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This article is about the film. For the video game, see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (video game).

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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
File:Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines movie.jpg
International theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Mostow
Screenplay by
  • John Brancato
  • Michael Ferris
Story by
  • John Brancato
  • Michael Ferris
  • Tedi Sarafian
Produced by
  • Mario Kassar
  • Andrew G. Vajna
  • Joel B. Michaels
  • Hal Lieberman
  • Colin Wilson
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Nick Stahl
  • Claire Danes
  • Kristanna Loken
CinematographyDon Burgess
Edited by
  • Nicolas de Toth
  • Neil Travis
Music by
  • IMF Internationale Medien und Film[1]
  • C2 Pictures[1]
Distributed by
Release date
  • July 2, 2003 (2003-07-02)
Running time
109 minutes[2]
Budget$187.3 million ($167.3 million excluding production overhead)
Box office$433.4 million

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (also referred to as Terminator 3 or T3) is a 2003 American science fiction action film,[3] directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, and Kristanna Loken. It is the third installment in the series, following Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It does not involve James Cameron, who directed and wrote the first two films.

The plot follows the events of the second installment. After Skynet fails to kill Sarah Connor before her son is born and to kill John himself as a child, it sends back another Terminator, the T-X, in an attempt to wipe out as many Resistance officers as possible. This includes John's future wife, but not John himself as his whereabouts are unknown to Skynet. John's life is placed in danger when the T-X finds him.


John Connor has been living off the grid in Los Angeles following the death of his mother, Sarah. Although Judgment Day did not occur on August 29, 1997, John still fears a war between humans and the machines. Unable to locate John in the past, Skynet sends a new model of the Terminator called the T-X to July 23, 2003, to kill other members of the Human Resistance. The T-X is more advanced than previous Terminators, and has an endoskeleton with built-in weaponry, a liquid metal exterior similar to the T-1000, and can reprogram other machines. Unlike previous Terminators, its standard appearance is female. The Resistance sends a reprogrammed Terminator (T-850 - Model 101) to protect the T-X's targets including John and his future wife, Kate Brewster.

After killing several other targets, the T-X locates Kate and John at an animal hospital, where the former works and the latter was stealing from; but they escape with the Terminator's help. The Terminator takes John and Kate to a mausoleum where John's mother is supposedly interred. Inside her vault, they find a weapons cache left at Sarah's request in case Judgment Day occurred. Police arrive and a gun battle ensues, but the three escape in a hearse. The T-X also arrives and chases the Terminator and the others, but they escape. The Terminator reveals his plan to drive John and Kate to Mexico to escape the fallout when Judgment Day begins at 6:18 p.m. that day. John orders the Terminator to take him and Kate to see Kate's father, a Lt. General who is supervising the building of Skynet after Cyberdyne Systems went defunct, and threatens to kill himself if the Terminator refuses. The Terminator calls John's bluff but agrees to take them after Kate orders him to. The Terminator reveals that he killed John on July 4, 2032; Kate sent him back from the future after having him captured and reprogrammed.

At the Air Force base, General Brewster faces pressure from the President to activate Skynet to stop a computer virus infecting computers all over the world, unaware that the virus is Skynet establishing control over the worldwide computer network. John and Kate arrive too late to stop Skynet from being activated, and its machines begin attacking the staff. Brewster is mortally wounded by the T-X, which arrived before John, Kate, and the Terminator. Before dying, he gives Kate and John a code book and the location of what John believes is Skynet's system core. John and Kate head for the tarmac to take General Brewster's airplane to reach Crystal Peak, a military base built inside the Sierra Nevada that is hardened against nuclear attack. The T-X and the T-850 battle, and the T-X severely damages the T-850 before reprogramming it to kill John and Kate. The T-X pursues John and Kate through the military base but becomes trapped when a particle accelerator is activated and the magnetic field bonds it to the accelerator. In the hangar, the Terminator, unable to control his outer functions but still consciously aware, attacks John and Kate before John convinces it to reject the T-X's control, and deliberately shuts its corrupted system down, enabling John and Kate to escape. Shortly after they leave, the Terminator's system reboots.

John and Kate reach Crystal Peak and begin entering the access codes to gain entry when the T-X arrives by helicopter. Just as she is about to attack, the rebooted Terminator arrives in a second helicopter and crashes into the T-X, crushing it. The T-X pulls itself from the wreckage and attempts to drag itself inside the bunker to follow John and Kate. The Terminator holds the bunker open long enough for John and Kate to lock themselves inside, then uses one of its hydrogen fuel cells to destroy both itself and the T-X.

John and Kate discover that the facility is not Skynet's core but a nuclear fallout shelter, and that Skynet has no core because it was within the Internet the whole time. Judgment Day begins as nuclear missiles are fired at locations worldwide, killing billions. They begin receiving radio transmissions on the emergency equipment; John assumes command and begins answering radio calls.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator / T-850 (Model 101) : Reprising his role from the first two films. This film was Schwarzenegger's final starring role before becoming Governor of California until his 2013 film The Last Stand. In the 2009 film Terminator Salvation, though, Schwarzenegger's likeness is used in CGI and a body double is used to portray the T-800.
  • Nick Stahl as John Connor: Edward Furlong, who played John in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, reportedly was not asked to reprise his role in T3 because of a substance abuse problem. In a 2004 interview, he responded, "I don't know [what happened]. It just wasn't the time. I was going through my own thing at the point in my life – whatever, it just wasn't meant to be".[4]
  • Kristanna Loken as T-X: the first on-screen female Terminator.
  • Claire Danes as Kate Brewster: In a 2005 interview on NPR's Fresh Air, Danes revealed she was cast in the role as a last-minute replacement after producers felt that actress Sophia Bush was too young to portray the character.[5]
  • David Andrews as Lieutenant General Robert Brewster, USAF: Kate's father and Skynet's primary creator.
  • Mark Famiglietti as Scott Mason: Kate Brewster's slain fiancé was originally named Scott Peterson, but was changed in order to avoid association with the Scott Peterson case surrounding the murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn son Conner.[6] In the ending credits his name is still listed as "Scott Peterson".
  • Earl Boen as Dr. Peter Silberman: Reprising his role from the first two films. Boen appears for one scene, attempting to comfort Claire Danes' character after she witnesses the acts of the Terminator. Boen and Schwarzenegger are the only actors to appear in all of the first three Terminator films.
  • Jay Acovone as LAPD Officer.
  • Kim Robillard as Detective Edwards: He is killed by being punched through the chest by the T-X.
  • Mark Hicks as Detective Bell: He is killed by the T-X along with Detective Edwards, in the dialogue he is identified correctly, but in the credits his name is listed as "Detective Martinez".

Linda Hamilton was approached to reprise her role as Sarah Connor, but turned the offer down. She explained, "They offered me a part. I read it and I knew my character arc was so complete in the first two, and in the third one it was a negligible character. She died halfway through and there was no time to mourn her. It was kind of disposable, so I said no thank you."[7]

Development and writing[]

James Cameron announced T3 many times during the 1990s, but without a finished script in place. In 1997, Terminator 2: Judgment Day developer Carolco Pictures went bankrupt, and its assets were bound to a liquidation auction. These included 50% of the Terminator franchise rights, as the other half remained with The Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd. Cameron and 20th Century Fox had some interest, even arranging meetings with Hurd regarding her share and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to return in the starring role. Eventually budgetary concerns and Cameron's troubled post-production of Titanic for Fox lead them to back out of the plans.[8] Carolco founders Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna purchased the rights for $7.5 million, and the following year got Hurd's half to become full owners of the franchise.[9] The duo then founded a new company named C2 Pictures in 1999, and hired screenwriter Tedi Sarafian for Terminator 3, along with David C. Wilson for a possible fourth installment.[10] Sarafian's script featured John Connor working in a dot-com company when a female Terminator that could turn invisible arrived from the future.[11] Jonathan Mostow signed as the director in March 2001.[12] Feeling dissatisfied with Sarafian's script, Mostow invited his college classmates John Brancato and Michael Ferris to rework the screenplay across a whole year. Sarafian still got a story credit.[11]

However, Kassar and Vajna were unsure whether Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in the film. Schwarzenegger initially refused to star in Terminator 3 because Cameron, who created the character and helmed the first two films, would not be directing the third installment. Schwarzenegger tried to persuade Cameron to produce the third film. Cameron declined, however, as he felt that he had already finished telling the story upon the conclusion of T2. But feeling that the Terminator character was as much Schwarzenegger's as it was his own, he advised Schwarzenegger to just do the third film and ask for "nothing less than $30 million."[citation needed]

When Schwarzenegger was called into Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna's office in April 2001, he did not expect them to bring up Terminator 3 given the film's long stint in development hell. Instead, he wanted to mention to the producers about his political interests, including a potential candidature as Governor of California in the 2002 election. However, pre-production was rolling along, with the screenplay nearly finished and set deals for both merchandising and distribution. Thus Schwarzenegger was forced to postpone his gubernatorial plans (which eventually came into fruition during post-production, as the rising unpopularity of governor Gray Davis led to a recall election). Instead, the actor conciliated production of Terminator 3 with promotion of the Proposition 49, that advocated increased extracurricular activity in Californian schools. At times Schwarzenegger even received politicians, journalists and potential financial backers of the proposition on the film set.[13]

The film's production budget was initially set at $169–170 million,[14][15] making it the most expensive film ever to be greenlit at the time.[16][17] Budget statements for the film put the final cost at $187.3 million (or $167.3 million excluding the production overhead).[18][19] Schwarzenegger received a salary of $29.25 million, plus 20 percent of the profits,[18] although he agreed to defer part of his salary in order to prevent the relocation of the set to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Los Angeles.[20]

Additional scene[]

A scene filmed during production gives a possible explanation as to why one particular model of Terminators all look like Schwarzenegger: a character named Chief Master Sergeant William Candy (played by Schwarzenegger) explains in a Cyber Research Systems (CRS) promotional video that he was chosen to be the model for the Terminator project. Schwarzenegger's character has a Southern accent; when one of the politicians questions the appropriateness of Candy's Southern accent for the Terminator's voice, another scientist replies, "We can fix it" in Schwarzenegger's (overdubbed) voice. The scene was added as a bonus feature on the film's DVD.[21]

Video games[]

Several video games were based on the film. An action game called Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released by Atari for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance. The game was poorly reviewed, with a 39% average on GameRankings for the PS2 version.[22] A first-person shooter titled Terminator 3: War of the Machines was released for PCs as well.[23] A third game, titled Terminator 3: The Redemption, was released for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo GameCube.[24]


T3 received generally positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 70% approval rating with an average rating of 6.6/10 based on 200 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Although T3 never reaches the heights of the second movie, it is a welcome addition to the Terminator franchise."[25] Shortly after the film's release, James Cameron described the film as "in one word: great",[26] but after the release of the fourth film Terminator Salvation, Cameron stated he felt his first two films were better than either of the later films.[27] A. O. Scott of The New York Times said the film "is essentially a B movie, content to be loud, dumb and obvious".[28] Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half stars, remarking, "Essentially one long chase and fight, punctuated by comic, campy or simplistic dialogue."[29]

The film earned a worldwide gross of $433 million,[2] 17% less than its predecessor's worldwide gross of $519.8 million,[30] not adjusting for inflation.


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Marco Beltrami composed the musical score, which still employed the series' leitmotif by Brad Fiedel.[31] The film's soundtrack was released by Varèse Sarabande on June 24, 2003:

All music is composed by Marco Beltrami except The Terminator and I Told You.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."A Day in the Life"  3:41
2."Hooked on Multiphonics"  1:47
3."Blonde Behind the Wheel"  2:07
4."JC Theme"  3:34
5."Starting T-1"  1:50
6."Hearse Rent a Car"  1:48
7."T-X's Hot Tail"  3:39
8."Graveyard Shootout"  1:31
9."More Deep Thoughts"  0:58
10."Dual Terminator"  0:51
11."Kicked in the Can"  2:03
12."Magnetic Personality"  4:35
13."Termina-Tricks"  2:12
14."Flying Lessons"  0:56
15."What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?"  1:19
16."Terminator Tangle"  3:21
17."Radio"  2:23
18."T3"  3:17
19."The Terminator" (from the motion picture The Terminator)Brad FiedelBrad Fiedel2:21
20."Open To Me" (bonus track)Dillon DixonDillon Dixon3:46
21."I Told You" (bonus track)Mia JuliaMia Julia3:11
Total length:51:22
Songs that are not included on the soundtrack album
  • "Dat Funky Man" performed by William Randolph III and words by Jonathan Mostow
  • "Sugar" performed by Peter Beckett and words by Jonathan Mostow.
  • "Party" performed by Peter Beckett.
  • "Can't Hide This" performed by Mega Jeff.
  • "Macho Man" performed by Village People.
  • "The Current" performed by Gavin Rossdale and Blue Man Group.[32]


  1. 1.0 1.1 IM International Media AG (2010). "Terminator 3 – Rise of the Machines". Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
  4. Morris, Clint (July 1, 2005). "Exclusive Interview: Edward Furlong".
  5. "Sophia Bush Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  6. Knight, Brad (April 2005). Laci Peterson: the whole story: Laci, Scott, and Amber's deadly love triangle By Brad Knight. ISBN 978-0-595-34750-6.
  7. Eric Ditzian (February 19, 2009). "Linda Hamilton In Negotiations For 'Terminator Salvation'". MTV Movies Blog. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  8. Chris Petrikin. "Fox, Cameron opting out of 'Terminator 3′". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  9. Chris Petrikin,Benedict Carver. "Kassar & Vajna redux". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  10. Michael Fleming. "'T2′ times two". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Switching drivers". latimes. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  12. Michael Fleming. "Mostow morphs to 'Terminator 3′". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  13. Schwarzenegger, Arnold (2012). Total Recall. United States: Simon & Schuster. pp. 470–7. ISBN 978-1-84983-971-6.
  14. Epstein, Edward J. "Budget for T-3 with Arnold Schwarzenegger". Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  15. Dutka, Elaine (December 12, 2001). "Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  16. Brodesser, Claude (December 2, 2001). "Inside Move: He's back, but who's got him?". Variety. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  17. Hayes, D., 2003. "The candid candidate". Variety, August 7, 2003. Retrieved December 8, 2009. Archived at
  18. 18.0 18.1 Epstein, Edward J. (May 9, 2005). "Concessions Are for Girlie Men". Slate. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  19. Block, Alex Ben; Wilson, Lucy Autrey, eds. (2010). George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-By-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success. HarperCollins. p. 832. ISBN 978-0-06-177889-6.
  20. Elmer, Greg; Gasher, Mike (2005). Contracting Out Hollywood: Runaway Productions and Foreign Location Shooting (Critical Media Studies: Institutions, Politics, and Culture). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-0-7425-3695-1. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  21. Sciretta, Peter (June 29, 2009). "LOL: Terminator 3 Deleted Scene Explains Why The Terminators Look Like Arnold". / Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  22. "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines". GameRankings. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
  23. "Terminator 3: War of the Machines". GameRankings. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
  24. "Terminator 3: Redemption". GameRankings. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
  25. "Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  26. "James Cameron's Opinion of T3: Great". Retrieved December 1, 2007.
  27. "James Cameron Says His "Terminator" Films are Better". Worst Previews. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  28. Scott, A. O. (July 1, 2003). "Film Review; A Monotonic Cyborg Learns To Say 'Pantsuit'". The New York Times.
  29. Ebert, Roger (July 7, 2003). "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  30. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  31. " News". Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  32. "Blue Man Group :: Blue Man Video". July 26, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.

External links[]

Template:Terminator Template:Jonathan Mostow