The Terminator

October 26th, 1984

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The Terminator

James Cameron and Linda Hamilton in The TerminatorStill of Linda Hamilton in The TerminatorThe TerminatorStill of Arnold Schwarzenegger in The TerminatorStill of Arnold Schwarzenegger in The TerminatorStill of Linda Hamilton in The Terminator

A human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor; Kyle Reese is sent to stop it.

Release Year: 1984

Rating: 8.1/10 (255,638 voted)

Critic's Score: 84/100

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn

A cyborg is sent from the future on a deadly mission. He has to kill Sarah Connor, a young woman whose life will have a great significance in years to come. Sarah has only one protector - Kyle Reese - also sent from the future. The Terminator uses his exceptional intelligence and strength to find Sarah, but is there any way to stop the seemingly indestructible cyborg ?

Writers: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Terminator
Michael Biehn - Kyle Reese
Linda Hamilton - Sarah Connor
Paul Winfield - Lieutenant Ed Traxler
Lance Henriksen - Detective Hal Vukovich
Rick Rossovich - Matt Buchanan
Bess Motta - Ginger Ventura
Earl Boen - Dr. Peter Silberman
Dick Miller - Pawn Shop Clerk
Shawn Schepps - Nancy
Bruce M. Kerner - Desk Sergeant
Franco Columbu - Future Terminator
Bill Paxton - Punk Leader
Brad Rearden - Punk
Brian Thompson - Punk

Taglines: The thing that won't die, in the nightmare that won't end.


Official Website: MGM |

Release Date: 26 October 1984

Filming Locations: 2nd Street Tunnel between Hill and Figueroa, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $6,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $4,020,663 (USA) (28 October 1984) (1005 Screens)

Gross: $78,371,200 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The "screaming" sound at the end of the movie is Brad Fiedel and friends screaming in a microphone and Fiedel playing synth over it.

Revealing mistakes: Obvious stunt double for the Terminator when he first turns the police car around to find Sarah and Reese.

[first lines]
[the garbage truck's engine stops]
Truck Driver: What the hell? Goddamn son of a bitch...

User Review

The best of the best in its genre...

Rating: 10/10

Rarely has a film so frightened an audience as "The Terminator." After its release in 1984, the extremely low-budget sci-fi actioner broke box office records, and gave audiences something more to fear. Through the years, there have been stories of nature's beasts, of creatures from another world, and so on and so forth. "Jaws" was terrifying because it seemed so possible. And if "Jaws" is terrifying, "The Terminator" is horrific. The realization of this hit-man machine dawned on everyone watching the film. In a time of exceeding technology, how long will it be before man is overtaken by the very things he created? And that is what is particularly scary about a film like "The Terminator."

In "The Terminator," Arnold plays a cyborg, Cyberdyne system model 101, a T800, whatever that means. He has been sent back in time to assassinate the soon-to-be-mother of the future world leader, John Connor (who battles the machines in the future and leads an uprising). If Connor is killed, then there will be no one to oppose the machines of the future, and they will triumph. This would be pretty bad. So the future John Connor has sent a protector back in time, to help save his mother. Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) tells Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) about the machine that is trying to kill her. "It can't be bargained with, it can't feel pain or mercy, and it will stop at absolutely nothing until you are dead!" Talk about a bad day.

The Terminator hunts them down time after time, including the famous police station scene, where Arnie says, "I'll be back," and returns moments later, crashing through the wall in a car. He then takes on a whole squad of cops, but don't worry, Sarah and Reese escape slightly unscathed.

There are countless classic scenes in "The Terminator." You will see them spoofed your entire life. From the image of the Terminator, to the lines they speak, to the scenes they act out. Everything is spoofed. And the film is worthy of its fame.

On the special edition "T2" DVD (the second one), there is an on-set documentary for the making of the "Terminator 2" 3-D ride at Universal Studios. As the camera moves around, it shows Cameron detailing what he wants in this scene. Some guy suggests something else, and Cameron gets a tone. "No, no, that won't work. You do it like this - we come off here, he walks around..." etc. The point is, he's a perfectionist, and a demanding director. Some directors are a bit too easy, and don't really care where their films are going. But James Cameron seems to have a clear vision of what he wants, and he goes around making sure it gets done exactly the way he wants it to be done. And it shows in his work. It's hard to find any mistakes in a James Cameron film. And it's even harder to find plot holes.

Some people say "Terminator 2 - Judgment Day" is better than the original. It's hard to choose, because the two films are very different. I view "The Terminator" as more of a deep, intellectually-consuming, dark thriller. I view "Judgment Day" as an action film, with a more or less recycled plot. (The plot is still good, but it's still the same, too.) It's hard to choose a favorite because they are so different. On "T2" the budget is ten times larger, probably even more than that. But if you want a horror/thriller, "The Terminator" is better for you. If you want special-effects and a really fun time, see "T2." They're both excellent films.

"The Terminator" is a great movie. It is one of my favorites; it is terrifying, horrifying, and 100 % entertaining. And unlike a lot of other cheap actioners out there, "The Terminator" has some thought put into its plot, and that is what separates it from the rest of its kind.

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