Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Plot: A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.
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
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.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous debut line 'I'll be back' was originally scripted as 'I'll come back'.
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".
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 was 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: Judgment Day (1991).
Schwarzenegger has only 14 lines in the movie.
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.
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 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.
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.
Arnold Schwarzenegger studied Yul Brenner's performance in Westworld (1973) in preparation for playing The Terminator.
In the beginning of the movie, The Terminator drives over a toy semi truck. Towards the end of the movie, The Terminator is run over by the same model of semi truck.
James Cameron got the idea for The Terminator (1984) while shooting another film in Europe. His vision was of a metal endoskeleton emerging from flames and most of the script was written backwards from there. The endoskeleton would have to be futuristic, and Cameron couldn't afford to set the film in the future. The solution was to bring the future to the present, hence the 'time travel' aspect of the script was written in.
The smoke flowing out of The Terminator when it is crushed in the hydraulic press is actually cigarette smoke.
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).