The Terminator The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Sarah Conner is a waitress

Call to Adventure

Reece rescues Sarah from being killed by The Terminator

Refusal of the call

Reece tells her the story of the rise of Skynet and how two soldiers have been sent back in time, one man, one machine. One to kill, the other to protect, but she doesn’t believe this and tries to get out of the car.

Supernatural Aid

Reece comes from back from the future to rescue her with the aid of a time travelling machine and special knowledge that comes from having arrived form the future

Crossing the First Threshold

They go on the run from The Terminator

Belly of the whale

Reece is arrested and she falls asleep in the police station until The Terminator arrives and kills everyone. Reece is wounded.

The Road of the trials

The Terminator chases them and the trials are trying to avoid capture whilst at the same time Sarah is trying to come to terms with the situation she is in. And, of course, like all love stories the trials involve the two characters falling in love and the obstacles in the way of that.

Meeting with the Goddess

Reece is her love interest; he admires her for the woman she is about to become even though she’s just a waitress and barely a fully-grown woman at this stage.

Woman as Temptress

The police tell her that Reece is crazy and it’s all some made up story. She’s confused but inclined to believe them. If she does believe them then it will pull her away from her journey.

Atonement with the Father

This was cut out of the film but it’s when Sarah looks up Cyberdine in the phone book and wants to attack it and do to Skynet what it is trying to do to her son John.

You can watch it here


The Apotheosis is flipped on The Terminator, he impersonates Sarah’s mother and gains special knowledge as to her whereabouts.

Ultimate Boon

Reece and Sarah make love and she becomes (although as yet unknowingly) the future mother of John Conner, leader of the resistance.

The Magic flight

The Terminator arrives at the motel and chases them again. They throw their home made grenades at him and the fight ends when the truck crashed and The Terminator is engulfed in flames.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Reece is injured and can barely stand, The Terminator is bashing down the door, suddenly we see a side of Sarah we haven’t seen yet. She yells at him to get to his feet and drags him up so they can escape. Giving us a glimpse of what the future Sarah and mother of the resistance leader is going to look like.

Death of the mentor / Rescue from without

Reece sacrifices his life in an attempt to blow The Terminator up. Although the explosion doesn’t kill The Terminator, it breaks it in two and gives Sarah a precious advantage so she can kill it.

Master of two worlds

“You’re terminated fucker.”

Freedom to live

She drives down the road, pregnant with knowledge of the storm that’s coming for humanity.



This is perfect story telling, both as a stand alone film and also when looked at within the context of it’s sequel T2.

Compare with

The Terminator – Save the cat beat sheet 

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