Our 20 Favorite Movie Robots

Published 3 years ago by

20 Favorite Movie Robots Our 20 Favorite Movie Robots

In honor of the closing chapter (for now) of Michael Bay’s Transformers trilogy, we present 20 of our favorite movie robots of all time.

Whether it is an android or autonomous robot, the only rules for this list are that they can speak and they have a dedicated physical form (i.e. they are not a computer program like HAL 9000, KITT or S1m0ne). With those two guidelines in place, we present our list of robots below, ordered alphabetically.

Keep in mind this is only a list of the movie robots we love, and not a definitive “Top 20 Robots of All Time.” It is interesting to note how similar many of these robots are when you look at them closely. There are a handful that experience what I like to call the Pinocchio Effect, in which a robot designed to be human-like wants to actually become a human (or as close as it can manage). Of course, Pinocchio was likely a great inspiration for many of these characters. On the other hand, there are many robots with destructive capabilities that use brute strength to get their way. The only question is whose side they are on.

Note that there are some SPOILERS in the following explanations of each character. The list is in alphabetical order, so if you would like to list any more or rank them, feel free to do so in the comments section below. Enjoy our list and please add your own favorites afterwards.

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Ash - Alien

Ash Alien 570x253 Our 20 Favorite Movie Robots

“Bring back alien life form. Crew expendable.” Those are the eerie orders for Ash, the android who tricked the crew of the Nostromo into thinking he was human. Thanks to his sinister intention to capture a live specimen of the alien species, all hell breaks loose on board the vessel and we get one of the greatest science fiction/horror movies of all time. In addition, how many robots can say they’ve shoved a rolled-up porn magazine down Sigourney Weaver’s throat?

Ash also holds one of the best movie deaths for an alien of all time. First he is decapitated, then electrocuted and finally burnt to a crisp. Actor Ian Holm brought an extra dose of creepiness to the character that made him all the more memorable in the grand scheme of the Alien franchise. Ash is yet another reason to be wary of any future real-world attempts to create human-like robots.

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Robot Bill & Ted - Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

 Our 20 Favorite Movie Robots

Not all robots on this list have to be good. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey features a murderous robot clone of each titular character. The interaction between human Bill and Ted and Evil Bill and Ted is pretty hilarious, and makes the characters that much more memorable. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a robot say he has a “full-on robot chubby,” which pretty much solidified their place on this list.

The evil robots even get an opportunity to kill the real Bill & Ted and don’t mess it up, proving they are truly enhanced versions of their human counterparts. Plus, in a robot-on-robot fight that would make Michael Bay vomit, the admirable Station creates good robot clones of Bill & Ted to take down the Evil Bill & Ted in a bogus fight of excellent proportions.

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C-3PO & R2-D2 - Star Wars

C 3PO and R2D2 Star Wars 570x281 Our 20 Favorite Movie Robots

(We understand that R2-D2 is not an android, but for the sake of organization, he has been paired up with C-3PO in this category.)

The most famous droids in the universe are an obvious combo pick for this list. While they argue like a married couple, they have one of cinema’s most legendary friendships. They are the yin and the yang. R2-D2 can do it all and save the day, while C-3PO can… well, he can probably do your taxes. The two bring an essential comedic relief to the otherwise serious (apart from a few Han Solo jokes) Star Wars saga and bring an extra dose of camp to the franchise. It’s amazing their spin-off TV show Droids did not work out, as their relationship is surely more entertaining than some of the shows on television today.

R2-D2′s uncanny ability to get his friends out of even the hairiest of situations puts him right near the top of the Most Talented Movie Robot list. If there is a gadget, you can bet R2-D2 has it in that mechanical frame. He can even fly if the situation calls for it. In the end, with today’s CGI characters, it will always amaze me that there was actually a person (Kenny Baker) inside of R2 during some scenes. Anthony Daniels’ presence as C-3PO fast became legend and put him on par with the great performances of the saga.

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Daryl - D.A.R.Y.L.

Daryl D.A.R.Y.L. 570x247 Our 20 Favorite Movie Robots

The Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform is yet another Pinocchio-style scientific experiment brought to the big screen. This android was designed to become a super-soldier with an advanced ability to hack computer systems and enhanced physical functions. When a scientist grows a conscience and lets Daryl go, the “boy” finds a loving family in The Richardsons and the classic tale unfolds. The final act of D.A.R.Y.L. is pretty intense even for a mid-80s science fiction movie, as Daryl steals a Blackbird in hopes of returning to the Richardsons’ home.

Barret Oliver’s career didn’t amount to much after D.A.R.Y.L. (other than Cocoon), but his performance is just as strong as any other involving a boy robot trying to find his humanity. It drives the film and makes you feel compassion for the android. It’s a testament to the nostalgic feeling of the film and its coming-of-age structure that really goes beyond just the story’s fictional events.

Next: Star Trek, Spielberg and Shagadelic…

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TAGS: alien, austin powers, blade runner, i robot, moon, star trek, star wars, terminator, transformers, wall-e

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  1. Gort and Robby…glad to see those robot icons making this list :)

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Wall-E was by far the most lovable, but he reminds me of Johnny 5. Was this post in no particular order?

  3. Never mind, I had skipped the first couple of paragraphs.

  4. Yay! for Vincent, but boo! for no Jet Jaguar!

    • I’m with you. Jet Jaguar should be on here, as should Mecha Godzilla.

      • And now that I think about it, I also would have wanted to see Giant Robot included.

      • Ohhh… Mecha Godzilla… definitely a good one!

        Vic

        • Haha! I agree!

        • Alright, Vic Holtreman agrees with me! :)

          Mecha Godzilla is indeed an awesome, fearsome creation. I still get chills thinking about how vicious and cruel he was to Godzilla.

        • don’t your “standards” for inclusion on this list clearly state “that they can speak and they have a dedicated physical form (i.e. they are not a computer program like HAL 9000…)”???

          As far as I remember, Mechagojira never spoke a word.

          And that robot thing from Moon is exactly like HAL. NOT a “robot” per se.

          While Gort is, in my opinion, one of the scariest and most menacing robots ever created for a film, he also does not fit your list: he doesn’t speak.

          No Robot from Lost in Space?

          • Lost in Space was a TV show, this is movies – and the movie version of the robot certainly doesn’t belong on this list.

            MechaGodzilla – well, it’s not ON the list – but it IS cool.

            Good point on Gort, and I did bring up GERTY with the author and he said if anyone questioned it he’d be able to defend that choice.

            Vic

            • Vic

              I’ve seen the Gerty/Moon question asked more than once. Still no answer ;).

          • Actually, if they were not sentient, they’d both be robots following protocols. They have memory banks that are physical, all that they control is a part of them. Robots do not have to be androids.

      • Yes. I do agree MechaGodzilla and MechaKingKong were genuine “robots.” Good example. I really couldn’t think of any! At least, none that simulated biological life in film.

  5. does robocop count?

  6. Um no Robocop or is that not considered full on robot/cyborg?

    • That question had also crossed my mind initially, but I figured that he’s a cyborg, not a robot. Same goes for Darth Vader.

      • Cyborgs did not count in my opinion as they are humans “upgraded” with robot technology. We’ve limited to artificial creations (the best phrasing I could come up with right now).

        • Makes sense.

  7. first let me same I’m a fan of my choice BUT what about Al Gore (lock box lock box) LMAO

  8. awww, wheres Hal 9000

    • Read the second paragraph. The answer to your question is there.

  9. Glad Robby wasn’t forgotten. He’s probably my favorite movie robot ever.

  10. Technically, none of these are robots. Artificial sentient life-forms are living beings. I thought Blade Runner’s Philip K. Dick demonstrated this perfectly. Robots are merely machines we use to do jobs we’d rather not do ourselves.

    Terminator came closest to being a robot, but subsequent feelings and actions based on feelings combined with self-awareness and the ability to learn without limits still made it more than a robot.

    Lucas gave us the name Droids. If there is a better all-encompassing term I am not aware of it. Contrary to some popular opinion. These beings do not exist. All we have now are just robots. Droids remain science-fantasy. And will remain so until we can create even one self-aware artificial being.

    • My apologies for the technical mistake.

    • I know what you mean, shido, but my dictionary defines robot as “Any mechanical contrivance designed to perform work normally requiring the exercise of human intelligence”, and bearing in mind her prior designation as a “pleasure model” I’d certainly say Pris, for a start, falls into the category of being a machine we’d use to do a job we’d rather not do ourselves – organic qualities and sentience notwithstanding.

      • Very sorry to hear there is a dictionary with that definition. Just great!

        Taken from Wiki.. ‘According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica a robot is “any automatically operated machine that replaces human effort, though it may not resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a humanlike manner”.’ Please note the emphasis on machines, which are always just tools.

        There is a huge moral issue in having the largess to include artificial life within the realm of non-life. You can often destroy things without impunity, and certainly damage them — at least where the destruction of another’s property is not called into question. This extends to clones as well which made Alien: Resurrection all the more significant when combined with ‘human cargo’ secretly kidnapped from deep space to be used as incubators. Very amoral reality. Right up there with taking the organs of prisoners, missing persons, or naive third-worlders. Great dehumanizers!

        • That’s a very good point. As Lord Garth states further down the thread, replicants – like Cylons in the new BSG – were organically grown without any metallic components, and one of the main differences between the replicants of Blade Runner and PKD’s “andys” in the original book was their inhumanity or lack of empathy. Regardless of their biological origins, they were certainly seen as tools or machines. Like you say, ethically it’s another kettle of fish altogether.

          • Similar conundrum in Robert Silverberg’s Tower Of Glass: synthetic humans used as a workforce by a man hellbent on contacting an extraterrestrial civilisation, without realising he’s got another unique lifeform right under his nose (who actually worship him as a god!).

            • @shido

              The article was fun and I enjoyed reading it. I don’t like people like you that have to make an attempt to ruining it by stating “WWWWWELL! ACTUALLY! LET ME PULL OUT MY LAME DORK DICTIONARY AND TRY TO RUIN THE WHOLE ARTICLE TO MAKE MY SELF LOOK SO SMART AND INTELLIGENT!”

              Who cares man, its a fun sci-fi article. Why do you feel the need to get a technical and stuff and discredit the entry??

              Seriously, find something else better to do…

              • android [ˈændrɔɪd]
                n
                (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) (in science fiction) a robot resembling a human being
                adj
                resembling a human being
                [from Late Greek androeidēs manlike; see andro-, -oid]

              • Not trying to be smart. But, if you want to throw away the definitions, then I guess cyborgs would count too. Anything artificial!

  11. Wall-E’s cute and cuddly and all, as far as robots go, but I liked Eve better.

    • Her firepower put her into serious consideration, but I just couldn’t put her in over Wall-E (to me, that was the internal debate)

      • I understand that. Wall-E is the more familiar face, as well as arguably more personable. I guess I do like Eve more because she packs that powerful laser arm. :)

  12. “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!” I would have liked ROBOT to have made the list from the original Lost in Space.

    • I thought of that too, but he’s a TV robot if you only count the B9 Robot in the original show.

  13. Don’t think it’s Fair that the MCP or CLU2 is not included in the initial count of robots without physical form, while admittedly they don’t they were both of their time and quite interesting in their own way CLU2 more so if a bad screenplay hadn’t let him down.

    • it was only a rough mention for people to associate what I mean, not an overall claim of the only ones worth noting. Tron’s are easily among the best.

  14. A comic book property I really would like to see them adapt to the silver screen someday is Magnus, Robot Fighter, especially the Valiant Comics version.

    I think that book has the potential to bring a LOT more memorable robots/droids (whatever you wanna call ‘em) to the silver screen, plus a pretty good story to boot.

    Oh, and Johnny 5 rocks :)

    • Yes! Totally agree! Magnus would be awesome.

      You may not be aware but Metal Men was in development hell. Don’t know if it still is.

  15. Data is obviously my favorite of your lot. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the robot from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I thought he was wondrously….pessimistic. :-)

    • Marvin! Good one, Kahless. “Here I am, brain the size of a planet…”

      • “I’ll do the calculations, not that anyone cares anyway” 8-)

        Or something like that.

  16. The fact that you don’t have the robot from Rocky IV on this list makes me want to stop visiting Screen Rant, good sir.

  17. Good varied list, Mike. I’d add Huey, Dewey and Louie, the three drones from Silent Running; the slightly inept robot cops from THX 1138; Max 404 from Android; the energy-absorbing giant ’50s robot Kronos; and how about the (original) Stepford Wives?

    Hey, if GERTY’s on there then I’m gonna argue the case for HAL 9000! As Poole says to Bowman: “There’s not a single aspect of ship operations that’s not under his control,” so one could almost see the Discovery spacecraft itself as his “body”. That becomes even less of an abstract concept when HAL uses the pod to kill Poole – there’s even one of his circular eyepieces on the front of it. I’d rate that way above GERTY trundling around on an overhead rail! Ditto Proteus from Demon Seed, who started off as a computer program, progressed to taking over a motorised wheelchair + robot arm, and ended up impregnating Julie Christie…

    • Ah, forgot Kronos couldn’t speak – forget that one.

    • Yes. Huey, Dewey and Louie are great examples of real robots.

  18. One robot is missing. One from Japan: AWESOM-O

  19. Excellent list — some I either didin’t know or hadn’t thought of, but most wen’t through my mind almost immediately. The only one that wasn’t on the list that crossed my mind would be Bubo the Owl from the original Clash of the Titans (actually I suppose from both, LOL)… but then would a mechanical bird made by ancient gods count as a robot?

    • I suppose Bubo can’t technically speak, so perhaps he doesn’t count.

      • I don’t remember Gort talking, so I think Bobo is a good choice. He definitely communicated.

  20. Ed-209

  21. MechaGodzilla

    • DARN RIGHT!!

  22. Sonny? Really? Sonny? God, I wanted to kill him myself. What about Bishop from Aliens? The Beta Unit from The Last Star Fighter? That Owl thing form Clash of the Titans, OH BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED!!! What about 9? He and the rest were robots right. Even Jinx from Space Camp? Anything but Sonny. I have to admit Yul Brynner in West World was Freakin awesome though and Pris was my favorite replicant too (besides Deckard of course). But I would have picked Teddy over David any day.

  23. Wow some oldies. Kids today dont know anything about D.A.R.Y.L., the Black Hole, and Westworld.

  24. Wait wait. How can you have Gerdy from Moon and say Hal from 2001 doesn’t count? Gerdy was completely inspired by Hal. Just curious btw. Good list :)

  25. Optimus Prime over C-3PO and R2D2? Lame.. Pris but no Roy Batty?

  26. Honorable Mention. Bishop from Aliens, who I think is way cooler than Ash.

    Let’s not forget Bender from Futurama either!!

    • I thought Annalee Call was the best of the lot, and together with Ellen Ripley’s salvaged clone, made AR the best of the Alien franchise. IMO, Sully. I know this is an unpopular thought.. but why change now? I never was a Yes man. Well, except for classic Yes, that is!

      • Well Call was definitely easy on the eyes lol. So I’ll go with that.

  27. Data was awful. A robert that got fatter and more wrinkly with each passing year?

    Howz bout VGER or Ilia probe

    • Ilia could be on the list but Vger didn’t talk.

      And Data made himself get fatter and more wrinkly to emulate humans. And stop rolling your eyes! 8-)

  28. ^ Robot not Robert

    And

    Deckard was a replicant. But Replicants are humanoid not mechanical. They are Cylon skinjobs of flesh and bone not titanium

  29. wait… no number 6 from BSG?