The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 mins | Science fiction | 26 October 1984

Director:

James Cameron

Producer:

Gale Anne Hurd

Cinematographer:

Adam Greenberg

Editor:

Mark Goldblatt

Production Designer:

George Costello

Production Company:

Hemdale Productions
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HISTORY

A full-page advertisement in the 24 Feb 1984 DV announced the recent start of principal photography, referring to the film by its working title, Terminator. Writer-director James Cameron told the 26 Oct 1984 DV that he first conceived the picture during post-production of Piranha II: The Spawning (1982, see entry). He wrote a forty-five-page treatment, which he intended to direct, with future wife Gale Anne Hurd as producer. When several studios showed interest, the couple was concerned about losing control of the project and hired actor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the title role in late Apr 1983, to ensure their continued involvement. Locations such as Dallas, TX, Miami, FL, and North Carolina were considered before the team chose Toronto, Canada. However, filming in Toronto proved to be too costly, and the setting was changed to Los Angeles, CA. Production was delayed because Schwarzenegger had a commitment to director Dino De Laurentiis to complete Conan the Destroyer (1984, see entry) before he could begin work on another picture. Filming began in Feb 1984 on a budget of $6.5 million, with a non-union crew. Disputes arose after a union business manager appeared on set, and the National Labor Relations Board negotiated a settlement favoring the production company. After ten weeks of principal photography, eight of which were devoted to “night shooting,” a rough edit was assembled. Fifteen days of second-unit filming, and three weeks of process and special effects photography followed. Director of photography Adam Greenberg stated his preference for handheld cameras over the “more cumbersome” Steadicam system, explaining that several ... More Less

A full-page advertisement in the 24 Feb 1984 DV announced the recent start of principal photography, referring to the film by its working title, Terminator. Writer-director James Cameron told the 26 Oct 1984 DV that he first conceived the picture during post-production of Piranha II: The Spawning (1982, see entry). He wrote a forty-five-page treatment, which he intended to direct, with future wife Gale Anne Hurd as producer. When several studios showed interest, the couple was concerned about losing control of the project and hired actor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the title role in late Apr 1983, to ensure their continued involvement. Locations such as Dallas, TX, Miami, FL, and North Carolina were considered before the team chose Toronto, Canada. However, filming in Toronto proved to be too costly, and the setting was changed to Los Angeles, CA. Production was delayed because Schwarzenegger had a commitment to director Dino De Laurentiis to complete Conan the Destroyer (1984, see entry) before he could begin work on another picture. Filming began in Feb 1984 on a budget of $6.5 million, with a non-union crew. Disputes arose after a union business manager appeared on set, and the National Labor Relations Board negotiated a settlement favoring the production company. After ten weeks of principal photography, eight of which were devoted to “night shooting,” a rough edit was assembled. Fifteen days of second-unit filming, and three weeks of process and special effects photography followed. Director of photography Adam Greenberg stated his preference for handheld cameras over the “more cumbersome” Steadicam system, explaining that several night scenes would not have otherwise been possible.
       On 3 Oct 1984, DV reported that independent producer Barry Plumley was attempting to prevent the film’s release. Plumley filed suit against distributor Hemdale Film Corporation, claiming the company made a verbal promise to credit him as associate producer or co-executive producer in return for his assistance in developing the project and “securing financing.” A hearing was scheduled for 19 Oct 1984. Although the outcome has not been determined, Plumley received no onscreen credit.
       The Terminator opened 26 Oct 1984 in 1,012 theaters nationwide. While critical notices were mixed, audiences responded enthusiastically, earning the picture $9,776,562 in its first ten days, according to an advertisement in the 7 Nov 1984 DV. The 28 Feb 1985 DV noted box-office receipts of approximately $40 million to date.
       AFI ranked the film #42 on its list of 100 Years…100 Thrills. The "Terminator" placed 22nd on the list of the 100 greatest movie villains, and the character's line, "I'll be back," ranks #37 on the list of 100 most memorable quotes. An article in the 3 Apr 1985 DV stated that the home video release garnered an initial order of 155,000 units. The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films honored The Terminator with its Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, as reported in the 14 Jun 1985 DV.
       The 31 Jan 1985 DV announced plans for a sequel to be released later that year. However, nearly six years passed before Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, see entry) began production.
       End credits include the following statements: “Acknowledgment to the works of Harlan Ellison," and, "Special thanks to Lost and Foundry."
       Actor Norman Friedman is incorrecty credited as “Norma Friedman.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1984
p. 15.
Daily Variety
3 Oct 1984
p. 19.
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1984
p. 3, 6.
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1984
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1984
p. 9.
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1985
p. 10.
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1985
p. 10.
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1985
p. 23.
Daily Variety
3 Apr 1985
p. 1.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1985
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 1984
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
26 Oct 1984
p. 10.
New York Times
26 Oct 1984
p. 19.
Variety
31 Oct 1984
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Hemdale Presents A Pacific Western Production of A James Cameron Film
A Euro Film Funding Limited Feature
An Orion Pictures Release
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
Addl 1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir/Eff
2d unit dir/Action
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Cam asst
Addl cam op
Still photog
Video playback op
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Cine, Process photog
Tech asst, Process photog
Cam asst, Process photog
Rear screen projectionist, Process photog
Cam op, Insert photog
Cam asst, Insert photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Grip/Gaffer/Equip, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst to the art dir
Art asst
Art asst
Art asst
Art asst
Art asst
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Const supv
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Prop master
Asst prop master
Laser guns provided by
CMF robots supplied and operated by
Motoman robots supplied and operated by
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost prod asst
Costumer, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus consultant
Mus post prod coord
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Synthesized sd eff
Prod sd mixer
Utility man
Sd recorded at
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec Terminator eff created by
Spec visual eff by
Spec eff
Spec eff
Terminator spec eff
Terminator spec eff
Terminator spec eff
Terminator spec eff
Terminator spec eff
Terminator spec eff
Terminator spec eff
Terminator mechanical eff
Terminator mechanical eff
Asst, Terminator mechanical eff
Spec eff supv, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Eff
Terminator stop motion, Spec visual eff Fantasy II
Prod supv, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effects
Cam, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effects Inc.
Pyrotechnics & fire eff, Spec visual eff Fantasy I
Model shop supv, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film E
Model maker, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effec
Model maker, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effec
Stop motion Terminator model, Spec visual eff Fant
Matte artist, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effe
Opt eff, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effects I
Opt eff, Image 3, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film
Opt eff, Image 3, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film
Spec opt consultant, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Fi
Prod asst, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effects
Prod asst, Spec visual eff Fantasy II Film Effects
Graphic animation eff/Main title des, Spec visual
Spec eff coord, Insert Photpgraphy
MAKEUP
Hair stylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist/Hair stylist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Exec in charge of prod
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
First aid
Craft service
Scr supv, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Extras casting
Extras casting coord
Vehicles provided by
Completion services furnished by
Post prod services
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord, 2d unit
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
Processing by
SOURCES
SONGS
“You Can’t Do That,” performed by Tryanglz, written by Ricky Philips, published by Ricky Lynn Philips Music (BMI)
“Pictures Of You,” performed by 16mm, written by Jay Ferguson, published by Painless Music (BMI)
“Photoplay,” performed by Tryanglz, written by Tahnee Cain, Pug Baker, Jonathan Cain, published by Any Garage Music (ASCAP)
+
SONGS
“You Can’t Do That,” performed by Tryanglz, written by Ricky Philips, published by Ricky Lynn Philips Music (BMI)
“Pictures Of You,” performed by 16mm, written by Jay Ferguson, published by Painless Music (BMI)
“Photoplay,” performed by Tryanglz, written by Tahnee Cain, Pug Baker, Jonathan Cain, published by Any Garage Music (ASCAP)
“Intimacy,” performed by Linn Van Hek, written by Linn Van Hek, Joe Dolce, published by Dolceamore Music
“Burnin’ In The Third Degree,” performed by Tryanglz, written by Tahnee Cain, Mugs Cain, Dave Amato, Brett Tuggle, Ricky Philips, published by Any Garage Music (ASCAP).
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 October 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 October 1984
Production Date:
began February 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Cinema '84
Copyright Date:
22 February 1985
Copyright Number:
PA241495
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints
Prints by Deluxe®
Duration(in mins):
107
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, California, a Terminator humanoid “cyborg” arrives from the twenty-first century, and attacks a group of young delinquents for their clothing. Elsewhere in the city, soldier Kyle Reese arrives through the same time portal. The accompanying atmospheric disturbance attracts police, who chase Kyle into a clothing store. After evading his pursuers, Kyle dons contemporary clothing, steals a police rifle, and searches a telephone directory for the address of Sarah J. Connor. In the morning, the Terminator steals a car and robs a gun shop of several automatic weapons. He discovers three listings for “Sarah Connor” in the telephone directory and kills the first two. Certain that Sarah J. Connor will be the next victim, police detective Hal Vukovich telephones her apartment and leaves a message. However, Sarah’s roommate, Ginger Ventura, is in the bedroom, making love with her boyfriend, Matt, and does not hear the warning. Sarah learns of the murders and enters a nightclub to evade Kyle, who appears to be stalking her. She telephones her apartment, unaware that the Terminator has already killed both Ginger and Matt. Hearing her voice, the cyborg realizes that his intended victim is still at large. He memorizes Sarah’s face from a photograph, and makes his way to the nightclub. Sarah telephones the police department and Lieutenant Ed Traxler offers protective custody. Seconds later, Kyle aids Sarah’s escape while the Terminator sprays the club with bullets. Pursuing his victims, the cyborg commandeers a police car and rallies several officers to join the chase. After taking refuge in a parking structure, Kyle calms the hysterical Sarah, ... +


In Los Angeles, California, a Terminator humanoid “cyborg” arrives from the twenty-first century, and attacks a group of young delinquents for their clothing. Elsewhere in the city, soldier Kyle Reese arrives through the same time portal. The accompanying atmospheric disturbance attracts police, who chase Kyle into a clothing store. After evading his pursuers, Kyle dons contemporary clothing, steals a police rifle, and searches a telephone directory for the address of Sarah J. Connor. In the morning, the Terminator steals a car and robs a gun shop of several automatic weapons. He discovers three listings for “Sarah Connor” in the telephone directory and kills the first two. Certain that Sarah J. Connor will be the next victim, police detective Hal Vukovich telephones her apartment and leaves a message. However, Sarah’s roommate, Ginger Ventura, is in the bedroom, making love with her boyfriend, Matt, and does not hear the warning. Sarah learns of the murders and enters a nightclub to evade Kyle, who appears to be stalking her. She telephones her apartment, unaware that the Terminator has already killed both Ginger and Matt. Hearing her voice, the cyborg realizes that his intended victim is still at large. He memorizes Sarah’s face from a photograph, and makes his way to the nightclub. Sarah telephones the police department and Lieutenant Ed Traxler offers protective custody. Seconds later, Kyle aids Sarah’s escape while the Terminator sprays the club with bullets. Pursuing his victims, the cyborg commandeers a police car and rallies several officers to join the chase. After taking refuge in a parking structure, Kyle calms the hysterical Sarah, explaining that he was sent from the year 2027 to protect her from the Terminator, a creature devoid of emotion and impervious to conventional weapons, despite its exterior of flesh and blood. Ignoring Sarah’s skepticism, Kyle recounts a series of events in the near future, beginning with a nuclear war started by defense network computers. The machines will perceive all humans as a threat and herd them into concentration camps for extermination. Sarah’s unborn son, John Connor, will save humanity by teaching the prisoners how to fight and ultimately win. The machines have responded by sending the Terminator to kill Sarah, ensuring that John Connor will never be born. Following another encounter with the Terminator, Sarah and Kyle are taken into police custody. While Lt. Traxler comforts Sarah, psychiatrist Dr. Peter Silberman interviews Kyle, certain that the soldier suffers from psychosis. Meanwhile, the Terminator attends to his damaged body, and dons sunglasses to hide the sight mechanism exposed by a missing eye. He attacks the police station, killing most of the officers while Kyle and Sarah escape to the city outskirts. The soldier delivers a verbal message to Sarah from John, thanking her for the values she instilled in him, and reminding her that his life depends on her survival. Kyle describes the world of 2017, in which humans are forced to hide during the day, but have some freedom at night, despite the presence of roving “hunter-killer” devices. Realizing their robotic soldiers were too easily identified, the machines created Terminators to infiltrate and kill their human enemies. He recalls an incident in which he narrowly survived a Terminator attack that killed many in his underground bunker. In the morning, they rent a motel room and make pipe bombs from common household items. Using information from Sarah’s address book, the Terminator invades her mother’s home and intercepts a telephone call. He replicates Mrs. Connor’s voice and convinces Sarah to reveal her location. At the motel, Kyle admits to falling in love with Sarah after seeing a photograph given to him by her son. Sarah reciprocates and they make love. The Terminator appears that evening and pursues the couple through the streets, while Kyle throws pipe bombs in his path. The chase ends with Kyle and Sarah trapped inside their overturned car. The cyborg commandeers a tanker truck, intending to crush his enemies. Kyle places a bomb in the vehicle, causing its flammable contents to explode. He embraces Sarah, believing their ordeal is over, until the cyborg’s mechanical skeleton rises from the flames. It follows the couple into a factory building, where Kyle attempts to destroy it with a pipe bomb. The ensuing explosion leaves Kyle dead, the skeleton in pieces, and Sarah with a shrapnel wound to the leg. As she mourns Kyle, the upper half of the skeleton crawls toward her. She leads it into a hydraulic press and crushes it until its glowing red eyes go dark. Sometime later, Sarah drives through the Mexican desert, pregnant with Kyle’s son, John. She stops at a gas station, where a young boy photographs her. She buys the photograph, recognizing it as the same one Kyle carried with him. The boy warns of a storm on the horizon, but Sarah continues her journey. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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