Terminator Movies

Terminator Characters

Terminator Movie Stars

The Terminator Movie

The Terminator is a 1984 science fiction / action film featuring former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger in what would become his best-known role, and also starred Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn. Directed by James Cameron, the premise of the movie is that a "Terminator" cyborg (played by Schwarzenegger) has been transported back in time from 2029 to May 12, 1984 to assassinate a woman named Sarah Connor (played by Hamilton). Issues raised by the film include time travel, causal loops and artificial intelligence.
The sequels to the movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, further developed the story line and explored the ethical implications of machine intelligence as well as what it means to be truly human.


The Terminator
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A young woman, named Sarah Connor, is inexplicably being hunted by a relentless killer who is apparently tracking down and killing every woman in the city who shares Connor's name. She is eventually approached by Kyle Reese, played by Biehn, who explains that in the future, an artificial intelligence called "Skynet" will be created by military software developers to make strategic decisions, but unexpectedly becomes self-aware; in a panic, the humans attempt to shut Skynet down. In the interest of self-preservation, Skynet seizes control of most of the world's military hardware and launches an all-out thermonuclear attack on humanity, leading to a total war between man and machine. However, a man named John Connor eventually leads the human resistance to victory, only to discover that in a last-ditch effort, Skynet had discovered time travel and sent a Terminator, a highly advanced robotic killer, back in time to the 1980s to kill John Connor's mother before he can be born. John is Sarah's future son, and so he sends back Reese, a trusted liutenant, to protect his mother at all costs.
The key difficulty in Reese's mission is that the Terminator, variably identified as a cyborg or robot, is of an extremely durable construction that can sustain a considerable amount of damage. Since the time travel mechanism precludes the traveler from carrying non-living matter outside the being's body, Reese was forced to arrive naked and unarmed, and the small arms of the 1980s are barely powerful enough to faze the Terminator. Furthermore, a Terminator's organic covering, when intact, makes it indistinguishable from live humans. This makes it almost impossible to convince anyone of Sarah Connor's time that this assailant is actually an extremely advanced machine. Upon its arrival in 1984, the Terminator quickly obtains clothes and an arsenal of weaponry, and sets out on its mission. It systematically murders the first two 'Sarah Connors' in the Los Angeles telephone directory before killing Sarah's flatmate Ginger and Ginger's boyfriend while trying to find Sarah at her home. It then discovers that Sarah is in a nightclub called Tech Noir where she is hiding and waiting for the police. The Terminator attempts to kill Sarah in the nightclub, but is barely intercepted by Reese. Following a brief chase, Reese and Sarah escape, but the Terminator violently commandeers a police car and follows them. While hiding in a multi-story parking garage, Reese explains everything to a skeptical, frightened Sarah. However, the Terminator arrives again and a pitched gun battle between the two moving vehicles results in the Terminator crashing its car and Reese being arrested by the pursuing cops. At the police station, Sarah is looked after by Lieutenant Traxler (Paul Winfield) and Sergeant Vukovich (Lance Henriksen) while Reese is interrogated by a fascinated criminal psychologist, Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen), who concludes that Reese's "delusions" are astoundingly intricate and are constructed in such a manner that they require no proof and are thus safe from refutation. Meanwhile, the Terminator retreats to a hotel room and performs maintenance on its damaged cyborg arm and eye socket before re-arming itself and heading for the police precinct.
The Terminator arrives at the precinct only to be told by the desk sergeant that he cannot see Sarah. After uttering his famous low-key catch phrase "I'll be back", he drives a car through the doors of the building, crushing the desk sergeant. The Terminator then goes on to brutally massacre everyone that gets in his way. Police officers, including Traxler and Vukovich, try to stop it but are all slain. Reese manages to break free and rescue Sarah before the Terminator can get to her. While Reese is hiding that night with Sarah, we see his past (the future) in a flashback. In this post-nuclear world, we see that he once had a Polaroid photograph of Sarah. The photo is burned during an attack by a Terminator on a human base.
The next day, Reese and Sarah take refuge in a motel, where Reese makes pipe bombs, teaching Sarah how to make the explosive from household supplies. Sarah asks Reese if he's disappointed in her (the "real" her compared to the legends and stories about her) and asks if he's ever had a lover; he replies no to both questions. Reese also confesses that he is in love with Sarah. At first, Reese thinks he has made a fool of himself and tries to shut off his emotions from her, but Sarah reciprocates his feelings and kisses him tenderly, and they make love. Later that night, the Terminator tracks them down and pursues them along a motorway, shooting Reese and wounding him. An increasingly resourceful Sarah manages to knock it off its motorcycle, but she crashes her truck. The Terminator commandeers a large tanker truck and drives it towards the pair's wrecked pickup truck. Sarah and a badly-wounded Reese escape just in time and Reese destroys the tanker with one of his few remaining bombs. The Terminator is shown collapsing in a burnt heap in the remains of the tanker.
As they embrace, believing the Terminator is destroyed, its metal endoskeleton emerges from the flames, and pursues them into an automated factory. In the ensuing standoff, Reese jams a pipe bomb between its abdominal piston and spine, blowing up the Terminator but also killing Reese in the ensuing explosion. Just as Sarah finds Reese's body, the Terminator's mangled torso revives and pursues her. She eventually manages to crush it in a hydraulic press. The end of the film sees Sarah traveling in Mexico, several months pregnant. She records audio tapes which she intends to play to the child (clearly the soon-to-be-born John) at some point in his life. Her monologues reveal that Reese is the father, and that John was conceived during their one night together at the motel. While Sarah's gas tank is being filled at a gas station, a young Mexican boy takes a photo of her using his Polaroid camera, and talks her into buying it for a few dollars. It is the same photo Reese will have in the future. The boy then mentions that there is a storm coming, to which Sarah chillingly replies: "I know". Calm but determined, Sarah drives off into an ominous future.
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