Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, commonly abbreviated as T2, is a 1991 action / science fiction film directed, co-written and co-produced by James Cameron. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick. It picks up around ten years after the events of The Terminator, and follows Sarah Connor, her 10-year-old son John, and a protector from the future (as in the first film), as they try to prevent Judgment Day, a day in the future when machines will begin to exterminate the human race.

T2 was a significant box office and critical success. It had an impact on popular culture, and is considered by many to be hugely influential in the genres of action and science fiction. The film's visual effects include many breakthroughs in computer-generated effects, marking the first use of natural human motion for a CG character and the first computer-generated main character. The film won several awards including four Academy Awards for makeup, sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects.


Over ten years after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) destroyed the original Terminator that was programmed to kill her, two men arrive in Los Angeles from the year 2029. The first is a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) identical to the one that Sarah first encountered, while the second is an unknown man (Robert Patrick). John Connor (Edward Furlong) is now living with foster parents. He has grown up being told by his mother that he would someday lead the remnants of the human race to victory against the machines. Sarah's experiences have significantly changed who she is, making her tougher and more vigilant, but also more desperate to warn humanity about the threat of the war of the machines. While previously attempting to destroy the headquarters of a computer company, Sarah was arrested and remanded to the Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

Meanwhile, the Terminator and the unknown man eventually locate John Connor. (According to the filmmakers, this was intended as a crucial plot twist: the unknown man is not a human nor Connor's protector, as the filmmakers wanted the audience to assume based on the first film.) The killing machine from the first film is now the protector, and the other "man" is another Terminator programmed to kill John. When the good Terminator rescues John, he reveals what is happening. He is a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, reprogrammed by the future John Connor to act as his protector. The other Terminator is a T-1000, an advanced new prototype, programmed to kill John. It is made of "a mimetic polyalloy", essentially liquid metal, allowing it to emulate almost anyone or anything of equal size.

When John learns that the T-1000 will likely copy Sarah and then kill her, he and the Terminator go to rescue her. Initially, Sarah is terrified by the Terminator, but after seeing it fight off the T-1000, she accepts that they need its help. As they escape the city, the Terminator tells her about the future of Skynet, the sentient computer that will destroy humans. He tells her about its creator, Miles Bennett Dyson (Joe Morton), who designs a learning computer that launches nuclear missiles to destroy most of humanity, an event referred to by the survivors as "Judgment Day".

Eventually, Sarah, John, and the Terminator arrive in the desert at the camp of Enrique Salceda, who has preserved an underground weapons cache in the event that the war actually happens. Sarah plans to take John and flee over the border into Mexico. During the time at this camp, John bonds more closely with the Terminator. Sarah soon believes that by killing Dyson she can prevent Skynet from being invented, preventing Judgment Day and the war with the machines. After she leaves, John and the Terminator figure out what she is going to do and drive after her. At Dyson's home, Sarah shoots him in the arm, but finds herself unable to kill him in front of his family. When John and the Terminator arrive, they inform Dyson of the consequences of his research. They convince him that they must destroy everything related to his chip design including the CPU and arm from the previous Terminator.

Sarah, John, the Terminator, and Dyson break into the Cyberdyne Systems building and retrieve the parts from the first Terminator. While preparing explosives to destroy all of Dyson's research, security alerts the police who show up in force. When the SWAT team enters the building, they fatally shoot Dyson who stays behind to trigger the detonator. Sarah, John, and the Terminator escape in a SWAT van, with the T-1000 in pursuit, first in a helicopter then a liquid nitrogen truck. The truck crashes into a steel mill, causing the tank to rupture and liquid nitrogen to spill everywhere, freezing the T-1000. Even though the Terminator shatters him, the pieces thaw and reassemble. The T-1000 and Model 101 begin to fight, and the T-1000 stabs him through the power cell with a metal pole, deactivating him. The T-1000, disguised as Sarah, goes to hunt John. As John is confronted by two Sarahs, the Terminator, who had reactivated itself using an alternate power source, finally destroys the T-1000 by shooting it with a grenade launcher which causes it to deform and lose balance, and ultimately fall into a vat of molten metal which destroys it.

After John throws the parts from the first Terminator into the molten metal, the Terminator tells him that he too must be destroyed to prevent his technology from being used to create Skynet. He tells Sarah that he cannot self-terminate, and she must lower him into the steel. John tearfully begs the Terminator not to leave, but the Terminator insists it must be done. As he sinks into the molten steel, he gives a thumbs up. The film ends with a voiceover from Sarah, in which she describes her newfound optimism regarding the future.


Linda Hamilton's twin sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren doubled in the film as the T-1000 Sarah, a young Sarah in a dream sequence, and Sarah Connor's mirror reflection in a deleted scene. Billy Idol was Cameron's original choice for the T-1000, and had drawn storyboards to resemble him, but he could not accept the role following a motorcycle accident. Blackie Lawless was also considered for the role, but was rejected for being slightly taller than Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Shooting began on October 9, 1990, and was completed on April 4 1991. The film won four Academy Awards: (Best Sound, Best Make Up, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Editing). Most of the key Terminator effects were provided by Industrial Light & Magic for computer graphics and Stan Winston for practical effects. The external shots of Cyberdyne Systems Corporation were filmed on location at an office building in Fremont, California.

According to the "Extreme Edition" DVD special features, Linda Hamilton's twin sister Leslie was used in scenes that required two Sarahs. She is the mirror image of Sarah in the scene where they open up the Terminator's head, and in the scene where the T-1000 impersonates Sarah, she is whichever one is farthest from the camera, alternating between the real Sarah and the T-1000 based on camera position. Another set of twins, Don and Dan Stanton, were used to play the mental hospital security guard and the T-1000 copying him.

It was also mentioned in one of the DVD special features that James Cameron nearly removed Edward Furlong from the project after Furlong messed up his lines out of nervousness from being in the same scene as Linda Hamilton, in a scene that was ultimately deleted (in which the Connors attempt to reboot the Terminator), but Cameron was persuaded by casting director Mali Finn to give Furlong one more chance. At that point, Furlong was able to deliver his lines without any problems. The scene is available in the Extreme and Ultimate editions of the DVD.

The sawed-off shotgun used by Schwarzenegger throughout the film was a modified Winchester Model 1901 10ga lever-action shotgun, modified especially for the film to allow it to be "flip-cocked" by the actor in several of the film's scenes.


Box office

The movie was made for approximately $100 million, and at the time was the most expensive movie ever made. It was a box-office success, earning $204.8 million in the United States alone, and was the highest grossing film of 1991, beating Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The original Terminator grossed only $38 million in the U.S. in its theatrical run, (against only a $6 million budget), making Terminator 2's 434% increase a record for a sequel.

Upon its release, the theatrical cut ran 137 minutes. On November 24, 1993, the Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Special Edition cut of the film was released to Laserdisc and VHS, containing 17 minutes of never-before-seen footage including scenes with Michael Biehn reprising his role as Kyle Reese in a dream sequence. The subsequent "Ultimate Edition" and "Extreme Edition" DVD releases also contain this version of the film.

Critical reception

The Montreal Film Journal calls it "one of the best crafted Hollywood action flicks. Screenwriting guru Syd Field lauds the plot of Terminator 2, saying, for example, "every scene sets up the next, like links in a chain of dramatic action. The film was placed #33 on Total Film's 2006 list of The Top 100 Films of All Time.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, according to popular review aggregator websites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

In 2003, The American Film Institute released its list of the 100 greatest screen heroes and villains of all time. The Terminator appeared as number 48 on the list of heroes for its appearance in T2, as well as number 22 on the list of villains for its appearance in the first Terminator. This is the only instance where the "same" character appears on both lists, though technically they are different characters based on the same model. During the 2008 AFI's 10 Top 10, it was voted the eighth best science fiction film ever made.

Home video

Three versions of the film exist: the Theatrical cut, a "Special Edition" of the film for Laserdisc, VHS and DVD and an "Extended Special Edition" available only as an Easter egg on the Ultimate Edition DVD. The "Extended Special Edition" was titled the director's cut on the European HD DVD release.

The special edition has been the same from release to release, with all the scenes that Cameron reinserted intact. There are, however, two scenes that Cameron shot but chose not to reinsert into the film which have been included as an accessible extra on most "Special Edition" releases. The first scene shows the T-1000's tactile approach to acquiring information about the physical world, "scanning" John's room with its fingertips, and eventually finding a hidden shoebox containing pictures and tapes of Sarah, seen at the end of the first film. The second scene is an alternate ending set in 2027 with an aged Sarah Connor reflecting on how Judgment Day was averted. The addition of these scenes is the only difference between the "Special Edition" and the "Extended Special Edition". This version can be accessed by pressing 8, 2, 9, 9, 7 (based on August 29, 1997, the date of Judgment Day) on the main menu of the DVD. The easter egg is only functional on the Ultimate Edition DVD (no longer produced); however, these scenes can be accessed at a certain point in the film with the interactive mode on the Extreme DVD. In addition, the Extreme edition contains several easter eggs, which include access to the theatrical version of the movie, and a preview for the Ultimate Edition DVD.

Other media

The film was adapted by Marvel Comics as a three issue miniseries, which was collected into a trade paperback. Following the film, an attraction at Universal Studios Theme Parks, entitled T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, was directed by James Cameron and reunited the original T2 cast. Terminator 2 was later followed by a sequel, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and a TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Prior to the release of T3, there were several sequel books including T2: Infiltrator by S.M. Stirling and The New John Connor Chronicles by Russell Blackford.


  1. "Main Title (Terminator 2 Theme)"
  2. "Sarah on the Run"
  3. "Escape from the Hospital (and T1000)"
  4. "Desert Suite"
  5. "Sarah's Dream (Nuclear Nightmare)"
  6. "Attack on Dyson (Sarah's Solution)"
  7. "Our Gang goes to CyberDyne"
  8. "Trust Me"
  9. "John and Dyson into Vault"
  10. "SWAT Team Attacks"
  11. "I'll Be Back"
  12. "Helicopter Chase"
  13. "Tanker Chase"
  14. "Hasta La Vista, Baby (T1000 Freezes)"
  15. "Into the Steel Mill"
  16. "Cameron's Inferno"
  17. "Terminator Impaled"
  18. "Terminator Revives"
  19. "T-1000 Terminated"
  20. "It's Over ('Good-Bye')"

Songs that weren't included within the release of the soundtrack:

See also


External links

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