Ten of the Best Movie Robots Of All-Time

Robots in movies has always been a fascinating subject.  On the one hand Robots carry that machine like mystique that enables them to do things that we humans can’t.  And that factor alone leads us to curiosity and amazement.  On the other, when we see human qualities in these robots, it makes them that much more interesting.

With this in mind,  I think it was fine time to identify some robots who were revolutionary, who carried thematic weight, who were lovable (or frightening), or who were just cool as hell.  For the purposes of this list,  “robot” is defined as any manufactured entity primarily of mechanical parts that emulates human behaviors like walking, talking,  or hunting for Sarah Connor.

Here are ten of the best movie Robots

C-3PO – Star Wars

Movie Robots

Until the Star Wars movie, most robots were portrayed as cold, emotionless, subservient, and speech impaired machines.   But when Star Wars came around you see a different side to robots.  More than any metal character before them, you care about them.  And C-3PO is the finest example of this new phenomenon.

The Terminator

Movie Robots

The Arnold Schwarzenegger terminator (a T-800) is one of the most cold, calculating and unstoppable machines ever—at least until the creepily persistent liquid-metal T-1000 (Robert Patrick) shows up in T2. And so with the creation of a more terrifying terminator, what happens to Arnold’s T-800? He becomes the hero—and one whose ultimate sacrifice makes grown men weep (okay, maybe just me). On a thematic level, the terminators use violence to preach against violence and ultimately show that even a creation made to do evil can be redeemed, taught to love, and realize the value of human life.

Johnny 5 – Short Circuit

Movie Robots

Robot Number Five is one of several advanced Nova Robotics military robots created to be the perfect soldiers. But when lightning hits him, he begins to ask questions, reject commands, and think abstractly. Number Five is alive! Calling himself Johnny-5, the robot learns what it really means to be human.

Robocop

Movie Robots

Probably the most badass movie robot of all time.

Optimus Prime – Transformers

Movie Robots

Autobot leader and semi-truck who established himself as the ultimate valiant robot warrior with honor, strength, leadership and self-sacrifice. And I’m taking about the movie from 1984, not the Michael Bay piece of crap.

R2-D2 from Star Wars

Movie Robots

See the explanation on C-3PO.  However R2 added its own elements to the movie.  Never before had a robot really been able to display the humorous side to robots with simple sounds.  The crazy rings and zips that came out of R2 when it was trying to accomplish certain tasks left audiences smiling.  A clever little guy, R2 was able to help and propel the good guys forward every step of the way.

Ash – Alien

Movie Robots

Ash frighteningly revealed to be an evil robot and all that white goo that came out of him was pretty nasty.  Still though, you have to admit he was an awesome movie robot.

Sonny – I Robot

Movie Robots

Sonny gets the nod here for being one of the newer generation of badass robots.  He’s got a sleek design, new millennium, almost Mac-like look.  Plus the guy is able to wink like a human, think like a human, and even have a bit of emotion like a human.

MechaGodzilla – Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla

Movie Robots

He’s 50 tons of space titanium in the shape of Godzilla.  This monstrosity is the most weapon-equipped robot of all time with torpedo fingers, eye beams, a crazy 360-degree rotating head that creates a force field, and multiple guns in his toes, knees, shoulders and chest.

Gort – The Day the Earth Stood Still

Movie Robots

Seven feet tall and solid metal, Gort is the ultimate imposing robot thug. He arrives via UFO with galactic spaceman Klaatu, who has come to warn Earthlings to quell the violence that results from all their irrational fears. But before he can deliver the message, the Earthlings freak out and start shooting at him—which only proves his point. With that, Gort lays down the law and starts melting stuff with his eye laser

Honorable Mention to

Robot Gunslinger from Westworld
Data from Star Trek Generations
Robby From Forbidden Planet
Dar Maschinian Mench from Metropolis
Gigolo Joe from Artificial Intelligence
Pris and Roy Batty from Blade Runner
Wall E –
* And there are plenty more animated ones. I just felt Optimus Prime deserved to be up there.


  • Greg

    The black robot in Ice Pirates was classic…

  • Balls

    Bishop from Aliens was pretty badass as well, and he wasn’t evil to boot.

  • Fun list but…

    Androids, Cyborgs, Replicants and Robots are NOT the same thing. Robots are not automonous. They are computers that move.

    Data and Ash are androids – they have decision making capabilities.

    The replicants from Blade Runner are artificial humans – they are stronger and faster, but cut them open and they look human, remember the eyes floating in the container?

    And of course Robocop is a Cyborg – human brain and parts, the rest robotic, like the 6,000,000$ man and all; as are the Borg, who aren’t on your list but probably should be.

    Still fun to read.

  • Oh, and Johnny 5’s look-alike cousin WALL-e. And the little robots Huey, Dewey and Louie from Silent Running. Sorry for double comment – didn’t think of these until too late.

  • RoboCop wasn’t a robot. He was a cyborg.

  • John

    What about Maximillon from the black hole?

  • Dstryr

    The robot from the awful judge dredd movie was epic.

  • theo

    WALL-E

  • anon

    What, no Sentinel from The Matrix? Multiple imposing red “eyes”, tentacles with all manner of pincers, grabbers, slicers and sensors, and lasers that can penetrate inches of solid steel. They even have bombs that can lock onto a specific target in order to avoid EMP blasts. Not to mention that they can fly fast enough to avoid rapid gunfire, and they swarm in the thousands.

    Designed for the singular purpose to kill-on-sight all free-minded humans.

  • michael eagan

    Aw.. come on. Marvin the Paranoid Android. Not the crappy remake (even though the vocals from Alan Rickman are top notch) – the original.

  • Great list, & to sound nerdy – but would have to agree with another poster about robocop – he’s still half human, with robotic add-ons.

    You guys forgot Data from Star Trek – now he was awesome!

  • D-non

    For leaving Wall-e off the list and instead replacing him with the guy that came before him and happens to look just like him.

  • D-non

    Thank you for leaving Wall-e off the list and instead replacing him with the guy that came before him and happens to look just like him.

  • Someone

    The robot from Rocky 4

  • gtnconcept

    I’d like to nominate The Iron Giant.

  • James

    +1 for Maximillian from The Black Hole. The scariest most understated robot in cinema history.

    The fact that it was expressionless just made it all the more scary. The creators didn’t try anthropomorphizing him at all.

  • Bastian

    I think WALL-e deserves some kudos. He may not be intimidating, but the most human of all.

  • Bastian

    Oh, what about that weird ice robot from Logan’s Run? Total cheese but hey… a robot!

  • Thanks for putting Sonny up there. He is my favorite movie robot by far. Next would come the Terminator and Optimus Prime.

  • gobok

    The robot Benson in Saturn 3 freaked me out as a kid too.

  • grover

    You all have seem to have forgotten Rosie, the maid form the “Jetsons” cartoon.

  • Shobhit Bansal

    “Dar Maschinian Mench from Metropolis” honourable mention

    u sure are crazy. Its the first classic representaion of robots it should be at the top.

  • brakebeat

    Maximillian all the way …

  • Connor

    Daleks from Doctor Who, the orginal badasses.

  • Gray

    ED-209 from Robocop has to be one of my favourite movie robots of all time. Okay, stairs were his mortal enemies, but he was still one of the scariest, most badass robots in the movies.

  • uf

    Twiggy from Buck Rogers and and the robots from the movie “Runaway”

  • john

    wasn’t arnold a series model 101? the t-800 i believe had rubber skin as explained by reeese, “but these are new…sweat, bad breath, everything. very hard to spot”

  • Chris

    Did everyone forget the evil robot in the 1980 film Saturn 3 that had a symbiotic connection to a deranged Harvey Keitel?
    I thought the robot was one of the best of it’s time!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079285/

  • HulkSmashNow

    You mean “cartoon” from 1984 in regards to “The Transformers,” not the movie. The movie came out in 1986.

  • What about “Robot” from Lost In Space!?

  • T-Arsch

    “Dar Maschinian Mench from Metropolis”

    LOL! It’s really funny when Americans try to spell German words just by the sound. It should read “Der Maschinen-Mensch”.

  • Awesome list

  • belteshazzar

    what about Keanu Reeves? he must be the most life like yet emotionless robot ever created to date.

  • BillACK

    Robby from Forbidden Planet, (who also appeared in other films.)

  • The Terminator is easily my favorite robot!

  • How about the female robot in last Terminator film?

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  • If you are going to put Roy in, how about Deckard?

  • boldo

    what about the small robots from “no Batteries Included”
    nice ones…

  • Hotblack

    Westworld

  • Stedarsh

    i agree that robby the robot and the b9 from lost in space should be there, especially since they starred in an episode of Lost in space together and have an awesome dialogue.
    I also wonder why the new lost in space robot isnt on any of these lists. Film went really turd, but he was a badass

  • Frank

    Most of the time, i agree with you guys, but sorry…,
    that´s the definite list:
    1. R2-D2 ( That Film )
    2. Marvin ( Hitchikers’ guide to the galaxy )
    3. Maria ( Metropolis )
    4. HAL9000 ( Space Odyssey )
    5. ED 209 ( Robocop )
    6. Dot Matrix ( Spaceballs )
    and the named above,… maybe you get me with the Ranking

  • Corey

    COME ON! Robocop?! I can see you lumping androids, replicants, and robots together, though not really fully accurate, but a cyborg?! He has a human brain! That is completely different.