Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, William Wisher Jr. (additional dialogue)
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield
Runtime: 107 min
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Released: 26 Oct 1984
Synopsis: A cyborg is sent from the future on a deadly mission. He has to kill Sarah Connor, a young woman whose life will have a great significance in years to come. Sarah has only one protector – Kyle Reese – also sent from the future. The Terminator uses his exceptional intelligence and strength to find Sarah, but is there any way to stop the seemingly indestructible cyborg ?
Over an apocalyptic battlefield in the year 2029, the ruins of the city of Los Angeles are dominated by robotic war machines, some like tanks, others are hovercrafts, a title card tells us that in the future, humans will wage a long war against an enemy known as the Machines. The “final battle” however, will not be fought in this future world, but in the past, specifically our present… tonight.
The year switches to Los Angeles, May 12, 1984 at 1:34 am. At the Griffith Park Observatory overlooking the city, lightning emanates from above a garbage truck, knocking out power. The driver sees an object ahead of him and flees as the electrical surge dissipates. The object is the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a naked and heavily muscular cyborg, and he stands up and starts walking toward the city where he is spotted by three young punks. The Terminator orders the men to give him their clothes, and the punks produce knives in response. The Terminator swats two punks aside, the third stabs him, but the Terminator tears open the punk’s body with his bare hands, and kills him. One of the subdued punks immediately takes off his jacket and offers his clothes to the Terminator.
Sarah is taken to an ambulance and sees the paramedics loading Kyle into a body bag. Later, she is driving a Jeep in the desert, a large dog in the passenger seat, seemingly towards Mexico, stopping at a gas station. She is more visibly pregnant with John Connor and has been recording her voice using a cassette player; the tapes are for her son. One of the questions she poses is whether or not she should tell John about Reese being his father and if that will affect his decision to send the warrior back in time to meet and save Sarah. While the Jeep’s tank is filled, a young boy takes her picture with a Polaroid camera (it is the same picture that John will give Reese in the future). She and the boy bargain over the price and she buys it. The boy says something in Spanish and the gas station owner tells her he said “A storm’s coming!” Sarah sees the storm approaching and says “I know.” She drives off into an unknown future.