The Terminator Movie Review

The Terminator

The thing that won't die, in the nightmare that won't end.
The Terminator Picture
The last thing you ever see...


Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Lance Henriksen, Earl Boen, Bess Motta, Rick Rossovich, Dick Miller, Shawn Schepps, Bruce M. Kerner, Franco Columbu, Brad Rearden, Brian Thompson, William Wisher Jr., David Kristin Update Cast

Early Appearances

See Bill Paxton before they were famous!

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Cameron allegedly came up with the idea "all in one wallop" whilst lying sick in a hotel room in Rome during the completion of his first movie, Pirahna II. Unfortunately he probably unwittingly came up with a story that used elements of other people's work. Many sci-fi writers claimed that their work had been used, but Harlan Ellison successfully settled with the studio over similarities to two or more of his works, notably a short story entitled "Demon with a glass hand" and an episiode of "The Outer Limits" called "Soldier".

More Trivia from The Terminator


Very occasionally, a 'B' movie comes along which massively exceeds all expectations and ends up eclipsing all the 'A' movies of that time.

Even less often, that 'B' movie shakes up the whole genre and maybe even the whole film world. Forever changing people's expectations.

Only a few movies ever released have done all this and gone on to have a seismic effect on the culture and movies of the day and still be very anticipated re-release fifteen or twenty years later.

One of those movies is Star Wars. Another, surely, is The Terminator.

Both these movies shared a 'B' movie budget. Both were made by novice directors who were making only their second studio picture. Neither movies were expected to last more than a few weeks at the box office before quietly slipping into oblivion.

In the case of The Terminator, the budget truly was miniscule. Many more accomplished directors may have been forgiven for resigning themselves to 'B' movie results on the basis of the budgetary constraints alone... But The Terminator wasn't made by just any director. It was made by James Cameron, a man who would become almost infamous for his endless pursuit of perfection --a pursuit no less relentless than his cyborg assassin from the future in the film that made his reputation. Cameron would cement this reputation through the production of films like "Aliens", "The Abyss" and, of course, Titanic.

In my opinion, the common element that binds all 'cult' movies together is the absolute care and dedication shown by the filmmakers and cast during production -- regardless of the budget.

The proportion of low budget movies achieving such cult status seems to have fallen markedly since the 80's. Some movies made since have seemed to be becoming cult classics. Movies like "The Blair Witch Project" have appeared to be carrying on the tradition, only to disappear almost entirely six months or a year later in a 'puff of hype'.

Not so with The Terminator, for this time he really is "Back". Back with a vengeance -a limited re-release in theaters in the early millennium followed by a phalanx of special edition DVDs and later blu-ray discs with a stunning new film transfer, remastered sound and extras worthy of SkyNet.

Later, the franchise continues with new sequels.

All this means that hopefully a new generation of people will seek out and enjoy the original. And enjoy they will, for despite what your memory may tell you about the 1984 classic, it more than holds its own compared with it's hugely expensive sequels.

It's also a much darker, more brooding film. The absense of 'knowing' in the one-liners seems to give the film a 'sincerity' that is absent from the sequel.

Cameron works wonders in creating the tension in this dark world too (he insisted that much of the film was shot at night).

The effects, which in recollection may have seemed hugely inferior to the sequel, in reality are still very, very impressive. Rarely does the film reveal it's budgetary disadvantage. With it's new, crystal clear picture and stomping 5.1 sound it could have been made yesterday.

The truth is, of course, that The Terminator only really achieved it's huge success when released on video, so most of us will only remember seeing the film through the 'fog' of a grainy VHS or Beta copy. When seen in the proper way, the reason for it's hugely deserved cult status becomes all too clear...

Author: NickUpdate This Review


One of the true greats in the all time sci-fi hall of fame. The original, far from being outclassed by its $100 million+ sequel, shows itself to be a darker, more sinister stablemate, easily holding it's own without ILM's liquid metal effects.

If you haven't seen it in a while.. SEE IT!. If you don't own it BUY IT!. Whatever you do, DON'T MISS this lovingly restored and enhanced classic.

Unstoppable endlessly quoteable movie that smashed the 'robot movie' genre forever...
The Terminator has no weaknesses... or if it does, do you wanna tell it? ;)

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: James Cameron
Writer: Harlan Ellison, James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, William Wisher Jr.
Producers: John Daly, Derek Gibson, Gale Anne Hurd
Locations Manager: Joseph A. Liuzzi

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Release Date: 26 Oct 1984
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Hemdale
Production: Hemdale Film, Cinema 84, Euro Film Funding, Pacific Western
Genre: Action / Adventure

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The Movie Trailer
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1984 Hemdale
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