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
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 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
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.
Probably the most badass movie robot of all time.
Optimus Prime – Transformers
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
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
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
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
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
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.