The Terminator franchise was founded with the 1984 film The Terminator. As of 2020, it consists of six feature films, a television series named Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and several other media.
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In a post-apocalyptic future, humans are at war with an artificial intelligence; in most works it is named Skynet. Skynet creates Terminators; human-like robots who are made to infiltrate humans and kill them. Most stories take place in present day, where time-travelling humans and terminators arrive from the future, with a directive to change the timeline.
The main filming locations of the Terminator films and television series
Most of the film scenes were recorded in southern California:
The Terminator (1984)
A T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels back in time to terminate Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she gives birth to John Connor, a future resistance fighter. Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) travels to the same time to protect Sarah.
- 1 Griffith Observatory, 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, California. The location where the T-800 arrived into 1984 from 2029. From here the naked T-800 confronts some punks hanging out at the observatory for their clothes. The arrival scene is in the lower viewing area at the southeast corner of the building (location of map marker). The confrontation with the punks for their clothes was filmed in the upper viewing area on the west side of E Observatory Rd (public access road) in front of the building.
- 2 Alley on W 7th St, 212 W 7th St (alleyway along W 7th Street between Broadway and Spring St). At the same time of the T-800's arrival Kyle Reese also arrived into 1984 and landed in an alleyway. He is later chased off from the alley by the police in subsequent scenes. The entrance to the alley was filmed here but the action in the alley is said to filmed a block away. The same alley entrance was where the T-800 steals a police car to pursue Sarah and Kyle who escaped in another car after breaking out from the Tech Noir Nightclub (see below). As of 2020, a gate over the alley entrance blocks access into the alley.
- 3 Big Jeff's (Carrow's Restaurant), 815 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena, California (Fremont Ave & Mission St). Where Sarah Connor worked as a waitress. As of 2020, the location is a Carrow's Restaurant as it was back in the time of the filming.
- 4 Alamo's Sportshop (Valley Car Planet), 14329 Victory Blvd, Van Nuys, California (along Victory Blvd between Sylmar & Tyrone Ave; off of Exit #65 of the 405 in Van Nuys). The T-800 came here to stock up on weaponry and then blows-away the owner behind the counter. Later on the T-800 came upon a phone booth (filmed in front of this same location) to use the phone book to locate Sarah Connor only to find multiple individuals with the same name. So it begins the process of elimination to find John Conner's birth mother by visiting & terminating each of the individuals listed. The main sign frame and the address numbers above the main entrance are still the same from what they were during filming. The location is now a used car dealership.
- 5 Wrong Sarah Connor's house, 14239 Gilmore St, Van Nuys, California. The first wrong Sarah Connor lives in a Craftsman house in Van Nuys before she is shot several times by the T-800. The house where the "murdered woman" lived in is gone and have since been replaced by an apartment building. The curb, the tree by the driveway and a couple houses across the street remain the same (or similar) as they were during the filming
- 6 Construction Site at Promenade Towers (Promenade Apartment Towers), 123 Figueroa St, Los Angeles CA (Figueroa St & W 1st, downtown Los Angeles.). The location where Kyle Reese is trying to hotwire a car to start. While in the process of trying to start the car he observes construction activity on what is now the Promenade Apartment towers which gave him flashback dreams of the war against the machines in the future. After starting the car and driving off the building across the street (Promenade West at 880 W 1st St) becomes prominent in the background which is also the location for a later car chase after breaking out from the Tech Noir nightclub.
- 7 Tech Noir Nightclub, 720 S Hill St (along S Hill St between W 7th & 8th, down the street from Pershing Square Park in downtown). While walking along the street Sarah noticed she's been followed by Kyle so she went into the Tech Noir Nightclub to escape and make calls for her roomates to come pick her up. When the T-800 came in for her a shootout ensued with Kyle Reese who rescued Sarah from the T-800 and escaped out through the backdoor with her. As of 2020, this storefront is vacant and is under construction.
- 8 Sarah Connor's Apartment (L&M California, Inc Apartments), 420 S Lafayette Park Pl. After some process of elimination the T-800 finally located the true Sarah Connor's residence where he terminated her roomates while looking for her. After killing the occupants Sarah called to let her roomates know (on the answering machine) where she's at which is how the T-800 know where to go find Sarah (at the Tech Noir Nightclub). The entry to the condominiums looks the same as it did at the time of the filming.
- 9 Dept of Power & Water Parking Garage, 885 W 1st. Most of the car chase scene happened on 6th & 7th St at Broadway in downtown. But, some of it also took place at the Dept of Power & Water Parking Garage where a shootout happened.
- 10 Tiki Motel, 7301 Santa Fe, Huntington Park, CA (Santa Fe Ave & Walnut, a block south of Florence). The motel where Reese and Sarah stayed in to make pipe bombs and make love. Presumably where John Connor was conceived. They end up having to take off after the T-800 found them here. It is now an apartment complex with more permanent residents.
- 11 2nd Street Tunnels, Along 2nd St (along the 2nd St Tunnel between Hill & Figueroa). After escaping from the motel and been chased by the T-800 this when Reese throws pipe bombs (they made while at the motel) at the terminator pursuit from behind.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
A new specimen of the T-800 travels back in time parallel with the more advanced T-1000 (Robert Patrick), while John Connor (Edward Furlong) is ten years old. The T-1000 is sent back to destroy John Connor while the T-800 has been re-programmed and sent back in time to protect and save John Connor and his mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from the T-1000.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Another T-800 as well as the T-X (Kristanna Loken) search for the adult John Connor (Nick Stahl). The T-X is meant to look for and terminate John Connor and his friends (all future resistance officers) while the T-800 is there to protect John Connor and his former classmate and future wife Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) from the T-X and eventually leads them into a bunker before the inevitable nuclear war starts.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009)
A 2008–09 TV series which takes place after Terminator 2. It presents Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) travelling the United States with a 15-year old John Connor (Thomas Dekker), facing multiple human and Terminator characters arriving from the future, including John's new protector Cameron (Summer Glau).
Terminator Salvation (2009)
The film takes place after a nuclear war, with John Connor (Christian Bale) and Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) leading the war against Skynet.
Terminator Genisys (2015) and Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Alternative sequels to The Terminator and Terminator 2 respectively.