SCRIPT: "TERMINATOR" by James Cameron


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Street/construction sight: On a side street the girls pass an excavation site between high-rises. They pass out of frame as camera holds on the construction area and Ginger's shrieks fade. In the F.G., under an overpass, Reese sits is a car watching the powerful machines moving earth. He's in a late-model non-descript grey sedan, one of a row of cars gathering dirt beside the construction site.

Crab-armed back-hoes and massive caterpillars ROAR through curtain of dust, under intense floodlights. A power-shovel moves its great arm, lighting its own way with an arc-light. Reese sits motionless in the dark. Waiting. The clock in the dash ticks quietly. He flips on the radio. A fatuous pop rock station. Reese fishes a magazine off the dirty floor. His overcoat is off, draped over the shotgun on the seat beside him.


His bare arms are sinewy and scarred. Reese flips the page of Cosmopolitan. He look at the glossy photos, the glossy women. Fantasy women. Svelte and seamless. The ads fascinate him too: Caribbean vacations and blended whiskeys. His head sags against the door. He gazes dully at the tracks of a passing Caterpillar as they chew through the dirt. The road and clatter of treads intensifies as his eyes close.


Meled ruins: Tight on a gleaming steel thread as it grinds through debris. The debris is ferroconcrete, girders, and jackstraw heaps of human bones, burned black. There is the sound of explosions, distant, and an intermittent electronic whine.


Incredibly bright searchlights play over the ground. Panning with the moving treads through twisted wreckage, F.G. The screen whites out with a blast, very close. As the debris clatters down, a helmetted head snaps up into frame, extreme F.G.


The visor of the high-tech helmet is shattered, presumably by the explosion. The wearer rips it off, revealing a younger Reese, minus his burn scar. His face is bathed in sweat, lit by the glow from a CRT scope-sight on a strange-looking rifle. The sound of screams and hoarse shouts not far off, and a continuous low murmuring of radio chatter, grid coordinates, casualties, unit placements, medic requests.


Reese looks over his shoulder at his teammate, a girl of about sixteen, gaunt, dirty, heavily armed like himself. Dollying as they start to belly crawl through the bones and wreckage. Reese looks up. Through spires of a collapsed building a terrifying sphinx-like shape moves against the sky...obscured by dust and blinding sweeps of its searchlights. Though we see little, this is an H-K, Hunter-Killer mobile ground-unit.


Reese crawls, pacing the H-K, under and through, on elbows and knees, past mounds of charred skulls. They pass the body of a child, a boy of about 10, center-punched with a smoking hole. The boy clutches a rifle. More bodies. Some in rags, some in uniforms like theirs. Women. Old men. Children. They're all dirty and gaunt, scabrous. And still bleeding. Reese scrabbles past a dark rat-hole and there are human rats in it.


Some of them are sobbing, or screaming. Another explosion. The glare lights the huddled few. Human vermin with mud-caked weapons that haven't been invented yet. Soldiers in a nightmare war. Reese and his teammate stop behind a blasted wall, having outflanked the massive H-K. Its flashing blue lights flick across the walls, its searchlights sear through the debris.


Wider, showing the H-K more clearly...a blast-scarred chrome leviathon, with hydraulic arms folded mantis-like against its 'torso', and huge underslung gun turrets. Reese leaps up and straight-arms a satchel-charge into its path.


One tread rolls over the explosive. Guns and searchlights swivel. The head turns ponderously. Reese's partner rises, poised to throw hers.


A power-bolt catches her at the top of her arc, blowing her into a red mist. Reese is knocked down by the concussion. Gets up, running, as the charges blow.


The H-K's tread carriers are ripped apart. It lurches to a stop, burning. The following sequence is extremely foreshortened. Cut fast. Impressions only. Running. Explosions light the ruins like flashbulbs. Energy weapons criss-cross the night like tracers. Low angle, up past the burning H-K as its flying counterpart, an Aerial H-K, arcs into view with a turbojet whine.


Reese hauls two survivors of his unit into a personnel carrier, a Chevy Camaro with steel plate welded over it and the roof cut away to access the 50 caliber machine gun. It's stripped and rusted and bullet-riddled, glassless. The tires are off-road and very gnarly.


They're driving through the ruins, up and over and through. Reese drives like a demon. Under other circumstances it would be considered insane. Here it is merely very good. The machine gun chatters. A black shape descends, a demon with searchlights.


A bolt of light. Reese's car flips like a kicked beer can, rolling and crumpling.


He's pinned in the wreck, bloody, screaming despite his training. The only other survivor, an emaciated boy of twelve, is pulling for all he's worth to drag Reese out before it burns. Back at Kyle's sedan, a boy, about twelve, clean and healthy, wearing a blue plastic Dodgers helmet. He reaches through the window of the sedan.

BOY: Hey, mister...?


Reese's eyes open in a split-second, and suddenly there is a shotgun muzzle aimed right at us. Reese quivers with a curious spasm, similar to the tremors of his arrival, and blinks at the boy. The boy is white-faced, staring down the bore. He backs away. We see that he is straddling a bicycle. The boy's sister, slightly younger and also on a bicycle, can't see the shotgun from where she's waiting.

SISTER (taunting): See, I told you he wasn't dead. You owe me Baskin Robbins.

The boy rides past her list a shot.

BOY (urgently): Come on. Just come on.


Reese relaxes slowly, the voltage draining out of him. Reese's finger on the trigger is white with pressure. He slips the safety to the off position. The gun can now be fired. He sets it on the seat and reaches for the dangling ignition wires, starting the car. Lit by streetlights, the car moves away with it lights off and vanishes in the shadows.




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