The Terminator (1984)

terminator poster 1984 movie arnold schwarzenegger
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great smart story, Arnold

Looks somewhat dated

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Terminator

Studio:  Hemdale Film Corporation

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  October 26, 1984

MPAA Rating:  R


Sarah Connor…you must die!

John Connor is the lone hope for the future. Machines have taken over the world and the surviving free humans have formed a resistance to the warring machines. When John fears that the machines have sent a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back into the past to kill his mother before he can be born, John sends an agent named Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) back to protect her. In the past, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) finds her life turned upside down when an unstoppable man tries to kill her and another stranger arrives saying he only wants to save her.

The Terminator was a rather low budget film directed by James Cameron. The young director also took a young professional bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger from the Conan the Barbarian films to action super-star.


Maybe he hates our beautiful feathered hair!!!

The Terminator is a smart film. Its script is cleverly circular and is a good combination of true science-fiction and action. The battle scenes with the Terminator are great and the last tense moments of the film as the Terminator first chases and on the highway and then purses Sarah and Kyle into the machine press manage to almost feel like a horror film.

Despite being low budget, Cameron does a great job with what he has. The explosions and the robotic monster look great. There is some bad stop motion moments, but for the most part he does a nice job mixing the real footage with the special effects.  The movie comes off as a much bigger budget film than it really was


Ok…now all my fake skin is gone and I’m pissed!

The filmalso owes a great deal to Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. One of his weakest acting ability is breaking out of the cold persona he sometimes emits. This movie allows him to embrace it. He becomes cold and analytical and really feels dangerous…he is a machine.  Watching the movie makes me wish that Arnold had taken on more villain roles or had been allowed to play the “evil” terminator in T2 or T3 again.

The movie remains a great film and my favorite in the series. It is very dated, but it works within the plot of the story (it is the ’80s in the story so it can look bad). It might not be the most technology advanced film, but I think the story is much more cohesive than the other films. Despite this being a great intro, the series really took off with the release of T2 in 1991.

Related Links:

Terminator 2:  Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines (2003)

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator:  Dark Fate (2019)

Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles—Season 1 Review and Episode Guide

Terminator:  The Burning Earth

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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