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The Terminator (1984) Poster

Trivia

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Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with guns everyday for a month to prepare for the role; the first two weeks of filming he practiced weapons stripping and reassembly blindfolded until the motions were automatic, like a machine. He spent hours at the shooting range, practicing with different weapons without blinking or looking at them when reloading or cocking; he also had to be ambidextrous. He practiced different moves up to 50 times.
The beginning of production was postponed for nine months, due to Arnold Schwarzenegger's commitment to Conan the Destroyer (1984). During this time, James Cameron wanted to be working but didn't have the time to do a whole other film so he took on a writing assignment; this turned out to be Aliens (1986).
Near the beginning of the movie, when Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) receives a message on her answering machine breaking her date, the voice on the machine is James Cameron's. Years later, Hamilton and Cameron got married and subsequently divorced.
One afternoon during a break in filming, Arnold Schwarzenegger went into a restaurant in downtown L.A. to get some lunch and realized all too late that he was still in Terminator makeup - with a missing eye, exposed jawbone and burned flesh.
O.J. Simpson was considered for the Terminator, but the producers feared he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer. In 1990 (before Simpson's first trial) Dark Horse Comics printed issues using his likeness.
Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to avoid Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn as much as possible since the Terminator was trying to kill them, not form connections.
The future terminator who infiltrates the human camp in the dream sequence is played by Franco Columbu, who is a multiple Mr. Olympia title winner like Arnold Schwarzenegger and is a close friend of his.
The initial draft for the movie was sold to James Cameron's wife, Gale Anne Hurd for the price of $1 only.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous debut line 'I'll be back' was originally scripted as 'I'll come back'.
Arnold Schwarzenegger originally wanted to play Kyle Reese. But James Cameron had a different idea and saw Schwarzenegger in the title role of The Terminator and Cameron said to Schwarzenegger "This movie is not about the hero. It's about The Terminator".
The revolver Reese carries after the police station massacre and gives to Sarah at the motel is Lt. Traxler's. In a deleted scene, Reese and Sarah are trying to escape the police station when they come across the wounded Traxler. He now believes their story and gives Reese his sidearm, telling him to protect Sarah.
James Cameron's original idea was that Skynet would send two Terminators at once: one would be a cyborg, while the other would consist of liquid metal and was able to shape-shift (the resistance would also have sent two humans, but one was to die during the time travel). Cameron realized early on that this latter effect could not be realized with the special effects at the time, so he abandoned it early on. When a completely computer-generated special effect proved to be a success in Cameron's The Abyss (1989), he revived the idea of the liquid Terminator for the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
In James Cameron's original treatment, Sarah Connor has an old figure skating injury that was fixed with a couple of surgical pins and the terminator would cut the legs open of the first two Sarah Connors to find this identifying mark.

In the novelization of The Terminator, it wasn't a figure skating injury. Sarah had pins in her leg because she broke her leg in the fight with the Terminator at the end of the movie. SkyNet knew future Sarah had pins in her leg, but not when she got them. The Terminator was looking for an injury she had not yet sustained. In the novelization, Sarah was going on and on about how she didn't have pins in her leg, only to receive them after the fight with the Terminator. She broke her leg in the fight with the Terminator.
The Terminator is the only character to be listed in the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes and Villains as both a villain (for The Terminator (1984) and a hero (for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)). Al Pacino and Arnold Schwarzenegger are the only two actors to be on the list as playing a villain and a hero but Pacino played two different characters. 13 other actors and actresses appear twice or more but either all as heroes or all as villains.
Sarah Connor is 19 years old in the movie. This is proved in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) where Dr. Silberman says Sarah is 29 years old and T-1000 checks Sarah son's, John Connor's, profile which states he's 10 years old.
The laser sight on the .45 Longslide was specially built by Laser Products Corporation (now Sure-Fire). This was in the early days of laser-aimed weapons and what was seen was actually not a complete assembly. Only the laser was mounted but the required battery pack was hidden from view. In those days the battery packs were very large, about the size of a TV remote control. A wire was hidden underneath Arnold Schwarzenegger's sleeve.
Shots through the Terminator's vision shows a dump of the ROM assembler code for the Apple II operating system. If you own an Apple II, enter at the basic prompt: ] call -151 * p This will give you the terminator view. Other code visible is written in COBOL.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was trained for weeks on weapons handling before he started the film, and wound up garnering a compliment in "Soldier of Fortune" magazine for his realistic handling of the guns on camera (whereas the magazine usually lampoons movies for their inaccurate depictions of weapons use).
The relationship between James Cameron and executive producer/Hemdale head John Daly deteriorated during post-production. According to Cameron, Daly and Orion executive Mike Medavoy (who recommended Arnold Schwarzenegger to Cameron) wanted the film to end right after the tanker explosion, removing the climax at the robot factory and epilogue. Orion Pictures, which co-financed the movie, wanted to be known for its quality movies (like Amadeus (1984) and Platoon (1986)), and perceived The Terminator (1984) as little more than a low budget vehicle to make some quick money. Quoting from Cameron: "Daly said 'The film has to end right after the tanker explosion'. I told him straight, 'F**k you! The film isn't over yet.'" Daly would ultimately back down, a decision that led to the sudden success of the film. However, Orion's advertising support for the film was minimal in Cameron's eyes. Three weeks after the film was released, Medavoy still ignored Cameron's request to beef up the film's ad-campaign: "They told me, when you have a dirty-down action thriller, the film can last in the box-office for about three weeks plus or so. They are treating the film like dog-s**t!" Hemdale ultimately raised money to fund more advertisements. Reportedly, Schwarzenegger still holds a grudge towards Orion Pictures due to their lack of support.
Paramount was one of the studios that wanted to produce this film. However the only stipulation was that James Cameron does not direct the film. Since this was Cameron's pet project at the time and wanted to direct the film he turned down their offer. Paramount would later be the main studio behind the fifth film of the franchise, Terminator Genisys (2015).
According to a 2008 interview with Lance Henriksen, James Cameron had no agent and was living in his car when he wrote the script for the film. Cameron had actually fired his agent because he didn't like the story idea Cameron had conceived for The Terminator (1984).
Michael Biehn almost didn't get the role of Kyle Reese because in his first audition he spoke in a Southern accent as a result of working on a part for a stage production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (he didn't get the role), and the producers didn't want Reese to seem regionalized. After a talk with Biehn's agent, the producers called Biehn back for another audition and he got the part.
Science fiction author Harlan Ellison sued James Cameron, claiming that the film was plagiarized from the two The Outer Limits (1963) episodes that Ellison wrote, namely The Outer Limits: Soldier (1964) and The Outer Limits: Demon with a Glass Hand (1964). The concept of "Skynet" could also have been borrowed from an Ellison short story called "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." The suit was settled out of court and newer prints of the film acknowledge Ellison. Cameron has claimed that this settlement was forced upon him by the producers. He felt that Ellison was an opportunist making invalid claims, and wanted the case to go on trial. However, the studio told him that he would be personally responsible for financial damages in the case that he lost the trial. So he had no choice but to accept the settlement, a fact that he has always resented.
James Cameron got the idea of giving Arnold Schwarzenegger even less lines in the film than Schwarzenegger's earlier film Conan the Barbarian (1982), in which Schwarzenegger only had 24 lines. In this film, Schwarzenegger has only 14 lines.
The teaser trailer for this film was narrated by Peter Cullen, best known to fans as the voice of the robotic hero Optimus Prime from Transformers.
Mel Gibson turned down the role of the Terminator.
In the original script the Terminator was supposed to steal a car at the beginning of the film. The scene involved the Terminator observing an elderly woman getting into a car and as she saw the Terminator she panicked and put it into reverse hitting a trash can then correcting herself put it into drive and sped off. The Terminator then enters the car, puts it into reverse then into drive mimicking the woman's actions. This was cut from a later script.
Wolfie, James Cameron's German Shepherd dog, can be seen at the Tiki Motel.
The movie was released in the late 1980s in Poland under the title "The Electronic Murderer". The title was changed because there is a Polish word 'terminator', meaning roughly 'an apprentice', and so the title was changed to something more catchy and interesting to audience. By the time Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) was released, the original movie was widely available on pirate copies under its original title, and because of it in the early 90s in Poland the word 'terminator' was widely recognized as the character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of its original meaning, so all the sequels had their titles unaltered.
James Cameron, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton all work together again in Aliens (1986).
Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic catchphrase almost became "I will be back" because he thought it sounded more machine-like without a contraction; he also felt "I'll" sounded too feminine. It was the one major disagreement between Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, and all Cameron had to say to that was "I don't tell you how to act, so don't tell me how to write".
During the final chase, as 'Reese' tosses pipe bombs at the 'Terminator', there is a single white frame spliced in just before some of the explosions, which is a trick employed by editor Mark Goldblatt. Director James Cameron would later use this trick to heighten the visual impact of gunshots in Aliens (1986). The pyrotechnic charges can be seen on the street, each with a pressure-sensitive strip for triggering the explosion when run over by either the Terminator's motorcycle or the heroes' truck.
Jennifer Jason Leigh was considered for the role of Sarah Connor, but director James Cameron feared she was too young for the part. She was later recast as Ginger but she was replaced at the last minute with Bess Motta.
The "fog" in the scene after Sarah and Reese leave the bridge where they spent the night is actually bug spray, due to the big "fly scare" in the filming location at that time. The crew was going to wait until the spray dissipated, but decided to use it as fog for the effect instead. This is revealed in a DVD easter egg, which can be found by pressing the right arrow in the languages section until the square on the right is lit up.
James Cameron cited Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) as one of his influences behind "The Terminator".
The TechNoir set was actually a downtown L.A. restaurant, redressed to look like a nightclub.
There was minimal interference from the film's financial backer, Orion, partly due to the budget offered. However, they suggested two things. The first was a cyborg canine that accompanies Reese - an idea turned down by James Cameron; the second was strengthening the relationship between Kyle and Sarah, which Cameron decided to accept.
The scene where the Terminator breaks into a station wagon was the very last thing shot and it was added a few weeks before the film's release. The scene was filmed in 2 hours by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger alone. Due to insufficient funds, Cameron had to pay for the scene himself, but could not afford a police permit. As such, another set of Arnold's clothes was placed behind the wagon trunk and Cameron told him to change the moment the scene was deemed finished.
The immortal line: "I'll be back!" as written by James Cameron, could have ended up being - "I will be back" - if Arnold Schwarzenegger had had his way. Because English was relatively new to him then, Schwarzenegger had felt that his unabbreviated sentence would have been the more formal and correct usage, but Cameron insisted on his script as written and the line remained.
A Hydraulic arm was used when the Terminator punches through the windshield in the alley scene. This was rehearsed several times and since Arnold Schwarzenegger's face was in the shot too, it all had to be choreographed perfectly, since replacing a windshield was too costly and time consuming.
The film actually takes place from May 12 to May 15, 1983, (also 2029) and on November 10, 1983, not 1984, as is commonly believed. "May 12, Thursday" puts the story in 1983.
The original treatment by James Cameron included the detail that the Terminator needed to eat periodically in order for his human flesh to survive. A scene is included where the Terminator eats a candy bar, wrapper and all. This detail was incorporated into the script for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), with the Terminator selecting Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite Austrian chocolate wafer. When fans learned that a scene had been shot where the Terminator ate chocolate, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative and the scene was omitted.
In the future scene when Reese throws a grenade under the wheel tread of one of Skynet's machines, it took 26 attempts to get right.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered so indispensable to the film that when he went off to do Conan the Destroyer (1984) first, they were prepared to wait, rather than recast him in the interim.
Stan Yale played the 'Derelict in Alley' uttering the line "That son of a bitch took my pants," and his subsequent appearances included P.I. Private Investigations (1987), in which he was credited as 'bum', Terminal Exposure (1987) ('wino'), Moonlighting (1985) ('bum'), Matlock (1986) ('bum'), L.A. Law (1986) ('first homeless man') and My Name Is Earl (2005) ('homeless man') Typecast yes, but he's probably a rich "bum" after all those appearances!
The Terminator's motorcycle was later displayed in Arnold Schwarzenegger's restaurant Planet Hollywood.
Linda Hamilton broke her ankle prior to production, and had to have her leg wrapped every day so she could do her chase scenes. Those scenes were also moved towards the end of the shooting schedule.
Sylvester Stallone was considered for The Terminator. Ironically a year after, James Cameron and Stallone wrote Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) together. And also there was a competition between Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger's success in action movies that who would win in a battle Rambo or the Terminator. Stallone later worked with Arnold on the Expendables movies and Escape Plan (2013). In Last Action Hero (1993), a scene features a video store cardboard cut-out of Stallone as the Terminator.
Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't think much of the initial screenplay and was only going to do it for the money and because he felt a contemporary film would be beneficial to his career.
Contrary to popular belief Lance Henriksen was never going to be The Terminator. He helped Writer/director James Cameron pitch the idea to the producers. Cameron did make early sketches showing The Terminator looking like Henriksen. Lance got dressed up in some leathers, added a cut on his head and put gold foil on his teeth before kicking in the door to the Producers office 15 mintues before the meeting. He sat there staring at them, making them uncomfortable, until Cameron got there. Then Lance just left. Lance never thought he was ever going to be the Terminator. Lance later heard that one of the producers even said "I don't care who you use for the Terminator, not him."
The film was actually meant to end with the tanker explosion and Reese living through the movie. But James Cameron found this too anti-climatic and rallied for the factory ending.
While shooting this film, James Cameron often resorted to what he called "Guerilla Film Making" as a way of getting around acquiring permits needed to film certain scenes. This involved the production crew and actors quickly arriving at a specified location, shooting the scene and leaving before the police arrived. As a result, some of the people seen in a few shots are actual everyday citizens completely unaware they're in a movie. This was also used for reshoots with Cameron even calling and waking Arnold Schwarzenegger once at 3am to meet him at a location already in full costume to quickly reshoot a scene. This explains why most of the film occurs at night. Cameron also used this tactic to film the very last scene where Sarah drives off into the desert. This almost backfired however when the police came sniffing around.
The tanker truck that explodes at the end is a model, not a real truck. It was filmed twice because the wire pulling the truck tugged too hard initially, pulling the front axle off and ruining the shot.
The Los Angeles police cars have different mottoes: "To Protect and Serve" and "To Care and Protect."
Arnold Schwarzenegger started work two weeks later than the rest of the cast. His first day of work was on the car garage scene where he was looking for Sarah on a police car that the Terminator hijacked.
Series Trademark: When Reese saves Sarah at the nightclub shootout, he says, "Come with me if you want to live."
Bruce Willis and the English pop star Sting were considered for the role of Kyle Reese.
Although stereophonic sound existed in 1984, The Terminator (1984) was filmed in monophonic. This was because during the production, the budget was too low to allow the filmmakers to get all the effects they wanted and still allow for the film to be shot in stereo. Although a stereo remix was produced later for the Hemdale VHS release, it was not until MGM acquired the rights to the film that a fully recognizable 5.1 stereo soundtrack was created, for the 2001 Special Edition DVD.
James Cameron included Arnold Schwarzenegger in a lot of his decisions on-set, e.g. the Terminator's hair had to look spiky and burned.
Tom Selleck was rumored to be cast as The Terminator, but was forced to turn the role down due to his commitment to the TV series Magnum, P.I. (1980). Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas were also considered.
According to the original treatment (accessible on the DVD version), there were supposed to be two protectors sent back to save Sarah Connor. However, this partner of Reese's would have received very little screen time, as he rematerialized right into a fire escape. It is interesting to note that this contradicts the sequel's logic in regards to the Temporal Displacement Field (matter in an orb-shaped space is replaced by its counterpart from the future).
Though it is now considered a Sci-fi classic, this film was originally conceived and written as a horror movie. If you strip away the robots and time travel plot, it is very similar to a Slasher picture, and borrows many of the genre's tropes. The Terminator is the movie's "Unstoppable Killer," who stalks an innocent woman, killing all of her loved ones until he is in turn killed off in a creative way. Sarah Connor is the movie's "Final Girl," who is strong enough to outsmart the killer and the only one to make it out alive. The end of the film also employs many of the Slasher genre's techniques and scare tactics. A final showdown in an isolated place where no one can help, crawling through tight, cramped, and dangerous spaces to escape, and the killer comes back for a "final scare" multiple times. That being said, in following these Slasher movie tropes, that makes the Terminator one of the few "Unstoppable Killers" of the genre to use firearms as his main weapon, and makes Sarah Connor one of the few "Final Girls" of the genre to have sex in the picture and make it out alive.
The whole Cyberdyne plot from the sequel was meant to be in this film, but was cut due to budget reasons.
The Terminator endoskeleton was very heavy and hard for Stan Winston's team to carry. They found out that building a prop robot out of metal is realistic, but not practical.
The puppet of Arnold Schwarzenegger's face took six months to create.
In the film, the name of the night club where the Terminator first targets Sarah was named Tech Noir after a film genre which James Cameron coined himself in describing what category this film falls under after dismissing the notions that it was a mere horror or slasher film. Tech Noir films like Blade Runner and The Terminator combine the old style grittiness of noir films with the futuristic elements of a sci-fi thriller. Cameron himself had the club built specifically for the film and had to turn away local club goers who thought Tech Noir was a real night club. The building still exists but is now a jewelry store.
Most of the car chase scenes were shot at normal speed and sped up slightly. To add more of a sense of speed, other cars rode along with them out of frame with revolving lights attached to them that made it seem like the car was passing other light sources faster.
The sunglasses worn by the Terminator were Gargoyles. Although the Gargoyles sunglasses seen in the film are errorenously connotated with the first Terminator film (known in the sunglass world as Terminator sunglasses aka the Gargoyles 85), they were previously seen in Sudden Impact (1983) which were worn by Clint Eastwood (as Dirty Harry) in a few scenes - they were later used in The Dead Pool (1988). Gargoyles still manufactures the sunglasses now sold as the Gargoyles Classic.
Geena Davis auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor.
The Terminator (1984) was filmed on a very tense set, e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't enjoy the prosthetics, because the wires of the red eye burned a lot of the time; for the arm scene, he had to have his real arm tied behind his back for hours. James Cameron also shot the carjacking scene without a permit. Anyone who came up to him with lame ideas wound up irritating Cameron, e.g. Cameron waxed an idea of the Terminator drinking a beer and acting silly (like in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)) because that just couldn't happen.
James Cameron wrote the part of Sarah Connor as a teenage girl. It was rewritten as a twenty-something woman.
Kyle Reese was originally 21 years old. Michael Biehn was 27.
The crew made T-shirts saying, "You can't scare me, I work for James Cameron.
The movie's line "I'll be back." was voted as the #37 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100), and as #95 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
Hand-held cameras were used for much of the action. This helped give "an energy to the scene that you can't get any other way", said cinematographer Adam Greenberg.
While filming the final shot, a police car arrived. And the scene was being shot without a permit. One of the crew members told the police that it was his son's film school project and that they had just the last shot left. It worked.
Brian Thompson, who plays one of the punks in the beginning of the film, would later go on to a Terminator-like role on The X-Files (1993) as the Alien Bounty Hunter.
Mickey Rourke was considered for the role of Kyle Reese.
Daryl Hannah auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor, but turned it down in order to play Madison in Splash (1984).
Sarah's middle initial is shown as 'J' in the phone book, but her middle name is never mentioned in any of the Terminator films.
The "screaming" sound at the end of the movie is Brad Fiedel and friends screaming in a microphone and Fiedel playing synth over it.
The English musician Tony Banks, who was the keyboardist for the rock band Genesis, was considered to compose the soundtrack and was sent the script, but he was busy doing the score to Lorca and the Outlaws (1984) (aka Redwing.)
Kyle tells Sarah that she seemed sad in the photo that John Connor gave to him. He always wondered what she was thinking about in the photo. Later in the film, you find out that she was actually thinking about Kyle when the photo was taken.
In the scene where The Terminator attack Sarah in the police station, the cop states that there are "Thirty police officers" in the station. If you count the cops that The Terminator kills on screen and the burst fire that he shoots for off screen kills, it adds up to thirty.
The motorcycle the Terminator rides is a Honda CB750 Four. Sarahs scooter is also a Honda, model Elite.
The only time in the "Terminator" franchise, which The Terminator changes his hairstyle in the film. When The Terminator breaks into an apartment in the self-repair sequences, his hairstyle is different to the one he had earlier on in the film. This is because he runs through a fire caused by a car explosion where his hair is burned. He also loses his eyebrows, and spends the rest of the movie without them.
The film was not intended to be a sci-fi action film, but a dark horror film. Many fans however felt the film was an action movie when they first saw it in theaters. James Cameron was so surprised that he decided to make action movies after this. Months before the release, Cameron did not expect any sort of success in the box office or reviews by critics to come from this film.
Debra Winger was James Cameron's preferred choice after he watched her in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982). Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Lane and Carrie Fisher were all considered to play the part, and both Sharon Stone and Kelly McGillis auditioned for the role.
In a deleted scene, Sarah is on the phone with her mother at a pit stop. After she hangs up the phone, she goes through the phone book, and comes across Cyberdyne Systems. She pitches an idea to Reese about blowing up the building, but Reese turns down the idea, claiming it as "tactically dangerous". The plot and the quote are both a foreshadow Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus was rumored to be cast as Sarah Connor but was forced to turn the role down due to her commitment as a regular player on NBC's Saturday Night Live (1975).
The word "fuck" and its variations are uttered nine times, four times by Reese.
The classic "clank" was made by Brad Fiedel by hitting a microphone with a cast iron skillet.
Edward James Olmos and Louis Gossett Jr. were considered for the role of Lt. Traxler.
Rick Rossovich would later appear with Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton in Navy Seals (1990). All three had also worked together before in The Lords of Discipline (1983).
James Cameron revealed that Glenn Close was originally chosen to play Sarah Connor, but Close wasn't available prior to the project began.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's first horror film. Schwarzenegger's other horror films were Predator (1987), End of Days (1999) and Maggie (2015).
According to an article from Hot Dog #10, April 2001, studio executives threatened to shut down the project if James Cameron filmed additional future war scenes beyond the script.
Sarah causes the hydraulic press to shut twice, once by accident and once on purpose. Both times the remastered soundtrack uses a completely different sound effect when this occurs than what was originally presented in the mono soundtrack.
The action scenes were shot at a tight schedule due to the nighttime setting.
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The part where the Terminator smashes through the windshield was done in one take with a real windshield. A hydraulic ram was utilized to make it appear that it was Arnold Schwarzenegger's fist shattering the glass.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly delayed the start of filming by two days by claiming that the custom made leather jacket wasn't manly enough.
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Prior to filming, Arnold Schwarzenegger spent weeks learning to reassemble, dismantle, reload and fire every weapon used in the film without looking at the weapon. The result was a more robotic feel towards the weapons handling which added to the eerieness of his performance.
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In the scene where the Terminator performs surgery on itself to remove it's damaged prosthetic eye, although the face is that of a puppet stand in, the hands that perform the surgery are actually Arnold Schwarzenegger's.
When Reese and Sarah escape the police station, Brad Fiedel's score was too intrusive for James Cameron's liking. So he asked him to tone it down a little.
J├╝rgen Prochnow was also considered to play the title role.
Just after the first scene in the nightclub TechNoir, we hear a police radio report a "two-eleven in progress at Bob's Liquor, corner of Third and Cameron," this is a reference to director James Cameron.
When O.J. Simpson was still in the running to play the Terminator, a mockup movie poster was done with him instead.
Randy Quaid was considered for the lead role.
The oil truck that the Terminator drives near the end of the movie bares the logo "J&G" - this is a reference to James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd who at the time were husband and wife.
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Sarah Connor was supposed to be 18, although Linda Hamilton was 27.
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The Terminator's line "I'll be back" is commonly mock-quoted as "I'll be bock!" However, Schwarzenegger delivers the line calmly and with very little accent.
The role of Sarah Connor was originally written by James Cameron for Bridget Fonda, who passed out from the project. He later replaced Bridget Fonda with Tatum O'Neal. However, it was decision of James Cameron to make the character of Sarah Connor older. He suggested Kate Capshaw for the role of Sarah, but Capshaw was filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). He later suggested Kathleen Turner for the part, but Turner was filming Romancing the Stone (1984).
The film is featured in The Time Guardian (1987), which the film is a rip-off of "The Terminator". A mechanic is watching the film on TV, before the mechanic and his dog are both killed by the evil Jen-Diki robots.
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One of the concept art showed a T-800 skeleton crawling after Sarah with a butcher knife.
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When The Terminator first shows up in 1984, he has longer hair parted in the middle. As the film goes on his hair gets shorter and spikier, then a little longer towards the end, but still spikey.
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Any misgivings Michael Biehn had about taking part in the film were instantly abated when he met James Cameron and was won over by his passion.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Debra Winger successfully auditioned and won the role of Sarah Connor. However, she later changed her mind and turned the role down.
Leading make-up designer Dick Smith was unavailable to work on the film so he suggested his friend Stan Winston.
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The idea of blowing up cyberdyne and thereby preventing the war was originally conceived in the first movie, however due to time constraints this scene was cut, and becomes a major factor in the sequel. When Kyle is explaining to Sarah that such a move is not part of his mission, and tactically dangerous, the two happen to be in the countryside, in which Kyle realizes he comes from a time where such beauty has been destroyed and no longer exists, this causes him to have an emotional breakdown as he explains he wasn't meant to see this, and how "it's all gone." this notion is repeated by Sarah video the sequel during her sanity evaluation when she and Dr. Silberman are watching a video of past behaviour and she tells him, "Him, you, this whole place is gone."
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Lea Thompson revealed in a 2015 interview with Nerdist Podcast that she auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor.
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Based on her student ID card, it can be deduced that Sarah attends Western University in Pomona, CA.
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When Sarah is struggling to pull Reese out of the flipped semi, you hear her yelling "Get out!" three times. The second two screams are identical.
The Alamo Sport Shop was a real gun store, at 14329 Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys, California. It is no longer there. The Artkraft Taxidermy shop visible behind Alamo has moved to North Hollywood, California.
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Crushing the Terminator's head and arm in the hydraulic press was the same method used in The Fly (1958) to kill the scientist who'd become part man, part fly. The scientist's head and arm resembled a fly's and crushing those parts not only killed him, but destroyed evidence of his transformation.
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The building number for the gun store is '14329' this is also the house number of Sarah Anne Connor, the first victim.
The Italian Terminator-sploitation movie Hands of Steel (1986), that surprisingly has more similarities to Universal Soldier (1992) than The Terminator, copies shot for shot the scene where the Terminator cuts its arm open and examines if the arm's mechanism is working properly. Also, one of the cyborgs in the movie has a red glow in its eyes just like the Terminators do.
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Carrow's restaurant (as Big Jeff's restaurant) where Sarah Connor worked was filmed only 0.6 miles (1Km) from Pee Wee's house in Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985).
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When the Terminator is massacring the officers at the police station, the music in the background is the same that was used in 10 to Midnight (1983) when the office manager announces, "Betty's Dead!".
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Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly suggested that the advertising campaign play up the romantic subplot between Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in order to appeal to a wider audience but his advice was ignored. The film proved surprisingly popular with women anyway.
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James Cameron cites _The Outer Limits_ and The Driver (1978) as influences on his screenplay.
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Inspired the song "Cyborg 101" by Bonecage.
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The book that inspired Edge of Tomorrow (2014) makes an oblique reference to the climax of this film with a robot in a factory.
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Although T-800 is referred to as a "cyborg" throughout the franchise, this label is technically incorrect. A true cyborg cannot survive without its organic components. The end sequence of this film establishes that the T-800 can continue without them. T-800 is, therefore NOT a cyborg.
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The Anthony Horowitz novel Oblivion paraphrases the line from this movie and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), "Come with me if you want to live".
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The Robert Crais novel The Sentry seems to make an oblique reference to the first two Terminator films: he mentions the gun by Heckler & Koch (the HK's in the movie) and a line from Terminator 2, "he took it pretty well".
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Cameo 

William Wisher Jr.: The police officer who attempts to assist the Terminator after he is thrown from the hood of the car, but gets knocked unconscious for his effort. Wisher has a cameo in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) as well, where his character seems to have a look of recognition upon seeing the new Terminator.

Director Trademark 

James Cameron: [Biehn's hand] Michael Biehn's character gets bitten on the hand by another character. See Aliens (1986) and The Abyss (1989).
James Cameron: [feet] the Terminator often steps on objects, crushing them. In the future, there is a close-up of tank treads rolling over human skulls.
James Cameron: [nice cut] Sarah's burning photo fades into Sarah sleeping in Kyle's arms.
James Cameron: [nuke]
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the beginning of the movie, The Terminator drives over a toy semi truck..towards the end of the movie, The Terminator is run over by the same model of semi truck.
James Cameron got the idea for The Terminator (1984) while shooting another film in Europe. His vision was of a metal endoskeleton emerging from flames and most of the script was written backwards from there. The endoskeleton would have to be futuristic, and Cameron couldn't afford to set the film in the future. The solution was to bring the future to the present, hence the 'time travel' aspect of the script was written in.
Michael Biehn and Arnold Schwarzenegger are in the same frame together only once. It is when Kyle blasts The Terminator the second time at Tech Noir. When they finally meet in the factory, it is not Schwarzenegger, just a metallic puppet.
Kyle Reese smiles only once during the entire movie, when Sarah makes to playfully throw the bag of dynamite at him after their night of intimacy.
The Terminator kills a total of 29 people: the punk, the gun store owner, the first two Sarah Connors, Matt and Ginger, three Tech Noir patrons, 17 police officers (not fully established until the sequel), Sarah's mother, the truck driver, and Kyle Reese.
Please note -- also a spoiler for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)) Two deleted scenes gave Skynet and the Future War some more background. The first was a scene where Sarah discovers that a company called Cyberdyne will be responsible for building Skynet and the Terminators. She tries to convince Reese that they should destroy this company, in order to prevent the dark future from ever happening. Reese tells her that his mission is conserving the future, not changing it. The second scene shows that Cyberdyne owns the factory where Sarah battled the Terminator, and one of their employees finding the Terminator's microchip (this event actually causes Skynet to exist in the first place). Both these ideas became major plot points for the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Director James Cameron cut the scenes because he wanted to leave some questions yet unanswered, which he never regretted as he could make an entire sequel out of the unused ideas.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice is used in exactly 16 lines, with 17 sentences spoken. The terminator has two other lines on-screen, one with the voice of a police officer overdubbed, and one with the voice of Sarah's mother overdubbed. There are also many lines with the voice of Sarah's mother, and we learn that the terminator is actually saying them, but we don't see it.
The body bag Reese is put in at the end of the film is actually a suit bag owned by director James Cameron.
The smoke flowing out of The Terminator when it is crushed in the hydraulic press is actually cigarette smoke.
Filming of the final shot, with Sarah Connor driving off into the distance, was interrupted by a policeman asking if the crew had a permit (which they didn't). Special effects supervisor Gene Warren Jr. lied that the production was his son's student film. Also, Sarah Connor wasn't being played by Linda Hamilton but by a double.
The soundtrack features a song called Pictures Of You by Jay Ferguson. It's one of the songs Ginger listens to during the movie. Although the song has nothing to do with the plot of the movie and was not written for the movie specifically, its chorus "Pictures of you, From another time and place. Pictures of you, Like a scene in a photograph I can't erase. Pictures of you, Ooh, on a screen that fades without a trace." sounds like the song is alluding to the photograph of Sarah Connor that Reese had.
Series Trademark: In the first three Terminator films, the villainous Terminator's death is greeted with the word "Terminated" in some way: Sarah Connor says "You're terminated fucker" as she crushes the Terminator in the hydraulic press; in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), when John asks "Is it dead?", Terminator responds with "Terminated"; in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator holds down the T-X and says "You are terminated!".
Body count: 28. Lt. Traxler tells Sarah that there are 30 cops in the police station, but the sequel states that the Terminator only killed 17. Also killed were Kyle Reese, one of the three punks (the second (Brian Thompson) who was punched through the stomach - the punk leader (Bill Paxton) got knocked out and of course the third (Brad Rearden) lost his clothes), the first two Sarah Connors, a man and a woman in Tech Noir, the gun store clerk, Sarah's mother, Sarah's friend Ginger and her boyfriend Matt, and of course, the Terminator himself.
In the film's final cut, there's a scene where Sarah screams "No!" twice, upon seeing that the Terminator is still alive. These vocals were actually taken from a deleted scene where Reese struggles with Sarah.
The Terminator uses the following weapons during the movie:
  • An AMT 1911 .45 Long Slide with Laser Pointer (to kill the first two Sarah Connors and Ginger)


  • An S&W classic type 4-inch barrel revolver, caliber .357Mag (during the tunnel chase)


  • An Uzi .9mm Submachine Gun (in the Tech Noir nightclub)


  • A SPAS-12 Automatic Shotgun (during the police station shootout)


  • An AR-18 Assault Rifle (during the police station shootout and the tunnel chase)


James Horner's music from Gorky Park (1983) appeared in one of the teaser trailers.
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The 45 longslide was actually an AMT( Arcadia Machine & tool)Hardballer 45. Longslide
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After the Terminator is run over by the tanker truck, he's limping. Then his 'skin' is burned off cleanly in the fuel fire. Later, in the factory, when the Terminator is chasing Sarah and Kyle, he's climbing metal stairs and there are two quick shots of his feet. If you look closely, you can see the cause of his limp: there is an actuator connector to his left 'heel' which is hanging free, as compared to his right food where the actuator is still connected. So essentially, the actuator acting as the Terminator's Achilles' tendon has been severed, resulting in the limp.
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After the Terminator is run over by the tanker truck, his 'skin' is subsequently burned off cleanly in the fuel fire. This is theoretically possible if you consider the principle of a self-cleaning oven (SCO). The typical SCO is heated to an internal temperature in excess of 800 degrees Fahrenheit and is maintained there for hours. At the end of the process, any organic residue is reduced to grey ash which can be wiped off with a rag. The body of the Terminator was in the fuel truck fire for only a short time, but the fire was likely burning at temperatures well in excess of 1000 degrees F. This could have been enough to leave a clean metal endoskeleton with no charred flesh on it.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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