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Whenever an even vaguely sinister or creepy computer program is discussed, it's not long before some joker makes a crack about Skynet. That's a measure of the cultural impact of "The Terminator," a science fiction film released in 1984 by Orion Pictures.
Skynet, a military computer system of a future, post-apocalyptic world, designed the cyborg assassin known as the T-800 Terminator and sent it back in time to terminate John Connor, a boy who as a man would lead a resistance movement against Skynet.
As portrayed by actor-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, the T-800 has capabilities still well beyond anything today's roboticists could cook up. The T-800 can withstand repeated shotgun blasts, crash through walls, and keep running for 120 years on its power cells.
It also is notable for its intelligence. The robot can speak, read human handwriting, and use its machine learning software to grow more knowledgeable with every contact made with humans.
The T-800 also came up with some killer catch phrases, including "I'll be back," and "Hasta la vista, baby." In the 1984 movie, the T-800 tried to kill the future-hero Connor. In later installments in the franchise, however, the T-800 was reprogrammed to protect Connor against the shape-shifting T-1000 and other, more advanced terminators.
Directed by James Cameron, the movie had a domestic box office gross of more than $38 million, according to the Internet Movie Database. It launched Schwarzenegger's movie career, spawned three sequels and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.