The Terminator: Special Edition/Gold Edition (1984)

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Released 7-Mar-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Booklet
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Notes-James Cameron's Original 1982 Treatment
Gallery-James Cameron Artwork (22)
Gallery-Production Photographs (30)
Gallery-Stan Winston: Terminator and Make-Up Effects (21)
Gallery-Fantasy II: Visual Effects (24)
Gallery-Publicity Materials (15)
Featurette-Making Of-Making Of The Terminator: A Retrospective (18:10)
Featurette-Other Voices (59:32)
Deleted Scenes-7
Theatrical Trailer-3
TV Spots-2
DVD-ROM Extras-Screenplay 4th Draft, Original Treatment Script
DVD-ROM Extras-Final Shooting Script
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 102:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:23)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By James Cameron

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton
Michael Biehn
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Brad Fiedel

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Two men (well actually one man and one machine that looks like a man) have been sent from the future to find Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). One is there to protect her. The other is there to kill her. Sarah is just an ordinary woman, working as a waitress in a diner, eking out a not-so-exciting existence, which, if you haven't already guessed, is all about to change.

    Kyle Reece (Michael Biehn) is the man who has been sent to protect Sarah from the machine, a Terminator (Cyberdyne Systems Model 101) played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the outside it looks human; living skin, blood, hair, and bad breath, but underneath is a microchip-controlled hyper-alloy combat chassis. Hmmm, I think I may have watched this movie one too many times, since I was able to rattle that off without having the movie playing in front of me!

    The question is - can Reece protect Sarah from the Terminator with the limited means and weapons of today.

    I could go on and on, but for those few rare people out there who haven't seen The Terminator, I will stop there so that I don't give anything away and will let you discover the storyline for yourself. The Terminator is not just a sci-fi action flick, as it works on many levels giving it wide audience appeal. A true classic.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Apart from the film artefacts and film grain, the picture quality is almost reference quality and is truly beautiful to look at. This is a great example of how good a restored film can look and sound when time and care is taken to prepare it and transfer it properly onto DVD. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a mid 80s film that was first released with a mono soundtrack.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer's sharpness and detail is amazing. It easily surpassed all of my expectations. The picture is extremely clear and sharp at all times, except for one short scene where the picture was a little soft, but I'm certainly not complaining. Just have a look at the background detail at 15:12. No low-level noise, edge enhancement or edge bleeding was noticed. Due to the wonderful sharpness and detail of the picture, its structure does become a little noticeable on fine, sharply-contrasted objects, like spectacle frames, but again it isn't anything to worry about. Indeed, the wonderful clarity of the picture allows you to see a production fault in the famous opening sequence where the word "Terminator" is scrolling across the screen.

    The colour was excellent - beautifully saturated with great skin tones throughout. Pretty much perfect, in my humble opinion.

    The grain content varies. On many, if not most of the darker scenes, there is a noticeable amount of background grain which was undoubtedly inherent in the source material. It tended to catch my eye a little, but strangely wasn't too bothersome. The most noticeable and distracting examples can be found at 0:40 - 0:55, 20:06 - 20:28, 21:58 - 22:58, 31:05, 33:30 and 70:20 - 70:38. On two occasions the background appeared to suffer from some minor pixelization, at 6:57 and 7:25, but it wasn't too distracting. The film grain is more than likely the cause of these two artefacts.

    No other MPEG artefacts were noticed. This DVD shows how clean the picture can be when most of the 10Mb/s bitstream is reserved for video and is not taken up with lots of unnecessary audio tracks. Only three trivial instances of aliasing and moiré artefacts were noticed for the entire film. They are hardly worth mentioning, but I will anyway; 24:51 (moiré), 25:22 - 25:27 (moiré) and 49:27 (aliasing).

    Film artefacts are the other area in which this transfer loses some marks. There is a reasonable sprinkling of small film artefacts throughout the movie. Mostly these are unobtrusive and not distracting, but there are a few that will catch your eye. The only six film artefacts that I consider worthy of a mention are at; 4:17, 13:03, 33:14, 33:23 and 99:50, of which the artefacts at 33:14 and 33:23 are the most detrimental to the picture, as they are in the form of a light black scratch that runs from the top of the picture to the bottom.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 15 and 16, at 49:23. The layer change is perfectly placed and is not at all disruptive to the movie, even though it was easily spotted.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Wow! Let me just pick myself off the floor before I continue - what a great soundtrack! A superb job has been done on remastering it. You would never know that this movie was originally released with a mono soundtrack. Yes, that's right, a mono soundtrack! It only just falls shy of reference quality status because of the slight lack of top end in the soundtrack, but if you're anything like me, you won't even miss it.

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, which is a 448Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and boy doesn't it sound good. Accolades and praise for the remastering team. Another plus is the fact that we get a 448Kb/s bitstream.

    The dialogue was extremely clear and easy to understand throughout the entire movie with no audio sync problems noticed, apart from one scene where the looped dialogue was inconsequentially out.

    Brad Fiedel's musical score is a classic.

    The surround channel use was excellent. They were very aggressively used for ambience, music and lots of special effects. Directional effects and precise sound placement within the sound field were the norm rather than the exception, which puts you right in the midst of the action at all times and not just during the action sequences. Excuse me while I just dodge a couple more of those bullets that are still flying around my lounge room. The sound placement and spatial integration across the front soundstage was also excellent. The stand-out highlight was the split rear use at 46:57 - 47:02.

    The subwoofer is continually being used to add bass to most scenes and is extremely active during the dramatic sequences.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There is a great selection of extras present, which are mostly of very good quality. Only an audio commentary is missing, which would have made the extras collection perfect.


    There is some animation before the main menu appears. The main menu has animation and sound (1536Kb/s Linear PCM). The main menu selections are; Play, Scene Selections (32 with index), Subtitle Options and Special Features. The Scene Selection menus have audio and film animation.

Notes-James Cameron’s Original 1982 Treatment (script-120 pages)

    James Cameron's (Director/Writer) Treatment script for “The Terminator”. This can be read from start to finish or you can jump to any one of the twelve sections that make it up. The sections are: Arrivals, Sarah Connor, Terminator, Phonebook Rampage, Mistaken for Sarah, The First Confrontation, The Chase, Interrogation, Escape, Reese's Reasons, The Final Fight and Sarah's Future.

Gallery-James Cameron Artwork (23 pages)

    Various illustrations by James Cameron which he used to show the studios and the production team exactly what he had in mind for the film.

Gallery-Production Photographs (31 pages)

    Various photos taken by Joyce Rudolph during the making of The Terminator.

Gallery-Stan Winston: Terminator and Makeup Effects (22 pages)

    Various photos of mechanical objects, make-up and effects.

Gallery-Fantasy II: Visual Effects (25 pages)

    Photographs and sketches of the Future War, The Tanker Truck Explosion and the stop-motion endoskeleton.

Gallery-Publicity Material (16 pages)

    Photographs of the cast, posters and other artwork.

Featurette-Making of The Terminator: A Retrospective (18:10 minutes)

    James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger informally talk about the movie. There is some very interesting information offered and overall the picture and sound quality is good. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Featurette-Other Voices (59:32 minutes)

    The cast and crew talk about the making of The Terminator. It starts out a little slow, but after the 20 minute mark it starts to get much more interesting. There are some good insights into what went on during the making of the movie. Presented in the non-16x9 enhanced aspect ratios of 1.33:1 (interviews) and 1.85:1 (film footage), with a 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, which has an annoying ringing sound throughout it.

    There are interviews with James Cameron (Director), Gale Anne Hurd (Producer), Bill Wisher (Ad-lib dialogue/Cameron Collaborator), Stan Winston (Make-up and Effects Creator), Gene Warren, Jr (Fantasy II VFX Supervisor), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Joe Viskocil (Visual Effects Pyrotechnician), Mark Golblatt (Film Editor) and Brad Fiedel (Music Composer).

Terminated Scenes (7-9:42 minutes)

    All the deleted scenes are of very good quality and have a single page of text describing why the scene was cut before the footage starts. They are presented in the non-16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks. The deleted scenes are:
  1. Wholesome Sarah (0:15)
  2. Wrong Sarah (0:37)
  3. Lt. Traxler's Arc (1:26)
  4. Sarah Fights Back (4:18)
  5. Making Bombs (1:42)
  6. Tickling Reese (0:32), and
  7. The Factory (0:52).
    I thought Sarah Fights Back, Making Bombs and Tickling Reese were great scenes.

Theatrical Trailer-Trailer (1:51 minutes)

    This trailer is of very good quality and is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a mono-sounding 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer-Teaser Trailer (1:21 minutes)

    This trailer is of very good quality and is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a mono-sounding 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, but it is a little better than the first trailer.

Theatrical Trailer-International Trailer (2:59 minutes)

    This trailer is also of very good quality and is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a reasonable sounding 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

TV Spot 1 (0:30 minutes)

    This is of good quality, presented in 1.33:1 with a 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The picture colour is washed out and there are film artefacts.

TV Spot 2 (0:30 minutes)

    This is of good quality, presented in 1.33:1 with a 256kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The picture colour is washed out and there are film artefacts and grain present.

DVD-ROM Extras

    There are three Terminator scripts presented; Screen Play 4th Draft, Original Treatment and Final Shooting Script. The Final Shooting Script is by far the most interesting of these, visually. You can select any chapter and it plays in a small window on the left-hand side of the screen, while the script for the chapter is shown on the right-hand side.

    An important note for those who use a PC DVD-ROM as their DVD player. PowerDVD locks up when it reaches the main menu with this DVD. I had no problems with WinDVD.


    This is the typical booklet that comes with MGM DVDs, containing production notes.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Terminator: Special Edition is not yet available in Region 1, but appears to be coming. The only version currently available in R1 is a 1.85:1 non-16x9 enhanced mono soundtrack version. So it's an easy choice at this stage, but even when the R1 Special Edition version is released, I can't see it being any better than this beauty.


    The Terminator is a classic. It has dated ever-so-slightly now, but is still an excellent watch.

    Overall the video quality is very good, with only some grain and film artefacts lowering its quality.

    The soundtrack is great, and only just falls short of reference quality.

    There is a great selection of extras present, mostly of very good quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Thursday, March 02, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS989
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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Comments (Add)
FYI: the definitive edition - cztery
re: the definitive edition - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Re: FYI: the definitive edition - cztery
Re: Definitive Edition - cztery