“Tore a gash on my back that required 40 stitches”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Was Chased After by Wild Dogs for His First Blockbuster, Director Made Him Do “Terrible Sh*t”

John Milius asked Arnold Schwarzenegger to go to extreme lengths for Conan the Barbarian

Arnold Schwarzenegger Was Chased After by Wild Dogs for His First Blockbuster, Director Made Him Do "Terrible Sh*t"


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was made to do a lot of wild things during the filming of Conan the Barbarian.
  • John Milius asked the actor turned bodybuilder to bite a dead vulture for one of the scenes.
  • Schwarzenegger even suffered an injury on the set that required forty stitches.
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Seven-time Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed his way into the list of most bankable actors in the 80s and 90s with his immense physical presence on the big screen. The likes of James Cameron in The Terminator and Mark L. Lester in Commando used his muscles to great effect.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator
Arnold Schwarzenegger.

However, no filmmaker pushed the boundaries more than John Milius when it came to using Schwarzenegger solely for what he could do with his body. The filming of Conan the Barbarian was an absolute wild ride for Schwarzenegger and asked little of his acting talents.

Read more: “Such a stupid bodybuilding idiot”: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Legendary Mentor Used to Curse Him to Help Him Learn One Major Aspect of His Acting Career


How John Milius’ Movie Became a Nightmare Experience for Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the action flick Conan the Barbarian, wherein he portrayed Conan, a slave who is compelled to push The Wheel of Pain for many years. Upon reaching adulthood, he sets off to find the sorcerer behind the killing of his family and the destruction of his village. As the title and the logline of the movie suggest, Schwarzenegger’s character finds himself involved in barbaric antics in his pursuit.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan.

With a box office collection of $68.9–79.1 million, the epic sword and sorcery film emerged as a financial success. However, the actor didn’t have the best of times during the filming of the John Milius movie.

In his memoir Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life, Schwarzenegger talks about the crazy “terrible sh*t” Milius had him do. He writes (via Insider):


“I crawled through rocks, take after take, until my forearms bled. I ran from wild dogs that managed to catch me and pull me into a thorn bush. I bit a real, dead vulture that required I wash my mouth out with alcohol after each take. (PETA would have a field day with that one.). On one of the first days of filming, I tore a gash on my back that required forty stitches.”

For his role, The Terminator star also learned to ride horses, camels, and elephants and had to experience falling from a height. Despite all the hardships and disturbing sequences, Schwarzenegger reprised the role in the sequel Conan the Destroyer, albeit without Milius in the director’s chair.

Read more: “Why would I now complain about one thing I can’t do?”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Has No Regrets Over Missing a Major Milestone in His Political Career Because of American Laws

What Arnold Schwarzenegger Had to Do to Prepare for His Role in The Terminator

Playing a cyborg assassin in The Terminator was not a squeamish task that required the actor to eat dead birds, but still, it demanded a lot from him.

Arnold Schwarzenegger from a scene of The Terminator
Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator.

Schwarzenegger had to rehearse every stunt featuring a gun with a blindfold on to somewhat become like a machine in James Cameron‘s movie. He recalls in his memoir:

“On The Terminator, it was becoming a machine: blindfolding myself until I could do every gun stunt with my eyes closed, and shooting so many rounds at the range that I no longer blinked when my gun fired.”

However, this was a very rewarding stint for Mr. Olympia winner, as it kick-started one of the most iconic action franchises in Hollywood.

Read more:“They’ve always looked at a sh**ty body”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Feels Ashamed to Watch Himself in the Mirror Now, Says Fans Can’t Correlate to His Pain


Written by Vishal Singh

Articles Published: 514

Vishal Singh is a Content Writer at FandomWire. Having spent more than half a decade in the digital media space, Vishal specializes in crafting engaging entertainment- and sports-focused stories. He graduated from university with an honors degree in English Literature.