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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines movie.jpg
International poster
Directed by Jonathan Mostow
Produced by Mario Kassar
Hal Lieberman
Joel B. Michaels
Andrew G. Vajna
Colin Wilson
Written by Story:
John Brancato
Michael Ferris

Tedi Sarafian
John Brancato
Michael Ferris
James Cameron
Gale Anne Hurd
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Nick Stahl
Claire Danes
Kristanna Loken
Narrated by Nick Stahl
Music by Marco Beltrami
Brad Fiedel
Cinematography Don Burgess
Edited by Nicolas de Toth
Neil Travis
Distributed by United States:
Warner Bros.
Columbia Pictures
Release dates
July 2, 2003
Running time
109 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million
Box office $433,371,112[1]

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a 2003 American science fiction-action film written by Tedi Sarafian, John Brancato and Michael Ferris, and directed by Jonathan Mostow. It is the third film in the Terminator series and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, Nick Stahl as on-the-run future Resistance leader John Connor, and Kristanna Loken as the terminator's terminator, the T-X. The film introduces Kate Breswter, an important woman in Conner's future who is portrayed by Claire Danes. Terminator 3 is set in 2004 and depicts the T-X model being sent back in time to terminate all of Conner's Resistance officers, as Skynet is unaware of his whereabouts. John Conner gets caught up in it and again tries to stop Judgement Day, only to succumb to fate and foresee his destiny.


Following the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, John Connor (Nick Stahl) has been living off-the-grid in Los Angeles. Although Judgment Day did not occur in 1997 as predicted in The Terminator, John does not believe that the prophesied war between humans and Skynet has been averted. Unable to locate John, Skynet sends a new model of Terminator, the T-X (Kristanna Loken), back in time to July 24, 2004 to kill his future lieutenants in the human Resistance. A more advanced model than previous Terminators, the T-X has an endoskeleton with built-in weaponry, a liquid metal exterior similar to the T-1000, and the ability to control other machines. The Resistance sends a reprogrammed T-850 model 101 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to protect the T-X's targets, including Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) and John. This Terminator reveals that in the future John and Kate are married, and that it successfully killed John in 2032 before being reprogrammed by Kate.

The Terminator saves John and Kate from the T-X's attack, and the three visit the grave of Sarah Connor, who died of leukemia some years before. Inside the grave they find a weapons cache left by Sarah's friends as a backup in the event that Judgment Day was not averted. The T-X and police arrive and a battle ensues, but John, Kate, and the Terminator manage to escape. The Terminator has been programmed to take John and Kate to a safe location so that they may survive Judgment Day, but John decides that they should attempt to prevent Skynet from being activated. After the destruction of Cyberdyne Systems in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the United States Air Force took over the Skynet project and it is being headed by Kate's father, Lieutenant General Robert Brewster (David Andrews). However, the trio arrive too late to stop him from activating Skynet in an attempt to stop the spread of a massive computer virus. Skynet assumes control of the military's defense network just as the T-X arrives, taking control of various machines including T-1s in an attempt to eliminate John and Kate. John asks the dying General for the location of Skynet's system core, hoping to still stop Judgment Day, and is instructed to go to Crystal Peak, a military base built into the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Before John and Kate can escape by plane, the T-X takes control of the Terminator and it attacks them. It is able to override its programming and shut itself down just before killing John. As John and Kate arrive at Crystal Peak they are attacked by the T-X, but a rebooted Terminator crashes a helicopter into it. Even with its legs severed the T-X continues to pursue John and Kate, but the Terminator traps it under a blast door and detonates its last remaining hydrogen fuel cell in the T-X's mouth, destroying them both. John and Kate discover that Crystal Peak does not house Skynet's core, but is rather a Cold War-era fallout shelter for high-ranking government officials. General Brewster sent them there to protect them from the impending nuclear holocaust initiated by Skynet. Skynet in fact does not have a core but instead exists as software in cyberspace running on computers all over the world, making it effectively impossible to shut down. It begins a series of nuclear attacks on various cities, commencing Judgment Day. Soon after the attacks, radio transmissions begin to come in to Crystal Peak from amateur radio operators and Montana's civil defense, asking John for orders.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator: An android sent back in time to protect the future lieutenants in the human Resistance.
  • Nick Stahl as John Connor: Having believed that Judgement Day, the inevitable fall of man to the machine, was finally avoided Conner disappears from the public domain, until a chance encounter with the T-X forces him the re-emerge and face up to his purpose; to lead the human Resistance against the machines once Judgement Day occurs. Edward Furlong, who played John in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, reportedly was not asked to reprise his role in T3 due to a substance abuse problem. In a 2004 interview, he responded, "I don't know [what happened]. It just wasn't the time. I was going through my own thing at the point in my life - whatever, it just wasn't meant to be".[2]
  • Claire Danes as Kate Brewster: An old school acquaintance who happens to stumble into the middle of the conflict between the Terminator and the T-X, before eventually realising she's a target and decides to stick with Conner, not realising she has more involvement in the situation than initially expected.
  • Kristanna Loken as T-X: A female by physical appearance, the T-X is in fact the latest in designs of Terminator assassins, and has been sent back in order to murder all lieutenants-to-be of Conner's future Human Resistance.
  • David Andrews as Lieutenant General Robert Brewster, USAF
  • Mark Famiglietti as Scott Mason: Kate Brewster's slain boyfriend was originally named Scott Petersen, but was changed in order to avoid giving the false impression that this was a type of "reverse parody" of the Scott Peterson case surrounding the murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn son Conner. In the ending credits his name is still listed as "Scott Petersen".
  • Earl Boen as Dr. Peter Silberman: Reprising his role from the first two films. Boen appears for one scene, attempting to comfort Claire Danes' character after she witnesses the acts of the Terminator. Prior to Terminator Salvation, Boen was the only actor to appear in all three Terminator films, aside from Schwarzenegger.
  • Moira Harris as Betsy
  • Chopper Bernet as Chief Engineer
  • Christopher Lawford as Brewster's Aide
  • Carolyn Hennesy as Rich Woman

Linda Hamilton was approached to reprise her role as Sarah Connor, but turned the offer down. She explained, "They offered me a part. I read it and I knew my character arc was so complete in the first two, and in the third one it was a negligible character. She died halfway through and there was no time to mourn her. It was kind of disposable, so I said no thank you."[3] John explains in T3 that Sarah died of leukemia in the year 1997.


James Cameron announced T3 many times during the 1990s, but without coming out with any finished script. Tedi Sarafian wrote an early draft, and eventually earned a shared "story by" credit with screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris, who wrote the screenplay.

The studios had long wanted to make a sequel to the Terminator films. However, they were unsure whether Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in it. Schwarzenegger initially refused to star in Terminator 3 because Cameron, who created the character and helmed the first two films, would not be directing the third installment. Schwarzenegger tried to persuade Cameron to produce the third film. Cameron declined, however, as he felt that he had already finished telling the story upon the conclusion of T2. But feeling that the Terminator character was as much Schwarzenegger's as it was his own, he advised Schwarzenegger to just do the third film and ask for "nothing less than $30 million."[citation needed] Schwarzenegger received a salary of $29.25 million, plus 20 percent of the profits, for his role in the film.[4]

The film's final production budget was $200 million, making it the most expensive independently-produced film in history. Schwarzenegger had to spend $6 million of his own money to help fund production. Schwarzenegger agreed to defer part of his salary in order to prevent the relocation of the set to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Los Angeles. Many pundits saw this as preparation to his campaign for California governor, in which he emphasized giving incentives to have movie productions stay in California, rather than film in less-expensive places elsewhere. In that vein, the film was markedly "cleaner" than previous Terminator films, featuring significantly less violence and swearing.

The film takes several ideas from the novel T2: Infiltrator by S. M. Stirling.[citation needed] The novel, published in 2001, features a female terminator, the I-950, a plot point later reused in Terminator Rewired. The idea of Judgment Day being postponed was also used in the book. It also inspires the Sergeant Candy scene with its own explanation of the Terminator's physical appearance, in the form of Austrian counter-terrorist Dieter von Rossbach.

Filming began on April 12, 2002.

A scene filmed during production explains why one series of Terminators all look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. A character named Chief Master Sergeant William Candy (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) explains in an Air Force promotional video he was chosen to be the model for the Terminator project. Schwarzenegger's character has a Southern accent (Dubbed by an uncredited actor). When Lieutenant General Brewster questions the appropriateness of Candy's Southern accent for the Terminators voice, another scientist replies, "We can fix it." in Schwarzenegger's (overdubbed) voice. It was included in early prints of the film, but was later deleted. This scene is available as a special feature on the DVD version.


Terminator 3 earned a 70% positive rating on the film critic aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.[5] James Cameron co-created the Terminator franchise (along with Ex wife Gale Anne Hurd) but otherwise played no role in T3. He told the BBC he thought the film was "in one word: great."[6] In The New York Times, A. O. Scott said the film "is essentially a B movie, content to be loud, dumb and obvious".[7]

In its United States box office run earned $150 million stateside and this film became meaningfully profitable for its United States distributor Warner Bros (because Warner Bros only paid $50 million to acquire the United States distribution rights of this film; Warner Bros' spokeman also said that this film would become meaningfully profitable for Warner Bros if the film could gross about $150 million in United States ticket sales).[8]

It did far better overseas and closed with a total worldwide gross of $433 million, a financial success but still falling significantly short of its predecessors' gross.[9]

The film also failed to match both its predecessors in terms of cultural significance: both The Terminator and Terminator 2 were noted by the AFI twice in the same list (100 Years...100 Quotes for "I'll be back" and "Hasta la vista baby" as well as AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains for the T-800 in both incarnations). Furthermore Terminator 2 won four Academy Awards,[10] whereas this sequel didn't receive a single nomination.


Several computer and video games were based on the film. An action game called Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released by Atari for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance. The game was poorly reviewed, with a 39% average on Game Rankings for the PS2 version.[11] A first-person shooter titled Terminator 3: War of the Machines was released for PCs as well.[12] A third game titled Terminator 3: The Redemption was released for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube.[13]


The film's soundtrack was released by Varèse Sarabande on June 24, 2003:

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Film score by Marco Beltrami
Released June 24, 2003
Label Varèse Sarabande
  1. "A Day In the Life"
  2. "Hooked on Multiphonics"
  3. "Blonde Behind the Wheel"
  4. "JC Theme"
  5. "Starting T-1"
  6. "Hearse Rent a Car"
  7. "T-X's Hot Tail"
  8. "Graveyard Shootout"
  9. "More Deep Thoughts"
  10. "Dual Terminator"
  11. "Kicked in the Can"
  12. "Magnetic Personality"
  13. "Termina-Tricks"
  14. "Flying Lessons"
  15. "What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?"
  16. "Terminator Tangle"
  17. "Radio"
  18. "T3"
  19. "The Terminator" (from the motion picture The Terminator, composed by Brad Fiedel)
  20. "Open to Me" performed by Dilon Dixon.
  21. "I Told You" performed by Mia Julia.

Songs that are not included on the soundtrack album:


  1. ^ "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)". Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  2. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Edward Furlong". 
  3. ^ Eric Ditzian (2009-02-19). "Linda Hamilton In Negotiations For ‘Terminator Salvation’". MTV Movies Blog. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  4. ^ Epstein, Edward Jay (May 9, 2005). "Concessions Are for Girlie Men". Slate. Retrieved February 19, 2009.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  6. ^ "James Cameron's Opinion of T3: Great". Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  7. ^ FILM REVIEW; A Monotonic Cyborg Learns to Say 'Pantsuit' - New York Times
  8. ^ Bruce Orwall and John Lippman (2003-07-07). "Style Cartoons Fade to Black Amid Computer Animation". Wall Street Journal.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ "Terminator Movies". Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines". Game Rankings. Retrieved July 24, 2006. 
  12. ^ "Terminator 3: War of the Machines". Game Rankings. Retrieved July 24, 2006. 
  13. ^ "Terminator 3: Redemption". Game Rankings. Retrieved July 24, 2006. 
  14. ^ Blue Man Group :: Blue Man Video

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