All 6 Terminator Movies in Order

Terminator movies are one of the most anticipated and followed movie franchises there. It has been loved by many and criticized by few as well, but the entire journey of the Terminator franchise is just phenomenal, which made it one of the most successful and loved movie series of all time. This movie franchise rolls back to the 1980s when the iconic journey of Terminator began. The movie series has since served various generations with its content and storyline. 

Terminator is, overall, an entertaining movie series to watch. If you want to know more about Terminator and the entire series in chronological order, and better understand it alongside enjoying the genuine fun, then worry not because we have got you covered with everything you need to know about Terminator and its entire series.

Terminator Movies

All Terminator Movies in order

  1. The Terminator

    Director: James Cameron

    Writers: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, William Wisher

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn

    Genres: Action, Sci-Fi

    The Terminator (1984) on IMDb

    This movie started the entire history of Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It introduced our world to the crazy concept of cyborgs. This movie revolves around the concept of time travel at the core. In the story, Kyle is sent back in time to 1984 from 2029 to protect Sarah from the Terminator, a cyborg killing machine determined to kill her because he wants to prevent the birth of her son, John Connor. All of this is necessary because John is responsible for a future war between the Human race and Skynet that looks upon humans as its nemesis and develops self-awareness.

    This movie is much more enticing than any other tech-noir series out there in the market of its age. Although not a craftsman’s art, this movie does a great job of setting the plot and environment for future parts of the entire movie franchise.

  2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

    Director: James Cameron

    Writers: James Cameron, William Wisher

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong

    Genres: Action, Sci-Fi

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) on IMDb

    Terminator 2 is another Terminator movie created after the success of the first part of the movie franchise. This movie, released in 1991, is considered the actual terminator movie of all time. It had everything to make it the best cyborg, tech noir action film of its time that is looked upon and respected even today.

    This movie is set 11 years after the events of The Terminator, where the film is again based on the same concept and features T-1000, a shape-shifting cyborg. He is sent on a mission to exterminate a young John Connor for the same reason as in the previous movie. Still, this time he will face T-800, revamped as Arnie, who will protect John from the wrath of a replacement villain.

    This movie serves as a redemption for the actions of T-1000 in part 1. Similarly, it surpasses the performance barriers of the prequel, making it one of the highest-grossing Terminator movies of all time.

  3. Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines

    Director: Jonathan Mostow

    Writers: John Brancato, Michael Ferris, Tedi Sarafian

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken

    Genres: Action, Sci-Fi

    Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) on IMDb

    It is yet another continuation movie of Terminator and a part where we travel a few years to a time where John is dating his future wife, Kate Brewster, with no sign of his existence. As expected, T-1000 will protect both of them from any future mishap.

    Due to the events of part 2, Cyberdyne was destroyed, and the missions of Skynet were postponed. Still, things don’t go smoothly after that since, with the events of Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines, another Terminator Cyborg with a reconfigurable arm and breast-expanding abilities, T-X is sent back in time to exterminate all John Connor’s future possibilities alongside his wife, Kate Brewster.

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    Kate’s father, the current supervisor of Skynet’s development, is also on target. Things go off-hand when the Terminator kills Connor’s future self. Still, Kate luckily reprograms the doppelganger and sends him to save them both from T-X.

    This movie has indeed turned out to be a beauty which is evident in the reviews fans and critics have for it. The favorable reviews of the film have turned out to be good future parts of the movie series since a bad one could end the movie franchise absurdly.

  4. Terminator: Salvation

    Director: McG

    Writers: John Brancato, Michael Ferris

    Stars: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

    Terminator Salvation (2009) on IMDb

    Terminator: Salvation, or Terminator 4, is the fourth installment to an already successful trilogy, but this time the cast faces an expected change of tables. Things go a little upside down with the release of this movie since we are taken to a far future where we explore the relationship between Kyle Reese and John Connor as the leaders of the assault of future war between Skynet cyborgs and the human race.

    Things do not look good in this part of the movie, where John and Kyle are trying to take down Skynet, which has destroyed a large proportion of the human race in a nuclear holocaust. John finds it difficult to become the leader of humanity at this point. With the production of the T-800 in its early stages, we see Kyle Reese on its kill list as well where on the other hand, whereas John has joined forces with Marcus Wright. Overall, this part of the movie included a decent amount of action and felt more futuristic and different from all the previous parts of the Terminator franchise.

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    The initial production of T-800 or Arnie serves as the USP of the movie and is something to enjoy as well, despite the enticing events of this movie. Released in 2009, Terminator: Salvation was a joy for all the tech-noir action fans, which felt like a movie a little earlier than its time.

  5. Terminator Genisys

    Director: Alan Taylor

    Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier, James Cameron

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

    Terminator Genisys (2015) on IMDb

    It is another excellent movie in the market for fans to enjoy. This is a part where we are taken back in time again and continues the story from the same perspective. The fifth installment is considered a reboot that begins the series with the first main characters.

    The story of this movie is set in an alternate reality and way before the events of 1984. In this timeline, a terminator Genisys Arnie as T-800, also named Pops, is sent back to when Sarah Connor, John Connor’s mother, was young. He is responsible for saving Sarah Connor from Terminator, who is about to be sent to exterminate her in 1984.

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    On the other hand, Kyle Reese is sent back in time to save John’s mother, Sarah, but ends up going to a timeline where Skynet was never sent for an extermination mission in 1997. In the same timeline, Sarah was brought up by a reprogrammed terminator who has been her guardian since childhood.

    Things get even harder when Kyle, Sarah, and the guardian Arnie, have to escape T-800 101, T-1000, and T-3000 to prevent Judgement day from happening. We are also shown in the movie that Skynet began in 2017. We are also introduced to Detective O’ Brian, who investigates all the terminators deeply and gets to know and understand Skynet. 

    This movie has been one of the best movies with a hotchpotch of multiple timelines and multiple terminators, which was indeed enjoyed by the fans. The CGI used in the movie serves as the cherry on top of the cake, Terminator Genisys. The film has been showered with loads of love and affection from the audience and critics, making it a major success whatsoever.

  6. Terminator: Dark Fate

    Director: Tim Miller

    Writers: David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, Billy Ray

    Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

    Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) on IMDb

    It is, to date, the sixth and the latest release of the Terminator franchise. This is part of the series where the initial stars of the entire franchise unite once again as their older selves. This part of the movie ignores everything that has ever happened in the recent progression of the terminator franchise and picks up the story from where it left off in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. 

    This part of the series introduced us to new characters and major plot twists. With the introduction of so many things, the movie defied everything thrown at us with time travel and multiple timelines in the previous two films of the Terminator franchise.

    This movie is directly in the center of every film since it occurs after Terminator 2: Dark Fate and before Terminator 3: Rise of Machines. It simplifies all the twisted releases that took place in the meantime. This film has a different agenda, but a similar motive where the machines from Skynet send a Terminator named Rev-9 back in time (again) to eliminate Dani Ramos, this time who is completely linked to the Human resistance’s war against Skynet.

    On the other hand, the humans send their soldier, Grace, to protect Dani Ramos from Rev-9, who is on an extermination mission to destroy her once and for all. Still, the turn of events causes Grace and Dani to join forces with T-800, and Sarah Connor gives all the fans a callback and fan moment for this new rebooted version of the Terminator series. This movie has greatly impacted all the viewers and terminator fans with apt CGI and gorgeous visuals alongside the storyline.


One of if not the most iconic franchises in the 80s. These were all the Terminator talked about in their release order, and some burning questions about the series were finally answered. Nearly 40 years after its release, The Terminator franchise has become a multi-billion dollar franchise while maintaining a loyal fanbase and significant production quality.

With an abundance of iconic lines like “I’ll be back,” the Terminator franchise has left its mark on cinema. While the franchise started by explaining that fate is not defined and can be changed according to a strong will, it has now become a movie about humanity being completely wiped from the face of the earth. So if you want to get into a great action franchise with amazing spectacles for fights, the Terminator movies might be the right pick.

All Terminator Movies According To IMDb Ratings

  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day – 8.6 with 1.1M Votes
  • The Terminator – 8.1 with 889k Votes
  • Terminator: Salvation – 6.5 with 370k Votes
  • Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines – 6.3 with 409k Votes
  • Terminator Genisys – 6.3 with 285k Votes
  • Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.2 with 185k Votes

All Terminator Movies Box Office Collection

  • The Terminator – $78.3 million
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day – $520.9 million
  • Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines – $433.4 million
  • Terminator: Salvation – $371.4 million
  • Terminator Genisys – $440.6 million
  • Terminator: Dark Fate – $261.1 million


In What Order Should I Watch the Terminator Franchise?

Chronological Order. Since the Terminator franchise has a lot of time travel, the chronological order sets each of the movies, in order of the even in them happening. The Chronological order goes as follows – 1. Terminator: Genisys (2015), 2. The Terminator (1984), 3. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), 4. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), 5. Optional: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008 to 2009 – TV show), 6. Terminator: Salvation (2009), 7. Terminator: Dark Fate

Are There Multiple Timelines in the Terminator Franchise?

Yes, there are 2. There are two different timelines in the Terminator franchise which share some movies but the endings are completely different. The two timelines are as follows: Original Continuity – The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator Salvation (2009). Dark Fate Timeline – The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator: Dark Fate

Are Terminator Movies Connected?

Yes, in a way. All of the Terminator movies released since the first two are connected to them, while some of the movies are not connected to each other. Since the movies follow two separate timelines, the events of some movies never happened in another.

Is Terminator 2 Connected to Terminator 1?

Yes. The second installment in the Terminator franchise, Terminator 2 is the direct sequel to Terminator 1, as the events of the first movie lead up to the event in the second one.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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