This is a monster movie, and the monster's role fits Mr. Schwarzenegger just fine.
Janet Maslin - New York Times
As a souvenir of a kind of B-grade action cinema that has all but vanished, The Terminator should find a small place in the heart of every movie addict.
Dave Kehr - Chicago Reader
The Terminator is a blazing, cinematic comic book, full of virtuoso moviemaking, terrific momentum, solid performances and a compelling story.
Dean Essner - Variety
An efficient, cold-blooded sci-fi splatter movie that never makes the mistake of forgetting that on some level it is deeply ridiculous.
Jay Scott - Globe and Mail
The movie's strength is that, like The Matrix, it combines action with ideas.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
As for Schwarzenegger, he nicely fleshes out the convention of a soulless gun for hire. With his choppy hair, cryptic shades and state-of-the-'80s leather ensemble, he looks like the Incredible Hulk gone punk.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
Still a toss-up between The Terminator and Aliens as to which James Cameron picture ranks as his best, this propulsively exciting yarn about a murderous cyborg has long staked its claim as a classic -- science fiction or otherwise -- for the ages.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Still one of the most harrowing science fiction films in James Cameron's repertoire...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Remains a surprisingly meditative work, its concentrated visceral bursts not unlike punctuation marks among something more brooding, even prayerful.
Rob Humanick - Slant Magazine
Throughout his extraordinary, legend in his own time career, James Cameron has done very little that cannot be legitimately considered well ahead of its time.
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
I remain perpetually amazed by how magnificently Cameron keeps the tension up... there is not a single moment that isn't operating at 100%.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
A cyberpunk picture that flirts with emotional resonance but mostly focuses on the gut...testosterone-fueled, estrogen-boosted action melodrama.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
A brilliant sci-fi film that cleverly combines strong storytelling with suspense and killer set-pieces.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
James Cameron's fast-paced, downright propulsive directorial sensibilities ensure that there are few lulls within the narrative.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
"TECH%u2022NOIR" indeed. He's a futuristic machine and this movie is pitch black with menace.
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
The original and best film from the franchise -- iconic, heady, dark and exciting.
Dean Essner - Film4
It's a work of pulp art to see the future guv of California rip out someone's heart.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Gritty, clever, breathlessly paced, and dynamic despite the dark shadow of doom cast over the story, this sci-fi thriller remains one of the defining American films of the 1980s.
Sean Axmaker - Turner Classic Movies Online
A sci-fi actioner as relentless as its cyborg title character. The megabudget sequels are very good, but the low-budget original is still the best.
Chuck O'Leary - FulvueDrive-in.com
More than enough violence to make it a profoundly moral film; and Arnold's a whizz.
Geoff Andrew - Time Out
Arguably among the very best science-fiction contemporaries.
Greg Muskewitz - eFilmCritic.com
Greg Maki - Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
The movie's scares are intense, but the notion that the Terminator would move on to politics is even more frightening.
Luke Y. Thompson - New Times
Michelle Alexandria - Eclipse Magazine
Jon Niccum - Lawrence Journal-World
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
This was the film that demonstrated to the dubious everyone that the musclebound fellow with that outrageous accent might be more than just another passing blip on our pop culture radar screens.
Dean Essner - TV Guide's Movie Guide
At the end of both movies, I find myself overcome by an extraordinary swell of emotion.
Ian Waldron-Mantgani - UK Critic
The birth of a genre unto itself, followed by an even more ambitious sequel.
Brian Mckay - eFilmCritic.com
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Josh Gilchrist - Billings Outpost (Montana)
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
The film that put James Cameron on the map and made Arnold Schwarzenegger an international star, The Terminator is a high-potency distillation of a bunch of sci-fi concepts into one package.
James Rocchi - Netflix
This rip-roaring action adventure has already carved out its niche as one of the major hits of the pre-Christmas season. And with good reason.
Dean Essner - Boxoffice Magazine
A surprisingly vicious little film, filled with indiscriminate, un-PC killings and a rough-edged feel that makes it utterly compelling.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
While many feel the sequel is superior, I'd contend that T2 was merely more expensive. If you're building a sci-fi collection, this one should be on your Top Ten list.
Scott Weinberg - Apollo Guide
The ingeniousness of The Terminator is in giving us one of the most memorable and brilliant villains ever printed on celluloid.
Max Messier - Filmcritic.com
The Terminator was James Cameron's second film and remains his most crisply written in every respect.
Bill Chambers - Film Freak Central
seamlessly melds the best narrative mind tricks of science fiction literature with the visceral violence of the best action movies
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
...remains the quintessential Schwarzenegger movie...a high-octane, tech-noir adventure.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
One of the most effective science fiction films of recent decades.
George Perry - BBC
A tense, slickly executed thriller, which sent a relatively unknown Austrian bodybuilder screaming into the world's spotlight.
Mark Dinning - Empire Magazine
The Terminator (1984), the first of two science-fiction action-thriller films, is considered by most film reviewers to be a better-crafted film..
Tim Dirks - Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
[An] excellent piece of science fiction cinema.
Dragan Antulov - rec.arts.movies.reviews
To my mind better than its successor (for pure freshness) this film shows a keen understanding and love of the sci-fi genre.
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
The body-building actor scores by combining his iconic physique with a compellingly told story that requires him to speak very little dialogue.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle