The Terminator: ten facts you didn’t know

With it's innovative plot, captivating visuals, and haunting soundtrack, The Terminator was a defining film of the 1980s, but here's what you didn't know about Arnie's finest hour.

To celebrate James Cameron’s action horror ‘The Terminator’ bursting onto Blu-ray this week, we’ve delved into the cinema history books to find out some interesting facts about the classic movie.

Some you may know already, others you definitely won’t, so sit back and bask in the crazy world of 1980s Hollywood.

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Fact 1: ‘I’ll be back’ wasn’t in the script

Arnold Schwarzenegger's immortal line "I'll be back" is universally adored by film fans around the globe, but did you know Arnie’s line was originally "I'll come back"? Doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?

Back... Arnie in 'Terminator' (Copyright: REX)




Fact 2: O.J. Simpson nearly became the Terminator


Originally the Terminator was supposed to look like an average man, someone who could blend into a crowd. Executives wanted O.J. Simpson as the killer cyborg from the future but Cameron thought he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as the Terminator. Lance Henrikson was also nearly the film’s lead, while Tom Selleck, Mel Gibson and Michael Douglas were all rumoured for the part.

Fact 3: Arnie only had 16 lines

Arnie only had 16 lines of dialogue in the first ‘Terminator’. Nice work if you can get it. Incidentally, he was paid $15 million (£9.2m) for the second film with just 700 words of dialogue. This works out at around £13,000 per word. "Hasta la vista, baby" cost the studio £52,000.

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Fact 4: James Cameron is in the film

In the opening scenes of the film, the voice on Sarah Connor's (Linda Hamilton) answer machine cancelling a date is in fact James Cameron's. The two went on to get married, but years later terminated their relationship and divorced.

Fact 5: Arnie auditioned for the good guy

Arnie was first earmarked to play Kyle Reese (Sarah Connor’s saviour), but after a meeting with Cameron, the director excitedly exclaimed, "He cannot play Reese but he'll make one hell of a Terminator." Schwarzenegger's enthusiasm was less apparent. The big man reportedly described ‘The Terminator’ as " some s*** movie I'm doing”.

Classic... Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton (Copyright: REX)

Fact 6: The plot came from a dream

Paul McCartney may have claimed to have wrote the whole of Beatles' song 'Yesterday' in a dream, but James Cameron went one better and claimed he came up with the idea of ‘The Terminator’ when he was bed bound with a fever.

Fact 7: The film almost didn’t happen

Despite Cameron’s claims that the idea came to him in a dream, sci-fi author Harlan Ellison alleged that ‘The Terminator’ copied some episodes of Ellison’s ‘The Outer Limits’. The studio agreed an out of court settlement for an undisclosed sum and added a credit to the film which acknowledged Ellison’s work.

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Fact 8: The studio wanted a robot dog

The studio behind the film, Orion, wanted a cyborg dog added to the script, which Cameron quite rightly ignored. The director also toyed with the idea of having another Terminator made of ‘liquid metal’ in the first movie. Unfortunately the technology wasn’t good enough at the time. Cue ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’.

Stylish... Arnie as the Terminator (Copyright: REX)


Fact 9: Terminator sunglasses are Gargoyles


The Terminator’s sunglasses were made by US manufacturer Gargoyles and are still used by US armed forces and police departments today.

Fact 10: The film is officially a national treasure

Made in 1984 and hailed as one of the best sci-fi films ever, ‘The Terminator’ was deemed as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 2008 when the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the United States National Film Library.