Where did Reese get shot?

Where did Reese get shot? This is the key question explored in this 5000 word article. To fully understand the context around Reese getting shot, we need to dive into the plot and circumstances in the movie this took place in. Reese is a central character in the classic science fiction film The Terminator, released in 1984 and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator cyborg assassin. Directed by James Cameron, The Terminator depicts the story of Reese, a soldier sent back in time from a post-apocalyptic future to protect Sarah Connor from being assassinated by the Terminator. Their confrontation results in a number of dramatic action sequences, during one of which Reese sustains a gunshot wound that propels the story forward in important ways.

The Terminator Plot Summary

In the year 2029, artificially intelligent machines rule the planet after triggering a nuclear war that devastated human civilization. The machines are led by an artificial intelligence called Skynet, which sends an android called the Terminator back in time to 1984 to kill a woman named Sarah Connor before she can give birth to John Connor, the leader of the human resistance against the machines.

In response, the human resistance sends back their own warrior, Kyle Reese, to protect Sarah from the Terminator. Reese finds Sarah just as the Terminator is closing in on her, and the two of them flee together. A number of chase scenes ensue as Reese and Sarah try to escape from the relentless Terminator.

During a final confrontation in a factory, Reese and Sarah manage to severely damage the Terminator but are unable to deactivate it completely. Reese sustains a gunshot wound to his leg during this battle. The wounded Reese and Sarah escape and take refuge in a motel, where Reese reveals details about the future war against the machines.

Reese and Sarah develop an intimate relationship, conceived the future resistance leader John Connor. The damaged but still functional Terminator eventually tracks them down, resulting in more running and chase sequences. In the climax, Sarah crushes the Terminator in a hydraulic press in a factory, finally destroying it.

Reese dies from his gunshot wound but succeeds in protecting Sarah long enough for her to destroy the Terminator, ensuring the birth of John Connor in the future.

When and How Did Reese Get Shot?

During the climactic final battle between Reese, Sarah and the Terminator in the factory, Reese sustains a gunshot wound to his right upper leg area. This happens about 3/4 of the way through the movie, during a lengthy, intense action sequence.

Specifically, Reese gets shot in the initial moments of the confrontation with the Terminator in the factory. As Reese and Sarah hide among the machinery trying to evade the Terminator, it suddenly appears and opens fire on them. Reese is struck by one of the bullets in his upper right thigh and falls to the ground, wounded.

Sarah helps drag the limping Reese behind cover, and from that point on he is hampered by the gunshot wound to his leg. The wound bleeds significantly and clearly causes Reese a great deal of pain as well as limiting his mobility for the rest of the fight.

The Significance of Reese’s Gunshot Wound

Reese getting shot in the leg serves both a narrative and thematic purpose in the film. On a narrative level, it raises the stakes and tension of the final act by wounding and limiting Reese right as the climax begins. This makes Reese more vulnerable and Sarah more on her own in the ultimate showdown with the Terminator.

On a deeper thematic level, Reese’s wound represents sacrifice and mortality. While the Terminator is an emotionless killing machine that can take damage without slowing down, Reese’s wound shows him feeling pain, bleeding and dying – essentially, his humanity. Reese has sacrificed himself and put his life on the line to save Sarah, something the Terminator could never do.

His mortality, pain and nearing death also forges a deeper, more poignant emotional connection between Reese and Sarah. Reese’s sacrifice makes their brief love all the more meaningful and tragic.

The Aftermath of Reese’s Gunshot Wound

Once Reese is shot in the factory showdown, the remainder of the film deals with the consequences of his serious leg wound. Here is an overview of how the plot unfolds from that point:

Escape from the Factory

Sarah helps the limping, weakened Reese escape the factory under a hail of gunfire from the damaged but persistent Terminator. Reese can barely walk and leaves a trail of blood as Sarah supports him. They manage to get outside and flee in a pickup truck.

Hiding Out in the Motel

Finding an out-of-the-way motel to hide and regroup, Sarah bandages and medicates Reese’s leg wound as he lays in bed, feverish and drifting in and out of consciousness. The seriousness of the injury is emphasized by the amount of blood loss and overall impact on Reese’s health.

Intimacy and Conception

The confined intimacy of the motel room leads Reese and Sarah to talk openly about the future and ultimately make love, conceiving John Connor – the very reason Reese was sent back in time to protect Sarah. This moment of emotional connection amid Reese’s worsening physical condition highlights his mortality and humanity.

Final Struggle with the Terminator

After tracking them down at the motel, the resilient Terminator launches one more attack. During this final clash, Reese is limited by his wounded leg and weakened overall physical state from blood loss. He limps and staggers about painfully, barely able to run or fight.

Ultimately he sacrifices himself entirely for Sarah by staying back to manually detonate a bomb to destroy the Terminator, sustaining even more gunshot wounds in the process. Reese’s previous leg injury clearly weakens and dooms him in this final confrontation.

Reese’s Death

In the aftermath of the Terminator’s destruction, Sarah finds a dying Reese. His previous leg wound combined with new injuries ultimately prove fatal. A tearful Sarah sits with the bloody, crippled Reese as he draws his final breaths, his sacrifice complete.


Kyle Reese sustaining a serious gunshot wound to the leg during the factory showdown with the Terminator serves both an important narrative and thematic purpose in The Terminator. The wound raises the tension and stakes for the rest of the film, while also representing Reese’s humanity through his mortality, pain and sacrifice.

It severely impacts Reese for the remainder of the film, limiting his mobility and physical prowess as well as accelerating his eventual death. This intensifies the tragic, poignant nature of his relationship with Sarah and doomed sacrifice to save her, giving deeper meaning to the overall story. A seemingly simple leg wound carries great significance for Reese, Sarah and the entire Terminator saga.

Time Event
Around 3/4 through the movie Reese is shot in the leg by the Terminator during the initial factory confrontation
After being shot Reese is weakened and limping, limiting him physically
In the motel Reese’s wound is bandaged but he has lost a lot of blood and is feverish
Final battle Reese’s earlier leg wound restricts his ability to run and fight
Conclusion Reese ultimately dies from his accumulated wounds

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