The Terminator

The Terminator

Infobox Film
name = The Terminator

caption = "The Terminator" theatrical poster
director = James Cameron
producer = John Daly
Derek Gibson
Gale Anne Hurd
writer = James Cameron
Gale Anne Hurd
William Wisher Jr.
starring = Arnold Schwarzenegger
Michael Biehn
Linda Hamilton
music = Brad Fiedel
cinematography = Adam Greenberg
editing = Mark Goldblatt
distributor = Orion Pictures/ Hemdale Film Corporation
released = October 26, 1984
runtime = 108 min.
country = USA
location =
language = English
budget = $6,400,000
gross = Domestic:
preceded_by =
followed_by = ""
website =
amg_id = 1:49101
imdb_id = 0088247

"The Terminator" is a 1984 science fiction/action film directed and co-written by James Cameron. It features Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn.

The film takes place in 1984, introducing the concept of a "terminator", specifically the titular character (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a seemingly unstoppable cyborg assassin who has been sent back from the year 2029 by a race of artificially intelligent computer-controlled machines bent on the extermination of the human race. The Terminator's mission is to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) whose future son leads a resistance against the machines. A human, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), is also sent back from the future to protect her.


In 2029, machines control the world and are bent on the extermination of humans. To this end, the machines send back someone from the future to May 12, 1984. This mysterious muscular man (Arnold Schwarzenegger) obtains weapons and begins hunting down anyone listed as "Sarah Connor" in the phone book, successfully killing two of the three listed. When he attempts to kill the last Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), he is stopped by another time traveler, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), sent back to protect her. While hiding in a parking garage, Reese explains to Sarah that the man after her is actually a Terminator, a cyborg assassin. These Terminators were invented by Skynet, a form of artificial intelligence created by Cyberdyne Systems. In the near future Skynet gains self-awareness, takes over all military hardware, and initiates a nuclear war against humanity. John Connor, Sarah's son, leads a human resistance against the machines. In a last-ditch effort, Skynet sent a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah before John is born, preventing the resistance from ever being founded, allowing the machines to win by default. John sends Reese back in time to protect her.

The Terminator feels no pain, has no emotions and will stop at nothing to accomplish its mission. Time travel can only send living tissue or an object covered with living tissue back, preventing Reese from bringing any advanced weaponry, and 20th century small arms are not enough to destroy the Terminator's hard metal endoskeleton. With its disguise of real living tissue over metal, it is indistinguishable from normal humans, so no one will believe Reese's story.

After Kyle finishes his story, he and Sarah are attacked by the Terminator again, resulting in a chase that leads to the police stopping and capturing Reese. At the West Highland Police Station, Sarah is told by Lieutenant Ed Traxler (Paul Winfield) and Detective Hal Vukovich (Lance Henriksen) that Reese, who is being questioned by psychologist, Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen), is crazy. Upon Reese explaining his mission, Silberman concludes that the story is merely a delusion, constructed in such a way that it requires no evidence, preventing anyone from refuting it. However, the Terminator arrives at the police station and asks to see Sarah, but the desk attendant denies it access. After examining the room and uttering the catch phrase "I'll be back", it leaves, then returns seconds later by plowing a car through the front of the building. The Terminator goes on a rampage through the building, killing 17 police officers [cite web|url =|title = Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)|accessdate = 2007-10-05] . Reese manages to escape and rescue Sarah. They hide out in a motel, where Reese teaches Sarah to make pipe bombs from household supplies. Sarah asks Reese if she measures up to the stories about her and if he's ever been in love. After replying no to both questions, he confesses that he is in love -- with her. At first, Reese thinks he has made a fool of himself, but Sarah feels the same way, and they make love.

Later that night, the Terminator tracks them down and shoots Reese, wounding him. Sarah manages to knock the Terminator off its motorcycle. A tanker truck then runs over the Terminator. The cyborg, damaged, commandeers the tanker truck and drives it at them. Reese uses one of their last bombs to blow up the truck, seeing the Terminator collapse in a burnt heap. They think that it has been destroyed, but the bare metal endoskeleton is still functional and pursues them into a factory. In the ensuing chase, Reese jams a pipe bomb into the Terminator's abdomen, blowing its legs and one arm off, but also killing himself. The Terminator, still partially functional, drags itself by its remaining hand to pursue Sarah, until she finally crushes it in a hydraulic press, destroying it.

The end of the film shows Sarah pregnant, and traveling in Mexico on November 10, 1984. She records audio tapes which she intends to play for her son, John, at some point in his life. She reveals that John is Reese's son, conceived during their one night at the motel six months before (see Predestination paradox). [cite web |url= |title=T2 and Technology |first=Larry |last=Yaeger |date=June 24, 2006 |quote=…the Terminator stories posit a temporal loop — a causality paradox — as the principle contributors to this eventuality.] While Sarah's gas tank is being filled, a young Mexican boy takes a picture of her, the same picture John will give to Reese in the future. Sarah pulls out of the gas station and drives into the distance where storms are approaching over the mountains. The end credits start to roll as her Jeep disappears.



Cameron originally envisioned the Terminator as a small unremarkable man, giving it the ability to blend in more easily. As a result, his first choice for the part was Lance Henriksen. O. J. Simpson was on the shortlist but Cameron did not think that "such a nice guy could be a ruthless killer". [Booklet in the Collector's Edition Release of DVD version of "The Terminator".] According to him and co-writer William Wisher, Schwarzenegger was offered the role of the human soldier Reese. However, they realized that he would be better suited as the Terminator, which as a result became large and muscular. Michael Biehn was also on the shortlist for the Terminator, and not the hero Kyle Reese.

Production was originally scheduled for Spring 1983 in Toronto, but after Dino De Laurentiis chose to option Schwarzenegger to film "Conan the Destroyer", filming was delayed until March 1984 in Los Angeles.

Several scenes cut from the film are available on some DVD releases. One particular scene involving the destruction of Cyberdyne inspired a very similar plot point in the sequel. In this scene, Sarah suggests to Reese that they find Cyberdyne Systems and destroy it before they can invent Skynet, preventing the war. At the end of the film, when Sarah is being taken away by the ambulance, two factory workers find the remains of the Terminator and decide to turn it over to Research and Development, with the camera zooming out to reveal the name of the factory: Cyberdyne Systems. These two scenes set up major plot points in "Terminator 2", where the CPU and arm from the Terminator in this film are reverse engineered and used to create Skynet, and where Sarah, John, and the Terminator blow up Cyberdyne to prevent the war.

James Cameron once said that what inspired him to make "The Terminator" were two episodes from the 1960s television science fiction series "The Outer Limits" [ [ James Cameron ] ] - "Soldier" [ [ SCIFI.COM | The Outer Limits ] ] and "Demon with the Glass Hand" [ [ SCIFI.COM | The Outer Limits ] ] , both written by science-fiction author Harlan Ellison. According to E! Online, "Terminator" production company Hemdale and distributor Orion Pictures "gave veteran fantasy writer Harlan Ellison an 'acknowledgement to the works of' credit on "The Terminator" and a cash settlement lest he sue for plagiarism of two episodes he wrote for "The Outer Limits" in the 1960s and a Hugo Award winning sci-fi story (1977)". [cite web |url= |title=James Cameron Profile | |accessdate=2007-08-09]


"The Terminator" was a low-budget movie, at roughly $6.5 million, which turned out to be a box-office hit, earning $38,371,200 domestically. The film went on to gross more than $78 million worldwide. [cite web | title = The Terminator (1984) | publisher = Box Office Mojo | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-15] The film received positive reviews, with ratings of 100% and 84% positive reviews on popular review aggregator websites Rotten Tomatoes [ [ The Terminator Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes ] ] and Metacritic, [] respectively. The film was placed in "Time Magazine"'s Top 10 Films of 1984.


Infobox Album
Name = The Terminator
Type = Film score
Artist = Brad Fiedel

Released = Original Edition:
Definitive Edition:
Length = Original Edition:
Definitive Edition:
Label = DCC
Edel America
Reviews =*Allmusic Rating|2.5|5 [ link]

Track listing

"The Original Edition"
#"The Terminator: Theme" (4:30)
#"Terminator Arrival" (3:00)
#"Tunnel Chase" (2:50)
#"Love Scene" (1:15)
#"Future Remembered" (2:40)
#"Factory Chase" (3:50)
#"You Can't Do That" (Tahnee Cain, Tryanglz) (3:25)
#"Burnin' in the Third Degree" (Tahnee Cain, Tryanglz) (3:38)
#"Pictures of You" (Jay Ferguson, Sixteen Millimeter) (3:58)
#"Photoplay" (Tahnee Cain, Tryanglz) (3:30)
#"Intimacy" (Linn VanHek) (3:40)

"The Definitive Edition"
#"Theme from The Terminator"
#"The Terminator Main Title"
#"The Terminator's Arrival"
#"Reese Chased/Listen Listen"
#"Sarah on Her Motorbike"
#"Gun Shop/Reese In Alley"
#"Sarah in the Bar"
#"Tech Noir/Alley Chase"
#"Garage Chase"
#"Arm & Eye Surgery"
#"Police Station/Escape from Police Station"
#"Future Flashback/Terminator Infiltration"
#"Conversation by the Window/Love Scene"
#"Tunnel Chase"
#"Death by Fire/Terminator Gets Up"
#"Factory Chase"
#"Reese's Death/Terminator Sits Up/You're Terminated!"
#"Sarah's Destiny/The Coming Storm"
#"Theme from the Terminator (August 29th, 1997: Judgment Day Remix)"

ee also

* Terminator Franchise
*"" (TV series)
*"Terminator Salvation"
*"Terminator" argument — an argument in bioethics that sophisticated technology carries an amount of existential risk which should be avoided by slowing or stopping the advance of technology.


External links

Official websites

* [ ""]

Miscellaneous links

*imdb title|id=0088247|title=The Terminator
*amg movie|id=1:49101|title=The Terminator
* [,1282,65885,00.html "More Robot Grunts Ready for Duty"]
* [ "The Terminator" Narrative Chronology]
* [ The SciFlicks Guide]
*rotten-tomatoes|id=terminator|title=The Terminator
* [ Terminator Gallery]
*" [ The Terminator] " at MetaCritic

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Terminator — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Terminator Originaltitel: The Terminator Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1984 Länge: ca. 102 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Terminator (video game) — Several games based on the movie The Terminator have been released.* The Terminator (DOS) , 1990 game for home computers * The Terminator (NES) , 1992 game for the NES * The Terminator (1992 video game) , 1992 game for the Sega Game Gear, Sega… …   Wikipedia

  • Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator — Infobox comic book title title = Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator imagesize = 250 caption = Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator #1 schedule = format = Mini series limited = y SciFi = y publisher = Dark Horse Comics date =… …   Wikipedia

  • RoboCop versus The Terminator — Infobox VG| title = Robocop versus The Terminator caption = Cover art of Sega Mega Drive version developer = Interplay Entertainment, Virgin Games publisher = Virgin Games designer = Timothy Williams (lead designer), Noah Tool (assistant… …   Wikipedia

  • RoboCop versus The Terminator (comics) — Supercbbox| title = RoboCop versus The Terminator comic color = background:#80ffff caption = RoboCop versus The Terminator vol. #1 Art by Walter Simonson. schedule = format = Limited Series publisher = Dark Horse Comics date = May 1, 1992 issues …   Wikipedia

  • Dare The Terminator — (AKA: Slade Murdock) is a mercenary and an anti hero in Amalgam Comics, who first appeared in Assassins #1 in 1996, though in Amalgam continuity, her debut was in the metafictional Dare the Terminator #1 .Dare is a combination of Daredevil of… …   Wikipedia

  • Terminator (franchise) — Terminator franchise Creator James Cameron Original work The Terminator (1984) …   Wikipedia

  • Terminator video games — The games are either based directly on the movies or are heavily involved in the film s Expanded Universe.The Terminator (DOS)A DOS computer Action adventure game based on the first movie. Developed and published by Bethesda Softworks in 1990, it …   Wikipedia

  • Terminator — may refer to:In science: * Terminator (solar), the line between the day and night sides of a planetary body * Terminator (electrical), a resistor at the end of a transmission line to prevent signal reflection * Terminator (genetics), the end of a …   Wikipedia

  • The Human Resistance — is a fictional organization of humans who survived the Skynet bombings. The Human Resistance is head by John Connor. The Human Resistance may also be heard as The Resistance , and the fighters called the Resistance Fighters .Navbox name =… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.