SCRIPT: "TERMINATOR" by James Cameron


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Downtown Street/Alley: Another part of the city. Seedy apartments and storefronts. The streets glisten, hissing with sporadic late night traffic. The mouth of a narrow Alley lined with trash containers and fire escapes. From a recessed doorway, two filthy legs sprawl out onto the wet pavement.

An angry, inarticulate drunkard's monlogue rises occasionally above the rain sounds. The derelict rouses from his bitter stupor as a brilliant purple glare lights up the wet brickwork around him. A shockwave hurls trash into the air. Painted over windows shatter. Rats scurry, blinded.


A figure drops into frame as if out of the sky and smacks the pavement with a muddy splash. Derelict, as he blinks at the fading glare, amazed. A naked man, compact and muscular, rises in a defensive crouch. Kyle Reese is 22, but his face has been aged by ordeal, the mouth hard, eyes grim. A crinkled burn scar traverses one side of his face from chin to forehead. Other scars, from burns and bullets, mar his hard-muscled body.


The rain washes a fine coating of white ash from his skin as electrical arcs lace back and forth between the fire escapes behind him, hissing and sputtering. The sound fades, then stops altogether, to be replaced by a rising scream of animal agony. Reese lurches to his feet and sprints across the Alley. Reese leaps to the fire escape and clambers up to the first landing to crouch beside another naked man who appears to be entangled in the ironwork.

The man is contorted with pain as his screams die to a shivering gasp. He has been skewered through the abdomen by the horizontal iron slats and through the shoulder by a railing. He has materialized in the same space occupied by the fire escape structure. The figure slumps, motionless. Reese quickly checks for signs of life. The man is dead.


Reese descends to the Alley floor and crosses to the drunk huddled in the doorway. A pair of flamboyantly dressed women, obviously working girls, passes by the Alley mouth. They do a double take when they see Reese, but walk on without breaking stride, completely jaded. He's certainly not a potential customer. Reese crouches down as if to speak to the drunk.

DERELICT: Say, buddy...did you see a real bright light?


A brilliant white glare stabs into the Alley mouth as an LAPD cruiser glides slowly by on the street. The searchlight illuminates the figure of Reese, crouching over the sprawled drunk, just pulling on the other's trousers. The cruiser chirps to a stop. The doors fly open and two cops leap out.

FIRST COP: Hold it, right there!


Reese hitches his pants and bolt like a shot. The cops draw their guns and race into the Alley after him. Reese rushes through the narrow Alley. He vaults a pile of tumbled trashcans. Whips around a corner. Leaps the hood of a parked car in the cross alley. Cops snake through the night maze.


Reese hits a chain link gate at a dead run and scrambles over it. Skidding to a stop at the corner in time to see Reese vault the fence. They separate. The second Cop he runs to the gate. Reese, running full tilt, displaying incredible agility, the alley walls blur by. The view of a hot-wired rat in an urban maze. Reese sprints and turns, alternately front-lit, side-lit and silhouetted as the electric glare of the city wheels about him.


Reese rounds a corner on the run. Running towards him is a cop, gun aimed. Without slowing, Reese leaps toward him, twisting in mid-air like a cat. The cop fires. Misses. Goes down under Reese's tackle. Before they even come to rest Reese snatches the cop's gun, aiming it at the other's face two-handed.

REESE: What day is it? The date...

COP: Thursday...uh...May twelfth.

REESE (viciously): What year?

Reese flashes through intermittent cross-lighting. Another unit arrives out front and Reese melts back into the Alley, only to see a cop round the corner behind him. Sandwiched. Reese crashes into a steel door, rending the lock, and vanishes into the darkness within. The newly arrived cops are a K-9 unit. They open the back door of the squad car to release a large black Doberman.


Department store: Reese finds himself among the display racks of a discount department store. A searchlight stabs in the front window as he dashes into the maze of aisles. Three cops enter behind him through the shattered door. Reese crab-runs low among the moving shadows where flashlights quarter the darkness. He bolts the open space behind a display window. Sees the outside searchlight sweep toward him.

Reese, his feral face frozen among the smooth-featured, smiling mannequins. As the light passes, Reese silently moves on. A Cop, passing the end of a long aisle B.G. while in the F.G. a hand enters frame, removing a knit shirt from a hanger. Reese slips the shirt on quietly and does a fast crab-walk across the aisles to melt into the other racks and shadows.

Department store/aisle: With a shocking growl the police dog hurtles out of the shadows, leaping right at camera. Reese and dog, a dark blur with teeth, extremely Doberman, flies toward Reese. He spins. Catches it by the throat in mid-air. Arcs it to the floor with unflinching precision. Doberman, suddenly on its back and held by the throat, the dog yelps and stares at Reese, who leans very close.


Inches from its eyes he fixes it with a gaze of uncompromising dominance. Some ancient communication seems to pass between the two. Reese releases the animal and turns his back on it, selecting a long overcoat from a rack. The dog backs away from him, stiff-legged and confused. A shot whines off the metal side of an escalator behind Reese's head. He vaults the escalator rail, leaving the amazed cop lying on the floor.

Reese bounds up the frozen steps, pocketing the .38 Police Special in his coat. Cops dash through the maze of aisles, converging at the escalators. Reese hurtles between displays. He stops for a moment beside a rack of shoes. Slaps one of a pair of tennis shoes sole-to-sole against his bare foot. Too small. Another. Holding the shoes he runs on.

Second floor fire escape landing: A door opens quietly and Reese slips out. He moves like a panther along the narrow catwalk. Tilt down to include the first LAPD cruiser parked at the mouth of the Alley. Reese drops cat-like beside the unattended police car. Cautiously, he opens the door of the cruiser, removes the Riot Gun, an Ithaca pump model, from the dash rack and slips it under his coat.


Cradled in a vertical position, the shortened weapon is virtually invisible. He walks out onto the street and away, unhurriedly, an innocuous pedestrian soon lost in the rain.


Steet/nearby: Reese enters a telephone booth. Harsh light rakes across his face, outlining the long scar. He opens the directory, leafs through it.


Angle - Macro on page, Reese's finger slides down a column. Stops beside the following listings in the big metropolitan white pages: Connor, Sarah; Connor, Sarah Ann; Connor, Sarah J.




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