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The Terminator (1984)

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In 1984, a human soldier is tasked to stop an indestructible cyborg killing machine, both sent from 2029, from executing a young woman, whose unborn son is the key to humanity's future salvation.

Director:

James Cameron
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515 ( 48)
Top Rated Movies #242 | 7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arnold Schwarzenegger ... Terminator
Michael Biehn ... Kyle Reese
Linda Hamilton ... Sarah Connor
Paul Winfield ... Lieutenant Ed Traxler
Lance Henriksen ... Detective Hal Vukovich
Rick Rossovich ... Matt Buchanan
Bess Motta ... Ginger Ventura
Earl Boen ... Dr. Peter Silberman
Dick Miller ... Pawn Shop Clerk
Shawn Schepps ... Nancy
Bruce M. Kerner Bruce M. Kerner ... Desk Sergeant
Franco Columbu ... Future Terminator
Bill Paxton ... Punk Leader
Brad Rearden ... Punk
Brian Thompson ... Punk
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Storyline

Sent back from a dystopian 2029--where the cold machines have conquered the entire world--to 1984 Los Angeles, the indestructible cyborg-assassin known as the "Terminator" commences his deadly mission to kill humankind's most important woman: the unsuspecting, Sarah Connor. However, from the same war-torn post-apocalyptic future comes a battle-scarred defender--Kyle Reese, a brave soldier of the human Resistance Army--bent on stopping the cybernetic killer from eliminating the world's last hope. But, the Terminator has no feelings, he doesn't sleep, and above all, he won't stop until he carries out his grim task. Does our future lie in our past? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Your future is in its hands. See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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". See more »

Goofs

The black pickup truck that Sarah rolls onto its roof appears soon after undamaged. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Alternate Versions

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). See more »

Connections

Referenced in NCIS: Guilty Pleasure (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

You Can't Do That
Performed by Tryanglz
Written by Ricky Phillips
Published by Ricky Lynn Phillips Music (BMI)
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User Reviews

 
The wonderful action movie which started a wonderful action saga
22 January 2006 | by DaRick89See 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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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Terminator See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,020,663, 28 October 1984

Gross USA:

$38,371,200

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$78,475,971
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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