10 Best Movie Robots

Humans have been sharing the spotlight with tin cans for a long time now.

RoboCop Original
Orion Pictures

The real world is getting closer and closer to making lifelike AIs, indistinguishable from human personalities. However, when it comes to robots, even our most advanced creations are stiff and slow. Like an elderly pensioner, it’s a cause for celebration if they can climb a step or kick a football.

In the movies though, reality can be whatever we want.

Tons of movies feature great robot characters, not held back by technological restrictions, but instead able to do whatever a human can; often much more besides. This opens up new possibilities for the filmmakers, and in some cases are the best thing in their respective films.

Straightforward AIs like HAL in Space Odyssey have been excluded, but otherwise anyone with a body is fair game. Given that some franchises have several great robotic characters who might clog up the upper entries, it’s been restricted to one per franchise to keep things interesting.

That still leaves a whole host of mechanical men, women and things still eligible here. With so many fantastic robotic characters over the years, quite a few unfortunately just missed the cut too. What’s left here though are the cream of the crop.

10. Major Motoko Kusanagi - Ghost In The Shell

RoboCop Original

Almost 25 years after it was released, Ghost In The Shell remains one of the best anime films ever made. Major Motoko Kusanagi, the film’s heroine, is one of the genre’s/art style’s most complex and popular characters, with one of the most twisted and thematically relevant arcs of all the robots here.

Some of the robots here are simply cool companions who assist the hero along in their quest. There’s nothing wrong with that; several of the most beloved characters ever fit into this trope. With Motoko though, the movie delves deep into her psyche, and questions the nature of humanity.

If anything, her stock as a character has probably been restricted by the overwhelming nature of her movie. She’s not a character to idolise or emulate like others here.

Ghost In The Shell was the first anime movie to be released in Japan, the USA and the UK over the same weekend, and was supposed to introduce anime blockbusters to the West. Though it failed, it did at least become a big cult classic as anime’s popularity finally took off.

These days, it’s appreciated for the fantastic film that it is, with Major Motoko Kusanagi’s story resonating with audiences deeply.

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