The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction action film directed by James Cameron, co-written by Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd and William Wisher, Jr., and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton. It was filmed in Los Angeles, produced by Hemdale Film Corporation and distributed by Orion Pictures. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from the year 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, played by Hamilton. Biehn plays Kyle Reese, a soldier from the future sent back in time to protect Sarah.
In 2029, artificially intelligent machines are attempting to exterminate what is left of the human race. Two beings from this era travel back in time to 1984 Los Angeles: One is a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cyborg assassin programmed to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton); the other is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a human resistance fighter sent to protect her. He and the Terminator arrive naked, where they obtain weapons and clothing. After killing two other Sarah Connors listed in the telephone directory, the Terminator tracks its target to a nightclub. Kyle saves Sarah from the Terminator's attack and the two make an escape.
Kyle explains that in the near future an artificial intelligence defence network called Skynet will become self-aware and initiate a nuclear holocaust of mankind. Sarah's yet-unborn son John will rally the survivors and lead a resistance movement against Skynet and its army of machines. With the Resistance on the verge of victory, Skynet has sent a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah before John can be born, as a last-ditch effort to avert the formation of the Resistance. The Terminator is an emotionless and efficient killing machine with a powerful metal endoskeleton, but with an external layer of living tissue that makes it resemble a human being.
Kyle and Sarah are again attacked by the Terminator, leading to a car chase and their arrest. Kyle is questioned by criminal psychologist Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen) who concludes that he is paranoid and delusional. Sarah is also questioned by Lieutenant Traxler (Paul Winfield) and Detective Vukovich (Lance Henriksen) about the events that happened. The Terminator attacks the police station and kills many police officers including Vukovich in its attempt to locate Sarah but Sarah and Kyle manage to escape and seek refuge in a motel. Kyle confesses that he has long been in love with Sarah, having been given a photograph of her by her son John. Sarah reciprocates Kyle's feelings and they have sex.
The Terminator tracks them to the motel and Kyle and Sarah escape in a pickup truck. In the ensuing chase Kyle throws pipe bombs at the Terminator in an effort to destroy it. Kyle is wounded by the Terminator's gunfire; Sarah manages to knock the Terminator off its motorbike but subsequently loses control of the pickup truck and flips it over. As the Terminator gets up, it is struck by a gasoline tank truck dragging it a short distance. The Terminator hijacks the truck and resumes the chase. Kyle jams a pipe bomb in the tank truck's exhaust causing a massive explosion. The Terminator emerges from the burning truck and collapses. Kyle and Sarah embrace one another but the Terminator, with its flesh coating burned away, continues to pursue them into a factory. Kyle faces the Terminator by hitting it several times with a metal pipe but it knocks him down. Though dazed, he jams his final pipe bomb into its abdomen, causing an explosion which severely damages it, but Kyle himself is killed and Sarah is injured by a piece of shrapnel. Still partially functional, the Terminator tries to kill Sarah. She then destroys it by leading it into a hydraulic press. Sarah is later taken out of the factory by an ambulance as Kyle's body is taken away.
Several months later, a pregnant Sarah is traveling through Mexico. Along the way she records audio tapes which she intends to pass on to her unborn son, John. She debates whether to tell him that Kyle is his father. A 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.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, a cyborg sent back in time to assassinate Sarah Connor. Schwarzenegger speaks only 18 lines in the film, and less than 100 words. James Cameron said that "Somehow, even his [Austrian] accent worked...It had a strange synthesized quality, like they hadn't gotten the voice thing quite worked out."
- Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, the Terminator's target.
- Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese, a human Resistance fighter sent back in time to protect Sarah.
- Paul Winfield as Ed Traxler, a police Lieutenant who questions Sarah.
- Lance Henriksen as Hal Vukovich, a police detective who questions Sarah.
- Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman, a criminal psychologist.
Additional actors included Bess Motta as Ginger Ventura; Rick Rossovich as Matt Buchanan; Dick Miller as the gun shop clerk; Shawn Schepps as Nancy; Bruce M. Kerner as the desk sergeant; Schwarzenegger's friend and workout partner, professional bodybuilder Franco Columbu as a Terminator in 2029; and Bill Paxton, Brad Rearden, and Brian Thompson as punks who are confronted by the Terminator; Marianne Muellerleile as one of the other women with the name "Sarah Connor" who get shot by the Terminator.
MONITOR'S NOTES: O.J. SIMPSON as Terminator?Edit
In the film, a cyborg assassin known as the Terminator (model T-800, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back in time to kill the mother of the man who, in the feature, will lead a revolt against the machines that have taken over the world. The future rebels also send back a soldier, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to defend the young woman, a waitress named Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). Writer/director James Cameron and his producer/co-writer (and, at the time, wife) Gale Anne Hurd originally saw the movie as a low-budget film, and planned to shoot it almost guerrilla-style (filming on location with whatever happens to be on location at the time, often not even telling people that you’re filming a movie). However, Orion Pictures became interested in funding the feature, but as part of the agreement the studio insisted it feature a star a “name” actor.
Originally, Cameron and Hurd planned to have Lance Henriksen play the Terminator. However, Orion Pictures President Mike Medavoy pitched Schwarzenegger as the “name” actor, but for the role of Kyle Reese. For the Terminator, he suggested none other than Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson, former star NFL running back and, at the time, perhaps best known for his popular series of commercials for Hertz Rent-A-Car.
Medavoy saw Simpson not only as a “name” (he had been in a few movies by that point) but also, more importantly, as an athletic person who could be physically imposing. Medaovy even approached Schwarzenegger at a screening and told him Simpson had been cast and, that the studio wanted Schwarzenegger as Reese.
Schwarzenegger talked with Cameron about playing Reese, although the director had gone into the meeting hoping the conversation wouldn’t lead anywhere. Instead, he found himself impressed by Schwarzenegger, especially his insightful ideas about how the Terminator should come across on film. Cameron liked him so much that he suddenly decided the Terminator should be a really big guy, someone like, well, Schwarzenegger.
However, Schwarzenegger wasn’t so sure about the role, as the Terminator doesn’t have a lot of dialogue and he is, you know, the villain of the movie. The bodybuilder turned actor really wanted lead roles, following in the footsteps of his hit 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian.” But Cameron convinced him he would be shot in such a way that he’d be THE star of the film, and that rather than hate him for being the villain, audiences would love his character for being such a badass.
As for Simpson, I’m a bit iffy whether he was actually cast as the Terminator. I don’t think he was; Cameron never agreed to it. It seemed as if Medavoy was speaking out of turn when he approached Schwarzenegger.
However, in explaining WHY he never would have agreed to Simpson, Cameron recalled:
This was when everybody loved him, and ironically that was part of the problem—he was this likable, goofy, kind of innocent guy. Plus, frankly I wasn’t interested in an African-American man chasing around a white girl with a knife. It just felt wrong.