The Terminator (1984) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Terminator1984

The Terminator (1984)



Critic Consensus: With its impressive action sequences, taut economic direction, and relentlessly fast pace, it's clear why The Terminator continues to be an influence on sci-fi and action flicks.

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Movie Info

A Cyborg has been sent from the future on a deadly mission, it has been programmed to kill a young woman named Sarah Connor. Sarah has no idea that her life will have a staggering effect on the fate of mankind and that she is in danger of being killed at the hands of an inescapable machine known as the Terminator. Kyle Reese has also been sent from the future, but his mission is to protect the unknowing mother of a future leader. Is there any way to stop the death of an innocent when the relentless Cyborg is set on his course...

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Arnold Schwarzenegger
as The Terminator
Linda Hamilton
as Sarah Connor
Michael Biehn
as Kyle Reese
Paul Winfield
as Det. Ed Traxler
Lance Henriksen
as Det. Vukovich
Bess Motta
as Ginger
Earl Boen
as Dr. Silberman
Dick Miller
as Pawn Shop Clerk
Franco Columbu
as Future Terminator
Bill Paxton
as Punk Leader
Bruce M. Kerner
as Desk Sergeant
Ken Fritz
as Policeman
Tom Oberhaus
as Policeman
Ed Dogans
as Cop in Alley
Joe Farago
as TV Anchor
Tony Mirelez
as Station Attendant
Philip Gordon
as Mexican Boy
Stan Yale
as Derelict
Al Kahn
as Customer
Leslie Morris
as Customer
Harriet Medin
as Customer
Loree Frazier
as Customer
James Ralston
as Customer
Norman Friedman
as Cleaning Man
Barbara Powers
as Ticket Taker
Wayne Stone
as Tanker Driver
David Hyde Pierce
as Tanker Partner
John Bristol
as Phone Booth Man
Patrick Pinney
as Bar Customer
Gregory Robbins
as Motel Customer
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News & Interviews for The Terminator

Critic Reviews for The Terminator

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (18)

Forget that the premise is silly and the acting second-rate because director James Cameron has the action formula down pat.

April 26, 2018 | Full Review…

"The Terminator" brings film violence into the realm of the surreal.

January 3, 2018 | Full Review…

Much of Terminator's greatness is due to its low-budget aesthetic and lo-fi energy; perhaps out of necessity, Cameron's sense of storytelling has a lean efficiency that both he and the series have long since abandoned.

May 28, 2016 | Full Review…

You almost forget the film's flaws - like the cartoony look of the war-ravaged future. Here, the most absurd excursion is believable and we go along willingly - stopping now and then for a breath or a laugh.

October 26, 2015 | Full Review…

The havoc makes for a genuine steel metal trap of a movie that may very well be the best picture of its kind since The Road Warrior.

October 3, 2015 | Full Review…

Getting the extraordinary physical specimen of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the lead was a stroke of genius and a stroke of fortune. Each of his pecs is the size of a bull's flank.

June 25, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Terminator


Though the Sequel is far more superior, this film is still fantastic. The effects for the time still look impressive, the plot is very creative and original, the acting is great, The music is incredible, and the action is fantastic. Arnold does one of his best performances with this film, and does a very good job at playing basically a serial killer going around killing everyone named Sarah, like how Michael Myers goes around butchering all the baby sitters. The other characters also do great jobs, Linda Hamilton does a great job as the fleeing Sarah Connor, and Michael Beihn does a fantastic job as Kyle Reese, and you really sympathize with these two characters and how they're trying to stay alive while this robot menace is trying to kill them.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer


The exhilarating cyberpunk classic that started the successful franchise, an intelligent, well-written science-fiction that is always extremely tense and well paced, offering us a terrifying, indestructible villain and the scary view of a bleak post-apocalyptic future.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Classic films are films that stick with you, whether or not they are amazing, but when you think about true "Hollywood" classics, "The Terminator" is usually one of the first that comes to mind. Arnold Schwarzenegger leads the film as a machine set from the past to eliminate Sarah Connor, whose child (John Connor) will become a threat in the future. The film is less about that and more about learning what the characteristics are of each one of them. With some tense moments, scary moments, and some very cool action scenes, "The Terminator" is a great film that will always be remembered. James Cameron (on a shoe-string budget) directed this film in the best way he knew how to at the time. Some of the effects feel dated, but the type of film it is, and under the circumstances that it was made, this has stood and will always stand a classic.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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