40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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The Terminator (1984)

Putting James Cameron’s first in the “it probably should have ended three movies ago” Terminator franchise might seem odd. But it’s worth remembering how prominent 1984 was, not just because of George Orwell’s popular novel decrying the end of free will; it was also the year Steve Jobs debuted the first personal computer.

Yes, the arrival of the Mac around the same time as this implied something more frightening than fascism: technology was slowly invading our homes. It’s a bit more oppressive than a movie about an Austrian robot hell-bent on killing one woman, huh?

In all seriousness, The Terminator is a landmark work of science fiction. It gave us Linda Hamilton’s first turn as Sarah Connor, and she’d only improve in a few years once the sequel arrived. Here she’s an average Southern California girl elevated to “chosen one” status – one of the few times said narrative gave us a female savior. As she fights to stay alive against the evil Terminator (played by everyone’s favorite action star, Arnold Schwarzenegger), you root for her because, up until the movie started, she was one of us. The visual effects aren’t stellar, though the use of robotics are great.

Where to Watch It: Amazon, Google, PlayStation, YouTube, and Apple have it to rent.