Terminator 2: Judgment Day
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James Cameron|
|Produced by||James Cameron|
|Music by||Brad Fiedel|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Running time||136 minutes
153 minutes (director's cut)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick and Edward Furlong. It is the second installment of the Terminator franchise and the sequel to the 1984 film The Terminator. Terminator 2 follows Sarah Connor (Hamilton) and her ten-year-old son John (Furlong) as they are pursued by a new, more advanced Terminator, the liquid metal, shapeshifting T-1000 (Patrick), sent back in time to 1995 to kill John and prevent him from becoming the leader of the human Resistance against the machines. An older, less advanced Terminator (Schwarzenegger) is also sent back in time to protect John.
After a troubled pre-production characterized by legal disputes, Mario Kassar of Carolco Pictures emerged with the franchise's property rights in early 1990. This paved the way for the completion of the screenplay by the Cameron-led production team, and the October 1990 start of a shortened 186-day filming schedule. The production of Terminator 2 required an unprecedented budget of more than $94 million (1991 dollars), much of which was spent on filming and special effects. The film was released on July 3, 1991, in time for the U.S. Fourth of July weekend.
Terminator 2, a box office and critical success, influenced popular culture and especially movies in the genres of action and science fiction. The film's visual effects saw many breakthroughs in computer-generated imagery, including the first use of natural human motion for a computer-generated character and the first partially computer-generated main character. It received many accolades, including four Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects. The highest-grossing film of 1991, several publications such as the American Film Institute have since ranked Terminator 2 on lists as one of the greatest science fiction films, greatest action films, and greatest sequels of all time.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Release and reception
- 5 Marketing
- 6 Soundtrack
- 7 Impact and legacy
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
In 1995, John Connor is ten years old and living in Los Angeles with foster parents. His mother Sarah Connor had been preparing him throughout his childhood for his future role as the leader of the human resistance against Skynet, but was arrested after attempting to bomb a computer factory and imprisoned at a mental hospital under the supervision of Dr. Silberman. Skynet sends a new Terminator, designated as "T-1000", back in time to kill John. An advanced prototype, the T-1000 is composed of a "mimetic poly-alloy" that allows it to take on the shape and appearance of anything it touches (short of complex devices such as guns or bombs), and transform parts of its anatomy into knives and stabbing weapons. The T-1000 arrives under a freeway, kills a policeman and assumes his identity. Meanwhile, the future John Connor has sent back a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator to protect his younger self.
The Terminator and the T-1000 converge on John in a shopping mall, and a chase ensues in which John and the Terminator escape together by motorcycle. Fearing that the T-1000 will copy and kill Sarah in order to get to him, John orders the Terminator to help free her. They encounter Sarah escaping the hospital after severely injuring Dr. Silberman's staff and himself. The three escape the T-1000 in a police car. The Terminator informs John and Sarah about Skynet, the artificial intelligence that will initiate a nuclear war on "Judgment Day" and go on to create the machines that will hunt the remnants of humanity.[N 1] Sarah learns that the man most directly responsible for Skynet's creation is Miles Dyson, a Cyberdyne Systems engineer working on a revolutionary new microprocessor that will form the basis for Skynet.
Sarah gathers weapons from an old friend and plans to flee with John to Mexico, but after having a horrific nightmare of a nuclear explosion she awakens and sets out to kill Miles Dyson to prevent "Judgment Day" from occurring. She wounds him at his home but finds herself unable to kill him in front of his family. John and the Terminator arrive and inform Miles of the consequences of his work. They then learn that much of his research has been reverse engineered from the damaged CPU and the right arm of the previous Terminator. Convincing him that these items and his designs must be destroyed, they break into the Cyberdyne building and retrieve the CPU and the arm. The police arrive and Miles is shot, but stays behind to trigger the explosives that destroy his lab and his research. The T-1000 pursues the surviving trio, eventually cornering them in a steel mill.
In a climactic battle in the mill, the T-1000 succeeds in severely damaging and shutting down the Terminator. However, The Terminator's emergency backup system engages and brings him back on-line. He surprises and shoots the T-1000 with a grenade launcher, causing it to fall into a vat of molten steel, where it is destroyed. John throws the arm and CPU of the original Terminator into the vat as well. Just as Sarah felt relieved that the whole ordeal was over, the Terminator then explains that it must sacrifice itself so that its technology cannot be used to create Skynet, and asks Sarah to help lower it into the steel. John begs for the Terminator to stay, but he says goodbye to John and Sarah and is lowered into the vat. The Terminator gives a tearful John an encouraging thumbs up as it disappears into the steel and shuts down. Sarah looks to the future with hope, adding, "Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too."
The alternate ending is included on the DVD and later Blu-ray releases. It shows a year 2027 where Skynet, the war and Judgment Day never happened, and John Connor is now a U.S. Senator and has a daughter, and they play in a park alongside Sarah.
- A cybernetic organism—living tissue over a metal endoskeleton—reprogrammed and sent back in time to protect John Connor while he is still a child. Schwarzenegger was paid a salary of $12–15 million for his role as the Terminator.
- Mother of the future leader of the human Resistance in the war against Skynet. Hamilton reprised her role from the 1984 film for a salary of $1 million. In preparation for the role, Hamilton underwent an extensive thirteen-week training regimen with personal trainer Anthony Cortes, training for three hours each day, six days a week before filming began. She additionally lost 12 pounds (5.4 kg) on a nonfat diet, conducted throughout the film's six-month shoot. Actor and former Israeli commando Uzi Gal provided her with training for her action scenes. On her work with Gal, Hamilton stated that she undertook "judo and heavy-duty military training" and "learned to load clips, change mags, check out a room upon entry, verify kills." Hamilton's twin sister Leslie Hamilton Gearren also portrayed Sarah when it was required that there be two of the character in the same shot.
- An advanced prototype Terminator composed of liquid metal, sent back in time to assassinate John. 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. Cameron stated that he "wanted to find someone who would be a good contrast to Arnold. If the 800 series (the model played by Schwarzenegger) is a kind of human Panzer tank, then the 1000 series had to be a Porsche."
- The ten-year-old son of Sarah, given survival training from a young age, but taken into foster care after his mother is institutionalized. Furlong was discovered by casting director Mali Finn while visiting the Pasadena Boys and Girls Club. Furlong, who had no acting ambitions at the time, stated, "I fell into [acting], it wasn't something that I planned". The adult John of 2029 AD is played by Michael Edwards.
- Earl Boen as Dr. Peter Silberman:
- Sarah's psychiatrist, skeptical of her prophecies of machines destroying humanity. Boen is also reprising his character from the 1984 film.
- Joe Morton as Miles Bennett Dyson:
- Director of special projects at Cyberdyne and responsible for the creation and destruction of Skynet.
The cast was rounded out with Jenette Goldstein and Xander Berkeley, who portray John's foster parents, Janelle and Todd Voight. Cástulo Guerra plays Sarah's friend, Enrique Salceda, who provides her with weapons. Danny Cooksey plays Tim, John's friend. S. Epatha Merkerson plays Tarissa Dyson, the wife of Miles Dyson. Michael Biehn returned to the series as Kyle Reese, a soldier from 2029, in a short appearance in Sarah's dream. Biehn's scene was not featured in the theatrical release of the film, but it was restored in extended versions of the film. Hamilton's then-twenty-month-old son Dalton plays her on-screen son in a dream sequence set in a playground. Sven-Ole Thorsen played a security guard when John is at the Galleria with his friend Tim.
Talk of a potential sequel to The Terminator arose soon after the original's release, but several outstanding issues precluded such a production. There were technical setbacks regarding computer imagery, a vital aspect of the film that would be crucial in the creation of the T-1000 Terminator. The production of James Cameron's 1989 film The Abyss provided the proof of concept necessary to satisfactorily resolve the technical concerns. Perhaps more serious were the intellectual-property disputes between Hemdale Film Corporation, which owned the franchise and stymied efforts to produce a sequel, and Carolco Pictures. Given that Hemdale was then experiencing financial problems, Arnold Schwarzenegger urged Mario Kassar, head of Carolco, to bid for the rights: "I reminded Mario that this is something that we've been looking for four years, and that it should be him that should go all-out, no matter what it takes to make this deal." Carolco eventually paid Hemdale $5 million for the franchise in 1990, resolving the legal gridlock.
The end of the legal disputes coincided with the willingness and availability of Cameron, Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton to participate in the film; Schwarzenegger, who portrayed the Terminator in the first film, commented: "I always felt we should continue the story of The Terminator, I told Jim that right after we finished the first film." He and Hamilton reprised their respective roles from the first Terminator film. After an extensive casting search, 12-year-old Edward Furlong was selected from hundreds of candidates to portray John Connor; Robert Patrick was chosen to play the T-1000 Terminator because his agility emphasized the disparity between the advanced T-1000 and Schwarzenegger's older T-800 (Cameron characterized the two as "a Porsche" and "a human Panzer tank" respectively). Patrick had previously appeared in the action feature Die Hard 2, but Furlong had no formal acting experience. Joe Morton was picked to portray Miles Dyson, a Cyberdyne scientist who helped develop the new microprocessor for the T-800 Terminators.
Calling themselves T2 Productions, James and co-producers Stephanie Austin and B.J. Rack rented an office in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, before starting to assemble the film crew for Terminator 2. Adam Greenberg, who worked on The Terminator and Ghost (1990), became director of photography, while Joseph Nemec III, who had worked with Cameron on The Abyss, was tasked with production design. The team conducted a national search for a steel mill suitable for the film's climax, eventually selecting a dormant mill in Fontana, California, after weeks of negotiations. Locating a potential Cyberdyne building was more difficult, as the site was to host numerous stunts, shootouts, and explosions. An industrial park in Fremont, California, was eventually rented for the duration of the film's production. Cameron and William Wisher completed the 140-page screenplay draft on May 10, 1990, and by July 15, the first shooting draft had been distributed to the cast and crew; particulars of the technically detailed scripts were shrouded in secrecy. Both the six-week turnaround for the script and the film's accelerated production schedule were to enable a 1991 Fourth of July release.
Principal photography of Terminator 2 spanned over 171 days between October 9, 1990, and March 28, 1991, during which the crew filmed at the Mojave Desert before visiting 20 different sites throughout California and New Mexico. These locations ran the gamut from the crowded Santa Monica Place shopping mall, where the two Terminators converged on John, to flood control channels in the San Fernando Valley, which played host to the chase between the Terminators and John; a river had to be redirected to allow filming on the otherwise wet channels. Cameron and his crew also filmed Terminator 2 at The Corral Bar and the Lake View Medical Center (known as Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in the film), both located in Lake View Terrace. 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. Working with up to 1,000 crew members, the production team oversaw numerous stunts and chase sequences, the most notable of which took place on the Los Angeles–Long Beach Terminal Island Freeway, prior to Terminator 2's climax. Ten miles (16 km) of electric cables were laid to illuminate the night-time chase, which saw a full-scale helicopter crash, a sliding tanker, and other elaborate paraphernalia.
Hamilton's twin sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren, was used in some shots that required two Sarahs. She is the mirror image of Sarah in the scene where they open up the Terminator's head (deleted from the theatrical release, but restored on the extended edition), and in some of the shots where the T-1000 impersonates Sarah. Gearren is playing whichever "Sarah" 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 depict a scene where the T-1000 mimics a guard at the asylum, sneaks up on him while he is getting a cup of coffee from a coffeemaker, skewers him through the head, then drags his body into a janitor's closet.
An unprecedented budget of $94 million (1991 dollars)—3.5 times the cost of the average film and approximately 15 times the $6.4 million budget of The Terminator—was reserved for Terminator 2. A significant proportion of this was for actor and film-crew salaries. According to The Daily Sentinel and The Daily Beast, Arnold Schwarzenegger was given a $11–12 million Gulfstream III business jet, while $5–6 million was allocated towards James Cameron's salary. The production itself, which included special effects and stunts, totalled $51 million. Despite the significant expenditure, the film had nearly recovered its budget prior to its release. Worldwide rights were sold for $65 million, video rights for $10 million, and television rights for $7 million.
Terminator 2 made extensive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) to vivify the main two Terminators. The use of such technology was the most ambitious since the 1982 science fiction film Tron, and would be integral to the critical success of the film. CGI was required particularly for the T-1000, a "mimetic poly-alloy" (liquid metal) structure, since the shapeshifting character can transform into almost anything it touches. Most of the key Terminator effects were provided by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) for computer graphics and Stan Winston for practical effects. Creation of the visual effects cost $5 million and took 35 people, including animators, computer scientists, technicians and artists, ten months to produce, for a total of 25 man-years. Despite the large amount of time spent, the CGI sequences only total five minutes of running time. Enlisted to produce articulated puppets and prosthetic effects was Stan Winston's studio, who was also responsible for the metal skeleton effects of the T-800. ILM's Visual Effects Supervisor, Dennis Muren, remarked, "We still have not lost the spirit of amazement when we see ... [the visual effects on the T-1000] coming up." Such was the role and creation of CGI that the visual-effects team was awarded the 1992 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
For Sarah's nuclear nightmare scene, Robert and Dennis Skotak of 4-Ward Production constructed a cityscape of Los Angeles using large-scale miniature buildings and realistic roads and vehicles. The pair, after having studied actual footages of nuclear tests, then simulated the nuclear blast by using air mortars to knock over the cityscape, including the intricately built buildings.
Release and reception
Terminator 2 had its worldwide premiere at the Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, Los Angeles, on July 1, 1991, attended by VIPs including Nicolas Cage, Christian Slater, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver. Following its domestic release two days later, the film was progressively distributed to cinemas in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Spain, and at least ten other countries by the year's end.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes — established on the Web in 1998 — retroactively reports that T2 earned 92% positive reviews. The average score was 68 out of 100 from 16 critics on Metacritic. Voters on the Internet Movie Database give the movie an 8.5 out of 10, ranking it as #39 on the Top 250 movies of all time. 
The Montreal Film Journal called it "one of the best crafted Hollywood action flicks." Screenwriting guru Syd Field lauded the plot of Terminator 2, saying, for example, "every scene sets up the next, like links in a chain of dramatic action." Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3.5 stars out of a possible 4, complimented Schwarzenegger's performance, saying that "Schwarzenegger's genius as a movie star is to find roles that build on, rather than undermine, his physical and vocal characteristics." Hal Hinson, reviewer for The Washington Post, was also very positive in his review, writing that: "No one in the movies today can match Cameron's talent for this kind of hyperbolic, big-screen action. Cameron, who directed the first Terminator and Aliens, doesn't just slam us over the head with the action. In staging the movie's gigantic set pieces, he has an eye for both grandeur and beauty; he possesses that rare director's gift for transforming the objects he shoots so that we see, for example, the lyrical muscularity of an 18-wheel truck. Because of Cameron, the movie is the opposite of its Terminator character; it's a machine with a human heart." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune was extremely enthusiastic about the film, giving it 3 1/2 stars. "...thanks to some truly spectacular and at times mystifying special effects--as well as some surprisingly solid acting," said Siskel, "this is one terrific action picture, more enjoyable than the original." Further, Siskel noted, "the level of tension in the film is palpable because we can`t figure out how Arnold is going to terminate the Terminator." 
Halliwell's Film Guide rated the film as an improvement on its predecessor, giving it two stars out of four and describing it as a "thunderous, high-voltage action movie with dazzling special effects that provide a distraction from the often silly narrative." Writing for Time, Richard Corliss was far less pleased, stating that the film was "[a] humongous, visionary parable that intermittently enthralls and ultimately disappoints. T2 is half of a terrific movie—the wrong half." Leonard Maltin gave the movie only 2 1/2 stars, stating, "like so many sequels, lacks the freshness of the first film and gives us no one to root for." 
Opening in 2,274 theaters in the United States, Terminator 2 earned $54 million during its Fourth of July opening weekend, $3 million behind Batman (1989) during its opening five-day weekend.[N 2] One theater chain owner was reported as saying "[b]ut nothing since Batman has created the frenzy for tickets we saw this weekend with Terminator. At virtually all our locations, we were selling out well in advance of showings, and the word-of-mouth buzz out there is just phenomenal." Elsewhere, the film grossed $3.4 million in Australia and $7.1 million in Germany during their opening weekends in September and October 1991, respectively.
According to Box Office Mojo, the film's production costs was $102 million, which, at the time, was the highest ever. However, if adjusted for inflation, Cleopatra (1963), which cost $44 million when it was made in 1963, would have been $219 million in 1995 dollars. Terminator 2 was a box-office success, earning $204.8 million in the United States and Canada alone, and $519.8 million worldwide. It was the highest grossing film of 1991, beating Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and is TriStar Pictures' highest grossing film to date. The film is ranked 110 in box office earnings of all time in the U.S. and Canada, and 84 worldwide. The original Terminator grossed only $38 million in the U.S. in its theatrical run, making Terminator 2's 434 percent increase a record for a sequel.
|1991||45th British Academy Film Awards||BAFTA Award for Best Production Design||Joseph Nemec, III||Nominated|||
|BAFTA Award for Best Sound||Lee Orloff, Tom Johnson, Gary Rydstrom & Gary Summers||Won|
|BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects||Stan Winston, Dennis Muren, Gene Warren Jr. & Robert Skotak||Won|
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||Linda Hamilton||Won|||
|Best Direction||James Cameron||Won|
|Best Performance by a Younger Actor||Edward Furlong||Won|
|Best Science Fiction Film||Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Won|
|Best Special Effects||Stan Winston, ILM, Fantasy II & 4 Ward Productions||Won|
|Best Actor||Arnold Schwarzenegger||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Robert Patrick||Nominated|
|Best Scenarist||James Cameron, William Wisher, Jr.||Nominated|
|A.S.C. Awards||Best Cinematography||Adam Greenberg||Nominated|
|1992||18th People's Choice Awards||Favorite Motion Picture||Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Won|||
|64th Academy Awards||Best Cinematography||Adam Greenberg||Nominated|||
|Best Make Up||Stan Winston and Jeff Dawn||Won|
|Best Sound||Tom Johnson, Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers and Lee Orloff||Won|
|Best Sound Editing||Gary Rydstrom and Gloria S. Borders||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Gene Warren Jr. and Robert Skotak||Won|
|Film Editing||Conrad Buff, Mark Goldblatt and Richard A. Harris||Nominated|
|1992 MTV Movie Awards||Best Action Sequence||"L.A. Freeway Scene"||Won|||
|Best Breakthrough Performance||Edward Furlong||Won|
|Best Female Performance||Linda Hamilton||Won|
|Best Male Performance||Arnold Schwarzenegger||Won|
|Best Movie||Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Won|
|Best Song From a Movie||"You Could Be Mine" by Guns N' Roses||Nominated|
|Best Villain||Robert Patrick||Nominated|
|Most Desirable Female||Linda Hamilton||Won|
|Hugo Award||Best Dramatic Presentation||James Cameron (director, screenplay), William Wisher, Jr. (screenplay)||Won|||
|Eddie Award||Best Editing||Conrad Buff IV, Mark Goldblatt, Richard A. Harris||Nominated|
|Japanese Academy Awards||Outstanding Foreign Language Film||Ryuu Masayuki||Nominated|
The 139 minute theatrical cut of the movie was first released on VHS in 1992. 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 previously unseen footage including scenes with Michael Biehn reprising his role as Kyle Reese in a dream sequence. Some scenes, however, were still not included in the two-cassette VHS cut. In August 1997, the film received its first DVD release which included only the theatrical cut. The subsequent "Ultimate Edition" and "Extreme Edition" DVD releases also included the extended version of the film.
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 transformed 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. 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.
In 2006, Lionsgate released a Blu-ray of the film that is 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 lossless audio track. On May 19, 2009, Lionsgate re-released the film on Blu-ray with an enhanced and improved video transfer, as well as a THX certified DTS-Master Audio 6.1 audio. This "SkyNet Edition" also saw a limited collector's edition encased in an Endoskull. The limited collector's edition includes the 2009 Blu-ray, as well as the Extreme Edition and Ultimate Edition DVDs and a digital copy of the film.
The film was adapted by Marvel Comics as a three issue miniseries, which was collected into a trade paperback. In the years following its release, several books based on the film were released, including: Malibu Comics Terminator 2 – Judgment Day: Cybernetic Dawn, Terminator 2 – Judgment Day: Nuclear Twilight, IDW Comics T2: Infiltrator, T2: Rising Storm and T2: Future War' by S.M. Stirling, and The John Connor Chronicles by Russell Blackford.
In 1996, Cameron directed an attraction at Universal Studios Theme Parks, titled T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, that saw the return of Schwarzenegger, Hamilton, Patrick, and Furlong to their respective roles. Costing $60 million to produce, with a run time of only twelve minutes, it became the most expensive venture per minute in the history of film. The attraction opened in the Universal Studios Florida in mid-1996, with additional venues opening in the Universal Studios Hollywood in May 1999, and the Universal Studios Japan in March 2001.
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|Film score by Brad Fiedel|
|Released||July 1, 1991|
|Producer||Brad Fiedel, Robert Townson|
The score by Brad Fiedel was commercially released as the Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) CD and cassette tape and contained twenty tracks with a runtime of 53 minutes. The score spent six weeks on the Billboard 200, reaching a peak of No. 70.
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|1.||"Main Title from "Terminator 2""||1:56|
|2.||"Sarah on the Run"||2:31|
|3.||"Escape from the Hospital (And T-1000)"||4:34|
|5.||"Sarah's Dream (Nuclear Nightmare)"||1:49|
|6.||"Attack on Dyson (Sarah's Solution)"||4:07|
|7.||"Our Gang Goes to Cyberdyne"||3:11|
|9.||"John & Dyson into Vault"||0:41|
|10.||"SWAT Team Attack"||3:22|
|11.||""I'll Be Back""||3:58|
|14.||""Hasta La Vista, Baby" (T-1000 Freezes)"||3:02|
|15.||"Into the Steel Mill"||1:25|
|20.||""It's Over" ("Good-bye")"||4:36|
Songs not included within the soundtrack
- "Guitars, Cadillacs" – performed by Dwight Yoakam
- "Bad to the Bone" – performed by George Thorogood & the Destroyers
- "You Could Be Mine" – performed by Guns N' Roses
Impact and legacy
In June 2001, the American Film Institute (AFI) ranked the film at number 77 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills, a list of films considered to be the most thrilling in film history. In 2003, the AFI released the AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains, a list of the 100 greatest screen heroes and villains of all time. The Terminator, as portrayed by Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, was ranked at number 48 on the list of heroes, as well as at number 22 on the list of villains for its appearance in the first Terminator film. The character was the only entry to appear on both lists, though they are different characters based on the same model. In 2005, Schwarzenegger's famous quote "Hasta la vista, baby" was ranked at number 76 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes best film quotes list.
The film placed number 33 on Total Film's 2006 list of The Top 100 Films of All Time. Empire ranked the film number 35 on its list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. In 2008, the film was voted the eighth best science fiction film ever on AFI's 10 Top 10. IGN named the film the tenth greatest science fiction film of all time, saying that it was "one example of a sequel coming along and just destroying the original in every regard." Empire ranked Terminator 2: Judgment Day as the third best film sequel of all time. In 2012, Total Film placed the film at eight place on its list of "50 Sequels That Were Better Than The Original". Richard Roeper named Judgment Day the third best film sequel ever made, stating that it "surpasses the original in every level."
Patrick cameos in character as the T-1000 in Wayne's World (1992) where he forces Wayne Campbell to pull his car over and asks if he has seen John Connor. Patrick also cameos as the T-1000 in the Schwarzenegger-starring Last Action Hero (1993), passing Schwarzenegger as he enters Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. In the same film—a universe where Schwarzenegger does not exist—Sylvester Stallone replaces Schwarzenegger in the Terminator 2 poster, having taken the role of the Terminator. In Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), a caricature of Saddam Hussein is frozen, shattered, and reforms in a direct parody of the T-1000 from the final scene of Terminator 2. The film is also referenced multiple times in the animated series The Simpsons, including "Homer Loves Flanders" (1994), "Treehouse of Horror VI" (1995), "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (1995), and "Day of the Jackanapes" (2001). The film is also parodied in the animated series South Park, American Dad, Bob's Burgers, Drawn Together, and Archer. The iconic line "come with me if you want to live" is parodied by Casper in the 1995 film Casper.
In the X-Files episode "Salvage," which also features a character made of metal who can shape shift, John Doggett (played by Patrick) says, "What're you saying? Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man? 'Cause that only happens in the movies, Agent Scully!"
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine travels to the past, arriving there naked, and shortly after he faces some mobsters and orders them to give him their clothes, their shoes and their car keys, mocking the Terminator's "I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle."
In the American Pie series of films, there is a geeky kid, Chuck Sherman, who refers to himself as the "Shermanator" when trying to pick up girls. American Pie 2 depicts him being successful at this, while the iconic Terminator music plays in the background.
- In The Terminator, Sarah was only informed by Kyle Reese that Skynet would become self-aware and initiate a nuclear war; in Terminator 2, the T-800 discloses the date of such an event to be August 29, 1997.
- According to Christopher Rosen of the website Movieline.com, however, Terminator 2 grossed $54 million during the five-day period following its release, $3 million ahead of Batman.
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- Terminator 2: Judgment Day at Box Office Mojo