Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Kind of Sunglasses worn in The Terminator?

The Terminator.

An iconic movie featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger that came out in the 80's.

Ever heard of it?

Chances are that unless you have been living on a different planet, or are just too young to remember it, you have seen it at least once.

In the movie The Terminator, Arnold plays a cyborg from the future sent back to eliminate Sarah Conner and prevent her from giving birth to John, the future leader of the Resistance. I really won't go into too much detail about the plot, as I'm pretty sure you know what the movie is about.

The real point of this blog is to detail the sunglasses worn by Arnold in the movie.

The Terminator wearing a pair of Vintage Gargoyles Sunglasses

If you're a big fan or are just curious about acquiring the sunglasses, a quick Google search will show you that the brand of sunglasses is Gargoyles Inc. worn in T1. But what the search fails to show is that there is a big difference between the company today, known as Gargoyles Eye-wear Inc., and the company of yesteryear, Gargoyles Inc.

Today, a quick glance at the products sold by "Gargoyles" still shows that the company is indeed alive, however, it is not the same company circa 1984. The "Terminator" sunglasses are listed under the label "Protective Collection" and goes by the name "ANSI Classic". They also have a smaller, sleeker version known as "ANSI 85s". (Protective Collection)

Don't be fooled by the pictures, the glasses are subtly different from the Vintage Gargoyles pre-90's.

The first change you will notice is the golden emblem on the nose piece of the sunglasses. The original design for the nose piece progressed through the years.

The first edition sunglasses (1984) had a smooth nose piece that was all black and had only the Gargoyles emblem on it.

Smooth, Dark nose piece (1st Gen).

As you can see above, the nose piece is flat and all one color.

The second edition sunglasses (1989) changed the nose piece from a smooth, flat surface to a detailed one.

Detailed, Dark Nose Piece (2nd Gen).

And shown below is the current generation (1998-Now).

Metal Emblem shown on Current Gen.

Another subtle change that occurred for the sunglasses is the lettering on the legs of the frame.

Both first and second generation sunglasses have the words Gargoyles on the outside of the legs, and Gargoyles Inc. USA written on the inside of the legs.

1st, 2nd Generation Outside Leg

Above is the outside and below is the inside leg.

1st, 2nd Generation Inside Leg

The current generation of Gargoyles Sunglasses has nothing written on the outside of the leg, and on the inside it says Gargoyles Z87.1

3rd Generation Outside Leg

3rd Generation Inside Leg

These are some examples of the subtle changes that the sunglasses have endured over the last two decades.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest, not-so-subtle changes that the sunglasses have endured is the changing of the color of the lenses.

That's right.

For some reason, someone at Gargoyles decided to change the lens color of the original Gargoyles and make it REFLECTIVE.

Whenever you are driving in the sun, or are wearing them indoors (if you feel like you are "cool" enough to do such a thing without looking like a douche-bag) your sunglasses literally look Grey/Mirrored instead of the original non-reflective black.

All you have to do is look at the following pictures to see what I am referring to.

Current Gargoyles Classic
Vintage Gargoyles Classic

Lastly, I would just like to say that there are several different color versions of the VINTAGE Gargoyles Sunglasses at online stores like Ebay or

So if you are shopping as a collector, a fan, or just want to dress up as the Terminator for Halloween, make sure to check the pictures for Vintage Gargoyles Sunglasses!

Update! (3/23/2015):

If you enjoyed reading this blog, I have added another follow up blog for those interested in knowing what kind of sunglasses were used in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day!

Check it out here!

^Link to Blog


  1. Excellent post. I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work.
    Optical shops in Panchkula

  2. they are actually ansi classics but close tho

  3. Note how the 2nd and 3rd generations sit much further from your eyes due to the taller nose piece. Guess it's the most spectacular difference when worn. Well, you can push them all the way up your nose, but then they get too high and look stupid. They'll just never fit on your face the same way as the 1st generation, but they're probably less prone to break this way.

  4. Hello!

    Do you maybe know where can I buy first generation model?

    Regards, Anton

    1. First gens are EXTREMELY RARE to find on Ebay, I was fortunate enough to get a pair of original First gen's from a friend for free, they have the black lenses and have some minor scratches, but when worn you can't see them

  5. Hello Abner, I like your blog. The content is really very informative. I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that you have a great site! Keep up the good work.

    Men sunglasses