1984 saw the release of the Sci-Fi action film The Terminator. Its release established director James Cameron as a legitimate filmmaker along with solidifying Arnold Schwarzenegger's career as an action-film star. The film's complex storyline was reinforced and showcased optically by legendary special effects creator Stan Winston.
This trio of visionaries collaborated in bringing to flesh and steel the concept of The Terminator, a time-traveling cyborg hell-bent on eliminating the mother of its main adversary. The "Nativity Story" narrative masked by cybernetic action and fate fulfillment is what made the original film so impactful. A floodgate of sequels, comic books, and a television series that have followed it have been met with varying degrees of success. Nonetheless, here's I'll Be Back and 9 Other Iconic Terminator Franchise Moments.
10 Terminator: Tech Noir Club
Quite possibly one of the tensest moments in The Terminator occurs at the Tech Noir Club. Within this scene, audiences are accustomed to the inside information of knowing that Sarah Connor is targeted for termination. Under false assumptions, Sarah believes Kyle Reese, her true protector, is stalking her. She retreats into the Tech Noir Club to escape him. Unbeknownst to her, the Terminator is hot on her trail as well. Once the android enters the nightspot, the tension rises as he scopes about for Sarah. As the Terminator draws his laser-sighted .45 pistol, Kyle takes aim and temporarily disables it with a shotgun blast. A fervid gun battle ensues with a confused Sarah Connor caught in the midst of the crossfire.
9 Terminator 2: Clothes, Boots, Motorcycle
Seven years had passed since the first Terminator film. 1991 brought back a majority of the main players both in front and behind the camera. Terminator 2: Judgment Day saw the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator (T-800) and established him as a heroic protector with a distinct style. That style is acquired within the biker bar scene in which the T-800 requests some attire assistance.
After a slight scrap with a few scruffy faced bar patrons, the T-800 suits up in leather fatigues, boots, and mounts a Harley-Davidson. All the while, George Thorogood's Bad To The Bone reverberates non-diegetically as the T-800 slips on a pair of black sunglasses and rides off. The most renowned look of the Terminator was solidified.
8 Terminator 2: No Fate
Trauma hovers over the character of Sarah Connor in the sequel to The Terminator. Her sanity, faith, and benevolence have been nearly obliterated after her near-death encounter with the Terminator in 1984. The single aspect of her life that fulfills her and gives her purpose is her son, John Connor. The death of Kyle Reese, his prophecy of technological doom, and John's murky messiah future continue to haunt Sarah. So much so that it leads to apocalyptic nightmares of automated annihilation at the hands of Skynet, artificial intelligence conglomerate. Sarah takes the reigns of the future and seeks to mold it the way she sees fit by terminating Skynet's inadvertent developer, Miles Dyson.
7 Terminator 2: Motorbike Chase
Terminator 2: Judgment Day's plot revolves around a pre-teen John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance. He is now the direct target of Skynet's assassination mission rather than his mother, Sarah Connor. A shape-shifting liquid Terminator, T-1000, has been sent by Skynet to terminate John. However, the human resistance has sent a T-800 to protect him. The stage is set for a battle between two distinct Terminator models. That stage includes an immense motorbike chase between John and the T-1000 maneuvering in a semi-truck. And Cameron daringly added the T-800 plowing into the pursuit upon his stolen Harley-Davidson in an attempt to rescue the pint-sized John Connor.
6 Terminator: Kyle Reese's Nightmare
The audience's initial glimpse into Skynet's reign of the post-apocalyptic future come through Kyle Reese's eyes. Ever the true resistance soldier, Kyle has experienced and battled within the future he has been bestowed to protect. The future he inhabits within his nightmarish flashback lacks vegetation, seeps constant robotic violence, and is caked in soot. Imminent death stalks every human resistance soldier.
This aesthetically depressing exposition can be interpreted as a warning to humanity's undying reliance on technology. If and when does humanity ever take a backseat to technology? Kyle knew, was born into it, and fought brilliantly against it.
5 Terminator 2: Sarah Connor & T-800 Relationship
At the inception of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor's faith is dead. She has lost faith in herself, the future, and more importantly humanity. This symbolic death came at the hands of the previous film's Terminator. This psychological damage has led to her incarceration to a mental institution and cost her the custody of her son. Witnessing her son, John, and a T-800 united to liberate her from her imprisonment has shocked her, to say the least. John proclaims to his mother that this Terminator model has been sent to protect them. Sarah's doubts loom like a dust cloud of debris as she battles herself to trust this machine that cost her everything.
4 Terminator 2: Steel Mill Battle
Veteran actor, Robert Patrick, constructed a cold, precise, and unnerving performance as the T-1000, the malicious liquid Terminator. From his thousand-mile stare to his unnatural running form, he truly embodied a piercing machine on a murderous mission.
The climax of Terminator 2: Judgment Day culminates in the battle at the steel mill between the T-800 and the T-1000 over the fate of the Connors. Action scenes along with character development have swelled to this final tense scene that leaves an audience staggering. The T-1000 seems unconquerable as it batters the T-800 into a bloody, misshapen metal heap. Nevertheless, the obsolete machine cannot be kept down from fulfilling its mission.
3 Terminator: Police Station Invasion
The Terminator truly established an unstoppable antagonist. It could not be bargained with. It felt no pity, remorse, or fear. The pinnacle of those proclamations occurred when the Terminator invaded the police station in search of Sarah Connor. Armed with an AR-18 and SPAS-12 shotgun, the Terminator annihilates any opposing oppositions in his path.
A huge number of police officers attempt to subdue the raging cybernetic organism but fail. The most chilling aspect of this massacre is the Terminator's expression or lack thereof. Its cold visage along with the matter-of-fact violence it inflicts upon its victims truly defines the presence, intimidation, and threat these cyborgs possess.
2 Terminator 2: I Have To Go Away
John Connor's decade long life in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a depressing one. His father died before his birth, his mother was committed to a mental institution due to her prophecies of doom. He bounced around from foster home to foster home. Love and compassion are two elements John knew nothing about. He encounters something that lacks those similar elements, a Terminator (T-800). Throughout the film, John tutors the Terminator about hope for humanity. The Terminator in return becomes a surrogate father to John after learning to value human life. "I know now why you cry but it's something I can never do," states the Terminator to a tear stricken John Connor as he awaits his own termination.
1 Terminator: I'll Be Back
"I'll be back." That is a statement that will forever reverberate in the tunnels of pop culture. No argument can be made against that. However, a mini-verbal skirmish occurred between the director, James Cameron, and the titular player, Arnold Schwarzenegger, regarding the infamous line. "I will be back," Schwarzenegger voiced his opinion regarding the line. He believed a machine would not abbreviate. Cameron thought differently. In the end, Cameron won this squabble and cemented the renowned line. The Terminator was born and ripened with those three simple words. Arnold Schwarzenegger's stardom reached a new zenith while James Cameron established himself as a newfound director.