SCRIPT: "TERMINATOR" by James Cameron


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Reese and Sarah pelt down the narrow corridor, fling open the outside door and spin out into the alley. The door at the far end splinters open and Terminator sprints down the corridor. Terminator, very fast, as he runs full-throttle. He clears the outer door and runs out into the alley. Two LAPD units arrive behind them. He motions to the nearest one.


Outside the bar entrance, Vukovich's plain car arrives, slewing to a stop in the glass-littered street in front of the blazing building. He leaps out, Traxler right in behind him.

VUKOVICH (shouting): What the fuck is going on? . . . . . Cover the alley in back.

He heads for the inferno at a run. Reese and Sarah run through the dark alley. Sarah stumbles over trashcans. Reese pulls her along mercilessly. Whip-panning as they clear a corner. The B.G. is a blur. The night-maze is a blur in all of these shots. No static angles. Relentless forward motion. In the alley, behind them Terminator is moving with inhuman speed, bounding like a panther, leaping trash cans and other obstacles.


Terminator, catching the faintest glimpse of a red glow in the pupils of his eyes as he passes through total shadow. Terminator's POV, Sarah and Reese are just ahead of us. But the image is bizarre, alien. Bright and hyper-real. There is a hint of digitization, and the fleeing figures ahead are more luminous than the background, suggesting infra-red.

The margins of the frame are crammed with columns of CRT-type characters: columns of numbers and acronyms. The data changes more rapidly than any human eye could follow. There is no doubt that we are seeing as a machine would see. The sound effects are bright and clear, as if they are digitized and enhanced as well. Reese and Sarah turn a corner by caroming off the wall without slowing and pelt down a narrower alley.

This one is lined with a row of parked cars and connects to the street. There is little room to run. Reese is reloading on the run, dropping shells. Behind them Terminator enters the alley, gaining. Low angle, fast panaglide ahead of the fleeing pair. As they breast the last car Reese shoves Sarah hard, pitching her on her face to the pavement. He flings open the car door...a shield. Drops to the ground.


Reese fires into the gas tank of a car further back in the row just before Terminator reaches it. The car explodes, filling the alley with fire. An inferno funneled between the enclosing walls. Reese and Sarah are behind the car door as flames roar over the hood. As Terminator slides to a stop, he is cut off by the wall of flame. Reese doesn't waste any time stuffing Sarah into the car.


Climbing in after and over her he twists two wires together and we recognize it as his stolen grey sedan. The engine catches. A silhouette rockets out of the flames. Terminator, leaping from the roof of the blazing car ahead, impacts on the hood of Reese's car. His hair and coat are burning. In the sedan, Reese jams reverse and nails the throttle. The car backs down the alley. Terminator draws back his fist. Punches into the windshield.


Inside, Sarah is sprayed with glass as the killer's fist shoots through. The lacerated fingers grope for her. Wide as the car shoots backwards out of the alley onto the street, narrowly missing an arriving LAPD cruiser. Sarah plasters herself tightly into the seat as the fingers grasp her blouse and pull. Reese cranks the wheel hard. The sedan skids, slewing sideways into a parked car. Terminator rolls down off onto the pavement.


Reese's car shoots forward. Panning with sedan as it roars past Vukovich, the gathering minions of the burning building, an arriving fire truck...shoots through a red light and continues to accelerate. Terminator gets to a kneeling position, then slowly stands. He pats out his smoldering clothing as he watches his quarry escape. In the street, Vukovich runs to his car, exhorting the nearby LAPD guys to give pursuit, while Traxler grabs the radio.

VUKOVICH (shouting): Go! Go! He's got her.

TRAXLER (overlapping): Suspect westbound on Olympic. Grey sedan. Has hostage, repeat...

Low wide angle on the empty street, which is narrow and tightly lines with parked cars. The roar of an engine builds. The sedan, like a night-demon, hurtles out of the shadows with its lights off, doing ninety plus. In the sedan, Sarah is in a daze. Paralyzed. Face bloodless. She is shivering silently, uncontrollably. Her eyes are wide, and it seems likely that she doesn't quite comprehend the roaring blur outside her window.

REESE (calmly): Hold on.


The sedan hurtles around a corner in an expertly controlled slide. Then a high speed sprint down the cross-street. Reese squirrels the vehicle between a slow-moving car ahead and oncoming traffic. A dive into another dark side street. Reese drives with total, nerveless absorption. His eyes flick to the mirror, to the road, over his shoulder, back ...and the world spins outside. With occasional glances to Sarah, he speaks to her in a clipped, military voice.

REESE: Are you injured? Are you shot?

No response. He reaches over and runs his hands over her arms, legs, chest. Sarah flinches. She feels the blind panic boiling up within her. She pushes his hand away and opens the door. Reese slams her back in the seat and slaps her. Hard.

REESE (continuing): Do exactly what I say. Exactly. Don't move unless I say. Don't make a sound unless I say. Do you understand?

As he speaks he is locking the door and fastening Sarah's seatbelt over her, cinching it very tightly, like you would for a child. She doesn't answer.

REESE (continuing/shouting): Do you understand?

SARAH (a whisper): Yes. Don't hurt me.


REESE: I'm here to help you. Reese, Sergeant/Tech-Com, DN38416...

Sarah stares numbly at his outstretched hand. With zero strength she automatically returns his handshake.

REESE (continuing): Assigned to protect you. You've been targetted for termination.

The walls of a narrow alley, inky black, frame a police cruiser parked on the street beyond. Firelight from the back of Technoir's lights the street garishly. A young cop stands beside the car talking via radio with the mike cord pulled through the side window. He speaks with a distinctive twang--a displaced southerner.

COP: ...I don't know, it looks like it might spread to this furniture warehouse across the alley, the paint on the wall's starting to blister up...

The sweeping headlights of a turning car momentarily illuminate the face of Terminator, motionless in the dark right in front of us. Eyes open. Listening.

COP (continuing): Better get another truck round to this side.

Terminator's silhouette emerges from the blackness and strides purposefully toward the cop. The officer whirls and reaches for his gun but Terminator flings him brutally into the side of the car, steps over him and opens the door. Before getting in he notes the unit number on the roof: 143. Then he slides behind the wheel, slips the squad car into gear, and pulls out. He accelerates rapidly, until the lines across the street are flashing under it in a staccato rhythm.

CUT TO GREY SEDAN - NIGHT: Sarah is slumped way down in the seat, turned away from the window, trying not to see the landscape reeling outside.

SARAH (hoarse whisper): This is a mistake. I haven't done anything.

REESE: No. But you will. It's very important that you live.

Sarah closes her eyes, as if to shut it all out.

SARAH: I can't believe this is happening. How could than man get up after you...

Reese's tone is equal parts hatred and respect as he replies.

REESE: Not a man. A Terminator. Cyber Dynamics Model 101.

CUT TO SQUAD CAR - NIGHT: Terminator drives expressionlessly, monitoring the babble from Central Dispatch. He hears his number.

DISPATCHER (V.O.) (filtered): ...Suspect vehicle sighted on Motor at Pico, southbound. Units Two-Zero-Six and Five-Seven, attempt intercept. Unit One-Four-Three, come in.

Terminator picks up the mike. He speaks in a simulation of the young cop's southern twang.

TERMINATOR: This is One-Four-Three. Westbound on Olympic, approaching Overland.

CUT TO SANTA MONICA FREEWAY - NIGHT: The grey sedan moves through traffic like a hell-bent wraith. Reese has the hammer down. He handles the car with nerves of steel.

CUT TO POLICE HELICOPTER - NIGHT: Below, Reese's sedan snakes along at 110 plus. The chopper, F.G., drops toward it.

PILOT (V.O.) (filtered): Air-unit Two. We're on him. Westbound Santa Monica at 405.

CUT TO GREY SEDAN - NIGHT

SARAH: A machine? You mean, like a robot?

REESE Not a robot. Cyborg.: Cybernetic Organism.

They have to yell over the roar of air through the broken windshield.

SARAH: But...he was bleeding.

At that moment a blinding light sears down on them from above. Reese looks over his left shoulder and sees a CHP cruiser coming alongside.

REESE: Just a second. Keep your head down.




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