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Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Director: James Cameron (Dir)
Release Date:   1991
Duration (in mins):  135
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Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger  (The Terminator)
  Linda Hamilton  (Sarah Connor)
  Robert Patrick  (T-1000)

Summary: Sarah Connor explains that a nuclear blast killed more than three billion people in 1997. In present-day 2029, survivors wage war against machines controlled by a computer named Skynet. Sarah recounts that Skynet sent two machines, called Terminators, back in time to destroy the human resistance leader, her son, John Connor. The first Terminator attempted to kill Sarah in 1984, before John was born, but failed. The second Terminator was sent to kill John as a young boy; however, the human resistance sent their own Terminator to protect him. In 1995, in Los Angeles, California, a Terminator, resembling a naked man, is transported to a parking lot outside a bar. The Terminator walks inside and is met with laughter and hostility. After stabbing one of the patrons with his own knife, the Terminator takes another patron’s clothing, a motorcycle, and a shotgun. The same night, a second Terminator, the T-1000, arrives, kills a police officer, and steals his patrol car and uniform. In the morning, John Connor works on his motorbike. Though his foster parents, Todd and Janelle Voight, order John to clean his room, he speeds away with his friend, Tim. At Pescadero State Hospital, a "Criminally Disordered Retention Facility," Sarah Connor exercises in her cell while Dr. Silberman leads a group of medical professionals on a tour of the facility. Approaching Sarah’s cell, Silberman describes her condition as “acute schizoaffective disorder,” saying she believes a machine was sent back in time to kill her while the father of her child, a soldier, was sent back simultaneously to protect her. The T-1000, dressed as a policeman, arrives at the Voight residence to question John's foster parents and obtains a picture of the boy. Meanwhile, John hacks into an automated teller machine to steal cash, telling Tim that Sarah taught him the trick. In an office building, Miles Dyson, a leading scientist with Cyberdyne Systems, examines a robotic arm and central processing unit in glass cases; unbeknownst to him, the items are relics of the 1984 Terminator. At an arcade in a shopping mall, John and Tim play games, while the Terminators close in on the boy. The T-1000 appears in the arcade, and John escapes to a hallway where he sees the Terminator brandishing a shotgun. As the Terminator and the T-1000 exchange fire, the Terminator pushes John to safety and shoots the other machine multiple times; however, the T-1000 quickly recovers. John runs to his motorbike and rides away, pursued by the Terminator on a motorcycle and the T-1000 in a stolen tow-truck. Riding onto an overflow channel, the Terminator pulls John onto the motorcycle while shooting at the tow-truck. The T-1000 crashes into an overpass and the truck explodes, allowing the Terminator to ride away with John. Moments later, the T-1000 emerges from the flames unharmed, re-forming into human shape. At the side of the road, John confirms that the Terminator has come to protect him, realizing that his mother’s beliefs about the future were true. He learns that the Terminator’s body is “living tissue over metal endoskeleton” and the T-1000 is a newer prototype, made of liquid metal. That evening, John calls the Voights to warn them about the T-1000, but when Janelle answers the phone, he senses that she seems different. In fact, the T-1000 has killed Janelle and assumed her form, and proceeds to kill Todd while talking on the phone. The Terminator deduces that John is speaking to the T-1000 and hangs up, explaining to the boy that Terminators can imitate any living thing of approximately the same size. At the hospital, police show Sarah pictures of the Terminator in 1984 and at the mall earlier that day, identifying the Terminator as her son’s kidnapper. She says nothing, but steals a paper clip. Realizing that the T-1000 will go after his mother next, John insists that he and the Terminator save Sarah. The Terminator rejects the idea and they argue. John discovers that the machine must obey his orders without question after he screams for the Terminator to let him go and the machine immediately drops him. Hearing the screams, two men in an adjacent parking lot offer to help the boy, but John rudely dismisses them and they insult him in return. When he orders it to take care of them, the Terminator wields a gun but John shoves it away. After the men run to safety, John informs the Terminator that killing people is unacceptable. That night, Sarah uses the paper clip to escape from her room. The T-1000 arrives at the hospital and assumes the identity of a policeman who patrols the building and then kills him. Fighting off nurses and guards, Sarah attacks Silberman and fills a syringe with Liquid Rooter. Moments later, John and the Terminator gain access to the hospital after the Terminator shoots a guard in the knees, careful not to kill him. Plunging the syringe into his neck, Sarah takes Silberman hostage and makes her way through the hospital. A guard grabs the syringe and frees the doctor, and Sarah runs away. At the end of a hallway, the Terminator emerges and Sarah runs in the other direction. Guards subdue her, but the Terminator fights them off and John arrives, assuring his mother that the Terminator will help them. The T-1000 appears and chases Sarah, John, and the Terminator to a parking garage where they steal a police car. Pursuing them on foot, the T-1000 climbs aboard the car, but the Terminator shoots it off. Sarah scolds her son for risking his life to save her. John cries and the Terminator asks what is wrong with his eyes. At a closed auto repair shop, the Terminator stitches a cut for Sarah and she removes the bullets from the Terminator’s back. When John suggests the Terminator behave more like a human, he learns that the machine is in “read-only” mode. To reverse the “read-only” mode, Sarah unscrews a port built into the Terminator’s skull and removes a central processing unit. Though she wants to destroy the computer altogether, John stops her, insisting he needs the Terminator. The next morning, John teaches the Terminator colloquialisms such as “no problemo” and “hasta la vista, baby.” The Terminator informs Sarah that Miles Dyson will soon invent a microprocessor that allows stealth bombers to fly unmanned. Dyson’s employer, Cyberdyne Systems, will use the microprocessor to innovate military technology, resulting in the creation of the machines ultimately controlled by Skynet. The Terminator states that the machines become “self-aware,” and when humans attempt to shut them down, Skynet will bomb Russia in retaliation. Russia will respond by attacking with a nuclear bomb on August 29, 1997. In Mexico, Sarah, John, and the Terminator arrive at a camp and meet Sarah’s militant friend, Enrique Salceda. They obtain an arsenal of weapons, clothes, and a new vehicle. John bonds with the Terminator and talks about his nomadic childhood and the rogue military training to which Sarah subjected him. After a nightmare about the nuclear blast, Sarah awakens, determined to kill Dyson before he invents the microprocessor. She leaves John and the Terminator behind, but they soon follow. Outside Dyson’s home, Sarah shoots through the window and pursues the scientist inside, shooting him in the shoulder; however, when she takes aim at the fallen Dyson, she cannot bring herself to execute him. The Terminator and John arrive, and the Terminator explains to Dyson the catastrophic consequences of his invention. Convinced, Dyson agrees to help them destroy Cyberdyne Systems in order to save humanity. Fully armed, they arrive at Cyberdyne’s offices, subdue the night watchman, and break into the lab. A security guard sounds a silent alarm, and police swarm the building. Dyson and John retrieve the previous Terminator's arm and central processing unit from their glass cases. The group disperses explosives throughout the lab, and Dyson grabs the detonator as they leave. At that moment, police arrive and open fire, hitting Dyson multiple times. Sarah, John and the Terminator escape, but Dyson remains behind. As he dies, he strikes the detonator, causing the lab to explode. John and Sarah take cover in an elevator as the Terminator shoots through the lobby, steals a police van, and crashes into the building to retrieve them. The T-1000 arrives on a police motorcycle and drives up the stairs, spotting his targets from above as they leave in the van. When a helicopter passes, the T-1000 drives out the window, grabs onto the aircraft, and commandeers it. He pursues the van and exchanges gunfire with Sarah, who is shot in the leg. The T-1000 rams the helicopter into the van, and both vehicles crash. Continuing the chase, John, Sarah, and the Terminator hop into a pickup truck, while the T-1000 obtains a large tanker truck filled with liquid nitrogen. John takes the steering wheel as the Terminator climbs aboard the tanker and blasts the T-1000 with bullets. The tanker rolls on its side, and the Terminator jumps off. Sarah and John drive inside a steel mill and crash; nearby, the tanker also skids to a stop. The T-1000 exits and steps into spilled liquid nitrogen which causes it to freeze and break apart. The Terminator opens fire, and the T-1000 shatters into frozen shards. The Terminator and John help Sarah, incapacitated by her bullet wound, move through the mill. Extreme heat liquefies the T-1000's frozen shards, and the machine re-forms. In hand-to-hand combat against the T-1000, the Terminator’s arm is trapped under a gear. While the T-1000 pursues John and Sarah, the Terminator breaks free, leaving an arm behind. Sarah lowers John down a shaft before the T-1000 extends its finger into a sharp point and pierces her shoulder. The Terminator appears and beats the T-1000 with a steel bar. In retaliation, the T-1000 rams the bar through the Terminator’s body, causing the Terminator’s system to shut down. However, shortly after the T-1000 leaves, the Terminator regains power. As the T-1000 approaches John, disguised as Sarah, the real Sarah appears and opens fire. Just as she runs out of ammunition, the Terminator arrives, shooting the T-1000 with a grenade launcher. The T-1000 explodes and falls into a vat of molten metal which destroys the machine. After they dispose of the robotic arm and central processing unit, John becomes upset at the suggestion that the Terminator must now be destroyed. The Terminator expresses a newfound understanding of why people cry. Sarah presses a button to lower the Terminator into the molten metal, and the Terminator signals them with a “thumbs up.”


Distribution Company: Tristar Pictures
Production Company: Carolco
Pacific Western
Lightstorm Entertainment
Director: James Cameron (Dir)
  Gary Davis (2d unit dir)
  Dirk Petersmann (Unit prod mgr)
  J. Michael Haynie (1st asst dir)
  George Parra (1st asst dir, 2d unit)
  Randall Badger (1st asst dir, 2d unit)
  Barry Thomas (1st asst dir, 2d unit)
  Scott Laughlin (Key 2d asst dir)
  Frank Davis (Key 2d asst dir)
  Tony Perez (2d asst dir)
  Dustin Bernard (2d asst dir)
  James Lansbury (2d asst dir)
  Grant Gilmore (2d asst dir, 2d unit)
  David Fudge (2d asst dir, 2d unit)
  Xochi Blymyer (2d 2d asst dir)
Producer: James Cameron (Prod)
  Gale Anne Hurd (Exec prod)
  Mario Kassar (Exec prod/Pres)
  B. J. Rack (Co-prod)
  Stephanie Austin (Co-prod)
Writer: James Cameron (Wrt)
  William Wisher (Wrt)

Subject Major: Computers
  Nuclear warfare
  Resistance movements, War
  Search and rescue operations
  Time travel
Subject Minor: Ammunition
  Atomic bomb
  Automobile chases
  Foster parents
  Impersonation and imposture
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Mental illness
  Military intelligence
  Mothers and sons
  Multiple murderers
  Steel mills
  The Future

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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