In The Terminator , Sarah Connor is a young Los Angeles waitress who finds herself pursued by a relentless cyborg killer, the Terminator. She learns she is in danger from a televised report of two other identically-named Los Angeles women who were shot to death earlier that day. She is rescued from the Terminator by time-travelling soldier Kyle Reese, who explains that in the future an artificall inteligence called Skynet will be created by military software developers to make strategic decisions. The program becomes self-aware, seizes control of most of the world's military hardware (including various highly advanced robots), and launches an all-out attack on human beings. However, a man named John Connor eventually leads what remains of the world's military and survivors, The Resistence, to victory, only to discover that in a last-ditch effort, Skynet had invented a means of time travel and sent a robotic killer back in time to destroy John Connor's mother before he is born. John Connor is Sarah's future son, and he sends back a trusted sergeant Kyle Reese to protect his mother at all costs. During their brief time together, Sarah falls in love with Reese. Reese becomes the only thing protecting her from the Terminator and her only companion as they flee together. Initially, she is unaware that Reese himself had been in love with her from afar. He had been given a picture of her by John Connor and had always admired her legendary strength and resilience. While they are avoiding the Terminator, they share a night of intimacy that results in John's conception. Their relationship is cut short, however, when Reese dies fighting the Terminator in a Cyberdyne factory. Sarah in turn crushes the Terminator in a hydraulic press. Though Reese's death deeply saddens Sarah, his sincerity and courage inspires her to carry on and develop the necessary skills and abilities that would make her a suitable mentor and teacher to John. After these events, Sarah becomes a fugitive from society and begins making a voice recording for John (in which she acknowledges his paternity) to later give to her son at the proper age. While recording the tape, she stops for gas and the aforementioned photograph is taken by a young boy and sold to her. This is the same picture John Connor will give to Kyle Reese in the future.
Sarah Connor next appears in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which occurs ten years after the events of The Terminator. She and John have been separated from each other: John is now a preteen and living in a foster home, and Sarah has been institutionalized in Pescadero State Hospital. In the years between films, she has transformed herself from the mousy, timid woman seen at the beginning of the first movie into a muscled, ferocious warrior. In fact, the first image of her in the film is of her doing chin-ups on her hospital bed. After the death of Kyle Reese, Sarah took his warnings, and the responsibility of raising the hope of mankind, to heart. However, her fixation on the disaster and her fanatical desire to keep John safe has made her slightly mentally unstable and very violent, which is only aggravated by her fear and hatred of the T-800. She dropped off the grid to better protect herself and John. She lived a semi-criminal life among various outlaws and survivalists, and she attempted to teach her son the skills he would need to lead the resistance. Sarah was captured and sent to the hospital after she attempted to destroy a computer factory.
Several times at the hospital, she has tried to improve her behavior in hope of getting to see her son, but her caregivers do not believe her. Her activities and claims of fighting evil robots from the future led to her being deemed incurable. Sarah only seemed to confirm the judgment of psychiatrists by committing acts of violence against hospital staff (including Dr. Peter Silberman, whom Sarah stabbed in the knee with his pen) and attempting to escape multiple times. During her final escape attempt, Sarah encounters two different Terminator models. One is the T-1000, a liquid metal cyborg sent back to kill her son . The other is a T-800 (the same model which had previously tried to murder her) that was sent back to protect them. When she initially encounters the T-800, she flees in terror, but she goes with him when he utters the first thing Reese had said to her: "Come with me if you want to live."
Sarah finds it nearly impossible to accept that the T-800 is benevolent; throughout the film, she remains hostile towards it and what it represents, while her own son develops a bond with it, resembling a father-son relationship. In the director's cut of the movie, it is revealed that Sarah has an opportunity to destroy the machine's CPU, which would "kill" it. She nearly does so, but John stops her, managing to convince her that they need its help and that no one would listen to his leadership ideas if she did not do so. While in Mexico, watching John do a high-five with the Terminator, Sarah loses her hostility towards the machine and begins to see it as the closest thing John has to a father.
In a moment of desperation, Sarah attempts to murder Myles Dyson, one of the computer researchers who works at Cyberdine Systems and is destined to build the revolutionary microprocessor that eventually becomes Skynet. In doing this, she loses touch with her humanity, becoming eerily similar to the Terminator itself. Ultimately, she cannot bear to kill Dyson in front of his wife and kids, because he wasn't responsible for anything yet. Shortly afterwards, John and the T-800 arrive and, together, they succeed in persuading Dyson to stop his research and destroy all recovered remnants of the first Terminator. Then the T-800 lets himself be destroyed with the help of Sarah Connor, despite the protests of the young John. It is at this point that Sarah fully respects the T-800 and offers her hand in friendship to a comrade and brother warrior before his final sacrifice, which he takes. She is last seen holding her son and comforting him upon the T-800's destruction. Because of this event, Sarah looks to the future with renewed hope, believing that if a Terminator can learn the value of human life, then perhaps humanity is not doomed to self-destruction.
In the first Terminator movie, it is mentioned that Sarah was a legend among members of the resistance, teaching her son to fight and organize while they were still in hiding prior to the war. An alternate epilogue to Terminator 2 shows her living to become a grandmother. That ending, however, was not included in the theatrical release.
Terminator 3: Rise of the MachinesEdit
In Terminator 3: Rise Of the Machines , Sarah Connor has died, having succumbed to leukemia in 1997 (after the events ofTerminator 2) after a three-year battle with the disease. As a result, she is not seen on-screen during the film but is mentioned by both John and the T-850 multiple times. She lived long enough to see the original 1997 "Judgment Day" pass without incident, and she was cremated in Mexico. Her ashes were spread at sea. Never truly believing that they had beaten Skynet, her friends, in accordance with her will, store a cache of weapons in a casket for John to find at a false grave site in the event that Judgment Day was not averted and the Terminators returned. The epitaph on her mausoleum niche reads, "No fate but what we make", which ultimately proves to be wrong when Skynet goes online and starts the war at the end of the film.