Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Film poster
Directed by James Cameron
Produced by James Cameron
Stephanie Austin
B.J. Rack
Gale Anne Hurd
Mario Kassar
Written by James Cameron
William Wisher Jr.
Narrated by Linda Hamilton
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton
Edward Furlong
Robert Patrick
Music by Brad Fiedel
Cinematography Adam Greenberg
Editing by Conrad Buff
Mark Goldblatt
Richard A. Harris
Studio Carolco Pictures
Lightstorm Entertainment
Distributed by TriStar Pictures (theatrical, 1991-2005)
Walt Disney Pictures (theatrical and all 3-D, 2005-)
Release date(s) July 3, 1991
February 9, 2007 (IMAX and Real D re-release)
Running time 139 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$102 million
Gross revenue $519,843,345
Preceded by The Terminator
Followed by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, commonly abbreviated as T2, is a 1991 science fiction action film directed, co-written and co-produced by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, and Robert Patrick. Set eleven years after the events of The Terminator, it follows Sarah Connor, her 10-year-old son John, and a reprogrammed Terminator from the future as they defend themselves from a T-1000 and attempt to prevent Judgment Day, a future event in which machines will begin to exterminate humanity.

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.[1] 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.[2] The film won several awards including four Academy Awards for makeup, sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects.


In 1995, eleven years after the events of The Terminator, John Connor (Edward Furlong) is ten years old and living in Los Angeles with foster parents. His mother Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) had been preparing him throughout his childhood for his future role as the leader of the human Resistance against Skynet, but she was arrested after attempting to bomb a computer factory and remanded to a hospital for the criminally insane under the supervision of Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen). Skynet sends a new Terminator, a T-1000 (Robert Patrick), back in time to 1995 to kill John. A more advanced prototype than the Terminator that was sent after Sarah, the T-1000 is composed of "a mimetic polyalloy", a liquid metal that allows it to take the shape and appearance of anything it touches. Though it cannot mimic complex machines such as guns or bombs, it can shape parts of itself into knives and stabbing weapons and can mimic the voice and appearance of humans. It assumes the identity of a police officer and goes in pursuit of John. Meanwhile, the future John Connor has sent back a reprogrammed Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), identical to the one that attacked Sarah, to protect his younger self.

The Terminator and the T-1000 converge on John in a mall, and a chase ensues in which John and the Terminator escape by motorcycle. The Terminator explains that he has been programmed to protect and obey John. Fearing that the T-1000 will kill Sarah in order to get to him, John orders the Terminator to help free her. They encounter Sarah in the midst of her own escape attempt, and she is initially terrified by the Terminator but accepts his assistance after he helps them to escape the T-1000. The Terminator informs John and Sarah about Skynet, the artificial intelligence that will initiate a nuclear holocaust on "Judgment Day" and go on to create the machines that will hunt the remnants of humanity. Sarah learns that the man most directly responsible for Skynet's creation is Miles Bennett Dyson (Joe Morton), a Cyberdyne Systems engineer working on a revolutionary new microprocessor that will form the basis for Skynet.

Gathering weapons from an old friend, Sarah plans to flee with John to Mexico. However, after having a horrific nightmare of a nuclear explosion she awakens with strengthened resolve and sets out to kill Miles Dyson. She wounds him at his home but finds herself unable to kill him in front of his family. Deducing her plan, John and the Terminator arrive and inform Miles of the consequences of his work. They learn that much of his research has been reverse engineered from the CPU and arm of the previous Terminator sent after Sarah. Convincing him that these items and his designs must be destroyed, they break into the Cyberdyne building and retrieve the CPU and arm. The police arrive and Miles is mortally wounded, but stays behind to trigger the detonator that will destroy his research.

The T-1000 pursues John, Sarah, and the Terminator, catching up to them in a steel mill. In a climactic battle, the Terminator fires a grenade into the T-1000 and it falls into a vat of molten steel where it is destroyed. John throws the pieces of the first Terminator into the steel as well. The Terminator then sacrifices himself, asking Sarah to lower him into the steel so that his technology cannot be used to create Skynet. Sarah looks to the future with hope, believing that if a Terminator can learn the value of human life, then perhaps humanity is not doomed to self-destruction.


Hamilton suggested Sarah become psychotic in the intervening years after her encounter with the Terminator.[3]

Biehn reprised his role from The Terminator, but his scene was cut from theaters. It was restored in the Special Edition of the film.

Schwarzenegger received a salary of $12–15 million for his role as the terminator.[4][5] Billy Idol was Cameron's original choice for the T-1000, and Cameron had drawn storyboards to resemble him, but Idol could not accept the role following a motorcycle accident.[6] Cameron stated that "I wanted to find someone who would be a good contrast to Arnold. If the 800 series is a kind of human Panzer tank, then the 1000 series had to be a Porsche." Originally, he thought of casting actor Michael Biehn, who played Kyle Reese in The Terminator, in the role with the explanation that Skynet managed to clone Reese's body and use it for a new Terminator. Cameron ultimately dropped this idea after deciding the audience would find it too confusing. McG, the director of Terminator Salvation, said that the T-1000 will be reintroduced in the fifth film: "I like the idea and the perspective for the next picture that you meet Robert Patrick the way he looks today, and he's a scientist that's working on, you know, improving cell replication so we can stay healthier and we can cure diabetes and do all these things that sound like good ideas, and to once again live as idealized expressions as ourselves".[7][8] He also said the origin story they had in mind for the T-1000 would satirize the world's "obsession" with youth and aging.[9][10]


Shooting began on October 9, 1990 and was completed on April 4, 1991.[11] 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 on the corner of Gateway Boulevard and Bayside Parkway in Fremont, California. Of the fifteen minutes that the T-1000 displays its morphing and healing abilities, only six of those minutes were accomplished with pure computer graphics.[12] The other nine were achieved in camera with the use of advanced puppets and prosthetic effects created by the Stan Winston studio, who were also responsible for the metal skeleton effects of the T-800.

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.

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 1887, modified especially for the film to allow it to be "flip-cocked" by the actor in several of the film's scenes.


Box officeEdit

The movie was made for approximately $102 million,[13] 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.[13] The original Terminator grossed only $38 million in the U.S. in its theatrical run,[14] 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 receptionEdit

The Montreal Film Journal calls it "one of the best crafted Hollywood action flicks."[15] 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."[16] The film was placed #33 on Total Film's 2006 list of The Top 100 Films of All Time.[17]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, currently scoring 97% on the popular review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes[18] and 69/100 on the similarly themed Metacritic.[19]

At the 64th Academy Awards, the film won four Academy Awards: Best Sound, Best Make Up, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Editing.[20] It was nominated for two additional Academy Awards, Best Cinematography and Film Editing. It also won big at the 1992 MTV Movie Awards. The film took Best Movie and Best Action Sequence, Linda Hamilton won Best Female Performance and Most Desirable Female, Edward Furlong Best Breakthrough Performance and Arnold Schwarzenegger won Best Male Performance.

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.[21]

Home video releasesEdit

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 "Special Edition" was titled the director's cut on the European high definition releases.

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 2029 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.

The Extreme edition DVD has several DVD-ROM features, including Infiltration Unit Simulator and T2 FX Studio, an application where images of a person can be imported and morphed into a T-800 or T-1000, and Skynet Combat Chassis Designer, a program where viewers could build a fighting machine and be able to track progress online.[22] The Extreme DVD also contains a WMV-HD theatrical edition of T2, where the film can be watched, for the first time, in Full HD 1080p format. However the DRM rights required to watch the film had been heavily criticized.

Two Blu-ray editions of T2 have been released, a UK and a US version. Both are presented in a slightly washed-out 1080p transfer and included no special features and a DTS 5.1 audio track from the DVDs instead of a high definition audio track. On May 19, 2009, the film was re-released on Blu-ray with an enhanced video transfer and THX certified DTS-Master Audio 6.1 audio in two editions: a "SkyNet Edition" and a limited collector's edition encased in an Endoskull. The limited collector's edition includes the Blu-ray "SkyNet Edition" as well as the Extreme Edition and Ultimate Edition DVDs and a digital copy of the film.[23]

The Easter Egg required to watch the theatrical cut on the Extreme edition is as follows: One must highlight "Sensory Control" on the main menu and press the right arrow five times (speed is not a factor in this case), to highlight the panel on the right, which has some text on it. When the Enter key is pressed while these words are visible, the menu and scene selectors will change to those of the theatrical version.


In 1994, following the success of the first film in theatres during its 3-D re-release in 1991, Carolco decided to release the Special Edition converted to 3-D in theatres. As per a deal with the owner of the film, StudioCanal, made in 2005, Walt Disney Pictures received a theatrical license to the Theatrical cut, as well as all rights to all the 3-D versions. Disney simultaneously released the Theatrical cut in IMAX under license from StudioCanal and a new 3-D version of the Extended Special Edition in Real D. The 3-D re-release was edited for a PG-13 rating, while the IMAX release is the full, unedited Theatrical cut.

Other mediaEdit

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 two more sequels, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation, as well as an alternate timeline TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Prior to the release of T3, there were several sequel books including: Malibu Comics Terminator 2 - Judgment Day: Cybernetic Dawn(aka.'Present War'), Terminator 2 - Judgment Day: Nuclear Twilight (aka.'Future War'), IDW Comics T2: Infiltrator & T2: Revolution by S.M. Stirling and The John Connor Chronicles by Russell Blackford.

Robert Patrick makes a cameo as the T-1000 in Wayne's World, where he pulls Wayne Campbell over and asks him if he's seen John Connor while showing him a picture of Connor. Patrick also has a (non-speaking) cameo in his T-1000 costume in Last Action Hero (also starring Schwarzenegger).


Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Film score by Brad Fiedel
Released July 1, 1991
Label Geffen

  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 & 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. "T1000 Terminated"
  20. "It's Over" ("Good-Bye")

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


  1. "50 Most Influential Visual Effects Film of All Time". Visual Effects Society. Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  2. "Visual and Special Effects Film Milestones". Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  3. Josh Horowitz (2009-02-12). Template:Citation/make link. MTV. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  4. Fabrikant, Geraldine (December 10, 1990). Template:Citation/make link. The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  5. Stevenson, Richard W. (April 14, 1991). Template:Citation/make link. The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  6. Jennifer Vineyard (2008-09-15). Template:Citation/make link. MTV Movies Blog. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  7. Jake Rico (2009-01-12). Template:Citation/make link. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  8. Randy Jennings (2009-02-28). Template:Citation/make link. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  9. Jonathan Dean (June 2009). Template:Citation/make link. Total Film: pp. 65. 
  10. Jami Philbrick (2009-04-21). Template:Citation/make link. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  11. "Terminator 2 Judgment Day". British Film Institute. Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  12. The Winston Effect: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  14. "The Terminator (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  15. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day". Montreal Film Journal. Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  16. Template:Cite book
  17. "Total Film Presents The Top 100 Movies Of All Time". Total Film (2006-10-17). Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  18. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2008-07-09.
  20. "Academy Awards Database". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2006-07-15). Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
  21. American Film Institute (2008-06-17). Template:Citation/make link. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  22. Elizabeth Skipper (June 17, 2003). "DVD Verdict Review - Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Extreme Edition". DVD Verdict. Retrieved on December 31, 2008.
  23. Peter Sciretta (2009-03-23). Template:Citation/make link. /Film. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 

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