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The Terminator (1984) Poster

Alternate Versions

NBC edited 7 minutes and time-compressed 4 minutes of this film for its 1987 network television premiere.
There are significant differences between the first video releases (Thorn/EMI and HBO Video) and the 1991 Hemdale release in relation to picture, sound and end credits. The Thorn/EMI release has:
  • A blurry picture throughout


  • The entire film soundtrack played at the wrong pitch, which sounds like it was recorded on a cassette tape.


  • The Post Production and credit to Harlen Elison is inserted right above the copyright date and timed to roll along at the speed of the credits. The HBO Video release has the same blurry picture and high pitch soundtrack with the following change:


  • The post production credit rolls as soon as the movie fades to black. After disappearing, a black, cheaply done title card done with "1980s HBO Font" shows the Harlen Elison credit. The previous timed credit that appeared in the Thorn/EMI release has been blacked out and timed to run with the credits. The 1991 Hemdale release has the following:


  • Soundtrack restored to play at the correct pitch


  • Picture is sharp and clear. The 1991 Hemdale and the Artisan Entertainment release are identical.


The Finnish theatrical and first VHS release were rated 18 and cut by 30 seconds. The notable cuts were:
  • Terminator performing surgery on eye and arm


  • Bloody shoot-outs


  • Some other violent scenes Later on 16-rated VHS and DVD version were released, however first VHS was cut, but the other was uncut.


Some TV versions include had a scene now missing from the release available on VHS, set inside the police station. Sarah Connor emerges from under Lt. Traxler's desk, revealing herself to Reese. In the next room they encounter Lt. Traxler, who is shot and bleeding on the floor. He hands Reese his Police Special revolver and tells him that he has to keep Sarah safe, (showing that he believes Reese).
In Germany, the film was put on the BPJM index for youth endangering media in the mid-80s. The result was that TV versions and many VHS releases were cut down for a "Not under 16" rating. The uncut version was practically only available in video rental stores. In 1998 the film was released on DVD in both its cut and uncut form. In 2010 the film was removed from the index and the film was re-rated, this time with a "Not under 16" rating for the uncut version.
The Region 2 and Region 4 Special Edition DVD contain 7 deleted scenes from the movie. The most interesting being a scene that shows Cyberdyne scientists picking through the destroyed T-800 parts and salvaging some (the set-up for the sequel) and another between Sarah and her mother which explains the line "You tell me to pack my things and come to the cabin for no reason..."
The scene where the T-800 kills the wrong Sarah Conner is extended. It shows him totally unphased about killing someone, and all the children run away.
In the Swedish theatrical version, the shot of The T800's eye actually falling out and into the sink has been cut.
The new MGM R1 DVD releases has two altered scenes, at the request of Lightstorm Entertainment, supposedly to fix goofs in the original picture: a scene set in the future, when a Terminator enters the rebel compound, has been flipped on its vertical axis; the scene where the Terminator leaves the motel in L.A. has been cropped/reframed so that his feet are no longer visible (this was done to fix a continuity problem: the original scene showed Schwarzenegger wearing shoes instead of boots as previously seen).
A television version shown in Canada uses a brief alternate take in the scene at the police station where Traxler is about to go talk with the news reporters. In the theatrical version when Traxler asks "how do I look?", Vukovich replies "like shit, boss". But in the television version, he replies "like you've been dead for a week".
When aired on USA and SCI-FI, the following alterations were made: when both Terminator and Reese arrive from the future, the supposed dirty mumblings of the witnesses (a garbage truck driver and a bum) have been edited. When the Terminator visits the first wrong Sarah, his original scene of him shooting her six times is changed to one shot with the BANG cut out. The scenes where Kyle hotwires the cars is edited, as is the scene of Sarah waitressing in the restaurant and a kid drops a spoonful of ice cream in her apron.
The R2UK DVD features the following deleted scenes:
  • A brief introduction to Sarah at work where she practices being a cheerful waitress.


  • A longer version of the killing of the first Sarah Connor, showing the T-800 walking away from the house in broad daylight, completely ignoring the horrified neighbors and witnesses.


  • A bunch of brief scenes showing Vukovich and Traxler in their police cruiser, as well as a scene where Reese and Sarah find Traxler shot. He gives Reese his gun and tells him that Sarah has to survive and he needs to do whatever has to to insure her safety.


  • A long scene where Sarah sneaks off and calls her mother and tells her to go and hide at the cabin. Afterwards, she looks through the phone book and finds Cyberdyne's address. Sarah asks Reese if they can attack the Cyberdyne building and make sure that the possible future never occurs. Reese declines and tells her it's not his mission. Sarah becomes angry and runs away and Reese chases her down. When she hits him to get away he pulls a gun on her, which she chastises him. Sarah breaks down, horrified of spending the rest of her life running from the Terminator. Reese breaks down crying over the beauty of nature, and the pain of knowing it's going to be later destroyed by the machines. Reese then agrees to destroying Cyberdyne.


  • A post-coitus scene showing Sarah tickling Reese and his confusion by the sensation, having never been tickled before.


  • Two removed scenes at the end, showing a technician finding a few parts of the remains of the T-800, and a longer version of the scene in which Sarah is placed in the ambulance, showing us that the computer factory is, in fact, Cyberdyne.


Another alternate take that was shown in the TV version was during the scene where the Terminator shoots the owner of the gun shop. In the theatrical version, as the Terminator pulls the trigger, the scene cuts to a close-up of the shotgun firing (the actual death of the gun owner isn't shown in any version), but in the television version, it replaces this with a view from outside the store. You hear the shotgun blast and see the Terminator walking out.
The film was originally mixed in mono due to budgetary limitations, so a new 5.1 digital stereo surround mix was created by Skywalker Sound for the 2001 special edition DVD. A large number of effects (like gunshots) were completely re-recorded and a possible continuity error was fixed: The sound of a door closing is added after the T-800 walks out of the police station, thus explaining why the door is no longer open when he returns in the car. This same 5.1 mix has been used for subsequent TV-airings and re-releases, including the 2008 Blu-ray.
When aired on TV, many alterations are made. Like when Terminator confronts the punks and orders them to turn over their clothes, Bill Paxton's response of "Fuck you, Asshole" is changed to "Eat this, scum!" (some versions remove the line altogether); The scene of Terminator ripping out the heart of one of the punks is removed and just shows him picking him up the cuts to Terminator glaring at another punk who willfully turns over his clothes; When Terminator first arrives and he walks towards the edge of the building to see the city, the camera is moved upwards to crop his buttocks, Reese's is also edited; The execution of Ginger is removed, instead just shows the one shot Terminator fired at her then she goes flying; Vukovich's remark of 'Like shit, boss' is changed to 'Like you've been dead for a week'; when Terminator knocks out a cop and takes his car, the part of Terminator banging the cop's head against the car is removed and just shows him throwing the cop into the street.
The U.S. special edition DVD includes the following deleted scenes:
  • A brief introduction to Sarah at work where she practices being a cheerful waitress.


  • A longer version of the killing of the first Sarah Connor, showing the T-800 walking away from the house in broad daylight, completely ignoring the horrified neighbors and witnesses.


  • A bunch of brief scenes showing Vukovich and Traxler in their police cruiser, as well as a scene where Reese and Sarah find Traxler shot. He gives Reese his gun and tells him that Sarah has to survive and he needs to do whatever has to to insure her safety.


  • A long scene where Sarah sneaks off and calls her mother and tells her to go and hide at the cabin. Afterwards, she looks through the phone book and finds Cyberdyne's address. Sarah asks Reese if they can attack the Cyberdyne building and make sure that the possible future never occurs. Reese declines and tells her it's not his mission. Sarah becomes angry and runs away and Reese chases her down. When she hits him to get away he pulls a gun on her, which she chastises him. Sarah breaks down, horrified of spending the rest of her life running from the Terminator. Reese breaks down crying over the beauty of nature, and the pain of knowing it's going to be later destroyed by the machines. Reese then agrees to destroying Cyberdyne.


  • A scene at the motel where Sarah and Reese are making bombs, and Sarah talking about how she wants the war to be over. She daydreams about going to a beach, movies, and eating a "hot dog" (much to Reese's confusion.)


  • A post-coitus scene showing Sarah tickling Reese and his confusion by the sensation, having never been tickled before.


  • Two removed scenes at the end, showing a technician finding a few parts of the remains of the T-800, and a longer version of the scene in which Sarah is placed in the ambulance, showing us that the computer factory is, in fact, Cyberdyne.


Recent copies of The Terminator contain some restored footage, not found in the theatrical release. This footage is not selectable bonus material, rather it is automatically incorporated into the film. Among some of the shots restored are:
  • (At the factory)


  • A shot of Sarah making a final crawl before falling onto an inactive conveyor belt.


  • A shot of Sarah crawling on the inactive belt, towards an active one.


  • A shot of the terminator shifting to the left, then to the right.


  • A shot of the terminator riding on the active belt.


  • A shot of Sarah falling off the active belt, before entering the compactor.


See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Connections | Soundtracks

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