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The Terminator

Year: 1984
Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton
One of those films that breeds not just an iconic hero and signature lines like "I'll be back", but spawns cheap and nasty homages for years to come, redefining science fiction and action when the world was still in the grip of space princesses and starship battles.

Launched the stellar careers of Cameron, Schwarzenegger, Henriksen and Biehn (who for some reason didn't run with his and has appeared in increasingly cheap TV movies ever since) and became a filmmaking milestone.

Deceptively simple idea of a brutish android sent back in time to kill the mother of a future human resistance leaders in a war against the world's computers, the freedom fighter sent back to defend her, and the bewildered twentysomething girl caught in the middle of it all. Set new benchmarks not just in storytelling but all sorts of technical disciplines, owing to the legendary control Cameron applies to everything from lighting to editing and soundtrack to writing.

Exactly what teenage boy (and teenage boy at heart) audiences wanted – a killer robot, lots of guns and violence, crashes and explosions. Showed Cameron's talent for writing early, and directing ability that was destined to cement a major Hollywood powerbroker later on.

The company he founded on it's success, Carolco, couldn't replicate a winner quite as big and bankrupted before he formed Lightstorm with partner and then-wife Gale Anne Hurd. Look carefully for Paxton in an early role as one of the gangbangers the Terminator steals clothes from.

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