When Arnold Schwarzenegger uttered the immortal line “I’ll be back” in 1984’s The Terminator, he probably had no idea that would come to mean almost a half-dozen return appearances of his famous cyborg character.
From the very first movie, 1984’s The Terminator, an entire backstory and world were created that opened a whole new universe of possibilities. Basically the franchise focuses on the evil Skynet’s AI machines and the resistance front led by hero John Connor. As our below list of Terminator Movies Ranked Worst to Best shows, it’s the different ways of telling those stories that have kept them alive for decades.
A series of films, comics, video games, web shows and a TV program have outlined the various Terminators sent back in time to kill Connor before he can rise to power — sometimes that amounts to taking him out as a child, other times it puts a big ol’ target on his mom.
The movies have a few things in common — like a different actor playing Connor at his various ages, and star Schwarzenegger as similar-looking Terminators defined by their upgraded model numbers. They also all feature some great action sequences — from the indie aesthetic applied to the first movie by director James Cameron to the more elaborate and technologically jaw-dropping look of its sequel and follow-ups in the ’00s.
The Terminator films have become one of the most popular franchises of the past four decades. Two of the movies are undisputed classics. And even when they seem to be repeating themselves, the films manage to spin in new directions, as you’ll see in our below list of Terminator Movies Ranked Worst to Best.