schwarzenegger took on the titular role, though his voice was not used in the original version because of his thick accent. Instead, the production used an uncredited voice actor that was dubbed over Arnold’s voice. However, the DVD from Trimark contains a version that has the “Original English Track” which features Arnold exactly how it sounds.

Funny enough, there is one scene in the movie that did not showcase the restored voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is the scene where Hercules speaks to Pretzie through a small transistor radio. Although the DVD contains the original Arnold speaking version, that scene would still have the dubbed voice actor, as Arnold was not on set that day, so he never recorded his voice for that particular scene.

 Arnold Schwarzenegger hercules in new york

Hercules in New York holds a terrible 14% critic rating and 27% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The poor dubbed-over voice for Arnold Schwarzenegger on top of the clear issues that the production faced meant that this movie was likely going to fail at every turn. However, though it was Arnold’s first foray into the world of acting, at least he would go on to have one of the most stellar careers.

Hercules in New York follows Hercules, who is angry at his father Zeus for not allowing him to leave to adventure on Earth. Hercules (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is finally sent there, where he begins to have hilarious interactions with different New Yorkers. Hercules befriends a man that he deems as Pretzie (because he sells pretzels).

Hercules (Arnold Schwarzenegger) goes on to become a professional wrestler, which angers Zeus, as he believes his son is behaving in a manner that is unbefitting of the gods. Zeus sends Mercury to bring his son back, but Mercury fails, and Zeus has no choice but to send Nemesis after his son. Nemesis then hatches a plan to turn Hercules into a mortal.

Without ruining the rest of this movie, everyone can go stream Hercules in New York on Amazon Freevee right now. Despite how awful the movie might seem, there is something to appreciate about where Arnold Schwarzenegger got his start. It would take the man a bit longer to find the roles that would turn him into a superstar, but he did follow this movie up with Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator.

Anyone who happens to appreciate terrible movies should also give Hercules in New York a chance. However, the version that is offered on Amazon Freevee features the original voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger. We are not sure if the streaming version has the awful dubbed version, but it’s worth hearing the dubbed version at least once.

Another fun fact about Hercules in New York is the film’s rights were sold at auction back in 2006. The rights were put up for sale by Premiere Pictures, which was placed at a minimum eBay bid of $550,000. Whoever purchased those rights is likely the reason that this Arnold Schwarzenegger is able to be streamed, so we must thank them.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had a very humble beginning, but he would go on to be one of the biggest action stars in the world, while also landing many awards as a bodybuilder. For those who want to see how he got his start, check out Hercules in New York, which is available with ads on Amazon Freevee.