The Terminator cast – then and now

With over 30 years passed since The Terminator hit the big screen, it’s clear to see that the sci-fi action film still has it all: attractive heroes and heroines, tough soldiers, and robot assassins. Yet despite being a cult classic as well as a blockbuster, upon its original release, nobody could have guessed how big and successful the franchise would become. This awesome sci-fi action movie changed the playing field, introducing the world to director James Cameron and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even those who have never seen the film still recognize Schwarzenegger as the T-800 cyborg, and his trademark “I’ll be back,” may be the most frequently quoted movie line in history!

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The film tells the story of unsuspecting waitress Sarah Connor, who will become the mother of John Connor, the savior of humankind in a post-apocalyptic future. The cyborg assassin T-800 Terminator is sent back in time to murder Sarah before she can give birth to the child who will grow up to lead the Human Resistance, while the film’s other hero, Kyle Reese, is a soldier sent back from the future to protect her (30-year spoiler alert: Kyle makes love to Sarah, thus producing the aforementioned future leader, John Connor).

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that the film’s production company, Orion Pictures, did not have a lot of faith in the film. They held only one press conference before the release and kept the whole thing low-key, fearing a negative critical response. Little did they know how successful and popular The Terminator would turn out to be! It just goes to show that anything can happen, and that even the most unexpected of stories can make it big.


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This sci-fi thriller captivated audiences with its special effects, epic fight scenes, and engrossing storyline. Few films have had such a remarkable run, and even fewer science fiction films have reached such heights. It was number one at the box office for the first two weeks after its release, and received high ratings from critics across the board. The Terminator was the surprise hit of the 1980s and it continues to impact Hollywood to this day.

Then, Terminator 2: Judgement Day was released in 1991, to a record breaking release and critical acclaim, blowing its predecessor out of the water and bringing even more fame to The Terminator franchise. Now, more than three decades after the release of the original Terminator, with five films (and a sixth in the making), comic books, video games, and more, there’s no doubt that The Terminator has left its mark and will, in fact, be back.

As the sixth (and as yet unnamed) movie in The Terminator franchise goes into production this summer, we take a look back at the beloved cast members who started it all. From Sarah Connor to Kyle Reese, these characters have shaped a generation of science fiction and movie fans alike. Many of the actors who got their start on this unlikely hit have gone on to have long and successful careers, while for others it was the peak of fame, after which they found it harder to recreate that initial spark. For all involved, it was a career-defining moment, and so, whether they continued to other great projects or said “Hasta la vista, baby” to their adoring fans, the stars of The Terminator will always have a place in our hearts, past, present and future.

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