The Terminator script
Synopsis: The Terminator is a 1984 American science-fiction action film written and directed by James Cameron. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose son will one day become a savior against machines in a post-apocalyptic future. Michael Biehn plays Kyle Reese, a soldier from the future sent back in time to protect Connor.

A1 TITLE SEQUENCE - SLITSCAN EFFECT A1

1 EXT. SCHOOLYARD - NIGHT 1

Silence. Gradually the sound of distant traffic becomes

audible. A LOW ANGLE bounded on one side by a chain-link

fence and on the other by the one-story public school build-

ings. Spray-can hieroglyphics and distant streetlight sha-

dows. This is a Los Angeles public school in a blue collar

neighborhood.

ANGLE BETWEEN SCHOOL BUILDINGS, where a trash dumpster looms

in a LOW ANGLE, part of the clutter behind the gymnasium.

A CAT enters FRAME. CAMERA DOLLIES FORWARD, prowling with

him through the landscape of trash receptacles and shadows.

CLOSE ON CAT, which freezes, alert, sensing something just

beyond human perception.

A sourceless wind rises, and with it a keening WHINE.

Papers blow across the pavement.

The cat YOWLS and hides under the dumpster.

Windows rattle in their frames.

The WHINE intensifies, accompanied now by a wash of frigid

PURPLE LIGHT. A CONCUSSION like a thunderclap right over-

head blows in all the windows facing the yard.

C.U. - CAT, its eyes are wide as the glare dies.

1A/FX ANGLE - DUMPSTER 1A/FX

ELECTRICAL DISCHARGES arc from the dumpster to a water

faucet and climb a drain pipe like a Jacob's Ladder.

CUT TO:

2 EXT. SCHOOLYARD - NIGHT 2

SLOW PAN as the sound of stray electrical CRACKLING subsides.

FRAME comes to rest on the figure of a NAKED MAN kneeling,

faced away, in the previously empty yard.

He stands, slowly.

The man is in his late thirties, tall and powerfully built,

moving with graceful precision.

C.U. - MAN, his facial features reiterate the power of his

body and are dominated by the eyes, which are intense, blue

and depthless. His hair is military short.

This man is the TERMINATOR.

He glances down, taking calm inventory of himself, and

notices that a fine white ash covers his skin. He brushes

at it unconcernedly as he walks toward the fence, scanning

his surroundings.

CUT TO:

2A/FX CRANE SHOT - SCHOOLYARD/CITY - NIGHT 2A/FX

CAMERA MOVES UP as Terminator approaches the schoolyard fence

beyond which is an embankment rolling down in darkness to the

cityscape below. The school is perched at the edge of a pro-

montory offering a respectable view of the urban sprawl teem-

ing and glistening under a sullen sky. The night clouds are

shot through with occasional flashes of LIGHTNING, presaging

a thunderstorm.

Terminator stands, hands on hips in prefect symmetry, gazing

down at the city as the CAMERA REACHES FULL HEIGHT.

CUT TO:

3 EXT. PLAYGROUND - NIGHT 3

A beer bottle SMASHES on the ground. PULL BACK to include

its ex-owner and his two compatriots, YOUTH GANG MEMBERS,

lounging on the jungle gym of a deserted playground. They

sport nondescript PUNK REGALIA...torn T-shirts, fatigue

pants, combat boots or high-top sneakers, leather jackets.

The leader notices something and sits up.

LEADER:

(pointing)

Hey, hey...what's wrong with

this picture?

ANGLE - REVERSE, seen past the lounging toughs, Terminator

walks naked into a pool of streetlight, striding purpose-

fully toward them.

ANGLE - OVER TERMINATOR'S SHOULDER, as he approaches them.

They slide from their perches and drop easily to the ground

liquid shadows.

LEADER:

Nice night for a walk, eh?

Terminator stops right in front of them.

TERMINATOR:

(without inflection)

Nice night for a walk.

They surround him, all swagger and malign good humor.

SECOND PUNK:

Washday tomorrow, huh? Nothing

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James Cameron

James Francis Cameron is a Canadian filmmaker, director, producer, screenwriter, inventor, engineer, philanthropist, and deep-sea explorer. He first found major success with the science fiction action film The Terminator. more…

All James Cameron scripts | James Cameron Books

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"The Terminator" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 19 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_terminator_968>.

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