Sarah Connor

She’s only a waitress. Who knew she would give birth to a son who would become the leader of the resistance? In this edition of Women Who Wow Wednesday, tough-as-nails Sarah Connor of the Terminator series takes center stage.

Sarah Connor
Sarah Connor

Linda Hamilton was 27 years old when she played Sarah Connor in the film The Terminator. Originally written for a 19-year-old, director James Cameron (Aliens, The Abyss, Avatar), having been impressed with Hamilton’s audition, tweaked the screenplay to allow the part to fit the actress. It was a decision that would pay off big time in the future of The Terminator franchise.

A vast chasm exists between the character Sarah Connor in the movie The Terminator and Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

In The Terminator, released 1984, Kyle Reese, played by Michael Biehn, travels from a post-apocalyptic future to rescue the mother of the leader of the resistance against the machines. Kyle finds himself in a disco, the same place where a machine, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, steadies its laser-sighted gun on the target—Sarah Connor. In a bevy of bullets, Kyle stretches his hand to Sarah and says, “Come with me if you want to live.” From that point forward, the movie is one grand chase sequence that never lets up.

The film depicts Sarah as a vulnerable woman, weak, almost to the point of sadness. She relies on Kyle for her escape. She needs him and can’t run without him. Her countenance is that of a flower whose pedals are ready to blow away.

"The luxury of hope was given to me by the Terminator."
“The luxury of hope was given to me by the Terminator.”

In Terminator 2: Judgement Day, however, the fragile Sarah Connor of The Terminator is replaced by a strong and powerful, tough-willed juggernaut of a woman. No longer does she need anyone. From the very first frame of the film, the audience discovers Sarah is one not to be messed with. She’s buff, agile and a determined fighter with intense convictions. Her mission: Destroy the machines.

Years on the run made Sarah this way. She taught her son John everything she knows. Always be prepared for the machines. Always look before doing anything. Never assume anything. Be strong. Be a leader. The future is counting on you, John. Never give up. Never, ever give up, John.

Imprisoned in Pescadero State Hospital may have proven to be the perfect breeding ground for honing Sarah’s skills as a future resistance fighter. Strapped in a bed, she had ample time to think of how to best defeat the coming storm—the invasion—when machines finally become self-aware, sentient. That hatred for the machines is what makes Sarah protect John at all costs. Humanity depends on him.

But then, something happens. Another machine, a terminator, is sent from the future to protect John. The very machine trained to maim and kill humans was there to protect John with its life.

John and the T-800
John and the T-800

For a moment, Sarah didn’t trust it. Only for a moment. She then realized John needed a father figure in his life. The T-800 could provide that.

Huh, a terminator as a father. Who would have thought?

Sarah the parent let go. John had come to his own. His own mindset. His own man. His own life.

She did well.

Sarah Connor. Fighter. Mother. Friend.

What do you think of Sarah Connor? Have you seen any of the original Terminator movies?

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18 thoughts on “Sarah Connor

  1. Sarah is a great character. Terminator 3 and Salvation tried to replace her but it only left a gap in these movies. Lena Headey was also great in Sarah Connor chronicles, too bat that the show was canceled.

  2. After watching Terminator as a teen (on vhs), I had a total girl-crush on Sarah Connor and Linda Hamilton. The scene in the next movie where she’s doing pull-ups in the hospital had me joining a gym and lifting weights. LOVE!!

  3. Great write-up on a great character! I love the first two films, and pretty much everything else that came along before T3, which kills me on the inside every time I think about it.

    Sarah Conner is an amazing character, and one of the strongest, most well rounded action movie female roles there is out there. She’s up there with Ripley, for sure.

  4. You ever seen the director’s cut where Reese comes back to her in a dream at the beginning? Shame it was cut from the theatrical version – makes a nice counterpoint between the sad and needy Sarah portrayed at the beginning of the film and the tough-as-nails lioness-defending-cub portrayal in the rest of the film. Either way, two of my all-time faves, those films. 🙂

    • Actually, I have the DVD, and I’ve seen the theatrical version, the special edition version, and the ultra special edition, which is a hidden feature that you can access entering the date of judgement day in the panel.

      I loved that scene! It softened Sarah and gave her a human dimension that I felt the theatrical edition lacked.

  5. Have I seen any of the originals? Not only have I seen every Terminator movie made, I actually saw the original on … (drum roll please) … Betamax! The Beta VCR didn’t even have a real remote. The remote was attached to the VCR with a cord.

    Personally, I feel the real brilliance in the second movie wasn’t that Sarah was a different person. She was the same scared woman we saw in the first movie, but she had put up emotional walls. She was fractured inside and I think Linda Hamilton did a great portraying that emotional turmoil.

    • Betamax? I haven’t seen those machines in years. My dad had two of them. My first rentals on that machine were Amadeus and Scarface. IMO, Beta was way better than VHS.

      And wow, emotional walls… so true!

  6. I loved this article! What a great tribute to a truly fantastic character. I, too, love the transition from Connor in the first film, to Connor in the second film. She becomes a tough, admirable badass, while still maintaining a sense of sadness behind her eyes that creates a sense of humanity, and shows her versatility as an actress. Nice post!

  7. I’m with Lakeshia here. Sarah Connor 2.0 is fierce, awe-inspiring and tough as beef jerky. I think the genius in the transition from her character in the first movie to the second is that the fragile flower is still there — it’s just been encased in steel. Sometimes a fracture allows a little seepage, as when she breaks down after not shooting Miles. She’s been driven slightly crazy, another tribute to her inner strength, the strength of her love for her son and her commitment to the future of mankind… a lesser human would have simply crumbled, but Sarah took the damage and kept on going. Took strength from it, in fact. I adore her. I’m glad I don’t have to be her!

      • You know what Jack, as I’ve gotten older and somewhat a little wiser (not much), I realized that people really aren’t interested in helping people out.I see it every day in my line of work. When I got the freelancing job for the entertainment site, I just happened to send a message to someone on fbook about breaking into that business. She was an entertainment writer with tons of experience. She was so happy to do it for me. She was like, I’m forwarding your information to our online editor and getting you signed up with us. She said that when she started out, someone helped her out. For me its all about paying it forward. And I truly like helping others out. I enjoy reading your blog. I find it highly interesting. So why not reblog it and share it with others. You really don’t have to thank me. Thank you for writing and sharing with us. 🙂

  8. I swear you just go into my mind and pick out the fiercest women I love. I absolutely loved the first Terminator movie. I was fairly young when it came out by I thought Michael Biehn was sexy as hell. In Terminator 2, Linda Hamilton was freaking buffed out!!! Although she had hardened over the years, you can still see she loved her son. His well-being was the most important thing to her. As a parent to two nephews, I’m SO protective of them. I will go without before they will. That’s why I think Linda Hamilton’s character is so awesome. She’s willing to die to protect the most important thing in her life. I’ve seen every Terminator movie. I’m just drawn to the story line and characters. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the saga. Again, Jack, you picked a great one. 🙂

  9. She has been very inspiration as she seemed genuine in playing her part throughout. Agreed to Sandi, never knew her real name until recently. This is a sure compliment to her performance.
    Really very thorough approach and detailed analysis 🙂
    Regards,

  10. Sarah Connor is amazing in the first movie. She is also extremely TUFF in the second – but I’m not fond of her character, there, I confess. Yeah, I like her younger. But as you say, she did well. 🙂

    And I can never, EVER, see this name without saying it “Sarah Connah.”

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