The Terminator

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.
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Production: Orion Pictures Corporation
  6 wins & 6 nominations.
 
IMDB:
8.0
Metacritic:
83
Rotten Tomatoes:
100%
R
Year:
1984
107 min
Website
2,419 Views


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

clean, right?

Terminator eyes them without expression, unhurried.

Reptilian.

TERMINATOR:

Nothing clean. Right.

LEADER:

This guy's a couple bricks

short.

Terminator turn to the second punk, ignoring the

others.

TERMINATOR:

Your clothes. Give them to me.

The punks exchange glances, dismayed.

TERMINATOR:

(coldly)

Now.

SECOND PUNK:

(bracing)

F*** you, a**hole.

Without warning Terminator hammer-punches him in the temple

with blinding speed. The blow flings him with a CLANG into

the jungle gym. He drops to the ground in a still heap,

eyes open, twitching.

The leader whips out his SWITCHBLADE and slashes in one

motion. Terminator ducks back and catches the knife-

wielder's wrist in an inhuman grip. Then he punches the

leader with piledriver force just below the breastbone.

ANGLE - PAVEMENT, as the knife clatters down. The punk's

combat boots are on tiptoe, barely touching the ground.

ANGLE - TWO SHOT, Terminator and the leader are close

together as if dancing, but motionless. Their bodies are in

total shadow. The punk's eyes are wide, his veins distended

with an agonizing pressure. Terminator jerks his fist back

with a WET SOUND and the other drops OUT OF FRAME.

The last tough is stumbling away, gaping with terror. He

backs into a chainlink fence, turns to run along it, finds

he is in a corner.

Terminator takes a step toward him, his gaze ominous.

The punk begins shakily stripping off his clothes.

Thunder peals overhead.

CUT TO:

4 EXT. STREET/NEARBY - NIGHT 4

A light RAIN begins to fall.

Terminator emerges onto the street from the playground,

pausing in the pool of light under a streetlight to hike

the collar of the punk's jacket.

The rain streams down over his face, running into

and over his eyes. They do not blink.

CUT TO:

5 EXT. DOWNTOWN STREET/ALLEY - NIGHT 5

Another part of the city. Seedy apartments and storefronts.

The streets glisten, hissing with sporadic late night traffic.

SLOW PAN AND DOLLY into the mouth of a narrow alley lined

with trash containers and fire escapes. From a recessed

doorway, two filthy legs sprawl out onto the wet pavement.

An angry, inarticulate DRUNKARD'S MONOLOGUE rises occasionally

above the rain sounds.

ANGLE - DOORWAY, The derelict rouses from his bitter stupor

as a brilliant purple glare lights up the wet brickwork

around him. A shockwave hurls trash into the air.

Painted over windows shatter.

Rat scurry, blinded.

A FIGURE drops INTO FRAME as if out of the sky and smacks

the pavement with a muddy splash.

C.U. - DERELICT, as he blinks at the fading glare, amazed.

A NAKED MAN, compact and muscular, rises in a defensive

crouch. KYLE REESE is 22, but his face has been aged by

ordeal, the mouth hard, eyes grim. A crinkled burn scar

traverses one side of his face from chin to forehead. Other

scars, from burns and bullets, mar his hard-muscled body.

The rain washes a fine coating of white ash from his skin

as electrical ARCS lace back and forth between the fire

escapes behind him, HISSING and SPUTTERING. The sound

fades, then stops altogether, to be replaced by a rising

scream of animal agony.

Reese lurches to his feet and sprints across the alley.

CUT TO:

5A/FX OMITTED 5A/FX

6 OMITTED 6

7 EXT. FIRE ESCAPE - NIGHT 7

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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 Scripts

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