The Terminator
July 9th, 2015

The Terminator [1984]

Please join us for a FREE one-night screening event of The Terminator [1984]: the movie that ignited a franchise returning to theaters with its fifth installment Terminator Genisys.

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Venue Information:

1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203
(please use Clinton St entrance for Mason O. Damon Auditorium)

TrailerSynopsisDirector BioLinks

In the year 2029, the ruling super-computer, Skynet, sends an indestructible cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she can fulfill her destiny and save mankind.

The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction action film directed by James Cameron, written by Cameron and the film’s producer Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton. It was filmed in Los Angeles, produced by Hemdale Film Corporation and distributed by Orion Pictures. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from the year 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, played by Hamilton, whose son will one day become a savior against machines in a post-apocalyptic future. Biehn plays Kyle Reese, a soldier from the future sent back in time to protect Sarah.

Though not expected to be either a commercial or critical success, The Terminator topped the American box office for two weeks and helped launch the film career of Cameron and consolidate that of Schwarzenegger. In 2008, The Terminator was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the American National Film Registry, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The film’s success led to four sequels: Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991], Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003], Terminator Salvation [2009], and Terminator Genisys [2015], with a planned two more films to follow.


  • National Film Preservation Board – 2008 – National Film Registry

“People call me a perfectionist, but I’m not. I’m a rightist. I do something until it’s right, and then I move on to the next thing.”

courtesy of

James Cameron is a critically acclaimed film director known for some of the biggest box-office hits of all time. A science-fiction fan as a child, he went on to produce and direct films including The Terminator, Aliens and Avatar. He has received numerous Academy Awards and nominations for his often large-scale, expensive productions. His most noted work, 1997’s Titanic, became the first film to earn more than $1 billion and landed 14 Academy Award nominations. Cameron took home three Oscars himself for the project: Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture.

Early Career

James Cameron was born on August 16, 1954, in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. A science-fiction fan as a child, he grew up to become one of the most visionary filmmakers in Hollywood. He initially pursued physics as a student at California State University, Fullerton, but he left to follow his cinematic dreams. Working as a truck driver, Cameron would pull off the road to work on screenplays.

In 1978, Cameron made his first film, a science-fiction short called Xenogenesis. The film helped him get a job with New World Pictures, a company run by famed B-movie director Roger Corman. At New World, Cameron worked in number of different roles, from art director on Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) to director on Piranha II: The Spawning (1981).

Major Films

Cameron’s fortunes took a major upturn in 1984, when he wrote and directed The Terminator (1984). The movie told the gripping science-fiction tale of a robot from the future (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) who travels to the present day to hunt down the leader of the resistance in a yet-to-occur battle between humans and machines. The film became a critical and commercial hit and helped Cameron land his next project, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), which featured Sigourney Weaver as a female action hero in space. Aliens (1986) received several Academy Award nominations, including one for Weaver for Best Actress.

With The Abyss (1989), however, Cameron experienced a number of disappointments. The shoot for the film was grueling. Much of it was filmed in a huge underwater set, which took its toll on the cast and crew. After its release, critics and moviegoers were not impressed with the story of scuba divers who encounter aliens while recovering a U.S. Navy submarine. However, the film’s visual effects were stunning and earned an Academy Award.

Working with his third wife, Kathryn Bigelow, Cameron helped produce her 1991 action flick, Point Break (1991). The couple’s two-year relationship ended around the same time. But Cameron returned to form that year with another box-office hit, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The film earned more than $200 million and broke new ground with its impressive visual effects. Several years later he later he would marry one of the film’s stars, Linda Hamilton.


Mixing marital issues and espionage, Cameron wrote and directed True Lies (1994), starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film made it to No. 1 at the box office, grossed more than $378 million worldwide and received an Oscar nod for its visual effects. Cameron then began a massive undertaking with his story Titanic, a movie about star-crossed lovers (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) trapped aboard the doomed Titanic ocean liner. To re-create one of the greatest disasters at sea in history, Cameron had a special studio built in Mexico, which featured a 17-million-gallon water tank and 775-foot replica of the Titanic.

The film cost nearly $200 million to make and was plagued with problems and delays, and many in the industry expected the film to tank just like its namesake. But Cameron proved the skeptics wrong. Opening in December 1997, the film received critical raves and strong ticket sales. Titanic eventually became the first film to earn more than $1 billion and landed 14 Academy Award nominations. For his work on the film, Cameron took home three Oscars—for Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture. In 1999, he divorced Linda Hamilton, and in 2000 he married actress Suzy Amis, who appeared in Titanic.

Continuing to be fascinated by the Titanic story, Cameron worked with his brother, Mike, to create new technology to film the undersea wreck of the infamous vessel. The result was the 3-D IMAX documentary Ghosts of the Abyss (2003). Two more documentaries followed in 2005: Volcanoes of the Deep and Aliens of the Deep.


Again revolutionizing the world of special effects, Cameron returned to making feature films with 2009’s Avatar. The film explores the conflict between American forces and the native population on another planet. In the film, Sam Worthington plays an American soldier who switches sides to help the Na’vi people, and falls in love with one of them (played by Zoe Saldana).

Avatar quickly surpassed Titanic at the box office. It also earned Cameron a number of accolades, including Golden Globe wins for Best Director and Best Motion Picture – Drama. For the Academy Awards, Avatar was nominated in nine categories, including Best Picture and Best Director. But Cameron lost out on some of the night’s biggest prizes to his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, who won Best Director and Best Picture for The Hurt Locker.

The success of Avatar has led Cameron to develop three sequels to the box-office hit, with Avatar 2 currently slated for a December 2017 release.


  • Avatar 5 (2027)
  • Avatar 4 (2025)
  • Avatar 3 (2023)
  • Avatar 2 (2021)
  • Avatar (2009)
  • Aliens of The Deep (2005)
  • Ghosts of the Abyss (2003)
  • Titanic (1997)
  • True Lies (1994)
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • The Abyss (1989)
  • Aliens (1986)
  • The Terminator (1984)
  • Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

  • 6/26/15 – “Gritty, clever, breathlessly paced, and dynamic despite the dark shadow of doom cast over the story, this sci-fi thriller remains one of the defining American films genre or otherwise of the 1980s.” Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies: TCM – link
  • 7/7/15 – Charting the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, one action blockbuster at a time! – link
  • 7/8/15 – Which Terminator is better? Criticwire debates. – link

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