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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

R  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  2 July 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 282,592 users   Metascore: 66/100
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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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Title: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
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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 Can the outdated CSM-101 Terminator eliminate the highly advanced T-X - or will a darker future await ...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


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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?


The most expensive "R" rated film of all time, unadjusted for inflation (as of January 2015). See more »


When Kate and the Terminator are talking in the RV, when the camera is closer to the Terminator, the armrest for his right arm is down. When the camera is closer to Kate, the armrest for the Terminator's right arm is up. This change happens repeatedly. 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

Jay Acovone is credited as Jay Acavone. See more »


Referenced in Tomorrowland (2015) See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not perfect but it is what a summer blockbuster should be – a big loud enjoyable film
1 September 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 2003 John Connor is living a life without record, with no fixed address, no bank account and no permanent job. He does this to avoid the terminators of the future being able to find him and kill him. In absence of him, Skynet sends back a T-X to kill secondary targets – Connor's future lieutenants, among them Kate Brewster, daughter of military scientist Robert Brewster. Luckily, in the future, Kate has sent back a captured Terminator to protect them. As the group escape Connor learns more of judgement day and sets out to try and stop it again.

T3 is different from T2 in that it isn't really in the same league (IMO) as T2 was when it came out. In my view T2 was the must see movie of it's time whereas now it has faded a little and is secondary to the matrix and other cutting edge blockbusters. In fact so second was it that I wasn't that bothered about seeing it or not. However I'm glad it did as T3 is nicely paced, doesn't expect too much of itself and does just what a blockbuster is meant to be – be entertaining.

The plot is mostly secondary to the action but, basically, the T-X has been sent back to take out a group of people before it then (accidentally) finds it's primary target of John Connor. Some of the plot is a little tenuous but it doesn't matter as it moves along at such a pace that you don't have time to really think too long about any one scene. However the climax is a hark back to the original Terminator with a down deep and depressing ending where fate manages to happen regardless of Connor's best intentions.

The action is great although it does look basic beside the effects of Matrix etc. I did feel that they worked better by not trying to be overly flashy or fancy. The morphing effects are actually more enjoyable because here they make up part of the action whereas in T2 they were key moments of cutting edge technology. The film's action takes the form of a simple chase and is very effective, the multiple car chase is my favourite scene – partly because it shows how very out classed the Terminator is by the new model!

The direction is good and Cameron isn't missed at all. Mostow does a great job with the action scenes and keeps everything just perfect. Because the film realises that the franchise is build on catch phrases and images that have entered into popular culture so much that they are overused, it wisely chooses to mock itself and has a real nice sense of humour to it. For example the original Terminator had the terminator entering a motor cycle bar and exiting dressed in biker leathers, here he enters a bar and finds a ladies night in full swing and has to get his clothes from a gay stripper. The deadpan way in which he rejects the sunglasses is really good. In a way this could have undermined the effect of the film but it is managed well and doesn't.

The cast is roundly good. The exit of Sarah Connor is handled well and her replacement (Danes) is good despite a few duff lines which don't convince. Stahl's performance could be seen as mocking Furlong's drug problems (I can't see any other reason for his junkie-like tics etc.) but he is still good and carries the film well. Schwarzenegger wisely agrees to mock his own character – the film takes the idea that time has passed the Terminator franchise by, by having the terminator itself being totally superseded. Loken is good as the T-X and is sexy enough but isn't given as much to do as anyone else. Whereas Patrick was pretty much the main focus of T2 (because of the effects) Loken has less of an impact.

Overall I had my doubts about this film but it did manage to do just what I needed it to do. The action is overblown and enjoyable without being the cutting edge in special effects at any time. The plot-driving scenes are good and the main story (behind the action) is involving and interesting, right up till the downbeat ending. I must say that, although it is hardly the most imaginative or inspiring film made this year, it certainly does what you need a blockbuster to do – no deep, pretentious plots, no joy-less acting, but rather a big noisy movie that doesn't take itself too serious (despite the serious plot) and is actually very enjoyable to watch. Nor a great film but I really wish that more blockbusters were like this.

79 of 136 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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