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The Terminator (1984)

A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shawn Schepps ...
Bruce M. Kerner ...


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 ? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Your future is in his hands. See more »


Action | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

26 October 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Terminator  »

Box Office


$6,400,000 (estimated)


$38,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(original release)| (DVD Re-Release)| (DTS HD Master Audio)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


James Cameron: [Biehn's hand] Michael Biehn's character gets bitten on the hand by another character. See Aliens (1986) and The Abyss (1989). See more »


Just before the Terminator kills the power to the police station, he comes to a door at the end of a hallway. He fires his shotgun, but we hear the sound of the machine gun instead. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

The opening credits run while large outlines of the two halves of THE TERMINATOR cross each other. After the last directorial credit is shown, the title THE TERMINATOR zooms backward, is filled by metallic blue, and reveals itself. See more »


Referenced in Collateral Damage (2002) See more »


Pictures of You
Performed by 16mm
Written by Jay Ferguson
Published by Painless Music (BMI)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The wonderful action movie which started a wonderful action saga
22 January 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The Terminator is one of the best action movies of all time in my opinion. It doesn't set a single foot wrong and it also kicked off a wonderful saga. Without this, there would be no Terminator 2. Think about that. As such, this movie is fondly remembered by many people and it has been the subject of many quotes and spoofs over the years. Why doesn't it set a foot wrong? It is thrilling, almost always entertaining and filled with insane explosions, which more or less makes a good action movie. But 'The Terminator' stands head and shoulders above the rest of it's genre, because of it's well thought-out plot, splendid acting and an eerily memorable music score which gives you a reason to watch the credits at the end.

Now to analysing why the plot is so well-thought out. Well, for one thing, the concept of preventing or setting in stone the future by going back in time was one which wasn't really explored in those days. By exploring it, the Terminator was offering something different, something which has inspired films such as Back to the Future (read the plot synopsis for that film, there are a few similarities). The notion of the final battle of a future war being fought in 'our present', not in the future, between one member of opposing sides, in this case a man and a machine, is also an intriguing one and sets the stage for an exciting battle royale.

I'll run down the plot while I'm here. Sarah Connor, a young woman in her 20's, is the protagonist of the film and our two from the future, Kyle Reese and the Terminator, revolve around her. Reese, who is a battle-hardened soldier who has led a hard life in the wasteland which is the future, must protect Sarah, while the Terminator, an unstoppable cyborg, must kill her, in order to kill her unborn son, the leader of the future resistance.

All of this leads to some thrilling action scenes and insane explosions, topped off by music scores which add to the tension and excitement. The movie purrs into action quickly, but really kicks off at a disco, where Reese and the Terminator have a shootout, resulting in a city-wide drive-by chase involving the police which doesn't really let up until Reese and Sarah are arrested. During the lull in the chase scene, Reese tells Sarah about himself, the Terminator and their general predicament, which is fairly realistic.

The next action scene is the infamous police station massacre which everyone seems to talk about whenever they discuss this movie. I can understand why, too. The Terminator pretty much kills every cop in his path with the greatest of ease, either with the AK-47, his shotgun, or both. He also ends up cutting the power and setting the station on fire, again adding to the tension and excitement.

The last action scene which, like the one in T2, is a chase which leads to a final showdown in a building. It is a slight letdown, but it is still an intense scene. I will refrain from spoiling the ending, as this is too good a movie to be spoiled.

All of the acting fits the bill perfectly. As in T2, there is not a single bad performance to be found. Michael Biehn delivers a remarkably intense performance as Kyle Reese, acting like a typical human would in his situation. He displays his range of emotions at the right times, from passionate to worried to unyielding. It is a wonder that his only other major movie is 'Aliens' and that he is starring in stuff like 'Clockstoppers' these days. Linda Hamilton again does well as Sarah Connor, displaying an innocent woman who shows over the course of the film why she is John Connor's mother, displaying previously unheralded steel at the crunch. The support cast isn't too bad either (Dr. Silberman makes his first appearance). But again, the best performance in the film belongs to the bad guy, in this case, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He acts like a killing machine should; incredibly cold, sterile, soulless and unyielding. His facial expression never changes throughout the film and his physical appearance makes him slightly more imposing and intimidating than the Liquid Terminator. He also commences his famous one-liners which have been the subject of many a spoof, including (no, especially) "I'll be back." This is undoubtedly his best performance, even though it is not his only good one.

I will compliment all involved on making a movie which still manages to look good despite having a low budget. I've seen pretty bad-looking movies with fairly high budgets (read: Scooby-Doo), but never good-looking movies with low budgets.

In the end, The Terminator is a masterful action movie which laid the groundwork for the equally brilliant Terminator 2. If you asked me whether I preferred The Terminator or T2, I would say T2 because I am more familiar with it, otherwise, these two would be on a level footing. If you haven't seen this movie and are an action movie fan, then see it immediately. You won't be disappointed. Trust me.

5/5 stars

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