How does Sarah know which button, of the three, to press on the machine that ends up killing the T-800 at the end of The Terminator?

She had never seen that type of machine before, prior to her climbing into it, across, and to the other side. She then pulls the bars down and without looking at one of the three buttons, she reaches over with her left hand and manages to press the top red button. The machine ends up dropping and smashing the T-800's top body.

1 Answer 1


Sarah had already activated it by accident

At 2:49 in this clip from The Terminator (1984), Sarah presses the button by accident, activating the press and drawing the Terminator's attention:

When she returns to the press at 7:49 in the clip, she knows how to use the press as a trap.

  • "Moments later, as Sarah clambered over an exhaust duct, her knee accidentally hit a red push button on a small black panel alongside it. With a sudden roar, the stamping plate of a massive hydraulic press slammed down an inch from her hand. Startled, she tumbled onto the catwalk." - From the novelisation
    – Valorum
    Jun 16, 2019 at 8:41
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    Then later; "She screamed in rage and frustration and all-consuming terror, then lunged up, slamming her hand onto the button. The red button."
    – Valorum
    Jun 16, 2019 at 8:41
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    Wow. So it was the same machine she had pressed before? In desperation, I probably would not been able to piece all of that together for worry that the T-800 was after Reece and I; however, maybe this was James Cameron's way of showing the audience that Sarah was turning into that legendary fighter. Jun 16, 2019 at 13:15

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