The Terminator (1984) Poster


Add to FAQ (Coming Soon)
Showing all 19 items
Jump to:


  • After the near destruction of humanity, after which John Connor, the son of waitress Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), will rise against the Skynet machines who caused the war, a cyborg called the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from 2029 is sent back to 1984 to assassinate Sarah before she can give birth to her son. Meanwhile, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a young soldier from that apocalyptic war, is also sent back to 1984 to protect her and her yet-to-be-born son. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The film screenplay for "The Terminator" was written by director James Cameron, although Cameron admitted that his inspiration for The Terminator were two episodes from the 1960s television science fiction series: "Soldier" (1964) and "Demon with a Glass Hand" (1964), of the The Outer Limits. The Terminator is followed by Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) (2003), Terminator Salvation (2009) (2009), and Terminator Genisys (2015) (2015. There was also a short-lived TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008) (2008-2009). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In the context of the movie, a Terminator is an artificially-intelligent cyborg or "cybernetic organism" composed of a hyper-alloy combat chassis (formed in roughly the same shape as the human skeleton) covered in living tissue, and it is also a tactical agent of a sapient, self-aware, strategic computer network known as Skynet. In general, a Terminator is a Skynet-made automaton that takes or is capable of taking human form in so sufficient of a way as to impersonate being human to varying degrees. Its main-if-not-sole purpose is to terminate the lives of specific targets or sometimes humans in general, and targets can include other machines, ones to be brought permanently offline—terminated.

    Terminators (in their endoskeleton form) were originally designed by Skynet during the early days of the war with humanity for the purpose of carrying out the ground war against the remaining human forces. Being of roughly equal size to human targets and with similar mobility, Terminators were able to follow humans where the larger HK (hunter-killer) tanks and hovercraft could not. Eventually, as the humans developed more and more elaborate methods of hiding to avoid detection by the aerial and ground HKs, therefore the early versions of Terminators (in particular, the 600 series) were produced and covered with a flimsy rubber covering meant to mimic human skin. After this proved to be very unsuccessful (seeing as how the rubber skin would deteriorate and the Terminators were easily identified), Skynet developed a way to grow human skin and fuse it to the chassis of a Terminator of an improved model (known as the 800 or 850 series). This allowed the Terminators to more successfully infiltrate human resistance settlements and proved devastating to humans' efforts. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Skynet, despite being largely unseen, is the primary antagonist in The Terminator. It is an artificially-intelligent, self-aware, strategic computer network. Reese explains that Skynet was built for NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), which was America's primary defense during the Cold War. It is stated that Skynet was built by Cyberdyne Systems. Terminator units are just one variation of its (future) agents and forces. Hunter/Killer units are another variation; but there are likely even more, seeing as how it is a exhaustively-connected network. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Two possibilities have been suggested: (1) This was an error or omission in Skynet's programming of the Terminator (since directed energy weapons had not yet been invented in 1984), or (2) Reese explains to Sarah that many records of the past were lost. It's likely Skynet didn't know what the exact level of technology was, any more than it knew exactly where/who Sarah Connor was, so the cyborg continued to ask for bigger and better weapons until he passed the current level of tech. The Terminator was just being thorough in its acquisition of weapons. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • As the gun shop owner says, the Terminator could take the rifles, but there's a waiting period on the handguns (required for a background check on the buyer). The Terminator wasn't going to go through the proper legal channels, such as paying for them or waiting out a background check, in order to obtain his arsenal. Had he stolen them and let the owner live, the owner would have called the police and given his description. While this may not be a major obstacle for the Terminator, it could seriously inconvenience him. Killing the owner allows him to take everything at once and not leave any witnesses. The Terminator, being an infiltration unit, knows when to kill and when not to. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • As Reese tells the police and Dr Silberman (Earl Boen), the terminator was "just being systematic." Skynet had almost no information about John Connor's mother. They knew her name and that she was living in Los Angeles in 1984. The Terminator was methodically carrying out his mission to kill Sarah Connor by going through the phone book and killing every person named Sarah Connor listed. When he gets to Sarah's apartment, she is not there but her roommate Ginger (Bess Motta) is home. The Terminator doesn't know what Sarah Connor looks like, so he kills Ginger just to make sure. When Sarah telephones Ginger, the Terminator hears her voice for the first time and knows he has missed his target. Sarah mentions that she's hiding in Tech Noir, thus inadvertently giving the Terminator her location. The Terminator then quickly searches Sarah's house and recovers her address book, thus giving her other possible locations she might choose to hide, as well as her ID, which lets him know what she looks like. At the club, the Terminator is attacked by Reese and it realizes that this must be the Sarah Connor it is looking for. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • As stated by the character Kyle Reese, the Terminator is covered in living tissue, allowing it to go back in time as a living organism. Of course, this illustrates that the the feature in question concerning the machine is conditional or, so to speak, subject to a loophole. Thus, things like clothing, bling, armor, equipment and effects outside of the living body presumably do not travel with the body, whether they are left behind or destroyed in transit, or they present a hazard that precludes the very attempt the travel in the first place. Reese also explains that he is not deeply not tech stuff, so his statement that the time displacement machine "only" allows living organisms through may not be exact, and his explanation of how the Terminator came through may be something of a layman's inference, but more importantly Reese covered the basics of why he as an individual couldn't bring any non-living material (of interest) with him from the future. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • This was actually part of the original shooting script. A scene was filmed in which Sarah traced the creation of Skynet back to a company called Cyberdyne; she suggests to Kyle that they go there and stop Skynet from being made. This would also eliminate the Terminator from existence. But Reese refuses, saying his mission is to protect her, not alter the future, which leads to a confrontation between the two that ultimately results in Reese suffering the emotional breakdown of being a man out of time. Another scene was set right after Sarah crushes the Terminator in the factory. Employees find a chip fragment that came from the Terminator's head, and suggest sending it to the company's Research and Development department. It is then revealed that the factory belonged to the Cyberdyne company. So the Terminator's mission to protect Skynet actually ensured its creation. This plot element, together with Sarah's intention to prevent Skynet from existing, was revisited in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The real-life answer is because that is how the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger talks. The Terminator universe answer is that Skynet obviously can't have every Terminator they create and send out on infiltration missions looking exactly alike. If they did, people would easily recognize them. Skynet's source for various likenesses are probably from either people they have captured and held in custody, or people they have encountered, killed or fought out in the field. Tissue samples would be taken (for cloning, tissue cultivation, etc), visual images captured, and if possible, voice patterns and sound recorded. In a deleted scene from Terminator 3, Arnold's character is shown to be modeled on a military man, Sgt. William Candy who has a high voice and southern dialect. An official says, "I don't know about the voice," followed by another official, with Arnold's voice, who says: "We can fix it." However, this idea is a later rationalization created by an author other than James Cameron and also not a consideration made at the time of the film's production. Also, as the scene was omitted from the final cut, it cannot be considered canon. Another problem with this explanation is that it has been established in The Terminator and Terminator Salvation that early Terminators had very obvious rubber skin. While this skin was surely shaped like a human face/body, it was likely similar to a generic rubber mask one might buy in a costume shop, and not intended to look like anyone specific (i.e., Arnold). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Sergeant Techcom, DN38416, 132nd under Commanding officer Perry. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • It does sound like a perfect opportunity: Kyle and Sarah are held at gunpoint by the police, so the Terminator should have merely drawn a gun and killed them all. However, when the police officers check Terminator's car, the windshield is still there, so the Terminator was not thrown out through the front. Instead, one cop notices that the passenger door is open, implying that the Terminator escaped through there into an alley. In one of the next scenes, we see Terminator entering a room to perform some repairs on itself. It opens up its arm, because the mechanics inside are apparently jammed, and removes the eye because it probably obstructs its view. Its gun was probably also thrown out of the car during the crash. The Terminator continually analyzes its situation and mission parameters, and probably assessed after the crash that it could not properly handle Sarah, Kyle and an entire squad of police officers (many armed with shotguns which were capable of at least damaging it) with a defective arm, bad vision and no gun, so it chose to leave, make repairs first and then try again. When it attacks the police station it is fully functional, better armed, has the element of surprise and is facing the police mostly one on one and only armed with pistols. There are more scenes were the Terminator seems to make a careful assessment before choosing a course of action that has the best change of fulfilling its mission. When it has been run over by a truck later on, the Terminator could have simply walked towards the turned-over car with Sarah and Kyle inside, and killed her; however, knowing that its leg is damaged (it can merely limp) and Sarah may be able to outrun it, Terminator chooses to take no chances, confiscates a truck and tries to run them over.

    Another plausible explanation is that the Terminator is programmed not to reveal what it truly is, since this information could not only hinder its mission, but also disrupt future events as well. In any situation in which the Terminator's true identity is at risk, it takes measures to avoid being discovered; hence the reason why it left the scene when it could have simply killed Sarah. In the end, by the time it has lost its skin, it no longer matters, since its prime objective, at this point, is to kill Sarah at any cost. Also, there is no one else around during the final chase. You'll also note that without definitive proof, the police don't even believe Kyle's story. They tell Sarah that this so-called "terminator" is someone who is likely wearing some kind of body armor as well as being on drugs in order to offer, what they believe to be, a plausible explanation. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Several possibilities exist. (1) Sarah didn't record the address in her address book, as she knew it by heart. (2) The cabin's address was listed first in the book so he started his search there. (3) The cabin was closest to his present location when he began his search. As such, it takes less time to start there, than going back and forth to different locations. (4) The Terminator did check her mother's home address before moving on to the cabin, while we simply aren't shown this in the film. After all, there's no reason why the filmmakers would show us every dead-end along the way. (5) The cabin was her house. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • It isn't actually known how many Terminators that Skynet sent backwards through time in general, only that one was sent to 1984 Los Angeles with Sarah Connor as the target. Perhaps sending more than one on the same exact mission would have been poor use of resources, (including the resource of "time travel") especially considering that there is just one target and no more than a single operative is needed to eliminate the target. Sending back an army (millions of units or so) to the same date would imply another objective altogether, likely one uninteresting to Skynet as explained hereafter.

    According to Kyle Reese, "Skynet's defense grid was smashed; we'd won"; meaning that John Connor's forces had defeated Skynet and the supercomputer's defeat was inevitable. Sending a Terminator back was a last ditch effort on Skynet's part to try to erase the leader of the Human Resistance from history. It is unknown whether Skynet had the time, resources, or troops in general, to send back more than one Terminator (just to kill Sarah Connor, regardless of her importance). However, unused parts of the script from Terminator 2: Judgment Day detailed a backstory in which the Resistance enters the Skynet facility, which contains the Time Displacement Device. They also find a cold storage full of inactive T-800 model 101 Terminators, of which only one has been sent, indicating that lack of infiltration units was not the issue. Most likely, the process of time travel takes a lot of time and energy, only allowing for one person or object to be sent at a time; so if more could be sent at a time, the Resistance would most likely have sent more people back than just Kyle Reese. We can also assume that time travel is pretty much Skynet's last resort, something it would only do on the brink of destruction. The reason for this may be that time travel always carries a danger of making unwanted changes to the past, which may lead to unpredictable, but very negative consequences in the future. So Skynet probably did not start sending back Terminators until the very last moments; whereby they had enough time to send just two (one T-800 and the T-1000) and got interrupted before they could send a third one. After sending Kyle back, Connor and his team destroyed the Time Displacement Device to insure that neither Skynet or anyone else could use it again.

    However, assuming they were able to send back a few Terminators or a whole army, they would likely be detected and run into significant resistance from present day human armies pretty quickly, which number in the millions and are backed by intact governments with fully functional industrial bases. Not to mention, while Terminators are virtually impervious to bullets, they don't fare so well against explosives. So it wouldn't take long for a modern army to discover this. It therefore makes sense that Skynet sends Terminators sparingly and to different time periods. It would minimize the risk of detection, while at the same time doubling the chances that one of them will be successful. Remember that Skynet was able to virtually wipe out humans only through a surprise first strike nuclear attack which destroyed their societies. The human survivors were ultimately able to defeat Skynet using scrounged weapons and an improvised military force. Skynet's army of terminators would not have stood a chance against a pre-"judgement day" human military force. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Lt. Traxler was shot in the gut by the Terminator. He is seen laying in the doorway holding his gut when Vukovich checks on him, he is still alive. Gut shots are famous for being very painful and causing a slower death. So chances are a surviving officer was able to call for medical attention so it's likely that he lived. After checking on Traxler, Vukovich stands in the doorway and opens fire on the Terminator, who turns and fires back. When the Terminator fires his AR-18, we hear Vukovich grunt, implying he was hit. It's unknown whether the shot killed him or not. The Terminator also fires one shot from his SPAS-12 at Vukovich but it's unknown whether it hit him. In a deleted scene when Reese and Sarah are running through the station trying to avoid the Terminator, Traxler stops them and finally believes them about the Terminator and hands them a gun to protect Sarah. After they thank him and run off, Traxler collapses against the wall. One idea for Terminator 2 was for Lance Henriksen to reprise his role as Detective Vukovich but now in a wheelchair, having suffered spinal injuries after being shot in the first film but this never came to fruition. It has been argued that they both must have died otherwise the authorities would know about the Terminators, but this is not necessarily the case. We know that Dr Silverman and many of the other police officers in the building survived (in Terminator 2 it is mentioned that 17 were killed and 13 wounded) but it would seem far more likely that the authorities would believe in a lone gunman wearing body armour rather than Sarah's wild story of time travel and killer cyborgs. Ultimately the fate of both characters is left unclear, either or both may have died or lived. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Terminator's eye was badly damaged during the car chase with Reese and Sarah. The living tissue covering the Terminator's body heals in a manner similar to regular human tissue. The same would also be true for injures that are sustained to a Terminator's exterior flesh that cannot be easily heal or heal at all. In this case, the T-800's eye was damaged beyond repair and, more than likely, was clouding his vision through his true cyborg eye, so he removed it to regain his perfect cybernetic vision. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Sure that the Terminator has been destroyed in the fiery truck crash, Sarah and Kyle hug each other. Behind them, the android emerges from the debris, its flesh completely burned off. It follows them into a factory where Kyle turns on the automated machines in order to make tracking them more difficult. Still, the Terminator succeeds in cornering them on some scaffolding, and Kyle is forced to place a bomb in the chassis of the android. The bomb explodes, scattering pieces of the android but severely wounding Sarah in the leg and killing Kyle. While attempting to crawl away, Sarah is attacked by the top half of the Terminator's skeleton. She succeeds in luring it into a compactor and, even while it still tries to break her neck, she crushes it until its red eye fades. In the following scene, she is taken in an ambulance to the hospital while Kyle is removed in a body bag. In the final scenes, some months later, a pregnant Sarah is driving through the southwestern desert and stops at a gas station. While her tank is being filled, she continues to dictate into a cassette she is making for her son. She questions whether she should tell him about Kyle being his father and wonders whether that will affect his decision to send Kyle back in time to save Sarah. A young boy snaps her picture and asks for $5.00. She gives him $4.00 and keeps the photo (it's the same photo that John will give Kyle in the future). The boy looks off into the distance and says that a storm is coming. Sarah replies, "I know," and drives off. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Terminator Enhanced Script Presentation, with highlighted dialogue and over 300 screenshots placed in sync with the story. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Not in the context of this movie. In the film we see that Kyle Reese fell in love with Sarah from looking at a picture of her which had survived Judgment Day. He describes how he was attracted to the melancholy look she had about her. In the final scene of the film we see the picture being taken and that the melancholy look is caused by the fact that Sarah is thinking of Reese, her dead love. Within the context of the first film, this should probably not be considered a paradox. What we see in The Terminator is that history is unchanging. The Terminator came back to stop John Connor from ever being born, but in doing so, it actually caused him to be born. In the first movie, time cannot be changed and there is no version of history where Sarah was not attacked by the Terminator in 1984. The second film doubles down on the circular nature of the timeline by making clear that Cyberdyne creates Skynet using technology which they reverse-engineered from parts of the Terminator which Sarah and Kyle fought. Thus, not only John Connor, but also Skynet itself are the result of the attempt by Skynet to eliminate John. The second movie, however differs from the first in arguing that time can be changed. The photograph, which is created by information from the future and then contributes to its own creation, is inspired by the time travel romance film Somewhere in Time (1980), starring Christopher Reeve (a difference of only one letter from "Reese") and Jane Seymour. That film, which involves Reeve traveling back in time and meeting Seymour, has a pocket watch which exists in an eternal "loop". It is never actually created but is instead passed from Reeve to Seymour and back again. Edit (Coming Soon)


See also

Awards | User Reviews | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed