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The Terminator

Your future is in his hands. 

Year: 1984 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Terminator

Since it was made in 1984, The Terminator has become revered as a groundbreaking sci-fi film whose plot and mood have lasted the test of time.

Just in case you are unaware of what has become one of the best known science fiction plotlines ever written, here is a recap: The story begins with a very simple premise, in the year 2029, machines have taken over the Earth and there is a war going on between them and the remaining humans. In order to win this war, the machines devise a plan to send one of their kind back in time to 1984, disguised as a human, to change the course of history. The machine they send back is the Terminator (Schwarzenegger), a killing machine, who cannot be stopped. In response, the humans send back Kyle Reece (Biehn) to try and foil the machine's plan. Both appear back in Los Angeles and begin looking for a Sarah Connor (Hamilton), a young woman who was no idea why they want to find her. The story continues as the Terminator relentlessly chases Hamilton and Biehn, allowing nothing to stop him as he searches for his target.

The Terminator storyline continues over two more films, but it is this first film that sets the scene. Biehn and Hamilton act well together and try hard to explain a complex time-travel plot and the story twists nicely throughout, with Sarah Connor slowly beginning to realise what it is that she is running from. The film, however, is made for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who clearly relishes his role as a killer machine and perfectly personifies one of science fiction's most feared villains.

The Terminator is an action film, but one with enough thoughtful dialogue and a tight enough story to appease those for whom the explosions do not necessarily appeal. Sure, the special effects will seem clunky and out of date now, but the film was made over twenty years ago, and for its time the visuals were revolutionary. So sit back, forget about the all-too-smooth modern effects and immerse yourself in a classic piece of dark sci-fi.

Patrick Telford

Los Angeles, 1984. Night. A brilliant flash of light and an earsplitting explosion mark the arrival of the Terminator. A cyborg sent from the future on a deadly mission: kill a young woman, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose life will have great significance in decades to come.

Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) arrives next - sent back in time to protect the Terminator's unsuspecting victim from the inexorible onslaught of the killer machine. The three meet for the first time when Kyle races to a nightclub where the Terminator has cornered Sarah. The two warriors join battle before a stunned Sarah. As she flees with her protector, we see the Terminator rise from the wreckage despite taking several direct shotgun blasts.

After this we see an impressive hide and seek cross-country battle between a determined robot and a very frightened women with, let's face it, only a mere human to protect her. A superb start to the evening's entertainment...

Adrian Grimshaw

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Screenings of this film:

1985/1986 Autumn Term (35mm)
1985/1986 Autumn Term (35mm)
1992/1993 Spring Term (35mm)
1995/1996 Autumn Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Autumn Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Autumn Term (35mm)