Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Times:
This is a monster movie, and the monster's role fits Mr. Schwarzenegger just fine.
As a souvenir of a kind of B-grade action cinema that has all but vanished, The Terminator should find a small place in the heart of every movie addict.
The havoc makes for a genuine steel metal trap of a movie that may very well be the best picture of its kind since The Road Warrior.
New York Daily News:
You almost forget the film's flaws - like the cartoony look of the war-ravaged future. Here, the most absurd excursion is believable and we go along willingly - stopping now and then for a breath or a laugh.
The movie's strength is that, like The Matrix, it combines action with ideas.
Globe and Mail:
An efficient, cold-blooded sci-fi splatter movie that never makes the mistake of forgetting that on some level it is deeply ridiculous.
As for Schwarzenegger, he nicely fleshes out the convention of a soulless gun for hire. With his choppy hair, cryptic shades and state-of-the-'80s leather ensemble, he looks like the Incredible Hulk gone punk.
More than enough violence to make it a profoundly moral film; and Arnold's a whizz.
The Terminator is a blazing, cinematic comic book, full of virtuoso moviemaking, terrific momentum, solid performances and a compelling story.