Story of the Scene: 'The Terminator' (1984)
Friday 22 August 2008
Famous movie lines are often a hair's breadth away from staggering banality. In The Terminator, the James Cameron sci-fi movie that made a star out of him and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the line "I'll be back" is a case in point.
Cameron has said that his inspiration for The Terminator lay in a single image that arrived in his mind one day, a vision of a metal skeleton walking from a blazing inferno. This scene comes late in the movie, and from this point the rest of the movie is backwards-engineered.
Earlier, Schwarzenegger, who plays a cyborg sent back in time to assassinate Linda Hamilton, has tracked her to a police station where she is being questioned. He approaches the desk sergeant, who barely looks up as the Terminator addresses him. In one great shot, the Terminator looks up, scanning the station ceiling and the structure of the booth in which the sergeant sits, leans forward with particular menace, and intones, "I'll be back." And back he comes.
Lance Henriksen was Cameron's original choice as the cyborg killing machine but Cameron wanted someone ordinary- looking; Big Arnie made the role his own. "I'll be back" became his trademark.
What was it in the original script? "I'll come back." Not so different, perhaps, but slightly more polite. "I'll be back" has a menace that would have been quite absent if the scripted version was used.
Cameron later revealed that police officers constantly tell him that the "I'll be back" scene is their favourite of all his movies – something that puzzles him, considering that virtually the entire station is mown down by the Terminator.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained star's white boyfriend Brian Lucas confirms LAPD internally investigating 'racist' detainment
- 2 Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
- 3 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 4 Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
- 5 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Robin Thicke admits he did not write 'Blurred Lines'
Colin Firth and Emma Stone on starring in Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen's 1920s romance
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
Pharrell Williams says 'Blurred Lines' criticism is 'out of context'
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes