Sci-fi is a large and interesting genre for anyone who gets curious about what the future may hold. From flying cars to dystopian corporations, nothing is outside its range. But we're forgetting something! ROBOTS... perhaps the most important part of sci-fi.
There are tons of robot movies, B-grade schlock-fests like Chopping Mall, and big budget productions like Blade Runner: 2049. There's no such thing as an objective film rating, but IMDb is great for getting a consensus from the public. Let's see what they have to tell us about robots!
10 Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - 8.0
IMDb decided to double down on two franchises here, and for good reason. Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel to the first. A replicant and police officer in charge of killing (or retiring) rogue androids discovers a plot that could end up destroying relations between replicants and humans.
Too much more would probably spoil the movie, but you can at least bank on seeing a familiar face or two in this movie.
9 The Terminator (1984) - 8.0
This franchise was good enough to make two entries (more on the sequel later)! The first one stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the murderous T-800 sent to destroy Sarah Connor, who will one day give birth to the messiah who comes to save humanity from the robot uprising of the future.
From non-stop action, lots of thrills, and an unforgettable battle against fate, the original Terminator movie has it all. This film also helped jump-start the career of the famous director James Cameron!
8 Blade Runner (1982) - 8.1
A true contender for Ridley Scott's magnum opus, Blade Runner is a great film. While it can't be said that it single-handedly invented the cyberpunk genre, it came pretty close. The dark lived-in world it creates, it's believable political climate, and the issues it explores combine to make a film world that feels truly lived in. It's somewhere close to ours but entirely separate, as if in a dream.
Our story follows Rick Deckard, a man tasked with hunting down escaped androids called replicants. These replicants are tasked with performing manual labor on other planets, and decide to turn on their masters to have a chance at life. It uses its content to explore what it means to be human in a very meaningful way.
7 Metropolis (1927) - 8.3
1927's Metropolis is an absolute triumph of cinema. Going back to watch it today won't disappoint despite it's age. The city-scapes look like a prototype for Bioshock, adorned with futuristic Art Deco. Directed by Fritz Lang, this beautiful picture of a pristine future is one of the first feature length examples of science fiction.
The film was highly controversial upon its release, as it was perceived to have communist messages in it. Being written during the Wiemar Republic days of Germany preceding WWII, there's really no question that themes of wealth inequality would pop up. Its themes remain prescient even in our current age.
6 Wall-E (2008) - 8.4
Thank you IMDb! We finally get to lighten this list up with a modern day Disney-Pixar classic. Released in 2008, this movie is basically dystopian sci-fi for kids. It does tackle legitimately troubling issues, but does so very lightly. The mix of adorable robots, romance, and heavy themes makes this a great watch for the whole family.
Our protagonist is a cute little trash cleanup droid, stranded on an empty earth, covered in refuse. The whole journey starts when he's visited by another robot who was sent to scout the earth for plants. He seems to take a liking to her, and follows her across space.
5 Aliens (1986) - 8.4
Sorry to have two Alien franchise entries in the same list, but the people have spoken. Aliens follows up on the original but takes an obvious turn from horror to action. The suspense is mostly gone, only to be replaced by blazing guns, grenades, and space marines. Ridley Scott gave up the director's chair for this one, but we still have Sigourney Weaver playing our leading lady.
The corporation Ripley works for wakes her up, and she tells them she encountered an alien that took out the rest of the crew. They don't believe her, and like the idiots that they are, launch an onsite investigation. Since we see there are space marines involved, you can probably guess where this is going. Despite how action-packed it is, the film was well received and was nominated for seven academy awards.
4 Alien (1979)
NO SPOILERS! This is an important movie that everyone should see, so I'll only give a brief overview. This incredible film by Ridley Scott came out in 1979. The studio was incredibly hesitant to take the risks involved in making this movie, but the box office returns were worth it.
They commissioned a visual artist and general weirdo named H.R. Giger to design the creature that chases the protagonist in the movie. The monster, called a Xenomorph, is a bug-like life-form that the crew of the ship discovers during a routine distress call. Eventually our protagonist goes head to head with the monster. Again, no spoilers but there is a reason this movie is on the list.
3 Ghost In The Shell: Stand-Alone Complex (2002 - 2003) - 8.5
Ghost In The Shell, a marvel of animation based on the manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow, came out in 1995. It wowed audiences with its deep investigation into the philosophy of consciousness, its sleek cyberpunk aesthetics, and its absolutely stunning visual direction.
It was followed by two sequels shortly after release, and had a huge hand in bringing manga to the U.S. as a serious art form. The series Standalone Complex follows the stories of the first three movies, condensed into what could be considered a more complete story arc. If you're looking for androids, strong female leads, and a heady experience, this is your best bet.
2 Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) - 8.5
What else is there to say about this movie, aside from quoting Arnold? If your thing is big action movies, you can't pass this one up. It's absolutely a classic of the genre, and arguably the best of the series. It's filled with silly one-liners (although not as quotable as the first) androids assassins, and motorcycles. Its a testosterone filled thrill-ride through a frightening near-future.
The one man who can save humanity from a robot uprising is chased by a nearly indestructible creature, setting incredibly high stakes for our protagonist. I won't spoil whether or not this monster is successful, but there's a reason this film is held in such high regard. With failure not being an option, you'll be on the edge of your seat through the whole film.
1 The Matrix (1999) - 8.7
The Matrix is an absolutely groundbreaking film, directed by the Wachowski sisters. It came out in 1999 and was one of the most ambitious films attempted at the time. The actors involved went through rigorous martial arts training to achieve the great fights in the movie, the special effects were all done with innovative new techniques, and the story itself wasn't something Western audiences were prepared for.
Similar themes had been explored in other media, namely in anime classics such as Akira, Ghost In The Shell, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. While these pieces of art would eventually get to enjoy success both commercial and critical, it would be some time before they were appreciated.