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Top 10 Terminator Characters

VO: Dan Paradis
Script Written by Nathan Sharp. It's one of the greatest action franchises of all time, so it's only right that the characters are fantastic as well. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 Terminator characters. For this list, we’re looking at the best characters throughout the Terminator film franchise, and excluding the television show and 2015 film. Special thanks to our user Daniel John for submitting the idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Terminator Characters

It’s one of the greatest action franchises of all time, so it’s only right that the characters are fantastic as well. [OR They’ll be back… or not.] Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for thetop 10 Terminator characters.

For this list, we’re looking at the best characters throughout the “Terminator” film franchise, and excluding the television show and 2015 film. Also, we’re counting each Terminator separately, as they’re technically different machines, and therefore, different characters, but the child and adult John Connor are one and the same for our purposes.

#10: The T-X
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)

The first female Terminator seen in the series, the T-X proves to be a menacing villain and a literally unstoppable killing machine. She’s so threatening she’s dubbed the “Anti-Terminator Terminator,” with hybrid features of the T-800 and T-1000 models. She also has an attractive physical appearance, which she uses to her advantage, along with her sheer strength, unwillingness to die and internally hidden artillery. She puts up a respectable fight against the T-850 throughout the 3rd “Terminator” flick by showing off her advantages in all of their full, powerful glory. Played menacingly by Kristanna Loken, the Terminatrix looks tough and acts even tougher.

#9: Marcus Wright
“Terminator Salvation” (2009)

Played by Sam Worthington, who was personally recommended to director McG by “Terminator” creator James Cameron, Marcus is a death row inmate who becomes a cyborg. With a mechanical endoskeleton, Marcus not only appears human, but acts it as well. This makes him a trustworthy and respectable companion to hero John Connor, especially when fighting the original T-800. In the end, he makes the ultimate sacrifice, signifying his allegiance to the Resistance and his good character to audiences.

#8: Miles Bennett Dyson
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

The catalyst behind the development of Skynet himself, Doctor Miles Dyson is a family man at heart, but also one that will bring about the destruction of the human race. When Sarah Connor finds out about Dyson’s work in the first “Terminator” sequel, she hunts him down, but is stopped by her own conscience and the arrival of the Terminator. What follows is one of the greatest action scenes in cinema history, where Miles and the group destroy his research and fight off the cops. He’s a nice and relatable character... It’s just too bad where his career choices led him....

#7: Peter Silberman
“The Terminator” (1984); “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991); “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)

When someone claims to be hunted by a time-traveling cyborg from the future, it’s inevitable that people will call you crazy. Enter Sarah Connor’s psychologist Dr. Silberman, who provides a realistic voice to an outrageous story. At first, Silberman is calm and collected, providing Sarah with a listener and some much needed therapy, even if ultimately he believes her to be crazy. However, his rational demeanor is destroyed when he finally witnesses the Terminators in action. Earl Boen’s cameo in the third movie makes him the only actor, aside from Schwarzenegger, to appear in all three movies of the original trilogy.

#6: The T-800 (Terminator 1)
“The Terminator” (1984)

The original and the scariest, the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Series 800 Terminator was an unstoppable machine that chased after Sarah Connor to prevent the birth of her future child John and that also killed anyone that got in his way. Remorseless and unrelenting, the T-800 was a massive, hulking figure that petrified audiences and provided the perfect vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger to show off his talent and strengths. As memorable as he is terrifying, the T-800 remains one of cinema’s most enticing villains.

#5: Kyle Reese
“The Terminator” (1984); “Terminator Salvation” (2009)

Kyle Reese, father to John Connor, is one of the most morally sound characters of the entire franchise, as he often only tries to do the right thing to protect Sarah Connor. In the first film, Kyle puts up a great fight against The Terminator, holding his own against an immortal cyborg, despite being mortal himself. Although he is eventually bested, the action is intense and memorable. We can tell why John decided to send Kyle back, as he provides security, both physical and emotional, to a vulnerable Sarah, thereby proving his good character.

#4: The T-1000
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Just when you thought the T-800 was hard to kill, enter the T-1000, a cyborg made from liquid metal that can survive pretty much anything, and even morph through bars and create knives with his arms. He’s a terrifying villain, made all the more perfect by Robert Patrick’s deadpan performance. In typical sequel fashion, his abilities outmatch everything the T-800 has, making him a formidable foe and one of cinema’s most creative. On top of all that, the CGI that went into making him still holds up today, proving the character’s lasting legacy in film history.

#3: John Connor
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991); “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003); “Terminator Salvation” (2009)

Ever the headstrong, never-give-up type, John Connor takes after his mother Sarah and proves to be a memorable hero for the franchise. Played by several different actors throughout the film series, chief among them is the career-making performance by Edward Furlong. And though John has gone through some physical changes, he remains as strong as ever in his determination. We watch as he grows from a juvenile teenager to a respectable leader, and the transitional journey is as emotional as it is exciting.

#2: Sarah Connor
“The Terminator”; (1984) “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Like her son John, we get to watch Sarah’s progression from innocence into full-on badass. Starting out as a waitress with an amazing ‘80s mullet, Sarah grows into a warrior out of necessity and through her battles with the Terminator. While she remains flawed and seemingly crazy by some, we know the truth, and are on her side the whole time. While actress Linda Hamilton was asked to return for the third movie, she said that she felt Sarah had completed her journey, and her ending is one of poetic beauty – and thus is only mentioned in that film, while the actress’ voice-over is used in “Terminator Salvation.”

Before we unveil at our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Serena Kogan
“Terminator Salvation” (2009)
- Ed Traxler
“The Terminator” (1984)
- The T-850
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)
- Katherine Brewster
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003); “Terminator Salvation” (2009)

#1: The T-800 (Terminator 2)
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

A reprogrammed T-800, this model protects John and Sarah rather than hunting them down, and he’s all the more memorable for it. The Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Series 800 Version 2.4 Infiltration-Combat Unit arguably goes through the biggest changes in the franchise, learning about human emotions and forging a father-son bond with John while also delivering memorable one-liners. The character also drew critical acclaim, making the T-800 both one of the greatest villains, and thanks to this incarnation, heroes of all time! Also, who didn’t cry at the end of “T2”? This character made us emotional in a high budget action movie, and that is no small feat.

Do you agree with our list? What character from the “Terminator” franchise is your favorite? For more excitingtop 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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