Today is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the premiere of The Terminator. The film follows a resistance fighter from the year 2029 who travels back in time to protect the future mother of humanity's savior from a cybernetic killer sent by the enemy.
The film became a massive critical and financial success, skyrocketing the careers of everyone involved. It received universally positive reviews, one of the rare movies to have earned a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Though only the twenty-first highest earning film of the year, its modest budget provided the film with an enormous profit. Its unique story and characters quickly went into the popular culture lexicon, most notably the line "I'll be back." The titular villain has ranked among the greatest villains ever created. The film has been listed amongst the best ever made. The Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
The film led to a significant franchise. It includes five sequels including one being released within a week, a television series, theme park attractions, numerous novels and comic books, and several video games. The characters have crossed over with other franchises including Aliens, Predator, Superman, Mortal Kombat, and Gears of War.
It was the subject of a lawsuit by Harlan Ellison, who noted similarities with his script for the 1964 episode "Soldier" of The Outer Limits. Ellison threatened to sue the production company for copyright infringement. The matter was settled out of court and his name was given an "acknowledgment to the works of" in the credits.
The film features the talents of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the titular role, which would become his most iconic role and when he became Governor of California he was given the title of Governator was a tribute. He became the main face of the franchise appearing in all but one film in the franchise, with that one using his likeness superimposed onto another actor. Lance Henriksen was originally going to be cast in the role of the killer cyborg before Schwarzenegger's casting, and was given the lesser role of Detective Hal Vukovich. Paul Winfield would play Vukovich's commanding officer Lieutenant Ed Traxler. Earl Boen played criminal psychiatrist Doctor Peter Silberman and would return for the next two films. Patrick Pinney would appear as a bar customer.