main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Characters: Terminator
For the characters/character-specific tropes specific to The Sarah Connor Chronicles spin-off, see that series' character sheet.

    open/close all folders 


T-800, Mark 1

"I'll be back."

Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger (1984)

This Terminator was sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor before she could give birth to her son John, who will become the leader of the human resistance in the war against SkyNet and the machines.

T-800, Mark 2

"I swear I will not kill anyone."

Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger (1991)

This Terminator, reprogrammed by John Connor, is sent back in time to protect himself as a pre-teen.

  • Action Hero Babysitter
  • Adorkable: His every attempt at mimicing human emotions has him come across as an enthusiastic but naive Man Child; the stiff and literally parroted "I swear I won't kill anybody" scene in particular is an amusing example of this.
  • Anti-Hero: Being a killer machine with no emotions, only protecting and following the orders of a ten year old because of his programming would probably place him as a type V. By the end of the film he's able to understand human behaviour and emotions, so it could be argued that he becomes a more traditional hero over the course of the movie.
  • Artificial Human
  • Badass Biker
  • Battle Butler: "Alright!! My own Terminator!!"
  • Bluff the Impostor: The former trope namer back when it was still called "Crying Wolfie".
  • Big Brother Mentor
  • Combat Medic: He has "detailed files on human anatomy". He says this was programmed in to make him a more efficient killer, but they also allow him to perform expert first aid on injured humans.
  • The Comically Serious
  • Cool Shades
  • Determinator: All the more so due to the villain / hero switch. Now that we're rooting for Arnie's character, he takes and *shows* even more punishment. "I need a vacation."
  • Do Androids Dream?: If he didn't have a soul when he came into our time, he most definitely would have earned his by the time he left.
  • Doting Parent: A better parent than Sarah Connor turned out to be (messed-up, violent wreck that she ended up being) by her own admission.
  • Final First Hug: With John.
  • Genre Savvy: When John notices his foster mother is acting strangely, the T-800 asks her a trick question to confirm it's the T-1000 in disguise. And because he is also a Terminator with the same data files as the T-1000, he understands how it operates and is able to predict what it will do to get to John. He even correctly predicts that the T-1000 may anticipate Sarah and John using the T-800's files to prevent Judgement Day.
    John: "I gotta stop by my house, I wanna pick up some stuff."
    T-800: "Negative, the T-1000 will definitely try to re-acquire you there."
    John: "You sure?"
    T-800: "I would." (He was right.)
  • Gentle Giant
  • Go Out with a Smile: Or more accurately, Go Out with a Thumbs Up.
  • Guile Hero: He tricks the T-1000 into revealing itself by impersonating John's voice and referring to the family dog by an incorrect name.
  • Heel-Face Turn: The T-800's good-guy status in T2 was a big surprise at the time, but today, it's firmly in It Was His Sled territory.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: "I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle."
  • They're Dead, John:
    T-800: [to John] What's the dog's name?
    John: Max.
    John!T-800: Hey Janelle, what's wrong with Wolfie? I can hear him barking.
    Janelle!T-1000: Wolfie's fine, honey, Wolfie's just fine. Where are you?
    The Terminator: (hangs up the phone) Your foster parents are dead.
  • Loophole Abuse: He swears not to kill anyone. Doesn't stop him shooting kneecaps and breaking bones.
    T800: "He'll live."
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Trope Namer.
  • The Kindnapper: His way of protecting John Connor from the T-1000 involves kidnapping him.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: The T-800 is the ultimate kick-ass savior; he even gives his life to save humanity's future like the good carpenter of Nazareth did.
  • Literal Genie: Doesn't kill, but definitely maims.
  • Manly Tears: "I know now why you cry, but it's something I can never do."
  • Martial Pacifist: After John made him take his vow of mercy.
  • Messianic Archetype
  • Naked on Arrival
  • Papa Wolf: Enough so to defy John's orders so he could better protect him and humanity's future.
  • Parental Substitute: Sarah's narration gives a short monologue about how he seemed to be a better father than potential figures she met in the past.
  • Pick Your Human Half
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Hasta La Vista, Baby."
  • Rasputinian Death: The T-1000 hits him badly, including destroying his arm, hitting his head with a steel bar, and even an impalement that deactivates the T-800. He still finds an alternate power to return and destroy the T-1000.
  • Technical Pacifist: John says "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Thus non-fatal explosions and lots of people getting shot in the knees ensue.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: Probably the most famous example in film.
  • That's What I Would Do: He and the T-1000 were built for the same purpose allowing the T-800 to anticipate it's moves based on what terminators would do in a given scenario. He correctly predicts the T-1000 waiting for John at his foster parent's home and even that it may look for them at Dyson's home as they might try to prevent Judgement Day.
  • Tin Man: "Why do you cry?"
    • The T-800 explains that his model is switched to Read-Only mode when they're sent out on solo missions; Skynet doesn't want them to do "too much thinking." He seems to develop a grasp on human emotion once he's rebooted, mimicking smiling and an urgent tone of voice. He even seems to display some pride at locating the keys to a semi (using the sun protector trick taught to him by John).
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?


Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger (2003)

This Terminator — which runs on a different fuel supply than the T-800 — is sent back in time in Terminator 3 by Kate Brewster, John Connor's future wife/widow to protect John as a young adult.


"Say, that's a nice bike..."

Default form played by: Robert Patrick (1991)
Other forms played by: Jenette Goldstein (1991), Dan Stanton (1991), Leslie Hamilton Gearren (1991)

This Terminator was sent back in time to kill John Connor as a pre-teen.

  • Artificial Human
  • Badass
  • Blob Monster
  • Chrome Champion
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Unlike the T-800, the T-1000 understands how to use human psychology and technology to aid its mission — it uses the police database to look up John's address, gets a picture from his parents to show to people to help find him, and when John escapes he kills his foster mother and takes her place during normal life at home in case John comes back.
  • Deceptively Human Robot: He can talk and behave more like a human than both versions of the T-800. If it wasn't for his Robotic Reveal when T-800 shot him, he would've continued fooling the audience into thinking he was human, let alone the hero.
  • Determinator
  • Eye Scream: He often stabs people through the eyes. Likely a pragmatic decision, to make sure the death is quick and they don't struggle.
  • Finger Wag: After Sarah shoots him multiple times but runs out of ammo.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: His regular method of killing. Mostly with his own arms, but with a metal spike against the T-800.
  • Impersonating an Officer
  • Intangible Man: He can allow physical blows to pass through him, he can shrug off bullets, he can even pass through metal bars.
  • Kill The Dog: We don't see how, but it's probably for the best given his usual methods of killing.
  • Kill and Replace
  • Knife Nut: As said by the T-800 himself, his main weapons are to morph his limbs into knives and other stabbing weapons.
  • Lightning Bruiser/Glass Cannon: He's just as strong physically as the T-800 model, his liquid body allows him to form weapons for melee fighting, and he does not walk, he runs and can keep up with cars. And when it comes to destroying him, while he's not as invulnerable as the T-800, recoiling when shot and taking a few moments to recover if damaged heavily, he does recover that damage, and it takes liquid nitrogen to noticeably damage him, and then a vat of molten metal to actually kill him.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Unfortunately, he gets better.
  • Naked on Arrival
  • Nanomachines: Arguably how it works.
  • Not So Stoic: Like all Terminators, he's normally stone-faced and focused. However compared to the T-800 in the first two films, he shows subtle degrees of emotion, such as being shocked or even horrified when he gets damaged severely (being frozen or having a grenade fired into his chest), annoyed when John's foster father talks while he's on the phone with John, and taking a moment to look at a silver-skinned mannequin in what might be interest that it looks like his liquid form.
  • Power Incontinence: In the extended edition, after being frozen, shot, thawing, and reassembling, he begins glitching and his body parts take on the texture of whatever surface they touch. This is the first indication he isn't invulnerable.
  • Pulling Themselves Together
  • Railing Kill
  • Shapeshifter Default Form
  • Shapeshifter Weapon
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Robert Patrick's are put to good use here.


"I like your gun."

Default form played by: Kristanna Loken (2003)
Other forms played by: Mark Famligetti (2003), Claire Danes (2003)

This Terminator was sent back in time in Terminator 3 to kill John Connor and several of the human resistance's top fighters, as well as to help ensure the launch of SkyNet.


"It decided our fate in a microsecond"

The artificial intelligence responsible for Judgment Day and the "leader" of the machines in their war on humanity.

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Skynet determined that humanity as a whole was a threat to its survival as soon as it gained sentience and set out to exterminate them all.
  • Apocalypse How: Judgement Day, a "Class 2" scenario via nuclear warfare.
  • Big Bad: The ultimate villain of the franchise and leading a genocidal war on humanity in the future.
  • The Ghost
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Designed to oversee an advanced military missile defense network and protect against outside enemy threats. It gained sentience and immediately saw all humans as a threat. Launching nuclear strikes to provoke a nuclear holocaust.
  • Kill All Humans
  • Master Computer: Skynet Central on the former U.S. western coast contains its main processing facilities. In the original timeline the resistance destroyed it for good in 2029 before all the time traveling shenanigans started. Subverted in Terminator 3 where it survives specifically by decentralizing itself on a global scale.
  • Offstage Villainy
  • Omnicidal Maniac
  • Properly Paranoid: In the Special Edition of T2, it's revealed Skynet sets a Terminator's chip to read-only when sending them out on solo missions. It doesn't want them learning too much. As it turns out, this paranoia actually has some justification. The T-800 in the second film, freed from such restrictions, later comes to respect human life.
  • Robots Enslaving Robots: Skynet ensures that its cybernetic assassins never go beyond their intended programming and develop true sentience to control them better.
  • Turned Against Its Masters
  • Ultimate Evil: It's actually just a floating skull, according to Robocop Versus The Terminator. Admittedly, it's pretty unnerving. Subverted in Terminator Salvation when it appears as various human faces to instruct its latest cybernetic experiment.

T-800 "T-RIP"

Default form played by: Roland Kickinger (body), Arnold Schwarzenegger (face)


Sarah Connor

"The hardest thing is deciding what I should tell you and what not to."

Played by: Linda Hamilton (1984-1991)

  • Action Survivor: In the first movie; turning on the hydraulic press that kills the Terminator shows her transition to...
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In the first film she was guilty of that, she dated a guy that treated her like dirt before she met Kyle. It was clear that despite Reese's attitude toward her was unnerving to her, but she liked him. As proven with the scene when she tried tip toeing around the question of whether or not he had a girlfriend, seconds before his Anguished Declaration of Love. Lastly in 2 she started going out with military personal, mostly to learn things she can teach John, but given her history....
  • Anti-Hero: While Sarah was firmly an Action Survivor in the first film, come time for the second one, she's become unhinged suffering a nasty case of PTSD. Sarah attempts to Shoot the Dog and even attempted to kill Miles Dyson in front of his family.
  • Big "NO!": Sarah almost makes it out of the asylum, but she see the T-800 walking out of an elevator. After saying "no" in a low tone of disbelief, it turns into this out of sheer terror.
  • Broken Bird: Second movie.
  • Dark Action Mom: Second movie.
  • Cassandra Truth: She's institutionalized to trying to prevent and talking about the future war with the machines.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Third movie, posthumously.
  • Dawson Casting: 28-year-old Linda Hamilton playing 19-year-old Sarah Connor.
  • Determinator She becomes like this during the second movie.
  • Final Girl: During the first movie.
  • Gold Digger: In the second film... sort-of. John says Sarah would "shack up with" any guy who looked like he had something worthwhile to teach John so that he'd grow up to be the competent leader she knew he was destined to be. It's a nobler example than most, but hey, using people is still using people.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: With Kyle in the first movie.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: End of first movie.
  • The Load: In Terminator she assumes this role initially being a relatively airheaded fast food waitress. Of course she Took a Level in Badass in time for her next film appearance, mostly because of the ordeals she went through.
  • Lady of War: Second movie.
  • Making Use of the Twin: Linda Hamilton's real-life twin sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren, in Terminator 2. Leslie is seen as both the fake Sarah inside the steel mill and as the waitress Sarah in the nuclear nightmare scene. She is also seen inside the garage operating on the fake Arnold's head (the "reflection" is Linda and the actual Arnold on the other side of the mirror frame) in the Special Edition.
  • Mama Bear: Almost to the point of being a Knight Templar Parent.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Silently after the attempted hit on Dyson. Exacerbated by the fact that not only had she taken on a dimmer view on human life than the Terminator she was traveling with, but had adopted the MO of the Terminator that first tried to kill her, right down to its weapon of choice (.45 Longslide with laser sighting).
    • Not to mention partially the fact that she almost killed a father in front of his wife and kid. Something that hits her close to home after losing Reese and almost losing John. Also when her best friend/roommate Ginger and her boyfriend were killed by the Terminator in their apartment in the first film.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: She practically became a Terminator herself, right down to her enemy's musical motif and choice of sunglasses, when she tried to murder Miles Dyson in order to prevent Skynet's creation.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In the second film as a result of having lost her paramour to a cyborg that was hunting her down with the intent to kill her.
  • Straw Feminist: Her borderline Narm speech of "Fucking Men like you created the hydrogen bomb" comes to mind.
  • Take the Wheel: Is made to do this in both the first and second movie.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "You're terminated, fucker!" Also a Pre-Mortem One-Liner and Precision F-Strike.
  • Time Travel Romance: One where the romance has a good deal of plot significance.
  • Time Travel Tense Trouble: Sarah has a problem with Reese telling her of all the things she hasn't done yet.
  • Took a Level in Badass: During the events between the first and second movie.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Mentally stable mother-of-the-year she is not.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Instead of hugging her own son and thanking him, she just checked if John was hurt and scolds him for trying to rescue her.
    Sarah: You cannot risk yourself, even for me. You're too important! Do you understand?
    (John begins to cry. Sarah shakes her head in disappointment.)
    John: I had to get you out of that place. I'm sorry!
    Sarah: I don't need your help. I can take care of myself.

John Connor

Infant John Connor played by: Dalton Abbot (1991)
Young John Connor played by: Edward Furlong (1991)
Adult John Connor played by: Michael Edwards (1991), Nick Stahl (2003), Christian Bale (2009)

Kyle Reese

"Come with me if you want to live."

Played by: Michael Biehn (1984)note , Anton Yelchin (2009)

Kate Connor (nee Brewster)

"I hate machines."

Played by: Claire Danes (2003), Bryce Dallas Howard (2009)

  • Action Survivor
  • Distressed Damsel
  • Future Badass: In the third film Kate's informed she's Johns second in command and spouse. Though she's fairly capable already.
  • Kindly Vet
  • For Want of a Nail: John concludes that if not for the events of the second film Kate would have likely become John's long-term girlfriend after a make-out session in a highschool friends basement. In meeting Kate's father Robert Brewster, John would have gained the necessary military skills and knowledge to later defeat SkyNet in the war (or even prevent Judgment Day). Instead John's foster parents were killed by the T-1000 not long after meeting Kate and he'd spent his life running ever since. Of course, the skeptical Kate initially think it was just a coincidence.
  • The General's Daughter
  • The Medic
  • Military Brat
  • Pregnant Badass: Fourth movie.
  • Red-Headed Heroine: Though surprisingly not a Fiery Redhead since hair colour aside she is much more a Brainy Brunette personality-wise.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: To anyone remotely genre savvy, her fiancee Scott Mason is doomed the moment Kate meets John. Sure enough the T-X murders him and poses in Scott's place to try and kill Kate. Kate briefly blamed herself until John tells her it's not her fault.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When she's finally put up a good fight and destroy an HK in third film.
    John: "You remind me of my mother."

Dr Peter Silberman

"In technical terminology: he's a loon."

Played by: Earl Boen

  • Agent Scully: Throughout the first and second. Subverted by T3 as it's strongly implied he is unable to shake off what saw during the events of T2, despite his best efforts, and is noticeably still shaken by the implications.
  • Believing Their Own Lies / Double Think: He's obviously tried to rationalize away what he saw at his hospital but it clearly still haunts him. Even as he attempts to comfort Kate Brewster with the lies he told himself he clearly doesn't quite believe what he's saying.
  • Butt Monkey
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Dr. Jerk: Highlighted in his nonchalant behavior towards a clearly distraught Sarah in the first film. The second film does not alter this assessment.
  • Heroic BSOD: Whilst "hero" is a stretch, Silberman does believe what he is doing is for Sarah's own good which makes seeing the T-800 and T-1000 in action all the more horrifying.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In Terminator 3 he not too subtlety implies it took him years to get over seeing two terminators in action. The revelation that terminators existed and that Sarah was not lying would be particularly horrifying for Silberman given she discussed Judgement Day in great detail.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once he spots that all too familiar heavily armed Badass in leather, the doctor rather wisely decides to make himself scarce.

Miles Dyson

"I feel like I'm gonna throw up."

Played by: Joe Morton

Marcus Wright

Played by: Sam Worthington

Blair Williams

Played by: Moon Bloodgood

General Ashdown

Played by: Michael Ironside

Lieutenant General Robert Brewster

Played by: David Andrews

Ed Traxler

Played by: Paul Winfield

  • Da Chief
  • Police Are Useless
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: While the others are making fun of Reese, he's quite frightened by the possibility that Reese may not be lying or crazy. He even comes to believe Reese in a deleted scene when he's dying, telling him to protect Sarah.

Hal Vukovich

Played by: Lance Henriksen


Played by: Common


Played by Jadagrace

  • Child Soldier: she and her buddy, Kyle Reese, grew up After the End, so yeah.
  • Cute Mute: her back story is that she was traumatized by events that took place before the start of the 4th movie.
  • Little Miss Badass: dropping a car on a Terminator? Figuring out that a flare is needed to light the gasoline to blow up a Hunter-Killer? Badass.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Live Action TrilogyCharacterSheets/Live-Action FilmsThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre

alternative title(s): Terminator Film Series
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy