Height Termination

Part Two : 'Terminator 2 : Judgment day' (1991)

Just over 6 years after the original Terminator, Schwarzenegger reunited with James Cameron to bring us yet another installment of his most iconic role. Although Arnold had trimmed down a bit to a lighter bodyweight ( somewhere around 220 lbs ), the Terminator character still had to pass as an imposing character. Did Arnold manage this, and what height observing opportunities are there to be seen in Terminator 2?

Height scanning

Once again, much like the first Terminator, Arnold is immediately shot from low angles as soon as he appears in the movie. So once again, determining his height from the shots where he is standing alone is next to impossible.

As soon as the Terminator enters the bar, it becomes obvious that he has an incredible obsession with guessing people's heights (how bizarre is that?). Every person he looks at, he immediately registers their height and weight. Magic! It's a shame nobody who's seen Arnold in person seems to have this ability. We could make this article about 20 pages long and go through and compare Arnold to each person he 'measures', but frankly the comparisons aren't terrific and the alleged heights aren't verified so we're just going to look at two of those. The lady shown above is scanned by the Terminator as being 5'4", and Arnold, seemingly barefoot, towers over her in the way you'd expect from a guy over 6 feet tall.

The biker that the Terminator eventually beats the hell out of gets scanned at 6'1". And is registered as being a 99% match for The Terminator ( that's in terms of clothes fitting, not romance ). It would be easy to jump to conclusions and say that Arnold Schwarzenegger cannot be 6'2" if he is a 'near' perfect clothes match with a 6'1" man. Well unfortunately this isn't necessarily the case. People can fit into other people's clothes with quite a few inches in height difference. Not only this, but Arnold is (supposed to be) barefoot in the scene, and still appears to be slightly taller than the boot wearing biker. This height difference may be down to the close camera angles on schwarzenegger, but after studying the film, it genuinely does appear that Schwarzenegger has a very slight height advantage on the biker.

On set photographs, like the one above, show that Arnold wore relatively flat slip on shoes for this scene. It's safe to say that he wore these throughout the arrival scene, and they look to give a maximum of a 1 inch boost to Schwarzenegger's height, maybe less.

The Boots

The boots are once again back in town. The heel only looks to be about 1.5" top on these, although you can never be too sure what's lurking inside them. In Schwarzenegger's defence, he appears to walk and stand perfectly normally throughout the movie in these boots, so we believe it's doubtful that there's a 2 inch lift inside them. Because of this, it's unlikely that Arnold stood any taller than he did wearing the boots from the first movie.


Linda Hamilton, listed by celebheights.com as being 5'5", looks significantly shorter than the boot clad Schwarzenegger. In the first movie, they were never stood next to each other (for obvious reason), but in this the true gap of their heights is obvious, even taking the boots into consideration. Judging from the above comparison, there's around 7 to 8 inches between them. This would make for Schwarzenegger being around the 6'2" mark. Of course, this does not take footwear into consideration.

Robert Patrick, shown next to Arnold in the right image, is listed by celebheights.com as 5' 11.75". The low angle of this photo makes their heights look very similar, however even with this equalizer, Arnold still appears to have a slight height advantage. Their encounter towards the beginning of the film showcases this slightly better, and there does appear to be a difference of around 2 inches. Once again though, Arnold is wearing boots.

Edward Furlong who plays John Connor in this installment, isn't much use to us as a comparison reference, as his height seemed to change depending on what scene he's in. That's one of the pitfalls of using actors that are just starting puberty.

The Conclusion

One measurement that does continue to resonate with Arnold as the Terminator is 6 foot 1. This was the height of the biker that supposively matched his height, and is also the height used for the Endoskeleton's used in both the first and second movies. Even the full-scale endoskeletons that are available to buy today stand at this measurement. Why not 6'2"? Could this be Stan Winston and James Cameron's way of telling us Arnold's true height? Or perhaps this too is an exageration and Arnold is a mere 5'10"? One possible explaination could be that the extra layer of flesh on the skull and around the balls of the endoskeleton's feet increases the Terminator's height to a full 6'2". Or perhaps they got the measurement wrong back in 1984 and just stuck with it.

Nevertheless, Arnold once again proved with Terminator 2, that he could play an imposing big guy, even with his muscles covered up (for most of the movie). Although he wore boots, the barefoot (almost) encounters at the beginning of the movie really do help to reinforce the idea that Arnold didn't need to rely on magic shoes to appear tall. And maybe his boots didn't give his height that much of a boost after all.

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