Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Movie review by
David Gurney, Common Sense Media
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Movie Poster Image
Thrilling sci-fi action sequel has lots of violence.
  • R
  • 1991
  • 147 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 129 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The idea of creating one's own future and fate is frequently discussed. This gives characters the hope and strength to try to change the destiny of the planet despite what they know of the future. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

John Connor teaches the Terminator sent to keep him safe not to kill. He also explains why people cry and have feelings. 

Violence

Frequent and unrelenting violence. Postapocalyptic sci-fi violence. Vehicle chases. Gun and artillery fire. Explosions. Characters killed by swords through the head. Blood. Characters shot at in their homes by machine guns. Broken mop handle to the skull. In a recurring nightmare, adults and children laughing and enjoying the rides on a playground burn alive from nuclear war. In the parking lot of a desert diner, two young boys are shown chasing each other with what look like real guns, pretending to shoot at each other. 

Sex

Brief scene depicting a guard licking the face of a restrained mental patient. Naked male buttocks when the Terminators make their first appearances. 

Language

Frequent profanity: "f--k" and variations, "ass," "dips--t," "d--kwad."

Consumerism

A Pepsi can clearly shown. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. Tequila drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Terminator 2: Judgment Day -- the first sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger's sci-fi action hit The Terminator -- is extremely violent and features disturbing postapocalyptic imagery, all of which are likely to be more intense in the movie's 3D version. Characters are shot and killed, and blood is shown. There's lots of swearing, including "f--k" and its variations. Viewers will see naked bottoms when the Terminators make their first appearances. But the movie does a surprisingly good job of addressing the issue of collateral damage, which is often glazed over in big action films. The point is made by multiple characters, most importantly young John Connor, that killing bystanders must be avoided at all costs, even though the fate of the world may hang in the balance. In this way this movie has more of a conscience than many other films in its genre.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written byJustJulia09 May 4, 2011

Depends on your 10yr old's maturity level

My 10 yr old daughter loved it. She's "gifted & talented" & wise beyond her years. It's up to each parent to decide if the m... Continue reading
Adult Written byrev78 July 4, 2012

Avoid it.

This is bad on numerous levels. No child under 15 should see this, given the "values" it posits, although I wouldn't recommend it for anyone. F... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybibliophile December 1, 2008

Better than the first

Content: Sex - Nothing terrible. Maybe a few innuendos. Also, you see Terminator's bare backside, waist up, and all of his legs, getting extremely close... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 13, 2015

My favourite film ever! It is awesome but, incredibly violent and gory.

Parents need to know that this film has high, frequent violence and strong frequent language. Extreme violence takes up the majority of the film. It includes... Continue reading

What's the story?

Continuing the story of the first film, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY finds the Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, sent back in time from the future again but this time switching sides to become the protector of the human race's future hope, John Connor (Edward Furlong). Meanwhile, Connor's mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton), who tries to spread the knowledge of an apocalyptic future that she acquired in the first film, is deemed insane and confined to an institution. The action is almost nonstop, with shopping-mall shoot-outs, truck/motorcycle chases, and various other action set pieces saturating the film.

Is it any good?

This is the film that made CGI effects seem palatable and, as such, can be considered a promulgator of all subsequent big-budget action effects movies. Its greatest technical achievement is the shape-shifting T1000 character who pursues John Connor and makes it necessary for the Terminator to act as protector. The film continually ratchets up the tension as the T1000 comes closer and closer to destroying young John, making Terminator 2 a thoroughly exciting thrill ride.

Though he plays the character with the same steely stoicism as in the original, Schwarzenegger obviously relishes the chance to be the "good guy" in this one, and the script provides him with plenty of silly one-liners to provide the otherwise dark film with some levity. Linda Hamilton turns in a frantic performance as a desperate mother locked away because everyone thinks she's insane.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the development of such amoral killing machines as the Terminators. What would the ramifications of the existence of such machines be?

  • What comments does this movie make about fate, destiny, and the future? Do you agree or disagree? 

  • Why do you think violence is such a prominent feature in blockbuster action movies? Would anything have been lost from the story with half as much violence? Why, or why not? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love action

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate