Since I was a child I have been fascinated by robots in television programs and movies. I was born in a time when the movies had not advanced in special effects to the point they are today. The first robots shown were very basic but even so they tickled the imagination. I have some great memories about my early favorites. As the years have gone by I have met new robots who were equally impressive and way more complex.
Here is a list of some of my favorites and if you see some that are missing I am sorry but some of those robots just did nothing for me.
- Lost in Space (1967) – My childhood favorite. Poor thing did not even have a name. I believe he was the environmental control robot. But whenever Will Robinson was in trouble the infamous words would ring out, “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” As a kid you just gotta love having a robot to tell you when you are in trouble, right?
- Forbidden Planet (1956) – Robbie the robot was a little creepy to me as a child but fascinating. Of course later I realized that Will Robinson’s robot looked just like him but not so creepy. The whole movie was a bit spooky to me as a child. It reminded me of a cross between Star Trek (which also had its share of robots from time to time) and The Twilight Zone.
- The Day the Earth Stood Still (1957) – The name of this robot was Gort and he was a huge, menacing looking robot. By the end of the movie you find out that he does not have his own agenda but is just there to protect his master. This one also kind of creeped me out but since I have a sci-fi buff for a child I have watched this again in later years and learned that it was not as creepy as I remember. Especially according to today’s standards.
- Star Wars (1977) – R2-D2 and C-3PO were my first true robotic loves since Will Robinson’s robot pal. The awesomeness of these films at that time were overwhelming and I do not think it was all because of my ripe old age at the time of twenty. I had never seen anything like it and I still love them today. Okay, granted, after a while C-3PO can really get on your nerves with his annoying whining but little R2 makes up for it with his persistent devotion and the melodic sound of his voice that we all somehow understood. Okay, I still love them.
- Westworld (1973) – I am mentioning this movie later than Star Wars because I did not watch it until later. I finally got myself to sit all the way through this movie. I was not really a sci-fi person unless you count Star Trek which to me was not so much sci but more fi but still quite enjoyable to a young person. Especially with a young William Shatner but I digress. This was a disturbing movie to me but the robot gone wild was YulBrynner and just imagine him as a robot killing machine if you will. The whole virtual vacation idea was way out there and then for it to go bad? This one kind of went along the lines of Soylent Green in the creepy arena for me, but a great old sci-fi flick.
- Blade Runner (1982) – I have to mention this one just because it stars Harrison Ford. Robots chasing other rogue robots, what’s not to love?
- Terminator (1984) – When this movie first came out I did not watch it. I am not all that into violence and mostly try and avoid it. I did however catch these when they came on television and they kind of suck you in. I had to get my mind wrapped around the whole idea of how a robot comes from the future to kill someone who is already there thing. But you have to admit it was action packed.
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – I have watched this one more than once I will admit. I never caught this one at the theater either but did watch it at home. Even with the violence the entertainment factor from T-101 and his interactions with his future master who was now a boy were humorous and endearing at times. The highlight of this movie in my opinion has to be T-1000, the liquid metal robot. Oh my goodness talk about anxiety, how can you get rid of this guy? This was a heart pounding anxiety trip of a movie and I was thankful for the occasional humor from Arnold and the boy.
- Star Trek: Generations (1994) – I loved Data who was the robot on this particular Star Trek. As the show went on you also meet his evil twin which their “Father”, Dr. Soong, had decommissioned at some point. They find him and bring him back and when he comes alive he tells them his name is Lore and he was built to replace Data because he had imperfections. Anyway, it gets creepy and Lore is evil. When I saw the actor playing the bad robot I had trouble watching Data without thinking he was going to jump into his alter ego. But then I am kind of weird that way.
- Star Trek: Voyager (1995) – Seven of Nine, now there is a name for you. I don’t really know if you can call her a robot because she was part human and part robot. Since she was pretty much raised by the Borg from the time she was six I think she qualifies. I liked how they kept trying to get her to discover her humanity. I think you have to be a Star Trek fan to understand.
- The Iron Giant (1999) – This is one of my all time favorite animated movies. I absolutely love this giant (Vin Diesel), Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) his young friend, and one of my other favorites is Dean (Harry Connick, Jr.) who owns a scrap yard and makes art out of it. This giant is actually a weapon but it does not know that it is because it does not become a weapon until it is attacked. Another character that you love to hate is Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald) who is determined to find the robot and destroy it while Hogarth and Dean do their best to protect him. And you just got to love the ending, one of those bitter-sweet, hopeful endings that made you think there would be an Iron Giant 2 but alas it never happened.
- I, Robot (2004) – A very futuristic movie about robots being our servants and taking care of us but without everyone’s total confidence. The lone ranger here is Will Smith with his lack of trust in robots. Sonny the robot finally wins him over in the end that not all robots are created equal.
- Transformers (2007) – I really enjoyed the excitement of this movie. I wasn’t sure I would like it because I wasn’t thrilled with the Transformer cartoons and what not but the action in this movie is great and the personalities of the vehicles was a wonderful replacement from my earlier experiences with living cars in the movie Christine. I would rather picture cars coming alive and coming to our rescue, thank you very much.
- Wall-E (2008) – Loved this movie! I guess I am still a kid at heart because I still do love animated movies. I prefer sweet over violent any time. The way Wall-E falls for Eva and just the cute way they say each others names give you the aww factor! The moral of the story is to take care of our planet or we will lose it.
- Real Steel (2011) – I watched this movie purely because I enjoy Hugh Jackman and I was curious. As always he did a great job in the part he played in this movie. The robot, Atom, was shown as the underdog that came out on top with the help of a young boy, Hugh’s son who he had not been around since he was born. When the mother dies the young boy ends up staying with his dad for a short time and learns to love the fighting robot scene his dad is in and is almost as good as his dad.
I have to give special mention to some robots that I did not include in this list. Cybermen and Daleks from the British made Dr. Who. I am a fan since they restarted Dr. Who in 2005 and am on my third doctor. I love them all equally for different reasons. These are great robots that stand the test of time.
Another honorable mention goes to Rosie the Maid from the Jetsons cartoons. Some of you may have seen her on a dishwashing detergent commercial as well. I just couldn’t forget Rosie.
One more honorable mention is Twiki the robot on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century that ran from 1979-1981. She is a sweet little robot that even falls in love with another robot kind of like Wall-E and Eva.
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