The Terminator is a Sci-fi action film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. A Terminator is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, mother of John Connor, so that her son can never be born and rebel against the robotic rule of the future.
Lance Hendrickson was James Cameron's first choice to play The Terminator. The original concept was for a machine that could easily blend into a crowd of people and not draw attention to itself. The idea changed drastically when cameron met Arnold Schwartzenegger for the first time.
The Terminator is a Sci-fi action film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film takes place in two time periods, the first is 1984 and the second is the apocalyptic future of 2029. James Cameron directed the film which was produced by Hemdale Film Corporation and distributed by Orion Pictures, and filmed in Los Angeles. The film went on to spawn 3 sequels so far and a television series, as well as serving as the big breaks for both Cameron and Schwarzenegger.
The initial idea for the film came to James Cameron one night while he was in Rome promoting Piranha 2. He dreamt of a metallic torso dragging itself from an explosion bearing kitchen knives. Upon returning to the US, he set about writing the a draft for the film, he turned to his friend Bill Wisher to help with turning the draft into a script and the two communicated ideas by recoding telephone conversations of what the other had written. Cameron's agent did not like the script and told him to work on something different so Cameron fired him and continued working on the film. Orion Pictures agreed to distribute the film if they found financial backing elsewhere. Cameron presented the script to John Daly at Hemdale Pictures ands had Lance Henriksen arrive at the meeting first as the Terminator complete with gold foil covering his teeth. Daly was impressed by the script and the passions for the project and agreed to finance the film with a budget of $4 million which was later changed to $6.5 million.
Los Angeles 2029 The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. Their war to exterminate mankind had raged for decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Tonight...
Los Angeles 1984
Terminator needs clothes
After a blinding light and an electrical discharge a giant naked man steps forth and begins surveying the city. As he walks off he encounters three street punks and demands there clothes, they refuse and fight which the ginat man wins by punching through one of the punk's chests. The sight of this makes the last punk begin to strip. Meanwhile in another location there is another electrical discharge and another naked man appears, but this time he is in pain and quickly starts looking around, he steals a homeless man trousers but is spooked by a passing police car and he runs, the police giving chase. He looses them in a store, where he finds more clothes and shoes then doubles back and steals a shotgun out of the empty police car. He then finds a phone box and rips out the page that has the name Sarah Connor on it.
Terminator at work
Sarah is having a bad day at her job in a diner but looking forward to her night out. On another side of town the giant man steals a car by punching through the window, he then goes to a gun shop and steals as many weapons as he can carry. His next move is to find a phone box and again take the page containing the details for Sarah Connor, he then drives to a house and asks for Sarah Connor, the lady at the door introduces herself as Sarah, causing the giant man to shoot her several times. The news soon spreads of the murder and Sarah sees it on the news but thinks nothing of it, she and her friend continue to prepare for their night out. In the local police station there Detective Vukovich finds another report about a second murder victim also called Sarah Connor. With the news of the new killing they decide to give a statement so that Sarah will contact them as it appears she is in danger. Now out on the town Sarah sees the news and leaves the bar heading to the police, but is being followed by the second man.
The Terminator finds Sarah
Meanwhile the giant man has arrived at Sarah's apartment and kills Sarah's roommate Ginger and her boyfriend Matt. Sarah however has taken refuge in a club called TechNoir as she has noticed she is being followed. She calls the police and gives her name and location and they agree to come for her. She then calls Ginger and the giant man hears where she is. The giant soon gets to the club and tries to kill Sarah but the other man stops him by shooting him repeatedly, he runs with Sarah to protect her while the giant man slowly gets up and goes in pursuit. They steal a car and the man introduces himself as Kyle and tells Sarah that the other man is a Terminator, a cyborg sent from the future to kill her as she will give birth to the leader of the human resistance. After a car chase they are taken into custody by the police and Kyle is locked up but the Terminator is missing, but damaged.
The Terminator is back at his safe house and begins to perform surgery on itself to remove it's destroyed eye and fix a damaged arm, he cuts out the eye leaving the machine underneath visible, he covers with with a pair of sun glasses. It then re-arms and leaves to go to the police station where Sarah and Kyle are currently being held. Lieutenant Traxler and Vulkovich talk Sarah through what happened and convince her to get some rest, while Kyle is locked up and declared crazy. The Terminator arrives and kills everyone in the police station but Kyle escapes and gets Sarah to safety. The two rest while Kyle tells Sarah about the future and how they are constantly at risk from the machines. The Terminator heads back to it's room and looks through Sarah's contact books look for a way to find her. Kyle and Sarah stop in a motel where Sarah rests while Kyle goes to get supplies, Sarah calls her mother but on the other end of the phone the Terminator is mimicking her mother voice as he has already been there. Kyle returns and shows Sarah how to make pipe bombs which they do so they have a weapon to stop the machine.
It will not stop
After spending the night together Kyle and Sarah prepare to leave the motel when the Terminator appears they race off but the Terminator gives chase. During the chase Kyle is shot and the Terminator is knocked back off is Motorbike when Sarah crashes her truck into him. With the truck ruined her and Kyle take off on foot but the Terminator now steal as passing lorry and soon catches up, Kyle uses one of the pipe bombs to destroy the lorry but the Terminator is still alive but now missing all of it's skin. They head in to a machine factory and are pursued, Kyle fights the Terminator and uses the last pipe bomb to destroy the robots legs, but he is killed in the process and Sarah is injured. With both Sarah and the Terminator unable to walk she crawls away with the other in pursuit. She heads through some of the machinery and just as the Terminator is about to kill her she crushes it in a hydrophilic press, destroying all but the machines arm.
Storm is coming
Months later a now heavily pregnant Sarah is driving through the desert where she stops for petrol. She is recording tape to her unborn son telling him of the future and his father, Kyle. A young Mexican boy takes a photograph of her which she purchases — it is the photograph that John will later give to Kyle. She drives on towards approaching storm clouds.
The first job Cameron had to do on the production was to cast the role of Kyle Reese. At first Orion Pictures want a rising star with appeal overseas and wanted Cameron to meet with Schwarzenegger to be considered for the role. Cameron did not want Arnold for the role and had planned to have an argument with him at the meeting so as to say he could not work with him, as he believed that if Arnold played Kyle then he would need somebody bigger for the Terminator. The studio suggested O J Simpson for the role but Cameron said he could not see him as a killer. When he met Arnold he began to sketch him and left the meeting having decided that he would play a very good Terminator. Schwarzenegger was not pleased about this and said in an interview while on the set of Conan when asked about The Terminator "Oh some shit movie I'm doing, take a couple weeks." The role of Kyle eventually went to Michael Biehn as of all the people who read for the role he was the only one that could believably develop a human connection to Sarah.
The production was supposed to begin in early 1983 but was called off when Dino De Laurentiis optioned Schwarzenegger for the sequel to Conan, Conan The Destroyer, which put the shoot back by 9 months. During this time Cameron continued refining the script, was asked to write a sequel to First Blood and set up a meeting with producers David Giler and Walter Hill to discuss an Alien sequel.
In March 1984, the film began production in Los Angeles. Most of The Terminator's action sequences were filmed at night, this meant that the production was working to strict deadlines where shots needed to be completed before the sun rose. A week before filming started. The schedule was again changed when Linda Hamilton sprained her ankle at the beginning of the shoot, leading to the scenes in which Hamilton needed to run occurred as late as the filming schedule allowed. Hamilton's ankle was taped every day and she spent most of the film production in pain.
The film was released on October 26, 1984. At first Orion Pictures did not have faith in the film and refused to screen it for critics, but after constant lobbying from the stars agents they agreed to one press screening. The film went straight to No.1 at the box office and remained there fro two weeks. By the end of it's theatrical run the film had finally taken a total of $78 million worldwide. It is currently holding Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100%, a metacritic score of 84, and is in the IMDB Top 250 films of all time.
The Terminator has received recognition from the American Film Institute. The film ranked 42nd on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding films. The character of the Terminator was selected as the 22nd greatest movie villain on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. Arnold's catch phrase "I'll be back" was voted the 37th greatest movie quote by the AFI. In 2005, Total Film named The Terminator 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 2008, The Terminator was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.