Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with guns every day for a month to prepare for the role. The first two weeks of filming he practiced weapons stripping and reassembly blindfolded until the motions were automatic, like a machine. He spent hours at the shooting range and practicing with different weapons without blinking or looking at them when reloading or cocking. He also had to be ambidextrous. He practiced different moves up to 50 times. He wound up garnering a compliment in "Soldier of Fortune" magazine for his realistic handling of the guns on camera (whereas the magazine usually lampoons movies for their inaccurate depictions of weapons use).
Near the beginning of the movie, when Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) receives a message on her answering machine breaking her date, the voice on the machine is James Cameron's. Years later, Hamilton and Cameron got married and subsequently divorced.
The beginning of production was postponed for nine months, due to Arnold Schwarzenegger's commitment to Conan the Destroyer (1984). During this time, James Cameron wanted to be working but didn't have the time to do a whole other film so he took on a writing assignment; this turned out to be Aliens (1986).
One afternoon during a break in filming, Arnold Schwarzenegger went into a restaurant in downtown L.A. to get some lunch and realized all too late that he was still in Terminator makeup - with a missing eye, exposed jawbone and burned flesh.
While shooting this film, James Cameron often resorted to what he called "Guerilla Film Making" as a way of getting around acquiring permits needed to film certain scenes. This involved the production crew and actors quickly arriving at a specified location, shooting the scene and leaving before the police arrived. As a result, some of the people seen in a few shots are actual everyday citizens completely unaware they're in a movie. This was also used for reshoots with Cameron even calling and waking Arnold Schwarzenegger once at 3am to meet him at a location already in full costume to quickly reshoot a scene. This explains why most of the film occurs at night. Cameron also used this tactic to film the very last scene where Sarah drives off into the desert. This almost backfired, however, when the police came sniffing around.
O.J. Simpson was considered for the Terminator, but the producers feared he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer. In 1990 (before Simpson's first trial) Dark Horse Comics printed issues using his likeness.
The initial draft for the movie was sold to James Cameron's wife, Gale Anne Hurd, for the price of only $1.00.
Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to avoid Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn as much as possible since the Terminator was trying to kill them, not form connections.
While filming the final shot, a police car arrived. And the scene was being shot without a permit. One of the crew members told the police that it was his son's film school project and that they had just the last shot left. It worked.
James Cameron's original idea was that Skynet would send two Terminators at once: one would be a cyborg, while the other would consist of liquid metal and would be able to shape-shift (the resistance would also have sent two humans, but one was to die during the time travel). Cameron realized early on that this latter effect could not be realized with the special effects at the time, so he abandoned it early on. When a completely computer-generated special effect proved to be a success in Cameron's The Abyss (1989), he revived the idea of the liquid Terminator for the sequel Terminator 2 (1991).
Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous line, 'I'll be back,' was originally scripted as 'I'll come back.'
In James Cameron's original treatment, Sarah Connor has an old figure skating injury that was fixed with a couple of surgical pins, and the Terminator cut the legs open of the first two Sarah Connors to find this identifying mark. In the novelization of the story, the pins were instead inserted into her leg after it was broken during her final fight against the Terminator. SkyNet knew Sarah had surgical pins in her leg, but not when or why she got them. The Terminator was therefore looking for a sign of an injury she had not yet sustained.
James Cameron got the idea of giving Arnold Schwarzenegger even less lines in the film than Schwarzenegger's earlier film Conan the Barbarian (1982), in which Schwarzenegger only had 24 lines. In this film, Schwarzenegger has only 14 lines.
Arnold Schwarzenegger originally wanted to play Kyle Reese. But James Cameron had a different idea and saw Schwarzenegger in the title role of The Terminator and Cameron said to Schwarzenegger, "This movie is not about the hero. It's about The Terminator."
The revolver Reese carries after the police station massacre and gives to Sarah at the motel is Lt. Traxler's. In a deleted scene, Reese and Sarah are trying to escape the police station when they come across the wounded Traxler. He now believes their story and gives Reese his sidearm, telling him to protect Sarah.
The future terminator who infiltrates the human camp in the dream sequence is played by Franco Columbu, who is a multiple Mr. Olympia title winner like Arnold Schwarzenegger and is a close friend of his.
Science fiction author Harlan Ellison sued James Cameron, claiming that the film was plagiarized from the two The Outer Limits (1963) episodes that Ellison wrote, namely The Outer Limits: Soldier (1964) and The Outer Limits: Demon with a Glass Hand (1964). The concept of "Skynet" could also have been borrowed from an Ellison short story called "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." The suit was settled out of court and newer prints of the film acknowledge Ellison. Cameron has claimed that this settlement was forced upon him by the producers. He felt that Ellison was an opportunist making invalid claims, and wanted the case to go on trial. However, the studio told him that he would be personally responsible for financial damages in the event he lost the trial. So he had no choice but to accept the settlement, a fact that he has always resented.
Sarah Connor is 18 years old in the movie. This is proven in the sequel Terminator 2 (1991) where Dr. Silberman says Sarah is 29 years old and T-1000 checks Sarah son's, John Connor's, profile which states he's 10 years old, having been born when Sarah was 19.
According to a 2008 interview with Lance Henriksen, James Cameron had no agent and was living in his car when he wrote the script for the film. Cameron had actually fired his agent because he didn't like the story idea Cameron had conceived for The Terminator (1984).
The Terminator is the only character to be listed in the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes and Villains as both a villain (for The Terminator (1984) and a hero (for Terminator 2 (1991)). Al Pacino and Arnold Schwarzenegger are the only two actors to be on the list as playing a villain and a hero, but Pacino played two different characters. 13 other actors and actresses appear twice or more but either all as heroes or all as villains.
The laser sight on the .45 Longslide was specially built by Laser Products Corporation (now Sure-Fire). This was in the early days of laser-aimed weapons and what was seen was actually not a complete assembly. Only the laser was mounted but the required battery pack was hidden from view. In those days the battery packs were very large, about the size of a TV remote control. A wire was hidden underneath Arnold Schwarzenegger's sleeve.
Shots through the Terminator's vision shows a dump of the ROM assembler code for the Apple II operating system. If you own an Apple II, enter at the basic prompt: ] call -151 * p This will give you the terminator view. Other code visible is written in COBOL.
The relationship between James Cameron and executive producer/Hemdale head John Daly deteriorated during post-production. According to Cameron, Daly and Orion executive Mike Medavoy (who recommended Arnold Schwarzenegger to Cameron) wanted the film to end right after the tanker explosion, removing the climax at the robot factory and epilogue. Orion Pictures, which co-financed the movie, wanted to be known for its quality movies (like Amadeus (1984) and Platoon (1986)), and perceived The Terminator (1984) as little more than a low budget vehicle to make some quick money. Quoting from Cameron: "Daly said, 'The film has to end right after the tanker explosion.' I told him straight, 'F**k you! The film isn't over yet.'" Daly would ultimately back down, a decision that led to the sudden success of the film. However, Orion's advertising support for the film was minimal in Cameron's eyes. Three weeks after the film was released, Medavoy still ignored Cameron's request to beef up the film's ad-campaign: "They told me, when you have a dirty-down action thriller, the film can last in the box-office for about three weeks plus or so. They are treating the film like dog-s**t!" Hemdale ultimately raised money to fund more advertisements. Reportedly, Schwarzenegger still holds a grudge towards Orion Pictures due to their lack of support.
The teaser trailer for this film was narrated by Peter Cullen, best known to fans as the voice of the robotic hero Optimus Prime from Transformers.
Michael Biehn almost didn't get the role of Kyle Reese because in his first audition he spoke in a Southern accent as a result of working on a part for a stage production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (he didn't get the role), and the producers didn't want Reese to seem regionalized. After a talk with Biehn's agent, the producers called Biehn back for another audition and he got the part.
Paramount was one of the studios that wanted to produce this film, but they stipulated that James Cameron could not direct it. Since this was Cameron's pet project at the time and he wanted to direct the film, he turned down their offer. Paramount would later be the main studio behind the fifth film of the franchise, Terminator Genisys (2015).
Mel Gibson turned down the role of the Terminator, simply feeling he wasn't right for the part. After seeing the film, he praised Arnold Schwarzenegger as a much better choice.
Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't think much of the initial screenplay and was only going to do it for the money and because he felt a contemporary film would be beneficial to his career.
In the film, the name of the night club where the Terminator first targets Sarah was named Tech Noir after a film genre which James Cameron coined himself in describing what category this film falls under after dismissing the notions that it was a mere horror or slasher film. Tech Noir films like Blade Runner (1982) and The Terminator (1984) combine the old style grittiness of noir films with the futuristic elements of a sci-fi thriller. Cameron himself had the club built specifically for the film and had to turn away local club goers who thought Tech Noir was a real night club. The building still exists but is now a jewelry store.
The movie was released in the late 1980s in Poland under the title "The Electronic Murderer". The title was changed because there is a Polish word 'terminator', meaning roughly 'an apprentice', and so the title was changed to something more catchy and interesting to audience. By the time Terminator 2 (1991) was released, the original movie was widely available on pirate copies under its original title, and because of it in the early 90s in Poland the word 'terminator' was widely recognized as the character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of its original meaning, so all the sequels had their titles unaltered.
The Terminator endoskeleton was very heavy and hard for Stan Winston's team to carry. They found out that building a prop robot out of metal is realistic, but not practical.
During the final chase, as Reese tosses pipe bombs at the Terminator, there is a single white frame spliced in just before some of the explosions, which is a trick employed by editor Mark Goldblatt. Director James Cameron would later use this trick to heighten the visual impact of gunshots in Aliens (1986). The pyrotechnic charges can be seen on the street, each with a pressure-sensitive strip for triggering the explosion when run over by either the Terminator's motorcycle or the heroes' truck.
James Cameron cited The Road Warrior (1981) as one of his influences behind "The Terminator".
Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic catchphrase almost became "I will be back" because he thought it sounded more machine-like without a contraction; he also felt "I'll" sounded too feminine. It was the one major disagreement between Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, and all Cameron had to say to that was "I don't tell you how to act, so don't tell me how to write".
In the original script the Terminator was supposed to steal a car at the beginning of the film. The scene involved the Terminator observing an elderly woman getting into a car and as she saw the Terminator she panicked and put it into reverse hitting a trash can then correcting herself put it into drive and sped off. The Terminator then enters the car, puts it into reverse then into drive mimicking the woman's actions. This was cut from a later script.
The original treatment by James Cameron included the detail that the Terminator needed to eat periodically in order for his human flesh to survive. A scene is included where the Terminator eats a candy bar, wrapper and all. This detail was incorporated into the script for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), with the Terminator selecting Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite Austrian chocolate wafer. When fans learned that a scene had been shot where the Terminator ate chocolate, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative and the scene was omitted.
The scene where the Terminator breaks into a station wagon was the very last thing shot and it was added a few weeks before the film's release. The scene was filmed in 2 hours by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger alone. Due to insufficient funds, Cameron had to pay for the scene himself, but could not afford a police permit. As such, another set of Arnold's clothes was placed behind the wagon trunk and Cameron told him to change the moment the scene was deemed finished.
A hydraulic arm was used when the Terminator punches through the windshield in the alley scene. This was rehearsed several times and since Arnold Schwarzenegger's face was in the shot too, it all had to be choreographed perfectly, since replacing a windshield was too costly and time consuming.
Though it is now considered a Sci-fi classic, this film was originally conceived and written as a horror movie. If you strip away the robots and time travel plot, it is very similar to a Slasher picture, and borrows many of the genre's tropes. The Terminator is the movie's "Unstoppable Killer," who stalks an innocent woman, killing all of her loved ones until he is in turn killed off in a creative way. Sarah Connor is the movie's "Final Girl," who is strong enough to outsmart the killer and the only one to make it out alive. The end of the film also employs many of the Slasher genre's techniques and scare tactics. A final showdown in an isolated place where no one can help, crawling through tight, cramped, and dangerous spaces to escape, and the killer comes back for a "final scare" multiple times. That being said, in following these Slasher movie tropes, that makes the Terminator one of the few "Unstoppable Killers" of the genre to use firearms as his main weapon, and makes Sarah Connor one of the few "Final Girls" of the genre to have sex in the picture and make it out alive.
In the scene where The Terminator attacks Sarah in the police station, the cop states that there are "Thirty police officers" in the station. If you count the cops that The Terminator kills on screen and the burst fire that he shoots for off screen kills, it adds up to thirty.
Sylvester Stallone was considered for The Terminator. Coincidentally, a year after, James Cameron and Stallone wrote Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) together. Also, there was a competition between Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger's success in action movies about who would win in a battle: Rambo or the Terminator. Stallone later worked with Arnold on the Expendables movies and Escape Plan (2013). In Last Action Hero (1993), a scene features a video store cardboard cut-out of Stallone as the Terminator.
There was minimal interference from the film's financial backer, Orion, partly due to the budget offered. However, they suggested two things. The first was a cyborg canine that accompanies Reese - an idea turned down by James Cameron; the second was strengthening the relationship between Kyle and Sarah, which Cameron decided to accept.
The Terminator's motorcycle was later displayed in Arnold Schwarzenegger's restaurant Planet Hollywood.
Hand-held cameras were used for much of the action. This helped give "an energy to the scene that you can't get any other way", said cinematographer Adam Greenberg.
The only time in the "Terminator" franchise when The Terminator changes his hairstyle in the film. When The Terminator breaks into an apartment in the self-repair sequences, his hairstyle is different to the one he had earlier on in the film. This is because he runs through a fire caused by a car explosion where his hair is burned. He also loses his eyebrows, and spends the rest of the movie without them.
The "fog" in the scene after Sarah and Reese leave the bridge where they spent the night is actually bug spray, due to the big "fly scare" in the filming location at that time. The crew was going to wait until the spray dissipated, but decided to use it as fog for the effect instead. This is revealed in a DVD easter egg, which can be found by pressing the right arrow in the languages section until the square on the right is lit up.
Jennifer Jason Leigh was considered for the role of Sarah Connor, but director James Cameron feared she was too young for the part. She was later recast as Ginger but she was replaced at the last minute with Bess Motta.
Contrary to popular belief, Lance Henriksen was never going to be The Terminator. However, James Cameron did make early sketches showing The Terminator looking like Henriksen. Also, Henriksen helped Cameron pitching the film's idea to the producers. Henriksen prepared himself for the meeting by dressing up in some leathers, adding a cut on his head and putting gold foil on his teeth. Fifteen minutes before the meeting, he kicked the door to the producers office in. He then just silently sat there, staring at the producers, making them uncomfortable. When Cameron arrived, Henriksen left the room. He later heard that one of the producers even said "I don't care who you use for the Terminator, not him."
James Cameron, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton all work together again in Aliens (1986).
Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered so indispensable to the film that when he went off to do Conan the Destroyer (1984) first, they were prepared to wait, rather than recast him in the interim.
In the future scene when Reese throws a grenade under the wheel tread of one of Skynet's machines, it took 26 attempts to get right.
Arnold Schwarzenegger started work two weeks later than the rest of the cast. His first day of work was on the car garage scene where he was looking for Sarah, driving a police car that the Terminator hijacked.
Linda Hamilton broke her ankle prior to production, and had to have her leg wrapped every day so she could do her chase scenes. Those scenes were also moved towards the end of the shooting schedule.
The tanker truck that explodes at the end is a model, not a real truck. It was filmed twice because the wire pulling the truck tugged too hard initially, pulling the front axle off and ruining the shot.
James Cameron included Arnold Schwarzenegger in a lot of his decisions on-set, e.g., the Terminator's hair had to look spiky and burned.
Stan Yale played the 'Derelict in Alley' uttering the line "That son of a bitch took my pants," and his subsequent appearances included P.I. Private Investigations (1987), in which he was credited as 'bum', Terminal Exposure (1987) ('wino'), Moonlighting (1985) ('bum'), Matlock (1986) ('bum'), L.A. Law (1986) ('first homeless man') and My Name Is Earl (2005) ('homeless man').
The movie's line "I'll be back." was voted as the #37 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100), and as #95 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
According to the original treatment (accessible on the DVD version), there were supposed to be two protectors sent back to save Sarah Connor. However, this partner of Reese's would have received very little screen time, as he rematerialized right into a fire escape. It is interesting to note that this contradicts the sequel's logic in regards to the Temporal Displacement Field (matter in an orb-shaped space is replaced by its counterpart from the future).
Tom Selleck was rumored to be cast as The Terminator, but was forced to turn the role down due to his commitment to the TV series Magnum, P.I. (1980). Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas were also considered.
Although stereophonic sound existed in 1984, The Terminator (1984) was filmed in monophonic. This was because during the production, the budget was too low to allow the filmmakers to get all the effects they wanted and still allow for the film to be shot in stereo. Although a stereo remix was produced later for the Hemdale VHS release, it was not until MGM acquired the rights to the film that a fully recognizable 5.1 stereo soundtrack was created, for the 2001 Special Edition DVD.
Most of the car chase scenes were shot at normal speed and sped up slightly. To add more of a sense of speed, other cars rode along with them out of frame with revolving lights attached to them that made it seem like the car was passing other light sources faster.
Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly suggested that the advertising campaign play up the romantic subplot between Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in order to appeal to a wider audience but his advice was ignored. The film proved surprisingly popular with women anyway.
Bruce Willis and the English pop star Sting were considered for the role of Kyle Reese.
The Los Angeles police cars have different mottos: "To Protect and Serve" and "To Care and Protect."
Series Trademark: When Reese saves Sarah at the nightclub shootout, he says, "Come with me if you want to live."
Daryl Hannah auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor, but turned it down in order to play Madison in Splash (1984).
The Terminator (1984) was filmed on a very tense set, e.g., Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't enjoy the prosthetics, because the wires of the red eye burned a lot of the time; for the arm scene, he had to have his real arm tied behind his back for hours. James Cameron also shot the carjacking scene without a permit. Anyone who came up to him with lame ideas wound up irritating Cameron, e.g., Cameron axed an idea of the Terminator drinking a beer and acting silly (like in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)) because that just couldn't happen.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said The Terminator "was a small movie. We really had to cut costs all the time. We shot it very quickly. We felt we had a good story and it would be successful. But we thought it would be for certain audiences only. No-one suspected it would be in Time magazine's top 10 movies of the year and that successful at the box-office and that people demanded a sequel that would be the highest grossing movie of that year."
Prior to being cast as The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger watched Westworld (1973) and was amazed by Yul Brenner's performance as a robot in the film and Schwarzenegger talked to Cameron about how The Terminator should be played and that the whoever plays The Terminator shouldn't act like a machine, but to be a machine and this convinced Cameron to cast Schwarzenegger as The Terminator.
The whole Cyberdyne plot from the sequel was meant to be in this film, but was cut due to budget reasons.
Brian Thompson, who plays one of the punks in the beginning of the film, would later go on to a Terminator-like role on The X-Files (1993) as the Alien Bounty Hunter. He also appears in Miracle Mile (1988), another movie concerning nuclear war.
The film was not intended to be a sci-fi action film, but a dark horror film. However, many movie-viewers felt the film was an action movie when they first saw it in theaters. James Cameron was so surprised that he decided to make action movies after this. Months before the release, Cameron did not expect any sort of success in the box office or reviews by critics to come from this film. Ironically, it is now considered to be one of the greatest films of all time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly delayed the start of filming by two days by claiming that the custom made leather jacket wasn't manly enough.
The classic "clank" was made by Brad Fiedel by hitting a microphone with a cast iron skillet.
The motorcycle the Terminator rides is a Honda CB750 Four. Sarah's scooter is a Honda Elite.
The oil truck that the Terminator drives near the end of the movie bares the logo "J&G" - this is a reference to James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd who at the time were husband and wife.
In the scene where the Terminator performs surgery on itself to remove its damaged prosthetic eye, although the face is that of a puppet stand in, the hands that perform the surgery are actually Arnold Schwarzenegger's.
The sunglasses worn by the Terminator were Gargoyles. Although the Gargoyles sunglasses seen in the film are erroneously connotated with the first Terminator film (known in the sunglass world as Terminator sunglasses aka the Gargoyles 85), they were previously seen in Sudden Impact (1983) which were worn by Clint Eastwood in a few scenes - they were later used in The Dead Pool (1988). Gargoyles still manufactures the sunglasses now sold as the Gargoyles Classic.
Just after the first scene in the nightclub TechNoir, we hear a police radio report a "two-eleven in progress at Bob's Liquor, corner of Third and Cameron," this is a reference to director James Cameron.
Debra Winger was James Cameron's preferred choice after he watched her in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982). Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Lane and Carrie Fisher were all considered to play the part, and both Sharon Stone and Kelly McGillis auditioned for the role.
The "screaming" sound at the end of the movie is Brad Fiedel and friends screaming in a microphone and Fiedel playing synth over it.
Prior to filming, Arnold Schwarzenegger spent weeks learning to reassemble, dismantle, reload and fire every weapon used in the film without looking at the weapon. The result was a more robotic feel towards the weapons handling which added to the eerieness of his performance.
Edward James Olmos and Louis Gossett Jr. were considered for the role of Lt. Traxler.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was rumored to be cast as Sarah Connor but was forced to turn the role down due to her commitment as a regular player on NBC's Saturday Night Live (1975).
The novelization of Terminator Salvation (2009) says a Terminator could fit in better if it didn't look like a bodybuilder; an obvious in-joke to Arnold Schwarzenegger compared with the casting of Robert Patrick and Sam Worthington.
According to an article from Hot Dog #10, April 2001, studio executives threatened to shut down the project if James Cameron filmed additional future war scenes beyond the script.
The idea of blowing up Cyberdyne, and thereby preventing the war, was originally conceived in the first movie. However, due to time constraints, this scene was cut, and becomes a major factor in the sequel. When Kyle is explaining to Sarah that such a move is not part of his mission, and tactically dangerous, the two happen to be in the countryside, in which Kyle realizes he comes from a time where such beauty has been destroyed and no longer exists, this causes him to have an emotional breakdown as he explains he wasn't meant to see this, and how "it's all gone." This notion is repeated by Sarah, in a video in the sequel, during her sanity evaluation when she and Dr. Silberman are watching a video of past behavior and she tells him, "Him, you, this whole place is gone."
Sarah causes the hydraulic press to shut twice, once by accident and once on purpose. Both times the remastered soundtrack uses a completely different sound effect when this occurs than what was originally presented in the mono soundtrack.
One of the concept art showed a T-800 skeleton crawling after Sarah with a butcher knife.
James Cameron revealed that Glenn Close was originally chosen to play Sarah Connor, but Close wasn't available prior to the project began.
The English musician Tony Banks, who was the keyboardist for the rock band Genesis, was considered to compose the soundtrack and was sent the script, but he was busy doing the score to Lorca and the Outlaws (1984) (aka Redwing.)
The part where the Terminator smashes through the windshield was done in one take with a real windshield. A hydraulic ram was utilized to make it appear that it was Arnold Schwarzenegger's fist shattering the glass.
After filming The Terminator, Peter Kent became Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double for the next decade in his movies.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said James Cameron did an extraordinary job creating that character (The Terminator) and whole phenomenon. "I never thought we would do a sequel, catchphrases like "I'll be back" or "Hasta la vista, baby" would catch on and be repeated or think that 30yrs later I would be asked to come back to a franchise like this playing The Terminator, unlike Batman or James Bond."
Sarah's middle initial is shown as 'J' in the phone book, but her middle name is never mentioned in any of the Terminator films. The novelization of the movie gives her middle name as Jeanette, possibly a reference to Jenette Goldstein who appears in Terminator 2 (1991) as John Connor's foster mother.
When O.J. Simpson was still in the running to play the Terminator, a mockup movie poster was done with him instead.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's first horror film. Schwarzenegger's other horror films were Predator (1987), End of Days (1999) and Maggie (2015).
Any misgivings Michael Biehn had about taking part in the film were instantly abated when he met James Cameron and was won over by his passion.
Based on her student ID card, it can be deduced that Sarah attends Western University in Pomona, CA. (In the novelization of the movie, Sarah attends classes as the first two Sarah Connors are killed, before she rides her scooter to work at Big Jeff's.)
Debra Winger successfully auditioned and won the role of Sarah Connor. However, she later changed her mind and turned the role down.
The role of Sarah Connor was originally written by James Cameron for Bridget Fonda, who passed on the project. He later replaced Bridget Fonda with Tatum O'Neal. However, James Cameron decided to make the character of Sarah Connor older. He suggested Kate Capshaw for the role of Sarah, but Capshaw was filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). He later suggested Kathleen Turner for the part, but Turner was filming Romancing the Stone (1984).
The film is featured in The Time Guardian (1987)(a rip-off of "The Terminator"). A mechanic is watching the film on TV, before the mechanic and his dog are both killed by the evil Jen-Diki robots.
Leading make-up designer Dick Smith was unavailable to work on the film so he suggested his friend Stan Winston.
Rick Rossovich would later appear with Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton in Navy Seals (1990). All three had also worked together before in The Lords of Discipline (1983).
Ron Perlman, Stephen Lang, Chevy Chase, Michael Keaton and Alec Baldwin were considered to play the terminator.
Though she's a registered Democrat, Linda Hamilton voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican candidate, in California's 2003 recall election that saw Schwarzenegger become the state's governor.
The Terminator uses the following weapons during the movie: An AMT 1911 .45 Long Slide with Laser Pointer (to kill the first two Sarah Connors and Ginger) An S&W classic type 4-inch barrel revolver, caliber .357Mag (during the tunnel chase) An Uzi .9mm Submachine Gun (in the Tech Noir nightclub) A SPAS-12 Automatic Shotgun (during the police station shootout) An AR-18 Assault Rifle (during the police station shootout and the tunnel chase)
According to Michael Biehn, a stunt double performed the fall to the pavement when Kyle Reese arrives in the past.
James Cameron cites _The Outer Limits_ and The Driver (1978) as influences on his screenplay.
When Reese and Sarah escape the police station, Brad Fiedel's score was too intrusive for James Cameron's liking. So he asked him to tone it down a little.
The Terminator's line "I'll be back" is commonly mock-quoted as "I'll be bock!" However, Schwarzenegger delivers the line calmly and with very little accent.
James Cameron described his creative process as "What I'm good at is working with actors to create scenes and then editing their performances to get the absolute best vibrating version of that scene and then share that with the audience. It's an amazing process to go through. Sometimes you think it's not going to work when you get started and then the characters come to life."
The Alamo Sport Shop was a real gun store, at 14329 Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys, California. It is no longer there. The Artkraft Taxidermy shop visible behind Alamo has moved to North Hollywood, California.
It was Michael Biehn's idea that Kyle goes up to the wall and scream into the wall when Kyle is being questioned by Dr. Silberman.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Lea Thompson revealed in a 2015 interview with Nerdist Podcast that she auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor.
When Sarah is struggling to pull Reese out of the flipped semi, you hear her yelling "Get out!" three times. The second two screams are identical.
Crushing the Terminator's head and arm in the hydraulic press was the same method used in The Fly (1958) to kill the scientist who'd become part man, part fly. The scientist's head and arm resembled a fly's and crushing those parts not only killed him, but destroyed evidence of his transformation.
The Italian Terminator-sploitation movie Hands of Steel (1986), that surprisingly has more similarities to Universal Soldier (1992) than The Terminator, copies shot for shot the scene where the Terminator cuts its arm open and examines if the arm's mechanism is working properly. Also, one of the cyborgs in the movie has a red glow in its eyes just like the Terminators do.
Gilda Radner, Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, Rhea Perlman, Sigourney Weaver, Cybill Shepherd, Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Lori Loughlin, Kim Basinger, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Christie Brinkley, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ally Sheedy, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, Kay Lenz, Liza Minnelli, Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Miranda Richardson, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Ryan, Heather Locklear, Jennifer Grey, Madonna, Amy Irving, Teri Garr, Margot Kidder and Tatum O'Neal were all considered for the role of Sarah Connor before it was offered to Debra Winger. However, Winger declined before filming began.
Although T-800 is referred to as a "cyborg" throughout the franchise, this label is technically incorrect. A true cyborg cannot survive without its organic components. The end sequence of this film establishes that the T-800 can continue without them. T-800 is, therefore NOT a cyborg.
Peter Kent got the call to do this film shortly after arriving in Hollywood. He ended up being tasked to do most of the stunts for Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though he had never done stunts before this. He was also a few inches taller than Schwarzenegger.
The music played during the police station massacre is the same that is played in 10 to Midnight (1983) when the office manager announces, "Betty's dead!".
The building number for the gun store is '14329' this is also the house number of Sarah Anne Connor, the first victim.
The main title song by composer Brad Fiedel uses an odd time signature of 13/16. This was simplified to 12/8 for the main title of the sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron became close friends during the making of the movie, and would collaborate again on Terminator 2 (1991) and True Lies (1994).
The book that inspired Edge of Tomorrow (2014) makes an oblique reference to the climax of this film with a robot in a factory.
In the scene where Sarah Conner is filling her gas tank in Mexico, the license plate on her Jeep is fake. The font and font size are not standard for a California license plate.
The shoes that Kyle Reese steals at the beginning of the film are Nike High Top Vandals.
Kyle Reese tells Sarah Connor that he would die for John Connor. In Terminator Genisys (2015) he does the reverse; he tells John he would die for Sarah.
Like many other Orion Pictures releases the rights to The Terminator have been scattered. When the film was first released on home video in 1985 Thorn/EMI Video was the distributor. The company eventually folded into HBO/Cannon Video and issued a reprint of the VHS with their new banner in 1986. HBO Video also did one other video release. All of the Thorn/EMI and HBO Video releases omit the Orion Pictures and Hemdale Film Corporation logos at the start of the movie. (Orion distributed the movie in North America and co-financed it with Hemdale). Hemdale Home Video did one other VHS release of the film around the same time the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) was released to theaters. This version uses the Hemdale Film Corporation logo as do all of the subsequent Live Home Video releases. Live bought the rights from Hemdale after they went defunct in 1995 for home video releases. Live eventually sold their library to Artisan Entertainment who reissued the film on VHS, once again with the Hemdale logo. In 2001 as part of the Orion Pictures library, Artisan sold the rights to MGM who owned most of Orion's library at the time and still do to this present day. The MGM releases retain the original Orion Pictures logo which was used when the film was originally released to theaters.
There is an asteroid named 99942 Apophis which at one time was thought to impact the earth in 2029; the same year that the opening scene of this film takes place.
The police officer (William Wisher) identifies himself as "1-L-19". The 1 refers to the central division, L means a one officer unit, and the 19 is the number of the patrol car. This format is explained in Adam-12: Log 15: Exactly 100 Yards (1969). See "quotes" for that episode.
The first of 5 movies with Earl Boen as a psychologist, the others were the following 2 Terminator movies, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000).
Arnold Schwarzenegger once referred to this movie as "Oh some shit movie I'm doing, take a couple weeks" however he has since recanted this statement saying "It was wrong of me to judge the movie before I even got fully involved. James created a fantastic character and while I was hesitant I now know The Terminator is a defining work in my career."
The line that Sarah Connor's co-worker tells her, "in 100 years, who's going to care?". In Joy Ride (2001) a character tells another, "in 100 years, I'll be dead". That film also had Robert Winley who played the cigar-smoking biker from Terminator 2. It was his final film before his death 16 days later.
When he set out to write and direct Terminator he was a nobody on a small budget having to cast up and coming actors. He wanted to cast Lance Henrikson as the cyborg but then along came Arnold Schwarzenegger fresh from playing Conan the Barbarian and who was the obvious choice for the Terminator. James didn't forget Lance and cast him as a detective.
The scene where Kyle Reese first arrives in the alley was filmed in the same location as Nadia calling Jim from a payphone in American Pie 2 (2001), which also was going to have Bill Paxton as Stifler's dad.
At one point Sarah wears a (bootleg) The Jetsons t-shirt. The Jetsons was an animated TV show set in the distant future, just as many of the events in the movie are set in the distant future.
The film was one of Albert Pyun's influences behind his post-apocalyptic action flick, Cyborg (1989) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The first film which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an antagonist. He later played Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin (1997). However, his character Breacher in Sabotage (2014) is more of a antihero than a villain.
The Italian film The Mechanical Man (1921) contains a scene in which the mechanical man breaks through an armoured door and through the hole extends his hand to unlock the latch that closes the inside; this influenced The Terminator, with a substantially identical scene.
The first R rated Terminator film in the franchise. The two films that followed, Terminator 2 (1991) and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) are also rated R. However, Terminator Salvation (2009) and Terminator Genisys (2015) are both rated PG-13.
Although this may be lazy writing on James Cameron's part, in John's message to Sarah which Kyle managed to memorize which goes "Thank you, Sarah for your courage during the dark years," since Sarah is John's mother, John would have said "Thank you, Mom," and John would have only called Sarah by her name when he mentioned her to Kyle.
Sarah Connor's apartment was filmed only ¼ mile (500 meters) from the location for Car Wash (1976). See filming locations for both movies.
Carrow's restaurant (as Big Jeff's restaurant) where Sarah Connor worked was filmed only 0.6 miles (1Km) from Pee Wee's house in Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985).
Sarah asks Kyle, "The women in your time, what are they like?" In The Time Machine (1960), Weena asks George the time traveler, "What are they like? ... The women in your time?"
The Anthony Horowitz novel Oblivion paraphrases the line from this movie and Terminator 2 (1991), "Come with me if you want to live".
The Robert Crais novel The Sentry seems to make an oblique reference to the first two Terminator films: he mentions the gun by Heckler & Koch (the HK's in the movie) and a line from Terminator 2, "he took it pretty well".
After its release in the cinema and on vhs as an 18 certificate, from 2004 the dvd and all future formats (bluray) the certificate came down to a 15 certificate in the uk. T2 Judgement day the follow up was given a 15 at the cinema and all future releases of T2 be it vhs, dvd or bluray are still at that certificate today (2016). All terminator films after T2 released on dvd or bluray are 12 certificates (uk) and to date have not been reduced in certificate.
William Wisher: The police officer who attempts to assist the Terminator after he is thrown from the hood of the car, but gets knocked unconscious for his effort. Wisher has a cameo in the sequel Terminator 2 (1991) as well, where his character seems to have a look of recognition upon seeing the new Terminator.
James Cameron: [Biehn's hand] Michael Biehn's character gets bitten on the hand by another character. See Aliens (1986) and The Abyss (1989).
James Cameron: [feet] the Terminator often steps on objects, crushing them. In the future, there is a close-up of tank treads rolling over human skulls.
James Cameron: [nice cut] Sarah's burning photo fades into Sarah sleeping in Kyle's arms.