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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

The Terminator (1984)


Plot Summary: Two time travelers from the future arrive in Los Angles in 1984. One is a cyborg (Arnold Schwarzengger) sent to hunt and terminate Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), and the other is a resistance soldier (Michael Biehn) sent to protect her. Connor is the future mother of John Connor, a revolutionary leader from the future. If Sarah Connor is killed, then John Connor will never lead the Resistance over the machines. Will the Cyborg terminate his mark?


Cast:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator

  • Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese

  • Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor

  • Paul Winfield as Ed Traxler

  • Lance Henriksen as Vukovich

  • Bess Motta as Ginger

  • Rick Rossovich as Matt

  • Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman

*Recognition:

  • The Terminator topped the United States box office for two weeks, eventually grossing $78.3 million against a modest $6.4 million budget. It is credited with launching Cameron's film career and solidifying Schwarzenegger's status as a leading man. The film's success led to a franchise consisting of several sequels, a television series, comic books, novels and video games.

  • The film has received recognition from the American Film Institute as it was ranked 42nd on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills. The character of the Terminator was selected as the 22nd-greatest movie villain on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. Schwarzenegger's catchphrase "I'll be back" was voted the 37th-greatest movie quote.

  • In 2005, Total Film named it the 72nd-best film ever made.

  • In 2008, Empire magazine selected The Terminator as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. Empire also placed the T-800 14th on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters.

  • In 2010, the Independent Film & Television Alliance selected the film as one of the 30 Most Significant Independent Films of the last 30 years.

  • In 2015, The Terminator was among the films included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

  • In 2008, The Terminator was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Did You Know:

  • While shooting this film, James Cameron often resorted to what he called "guerilla filmmaking" 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 re shoots with Cameron even calling and waking Arnold Schwarzenegger once at 3am to meet him at a location already in full costume to quickly re-shoot a scene. 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.

  • 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.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with guns every day 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 and 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. He 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 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. He had a talk with some producers at 20th Century Fox who liked his screenplay for Terminator, and gave him a writing assignment; this turned out to be Aliens (1986). On the same day, he was also asked to write a script for Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). While handling these two assignments, he also did additional work on his Terminator screenplay, writing each script at night at a different desk, in order to keep the projects apart.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: A Cyborg from the future plays the role of Michael Myers.


Best Performance: Linda Hamilton (Sarah)/Arnold Schwarzeneggar (T-800)

Best Secondary Performance: James Cameron (Director/Writer)

Most Charismatic Award: Arnold Schwarzeneggar (T-800)/Michael Biehn (Reese)

Best Scene:

  • Opening

  • Reese Escapes Through Department Store

  • Reese Saves Sarah in the Disco-Tech

  • Is Reese Crazy?

  • "I'll Be Back"

  • Final Chase

Favorite Scene: "I'll Be Back"

Most Indelible Moment: "I'll Be Back"


In Memorium:

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

The Terminator: Fuck you, asshole.


Sarah Connor: What have we got? Kyle Reese: Mothballs... corn syrup... ammonia.


The Terminator: I'll be back.


Kyle Reese: Come with me if you want to live!


Derelict: That son of a bitch took my pants.


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 8

Impact/Significance: 7.25

Novelty: 7

Classic-ness: 4

Rewatchability: 3

Audience Score: 9.1 (93% Google, 89% RT)

Total: 38.85


Remaining Questions:

  • What metal substance can withstand that ridiculous amount of explosions and keep going?

  • If the T800 was limping already in the final chase, why can't you just run away. You're going to be faster.

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