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

124 Comments

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  1. Rock on, Sonny! <3

    When robot marriage is legalized I'm marrying him.

    Just saying.

  2. The one robot that I am astounded is not in here is “Andrew” played by Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man. Great film! Great robot! Great Robin!

    • HEAR HEAR!

    • glad someone else mentioned it. Clearly you have an eye for movies my friend.

  3. do the borg count? iron giant is one of my all-time faves. what about the body brain used to walk around in in the ninja turtles cartoon?

    • If the Borg count then so would RoboCop. Of course, these aren’t robots but cyborgs.

  4. Wren from Phantasy Star: End of the Millenium

  5. No Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide? At least Gerty was mentioned, Moon was a fantastic film

  6. My 3 faves on this list are: Data, Terminator and Johnny 5.

    Excellent list, but I would also add Mechagodzilla as was stated a few times.

  7. Huey, Duey and Louie from Silent Running, no one has mentioned those yet

    • Forgot their names, but I was thinking of them too.

  8. Oh, Oh Oh, forgot
    Maximilian from The Black Hole, (evil or what) Not forgetting B.O.B
    Cylons have to be in there
    Hector from Saturn 3
    Maria from Metropolis
    The Giant Nazi Robots from Sky Captain
    ED 209 from Robocop

    • Maximillian is very cool (one of my favorites), but he was more a cyborg, or just a guy in a robot getup. Remember at the end, when we see his eyes?

      • Those were Reinhardt’s eyes, symbolising him trapped in hell. All kinds of things I didn’t like about The Black Hole, but that was a powerful, surreal sequence as the camera pulls back, showing Reinhardt/Maximilian perched on top of a Dante’s Inferno-type landscape.

        • Yes, I loved that scene and agree. The point being that Max was an extension of Reinhardt. Brilliant moment!

          I also loved how ruthless Max was sawing through Perkin’s book and into Perkins. very well played!

          • I was surprised how vicious that looked considering the tone of the rest of the movie.

        • That’s right, isn’t it? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it; my last memory of it was Reinhardt floating around in “hell,” clinging onto Maximilian.

          I’ve still always wondered about that scene, because while symbolically I understand it’s Reinhardt trapped inside the robot shell, how could he actually fit inside of it?

          Also, earlier on in the movie, when the robot Vincent puts his saw blade into Maximilian, Maximilian makes what sounds like a man groaning in pain. I guess that’s why I always figured that he was a cyborg.

          • Chopped his legs off? That’s even more hellish! :-)

  9. What, no love for Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot?

  10. star wars and i robot ftw and terminator

  11. When i saw the title i was immediately looking for 5 main robot characters. Terminator, I robot, Walle and Johnny 5 which you included but where is Bicentennial Man???
    I assumed you would include Bicentennial Man? Please tell me why?

  12. The list should have also included Robocop. How can he not be an iconic favorite?

    • I like Robocop, too, but he’s a cyborg, not a robot.

    • It’s not that he’s a cyborg, but that he’s more human than machine. Now, ED-209 should have been mentioned IMO.

      • Hell what about CAIN as a baddie?

        • Cain is also a cyborg, since it’s driven by his brain, and his affection for a certain drug.

      • @Ghost, I agree on that, but the fact that he is a cyborg at all excludes him from this list.

        • Where’s Marvin ?

  13. Thanks to Big Dentist for pointing out the difference between the replicants of Blade Runner & the andys of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1 of the main points of the movie was the humanity of the replicants despite their artificial origins. Add to that their biological instead of mechanical form & the conclusion is that replicants are not robots. That’s even more true of Six & the other numbered, human form Cylons. 1 of the main points of the series was that the Cylons & the Colonials were 2 branches of the same tree. And, of course, the Eight called Athena is OUR ancestor.

  14. I’m sorry but am I the only male who thought Pris was the less attractive of the female Replicants? Sean Young’s Replicant character to this day is the sexiest robot I have ever seen. “It’s too bad she won’t live!”

    Not to mention Cherry 2000

  15. What about the car in Christine, is that a robot? Seriosly, ED 209 (Robocop) and K.I.T.T. (Knight Rider) are not on here!! Not a bad list but Gunslinger ahead of K.I.T.T – you need your brains testing!! :-)

    • K.I.T.T. was not a MOVIE robot.

      • There WAS a Knight Rider movie!!

        • Theatrical release? I assume Mike was talking about theatrical robots.

  16. Oh, and what about that big thing in Judge Dredd? that was pretty good too!!

    • I think it was a war borg or something, but it was pretty cool!

  17. Questor from the “Questor Tapes” (1974)

  18. Another 2 from me HAL9000 (2001 Space Odyssey) and Bishop (Aliens / Alien 3)

  19. What about Tweekie from Buck Rogers, or Daggett from Battlestar Galactica?

    Seriously, R2D2 and the robots in Silent Running.

  20. There’s always Robin William’s character “Andrew Martin” from Bicentennial Man…

  21. Seriously?? Not a single cylon???

  22. HEY I’M TALKING TO YOU! (ROBOCOP…Fembots over ROBOCOP) You could have least added Saturn 13!

  23. Robot spam. Liking the irony.

    • Interesting ScreenRant doesn’t pull that advertisement.. or, maybe.. :-D

      • @Dentist & shido – Don’t worry we’re not in cahoots with them :) I’m yanking them off the site as quick as I can find them.

        Thanks,
        Paul

  24. Where the f*ck is the mech from District-9!?

    • That’s a suit! C’mon!

  25. interesting composition but I have to agree with previous commenters that the criteria used to determine what is a robot and what isn’t are kind of up for grabs, lets face it, the genre has progressed to where you have androids, droids, robots, synthetics, cyborgs that are all artificial and all perform functions that are either dangerous and/or lethal or beyond human capability. I don’t think speech should be the defining arbiter here, just sayin’.

    Robots are essentially machines designed for a purpose/task that can be done by the synthesis of programming and mechanics that are self motivating, i.e. they move on their “own” volition.

    I would second the nomination of Huey, Dewey and Louie of Silent Running, just encapsulated what robots could do and were the obvious forefathers of R2D2 and C3PO.

    As for nifty cyborg stuff, I would suggest that the delectable Ling Bai as the mysterious woman cyborg from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was chock full of niftiness

    the MST3K cadre should get more love from our educated readers simply because they’ve set the appropriate snark level for this subject matter.

    :-)

  26. ABC Warrior Hammerstein!!

    Seen but not fully credited in Judge Dredd

  27. what about the robots from the tv shows 1- lost in space 2- julie newmar played a robot – if that counts? danger-danger mr. robinson

  28. n 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)

    I think this needs to be repeated because many are naming artificial intelligences from TV episodes. Also, I believe GERTY should not be on the list, since it violates the dedicated physical form.

  29. I have a certain affinity to the “GONK” robot from the original Star Wars. :)

    • is gonk the one from return of the jedi that assigns C3PO and R2D2 jobs in jabba’s palace?