The Terminatoris a unique franchise. It launched the career of Avatar and Titanic mastermind James Cameron and The Terminator is arguably his best movie, even today. The fascinating original film imagines a future where computers have become self-aware and have learned to oppress human civilization as a result. That is, until a human resistance is led by a man named John Connor. As the tide turns in the war and the robots anticipate their defeat, they opt to send one of their highest-skilled assassins (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to the past to kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before he can be born.
Thirty-five years and four more films later, The Terminator has spiraled into a bloated franchise with messy timelines and nearly endless possibilities. Filmmakers and actors have come and gone—only Schwarzenegger himself has shown up in four of the five entries. Now, with the upcoming entry Terminator: Dark Fate, audiences will get two more huge returns to the franchise: Hamilton as the perennial protagonist herself and Cameron in a producer capacity. We can only wonder what the next film will hold, but until then: here are the other five films of the series, ranked for your viewing pleasure.