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Top 10 Terminator Movie Moments

VO: Dan Paradis
Script Written by Nick Spake. Come with us if you want to live. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 Terminator movie moments. For this list, we’re taking a look at the most iconic moments from the “Terminator” film franchise, be they poignant, atmospheric, or just friggin’ awesome. Keep in mind we will be spoiling key plot points here so please go watch the movies before watching this video. Special thanks to our users for Daniel John, c64audio, Mukhtaar Ashraf, RambovsTerminator, Andrew A. Dennison, InkAvenueBand and Alehula5 submitting the idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Terminator Movie Moments

Come with us if you want to live. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Terminator movie moments.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most iconic moments from the “Terminator” film franchise, be they poignant, atmospheric, or just friggin’ awesome. Keep in mind we will be spoiling key plot points here so please go watch the movies before watching this video.

#10: Apocalyptic Opening
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

It’s only appropriate that we start off this list with one of the most rousing opening credits sequences ever to grace the silver screen. Following Sarah Connor’s expositional narration over an apocalyptic warzone, we’re slammed right in the middle of a playground engulfed by hellfire. Brad Fiedel’s haunting, metal musical score perfectly sets the mood as the audience grasps what’s at stake and the grim future our characters might be headed for. Coming face to face with the menacing machine officially hypes us for the kickass and surprisingly weighty story ahead in first “Terminator” sequel.

#9: You’re Terminated
“The Terminator” (1984)

James Cameron is known for developing strong, independent female characters and Sarah Connor is no exception. Sarah comes a long way throughout the first “Terminator,” cementing herself as a boss not to be trifled with during the big climax. With the T-800 on its last leg (well, its last arm technically), Sarah must deliver the final blow. Using her environment to its full advantage, she lures the Terminator into a hydraulic press and turns him into scrap metal. It’s an applause-worthy victory, complete with an even more epic one-liner.

#8: City Chase with Crane
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)

“Terminator 3” is far from the franchise’s best outing, but it’s certainly not without a few stimulating action set pieces. This standout chase incorporates a number of vehicles, like motorcycles, fire trucks, and, most notably, a towering crane. With the T-X behind the wheel, the crane smashes everything in its path and takes Arnie along for the ride. As driven as the sexbot might be, the T-850 won’t relent regardless of what stands in his way. The results leave the streets in glorious disarray and the audience whiplashed.

#7: T-800 vs. T-1000
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Although the T-800 and T-1000 don’t exchange much dialogue, they still share one of the most riveting rivalries in cinema. Both ceaselessly determined to fulfill their contrasting missions, the two naturally butt heads several times. While the mall battle is exceptional, it’s the movie’s climatic confrontation that pushes both characters to their limits. Fittingly set in a steel mill, their final fight is intensely choreographed, full of jaw-dropping surprises, and leaves us on the edge of our seats until the last second as our hero rises to the occasion.

#6: Hasta La Vista, Baby
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

“Hasta La Vista, Baby” is such an obviously cool catchphrase that you’d think an action star would have coined it long before “Terminator 2” came out. Arnold Schwarzenegger forever made it his own, however. As the T-1000 chills out, the T-800 prepares to send him to the cooler. Before he breaks the ice, though, the Terminator shows off his newfound one-liner skills. In addition to being totally sweet, the line demonstrates the human bond this machine has developed with John and just how far he’s come as a character.

#5: I’ll Be Back
“The Terminator” (1984)

Where a line like “Hasta La Vista, Baby” sounds badass no matter what, “I’ll Be Back” doesn’t sound particularly intimidating on paper. Yet, the slow, deadpan way Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers this basic line leaves us jittery with suspense, eagerly wondering what exactly is going to happen next. The T-800 doesn’t disappoint, coming back with a vengeance and ripping the police station a new one. As exhilarating as the shootout itself is, the buildup is arguably even greater and that’s mainly because of those three little words.

#4: Bad to the Bone
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

For the most part, the “Terminator” movies maintain a serious, gritty tone. The sight of a nude Arnold is hard not to laugh at, however. The films typically use this opportunity to work in some needed humor, a highlight being the T-800’s revealing arrival in “T2.” Stumbling into a bar, the machine bluntly asks a biker for his clothes, boots, and motorcycle. The cigar-chewing thug responds like any other person would. Since he sure as hell ain’t saying, “please,” the Terminator shows the gang that he’s bad to the bone.

#3: Asylum Escape
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

When most people first saw “Terminator 2,” they were surprised to find that the T-800 was actually the good guy this time around. Sarah Connor is just as surprised when the face of her nightmares returns. She might not have to fear this Terminator anymore, but there’s a new model in town that’s just as deadly. This daring asylum escape brings all the key players together, serves up a thrilling chase, and shows us all what kind of unstoppable killing machine they’re up against.

#2: Thumbs Up
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Incredible action aside, the reason “Terminator 2” is such a great film is because of the emotional connection its characters share and the genuine affection we develop for them too. This makes the ending especially devastating as the T-800 reveals that the chip in his head must be destroyed. You probably didn’t expect to bawl your eyes out, but anyone who’s seen this movie knows why we cry. As sad as his termination is, the T-800 still provides a bittersweet hero’s exit to which we give a resounding thumbs up.

Before we terminate our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Minigun Madness
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
- The End of the World
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)
- Sarah’s Nightmare
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
- Gas Station
“Terminator: Salvation” (2009)
- Toilet Turmoil
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)

#1: Bike Chase
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

While it was tempting to go with one of the more moving moments, we had to give our number one spot to the most heart-racing scene in the whole “Terminator” franchise. This chase provides an ingenious setup with our young protagonist and his dinky dirt bike being pursued by the T-1000’s big rig through an aqueduct. Fortunately, Arnie drops by just in time to provide a proper getaway. Explosive, masterfully shot, and never stopping to take a breath, it’s an action sequence that gets every solitary thing right.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Terminator movie moment? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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