The Terminator movies have given fans sci-fi grandeur with cyborg assassins, great action scenes, and honestly, lots of laughs. arnie made no mistake, we keep coming back for more… but what would a terminator franchise ranking list look like? Well, thankfully, we’ve rewatched all six of the Terminator movies (thanks to our Terminator streaming guide) to create this ultimate worst-to-best list, so you don’t have to, because sadly not all of us have access. to time travel.
While there have been some truly magnificent movies in this iconic franchise, my goodness, there have also been some questionable ones. From the earlier classic Terminator movies to later ones in the franchise based on more convoluted timelines and plot twists, each movie has continually rocketed to the moon with each attempt at blockbuster, some hitting the spot and some falling short. .
here’s our ultimate list of ranked terminator movies. And while you’re at it, why not check out other sci-fi movie greats with our best sci-fi movie recommendations of all time? you can also enjoy other franchises with the star trek movies rated or alien movies rated lists as well.
6. genesis terminator
- release date: July 1, 2015
- cast: arnold schwarznegger, emilia clarke, jason clarke
while terminator genisys had the building blocks for a great terminator movie, with emilia clarke in the role of a young sarah connor, arnold schwarznegger returning as an old t-800, and nostalgic moments to boot, it quickly became clear that this type reset had missed the mark. emilia clarke, although she is a great actress (and we want to make that very clear), she suffers from a plot that is a bit lost in translation. coupled with arnie’s cheesy ‘pops’ nickname and the idea that t1 and t2 should practically be erased from memory to reboot with a new young sarah connor and kyle reese, this leads us down a strange path in terminator genisys which was unexpected and probably one that shouldn’t have been taken.
not forgetting, the john connor spoiler that leaves all terminator fans wondering why they messed up the leader of the resistance so much. It was a long-awaited sequel that sadly sits at the bottom of our ranked list of terminator movies.
5. terminator 3: rise of the machines
- release date: July 2, 2003
- cast: arnold schwarzenegger, nick stahl, kristanna loken
while terminator 2 took great themes from the first one and made it better, terminator 3: rise of the machines tried to take what was successful about the first two terminator movies and somehow made it worse, earning it a low spot in our Terminator Movies, Ranked. While the overall concept was impressive with the introduction of the first female terminator, t-x, played by kristanna loken, what we got instead was a weird cyborg form that boasted laser arms and breast expansion. why?
Terminator 3 was the most expensive in the franchise up to that point and proved that money doesn’t always mean you’ll get the best movie. “Wish Is Irrelevant, I’m A Machine” is a redeeming movie moment from T3, and the movie as a whole really gives viewers a chance to explore the deeper meaning behind the Terminator franchise. Unfortunately, with every follow-up movie after the original two James Cameron movies, it seems like they needed to exploit and destroy what we know to be true for another story to happen.
However, it’s a fair game to the end, it’s a bold game that would have been a spectacular ending to a better film.
4. terminator save
- release date: May 21, 2009
- cast: christian bale, samworthington, anton yelchin
for the terminator save, we cranked it up a bit. We promise a brighter and more exciting future from here on out. and you have to give it to salvation as this one completely veers off completely tuning the focus on the future war that john connor and kyle reese came from. and where essentially it all began. Christian Bale and Anton Yelchin play the roles of the fellow soldiers excellently and there’s a lot of use of CGI that really adds to the franchise at this point.
While Terminator Salvation itself isn’t the best movie, it does provide context; It sits firmly in a timeline, and while there is no featured terminator villain, the world is full of them and we see what humanity becomes and what Kyle Reese was so eager to protect the world from.
3. terminator: dark fate
- Release Date: November 1, 2019
- Cast: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis
the most recent release in the terminator franchise is terminator: dark fate, which came out in 2019. we’re back to what terminator fans loved the most: lots of chase scenes, arnold as the old t-800 again and beautiful. Hamilton returns to reprise her role as the real Sarah Connor from the future. She adds a fantastical villain with Gabriel Luna’s Rev-9 and you’ve got a classic Terminator movie.
terminator: dark fate split fans at first, initially rated pretty much as a flop, but it really sticks out compared to the other terminator movies. Although seeing the T-800 Arnie living the home life seemed a bit strange, there are plenty of those amazing and exciting fight scenes that we all know and love.
2. the terminator
- release date: October 26, 1984
- cast: arnold schwarzenegger, linda hamilton, michael biehn
The first terminator unsurprisingly marks the beginning of everything and is only missed by its direct continuation to the top of our list. Not only was it the film that launched James Cameron’s directorial career, before the days of Aliens and Avatar, but it also saw the career-defining moments of its three main stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn.
a film packed with major sets, some glorious chase scenes, excellent ’80s horror, and equally fantastic ’80s synth music all add up to a great twist towards the end that begins the franchise. and while arnie’s t-800 doesn’t say much, it’s terrifying.
1. terminator 2: judgment day
- Release Date: July 3, 1991
- Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Set about 10 years after the original, Terminator 2: Judgment Day turns Arnie’s T-800 into a reformed Terminator with a mission to protect John Connor. This absolutely magnificent sequel is quite possibly one of the best franchise sequels ever made, and as such earns its place at the top of our ranked list of terminator movies.
Both Arnie and Linda Hamilton were based on their roles from the first film and the introduction of the advanced T-1000, played by Robert Patrick, is a suitably terrifying villain and one of the best, if not the best, of the franchise. terminator. And let’s not forget the abundance of iconic movie quotes, including but not limited to our T-800 redemption plot, “If a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”