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Terminator judged worthy of preservation

Arnold Schwarzenegger's memorable role helps sci-fi film gain special status

Time will not destroy The Terminator the way actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger mangled everything he encountered when he starred in the 1984 action movie.

The low-budget film, which spawned the popular catch-phrase "I'll be back", was one of 25 movies listed for preservation this week by the U.S. Library of Congress for their cultural, historic or esthetic significance.

The other titles included The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Deliverance (1972), A Face in the Crowd (1957), In Cold Blood (1967) and The Invisible Man (1933).

The library said it selected The Terminator for preservation because of Schwarzenegger's star-making perform- ance as a cyborg assassin, and because the film stands out in the science fiction genre.

"It's withstood the test of time, like King Kong in a way, a film that endures because it's so good," Patrick Loughney, who runs the Library of Congress film vault, told Reuters.

In the film, artificially intelligent machines running the world send Schwarzenegger's character back in time to kill a woman named Sarah Connor, who is fated to give birth to a future resistance leader. Made on a small budget of about $6.4 million and directed by James Cameron, who went on to make the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, The Terminator spawned two sequels and a 2008 television series called Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. A third movie sequel is due for release in 2009.

Starring as the Terminator, Schwarzenegger popularized the phrases "I'll be back" and later "Hasta la vista, baby," which found their way into popular culture and became the actor's personal catch-phrases.

Austrian-born Schwarz-enegger, 61, went on to star in two Terminator sequels and took comedic turns in movies such as Kindergarten Cop and True Lies. In 2003, he was elected governor of California.

The Library of Congress every year names films for preservation that represent the broad spectrum of American culture. The movies are not necessarily the best U.S. films of all time, the Washington-based institution said. When the films are designated, they are placed in the institution's vaults, where the prints are protected from shrinking, colour fading and other damage.