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The Terminator Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100


    A blazing, cinematic comic book, full of virtuoso moviemaking, terrific momentum, solid performances and a compelling story.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Time Richard Corliss

    Plenty of tech-noir savvy to keep infidels and action fans satisfied.[26 Nov 1984, p. 105]

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Kineticism and suspense, combined with strongly conceived characters....Made Cameron a talent to watch. [13 Jan 1995, p. 67]

  • See all The Terminator reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Terrific sci-fi action, but too violent for some.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will want to see this film due to its reputation as a "classic" action film and the fact that it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger. But this isn't the sweet, exasperated Arnold of Kindergarten Cop or the comedic action hero of True Lies -- or even the huggable father stand-in of Terminator 2 and 3. This is a relentless, shark-eyed killer Arnold. His systematic destruction of the inhabitants of Los Angeles is unsettling even for adults. Expect virtually nonstop tension and violence, as well as swearing (including "f--k"), some partial nudity, drinking, and smoking.

  • Families can talk about the conventions of action movies and director James Cameron's statements regarding corporate culture, unchecked technological development, and nuclear war.
  • What do you think of Sarah Connor's transformation from sweet, defenseless damsel-in-distress to strong and independent action hero?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Though the heroes' goal is ultimately a noble one -- save the future from decimation by robots and other machines -- the movie's bleak, dark tone and frequent bloody violence makes it hard to think of this as a positive movie.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The heroes are ultimately pacifists, although they, as well as the villain, use killing as a means to solve problems. Sarah Connor is one of cinema's most powerful female action heroes.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Graphic and gory violence, with lots of fights, explosions, and car accidents. There's a very high body count.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Some partial nudity (buttocks, breasts) -- some of which is sexual and some of which isn't. Implied sex and passionate kissing.

  • language false4

    Language: Several uses of "f--k"; other words include "s--t," "a--hole," "damn," "bitch," "goddamn," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adult characters drink in a bar; some smoking.