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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

R | | Action, Sci-Fi | 2 July 2003 (USA)
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A cybernetic warrior from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a 19-year old drifter and his future wife from a most advanced robotic assassin and to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Betsy (as Moira Harris)
Brewster's Aide (as Chris Lawford)
Cop - Westside Street
Elizabeth Morehead ...


More than 10 years after 'Terminator 2', John Connor now exists only as a drifter - living 'off the grid', so no more Terminators from the future can hunt him down. Unfortunately, SkyNet does send another one back - and this one is called the T-X, even more powerful & advanced than the dreaded T-1000. However, another CSM-101 Terminator is also sent back to protect John against the T-X. Now, Skynet is patiently assuming control of civilian computer systems, under the guise of a computer virus. John has also met his future wife, Kate Brewster, whose father - a U.S. Air Force General - is in charge of the military computer systems & is leery of up linking SkyNet. However, when the SkyNet virus infects the U.S military computers & leaves the country open to attack, the machines begin their horrific takeover. Soon a nuclear war will result - and the war against the machines will begin. Can the outdated CSM-101 Terminator eliminate the highly advanced T-X - or will a darker future await ... Written by Derek O'Cain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Experience the 3rd time in IMAX! See more »


Action | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sci-fi violence and action, and for language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

2 July 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

T3  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$200,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$44,041,440 (USA) (4 July 2003)


$150,350,192 (USA) (17 October 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | (8 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although the machines believed themselves superior to humans, they had learned not to underestimate them; they maintained a constant vigil for any escape attempts, and the mere presence of a T-600 would deter any; they're programmed to respond to any deviation to the norm, like an empty lift shaft. See more »


During the chase sequence, T-101 incorrectly cocks the shotgun while on the motorcycle. See more »


[first lines]
John Connor: [voiceover] The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. I wish I could believe that. My name is John Connor, they tried to murder me before I was born, when I was 13 they tried again. Machines from the future. Terminators. All my life my mother told me the storm was coming, Judgment Day, the beginning of the war between man and machines. Three billion lives would vanish in an instant, and I would lead what was left of the human race to ultimate ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the initial opening credits, a wind can be heard blowing in the background. See more »


Referenced in Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011) See more »


Can't Hide This
Written by Dawn Fintor, Jeff Richards, Scott Sadlon & Buck Sanders
Performed by Mega Jeff
Produced by Mega Jeff & John Wells
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A good, but flawed, attempt at continuing James Cameron's legacy.
19 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is often criticized by fans as being not in the same tone as its predecessors. While I agree with that statement in many ways, I think Jonathan Mostow made an honest effort to bookend the series.

Storyline: The story is probably one of the things I take issue with most. It brings up new questions on the nature of time travel within the Terminator universe, as well as bringing new plot holes (something the previous films also had). Some of these flubs could've been corrected with a little research, but I digress.

The story tends to be a retread of Terminator 2, which hurts it a lot. But Mostow tries to draw attention away from this with some awesome action sequences. The storyline, in this respect, takes it up a notch with scenes such as the restroom fight and crane scene.

Acting: I think the acting is one of the best things in this film. Mostow did an excellent job in casting. Rather than going for actors known for their work in action films, the director instead used performers known for their talent in dramatic roles. Nick Stahl and Claire Danes both portray their characters with depth and humanity. Stahl does an especially good role in showing the paranoia and uncertainty of the future.

And, as always, Arnold Schwarzenegger does a great job as the Terminator. His lack of social interaction provides many humorous moments throughout the film, while also giving him a drill instructor approach when dealing with the John Connor character.

Lastly, there is Kristanna Loken as the T-X. While not as intimidating as the T-1000, I didn't expect this to be the case. Robert Patrick played a character with no face and every face, which can only work once if at all. That being said, Loken does a decent job in the role, providing a very cold performance for an equally cold character.

Visual/Special Effects: The visuals of Terminator 3 are pretty good. The liquid metal effects are still as great as they were in 1991 along with some of the CG animated endoskeletons in the Future War sequence.

My only qualms with the visuals is that there is a lack of blue tint that was prevalent in James Cameron's previous films, but this is more a matter of taste than anything.

Musical Score: Brad Fiedel's dark and mechanical theme is absent from the film until the credits arrive, which is something that bothered me. Not only that, but T3's rendition of the theme isn't as powerful as it is in its predecessors.

However, Marco Beltrami does manage to increase the tension of scenes with his score, though little else. This aspect, like the storyline, could of been improved.

Conclusion: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines wasn't a necessary sequel, but a decent one. I don't believe this installment ruined the series as much as, say, Alien^3. This film will no doubt continue to be one that either fans love or hate.

I happen to love it.

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