18 Movies Similar to The Terminator – Action and Sci-Fi

The Terminator: Get ready for a thrilling ride as we explore 18 action-packed and mind-bending movies similar to this iconic sci-fi flick. From time-traveling soldiers to nearly invincible cyborgs, these films will keep you on the edge of your seat as you witness epic battles and fight for the fate of humanity.

1) Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day takes the action and tension of The Terminator to a whole new level. While the first movie had revolutionary chasing scenes, Terminator 2: Judgment Day goes beyond greatness with its Die Hard-level action sequences. In fact, I dare say that it surpasses even the action sequences in the Mission Impossible movies. But it's not just the action that sets this movie apart. James Cameron has crafted the best Time Travel story, one that makes you question the possibility of such a thing. The storyline is brilliant, combining elements of time travel and AI rebellion to create one of the most well-written plots. In my opinion, it's the second best AI Rebellion story after The Matrix. So if you loved The Terminator, you absolutely have to watch Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It's a worthy successor that takes everything you loved about the first movie and cranks it up to eleven.

Release date: May, 1992
IMDB Rating: 8.6
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2) Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines takes a page from its predecessor, The Terminator, by delving into the intricacies of time travel. While the story of Terminator 3 may be seen as a retread of Terminator 2, director Jonathan Mostow injects the film with some awesome action sequences, like the restroom fight and crane scene, to draw our attention away from this similarity. The acting in Terminator 3 is one of its strong suits, with Nick Stahl portraying the paranoia and uncertainty of the future with depth and humanity, while Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers his classic Terminator performance, providing both humor and a drill instructor approach. Kristanna Loken also does a decent job as the T-X, although not as intimidating as the T-1000. The visual and special effects of Terminator 3 are pretty good, especially the enduring liquid metal effects and the CG animated endoskeletons in the Future War sequence.

Release date: August, 2003
IMDB Rating: 6.3

3) Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate takes us back to the thrilling world of the Terminator franchise. This movie, released in 2019, brings us an augmented human and Sarah Connor, who must team up to stop an advanced liquid Terminator from hunting down a young girl. The plot revolves around the critical fate of this young girl, which holds the key to the survival of the human race. While Dark Fate can be seen as a direct sequel to the original Terminator films, it cleverly ignores the movies and series that followed, treating them as alternate timelines. This is a plus, as those films were considered by many to be a desecration of Cameron's legacy. It was truly a delight to see Linda Hamilton and Schwarzenegger reprising their iconic roles. However, let's be honest, Dark Fate is not exactly a sequel, but more like a nostalgic recycling of the first two films, bordering on a remake.

Release date: November, 2019
IMDB Rating: 6.2

4) The Time Guardian

The Time Guardian is reminiscent of The Terminator as both movies involve time travel and cyborgs. However, that's where the similarities end. While The Terminator is a thrilling action-packed film with a gripping plot about a human soldier sent back in time to protect a woman who holds the key to humanity's future, The Time Guardian fails to live up to those expectations. With a lower rating and a confusing narrative sequence, it's safe to say that The Time Guardian is not on par with The Terminator. Nonetheless, if you're a fan of Australian science fiction and appreciate unintentional spoofs of the genre, The Time Guardian might still be worth a watch.

Release date: December, 1987
IMDB Rating: 4.3

5) Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys: When John Connor, leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline. While Terminator Genisys is reminiscent of The Terminator, it takes a "Back to the Future" understanding of time travel and fast forwards it to "Primer" levels of complexity. The result is an incomprehensible mess of a story that even the most motivated viewer would struggle to understand. However, despite the convoluted plot, Terminator Genisys is not without its explosive action scenes and mind-blowing special effects. So if you're willing to overlook the confusing narrative and just want to see things blow up, this movie might be for you.

Release date: July, 2015
IMDB Rating: 6.3

6) Doomsday

Doomsday: Achilles, a regular guy infected with a disease that will bring down the Erebus rulers (human/machine hybrids), escapes back in time from 2410 to the present day, where he has a chance to prevent the Erebus from rising to power. However, he is pursued by the Erebus-7, who will stop at nothing to hunt him down. Similar to The Terminator, Doomsday involves time travel and cyborgs. Both films explore the concept of a dystopian future, where the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. However, the similarities end there. While The Terminator is a thrilling action-packed extravaganza, Doomsday falls short in terms of substance and character development. The dialogue can feel unnatural, and the plot seems slightly recycled from other sci-fi/time travel films. The special effects in Doomsday are more modest compared to big-budget films, but they blend well with the overall aesthetic of the movie.

Release date: August, 2015
IMDB Rating: 3.2

7) Aliens

Aliens. Decades after surviving the Nostromo incident, Ellen Ripley is sent out to re-establish contact with a terraforming colony but finds herself battling the Alien Queen and her offspring. While The Terminator and Aliens were both released in 1987 and share James Cameron as the writer and Michael Biehn as part of the cast, they are different in many ways. The Terminator focuses on time travel, cyborgs, and a future war, while Aliens explores the rescue mission, soldiers, and monstrous creatures. The Terminator is a suspenseful action-packed film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, while Aliens takes the intensity to another level with its thrilling adventure and sci-fi elements. So if you loved The Terminator and want to see a different side of James Cameron's storytelling, Aliens is the perfect choice for you. Get ready for an epic battle against the Alien Queen and a whole new level of excitement.

Release date: August, 1987
IMDB Rating: 8.4
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8) Time Trax

Time Trax is reminiscent of The Terminator in its exploration of time travel and futuristic law enforcement. While The Terminator focuses on a human soldier sent back in time to protect the future, Time Trax follows a cop from the future who is sent back to track down fugitives hiding in the past. Both movies delve into the concept of altering the course of history and feature characters who are stranded in a time period that is not their own. However, where The Terminator is a high-octane action film with a dark atmosphere, Time Trax takes a more lighthearted approach, incorporating elements of adventure, crime, and fantasy. While The Terminator takes place in the '80s and features a relentless cyborg as the antagonist, Time Trax is set 200 years in the future and pits its hero against a genius criminal in a time-traveling cat-and-mouse game. Despite their differences, both movies offer an exciting journey through time and showcase the resilience of their protagonists.

Release date: January, 1993
IMDB Rating: 7

9) The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown takes us on a thrilling journey as a modern aircraft carrier is unexpectedly transported back in time to 1941, just hours before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. While it may not have the same intensity and relentless action as The Terminator, The Final Countdown captures the essence of time travel in a unique and engaging way. Both movies explore the concept of altering the course of history, but where The Terminator focuses on a dystopian future and the battle against a cyborg killing machine, The Final Countdown delves into the unexpected challenges faced by a naval crew as they navigate their way through a pivotal moment in history. The Final Countdown also stands out with its attention to detail in depicting the Navy and Marine Corps, showcasing the pride and professionalism of those serving in the armed forces. While The Terminator captivates with its groundbreaking special effects and memorable performances, The Final Countdown impresses with its realistic aerial sequences and a cast that provides solid performances in a plot-driven story.

Release date: August, 1980
IMDB Rating: 6.6

10) Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann

Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann takes us on a thrilling journey as a maverick motorbike racer accidentally time travels to the mid-1800s and must face violent outlaws to survive. This film, like The Terminator, explores the concept of time travel, but in a completely different way. While The Terminator focuses on a relentless cyborg sent to the past, Timerider gives us a unique blend of action, adventure, sci-fi, and Western genres. The low-budget nature of Timerider showcases what can be achieved with limited resources, a decent story, and a talented cast. It's a true testament to the director's ability to balance both light-hearted and dark elements. Although Timerider may not have the same critical acclaim as The Terminator, it's a hidden gem that captures the essence of the early 80s. So hop on your time-traveling motorcycle and join Lyle Swann in his epic fight for survival in a world far from his own.

Release date: January, 1983
IMDB Rating: 5.4

11) Trancers

Trancers is a movie that takes you back to the 80s, just like The Terminator did. Both films fall under the genres of Action and Sci-Fi, and they both involve time travel as a key topic. While The Terminator focuses on a cyborg sent from the future to kill a young woman, Trancers follows a gruff bounty hunter who travels back in time to stop a twisted criminal who can transform people into zombie-like creatures. Despite their differences in plot, both movies deliver thrilling sci-fi action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The Terminator, directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Michael Biehn, has become a classic and received several nominations and wins. On the other hand, Trancers, directed by Charles Band and featuring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, and Michael Stefani, may not have received the same level of recognition, but it has stood the test of time and continues to captivate audiences.

Release date: November, 1984
IMDB Rating: 6

12) Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is reminiscent of The Terminator in its use of time travel as a central plot device. While The Terminator takes us from 2029 to 1984, Star Trek IV takes us from the 23rd century to 1986. Both movies explore the challenges and hilarity that ensue when characters from the future are thrust into the past. However, unlike The Terminator's gritty action-packed tone, Star Trek IV infuses comedy into its sci-fi adventure. The blend of genres in Star Trek IV makes for a refreshing and entertaining watch. So, if you've enjoyed The Terminator and want to see time travel handled in a lighter and more humorous way, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the perfect choice.

Release date: June, 1988
IMDB Rating: 7.3

13) Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah takes us on a wild and time-traveling adventure, reminiscent of The Terminator. While The Terminator explores the concept of time travel to prevent a future catastrophe, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah uses time travel to alter the past and change Japan's destiny. Both movies play with the idea of altering the course of history and the consequences that come with it. However, they differ in their execution. The Terminator is a gritty and action-packed sci-fi film set in a dystopian future, while Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah combines action, adventure, drama, and sci-fi elements, with a touch of Japanese flair. So if you enjoyed The Terminator's exploration of time travel and its impact on the future, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah will take you on a thrilling ride through time and Godzilla's reign of destruction.

Release date: December, 1991
IMDB Rating: 6.4

14) Freejack

Freejack, released in 1992, shares some similarities with the iconic movie The Terminator. Both movies explore the concept of time travel, taking us on thrilling journeys through different time periods. While The Terminator focuses on a human soldier sent from 2029 to 1984 to protect a young woman, Freejack takes us to 2009, where a doomed race car driver's mind is about to be replaced with that of a dead billionaire. Both movies delve into the idea of a dystopian future, where characters are on the run and fighting for survival. However, Freejack brings its own unique twist to time travel, with people from the present being snatched away from certain death to the future. Although not as highly acclaimed as The Terminator, Freejack still manages to captivate with its distinctive imagery and the wicked performance of Mick Jagger as the villain. So, if you enjoyed the thrilling time-travel adventure of The Terminator, Freejack is definitely worth a look.

Release date: January, 1992
IMDB Rating: 5.4

15) Predator

Predator: A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior. This film, much like its predecessor The Terminator, is a classic from the 80s that never fails to entertain. While The Terminator explores the concept of time travel and a future war, Predator takes us into the heart of the jungle where a group of commandos face off against an unknown enemy. Both movies showcase Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic screen presence, and despite his lack of acting skills, he brings a certain charm to his roles. What sets Predator apart is its unique setting in the dense foliage of the jungle, which adds an extra layer of suspense as the soldiers deal with an unseen predator. The film's special effects and fast-paced action sequences keep the audience on the edge of their seats, and the addition of the alien creature as the antagonist adds an inventive twist to the story.

Release date: April, 1990
IMDB Rating: 7.8

16) The Occultist

The Occultist takes us on a wild ride through the supernatural, blending elements of horror, action, and sci-fi. Reminiscent of The Terminator, this film also features a cyborg protagonist fighting against dark forces. However, don't expect the same level of intensity and gripping storytelling. While The Terminator captivates us with its time-travel plot and the weight of humanity's future, The Occultist gets lost in its own chaos. The plot may seem disjointed at times, and the feeble attempts at humor fall flat. Despite these shortcomings, The Occultist does have its redeeming qualities. The film showcases impressive special effects and cool music that add a touch of style. Plus, it's always interesting to see the creative ways in which different directors approach the cyborg theme. So if you're in the mood for a campy, supernatural adventure with a dash of cyborg action, The Occultist might just be the movie for you.

Release date: September, 1988
IMDB Rating: 2.5

17) Programmed to Kill

Programmed to Kill is reminiscent of The Terminator, released just a month earlier. Both films fall under the Action and Sci-Fi genres, and they share key topics such as cyborgs and killing machines. While The Terminator focuses on a soldier sent back in time to prevent a cyborg from killing a young woman, Programmed to Kill follows the story of a female terrorist who is captured by the CIA and transformed into a cybernetic killing machine. Despite the lower rating, Programmed to Kill delivers engaging and fast-paced action, with plenty of violence and cheesy dialogue. It may not offer groundbreaking originality, but it guarantees low-brained entertainment for fans of '80s action films. So, if you enjoyed The Terminator and are looking for another action-packed cyborg adventure, Programmed to Kill is worth a watch.

Release date: April, 1987
IMDB Rating: 3.7

18) RoboCop

RoboCop is a movie that came out in 1987, just a few months after The Terminator. While The Terminator explores the concept of time travel and a cyborg?s mission to protect humanity?s future, RoboCop takes a different approach. It presents a dystopian Detroit, where a severely injured cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with fragmented memories.
Both movies share the common theme of cyborgs and robotics, but RoboCop delves into a more satirical and crime-ridden world. It combines elements of action, crime, sci-fi, and thriller genres, making it an exciting and unique watch. With a talented cast, including Peter Weller as the titular character and Nancy Allen in a supporting role, RoboCop manages to make the audience care about a guy in a monster suit ? a feat comparable to Boris Karloff's performance in the classic Frankenstein.

Release date: December, 1987
IMDB Rating: 7.6

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