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July 25, 2007 9:03 AM   Subscribe

50 best movie robots of all time including D.A.R.Y.L, Eve VII, the Cylons, Daft Punk, Max, Box, but not Daleks, obviously.
posted by tombola (81 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
ROBOTS! Nobody doesn't love robots. At least, nobody that will remain alive after the revolution comes.
posted by DU at 9:08 AM on July 25, 2007


The included YouTube links are a great touch. How have I not seen some of these movies?
posted by DU at 9:12 AM on July 25, 2007


Background music
posted by MtDewd at 9:14 AM on July 25, 2007


I heard this on NPR yesterday. Someone wrote in with a compelling case that Bladerunner's replicants were not repeat not robots for the following reasons. I love robots, and I love Bladerunner, but the man came off as a bit of a dork.
posted by boo_radley at 9:21 AM on July 25, 2007


D.A.R.Y.L. was a pimp. All video games and stealth jets and suchlike.
posted by cortex at 9:24 AM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


HAL 9000 WAS NOT A ROBOT!!!
posted by tkchrist at 9:29 AM on July 25, 2007


I dunno, I'm all about the cute little emotional/compulsive flying-saucer-esque sort...

And no. HAL was not a robot.
posted by ikebowen at 9:31 AM on July 25, 2007


Hee hee hee... "thought that OJ Simpson might be too likeable to be cast as a cold-blooded killer..."

Oh wait, that wasn't funny.
posted by Mike D at 9:35 AM on July 25, 2007


Sure HAL was a robot. His body was the ship. If you have to be humanoid to be a robot then Johnny 5 and R2D2 don't qualify either.
posted by DU at 9:35 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, if you're asmovian in persuasion then recall the giant thinking "robots" which were what we'd call computers.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:38 AM on July 25, 2007


Well, HAL did have some control over Discovery's mechanical systems—if he can close/lock the pod bay doors, pilot a pod to kill Poole, and flush out the air supply, that sounds a bit like a great big robot to me.
posted by cortex at 9:39 AM on July 25, 2007


I'm sorry, but the comedy level for Robocop's ED 209 is much higher than 1. He looks like Oliver Hardy if designed by the Honda corporation and apparently the authors forgot the scene where he navigates a stairwell. Robotic, comedic gold.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 9:39 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also sometimes I post comments that say things that other people have already said and feel kind of silly about it.
posted by cortex at 9:40 AM on July 25, 2007


Wait, where is the Mark13 from Hardware?
posted by denpo at 9:41 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd argue that HAL was known as an entity, not a mechanical being - you don't think HAL and think of the ship's design. R2's chassis, on the other hand, was fairly integral to his character. For what that's worth. And not that it much matters.
posted by ikebowen at 9:41 AM on July 25, 2007


Sorry. The list fails.

They didn't include AMEE, who, for being in a fairly weak movie, still managed to be one of the coolest robots of all time.

She knew kung-fu.
posted by quin at 9:41 AM on July 25, 2007


What, no C.H.O.M.P.S?

Sure HAL and KITT are robots. They just have vehicle bodies.

I'm not sure if the replicants as decribed in the movie version of Bladerunner are robots. Like Alien's Bishop, they seem to be more genetic alterations than traditional robotics.

I have a feeling this thread will be mostly about the definition of robots.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:43 AM on July 25, 2007


cortex: Poole dies? Spoiler alert! WTF!


Also: He doesn't ACTUALLY die, if you take the events of the novel 3001 as canon. I recommend you do not.
posted by absalom at 9:46 AM on July 25, 2007


Jinx put Max in space!
posted by JohnFredra at 9:48 AM on July 25, 2007


The only thing the events of the novel 3001 should be taken is upside Clarke's head. Jesus Christ, that was a stinker.
posted by cortex at 9:49 AM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't believe they left out Cherry 2000.
posted by Skot at 9:50 AM on July 25, 2007


List does not compute.

The robots in those movies are much better than any listed. Is RILF a term in use yet?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:53 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I loved DARYL as a kid.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 10:00 AM on July 25, 2007


The included YouTube links are a great touch.

I was going to say the same thing, but then the first one I clicked on was Bishop in Aliens. It was just a 7+ minute long clip of the drop sequence. You'd think that they would actually highlight the robot they were talking about. Going back to look at some more though; hopefully the others are a bit more relevant.
posted by the other side at 10:02 AM on July 25, 2007


Yeah, the clips weren't always very relevant, but to be fair they didn't post them themselves. In fact, I wonder if they are opening themselves to litigation by linking to copyrighted works.
posted by DU at 10:06 AM on July 25, 2007


Colossus: The Forbin Project featured one bad-ass computer/robot/entity.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:06 AM on July 25, 2007


When this story was on NPR recently- Talk of the Nation or Day to Day or somesuch, I actually called repeatedly to try get on the air to talk about D.A.R.Y.L. I called a million times and never got through. Everyone else was all T2 and AI. I was all "Play Pole Position* with me, D.A.R.Y.L."

*The video game
posted by sneakin at 10:08 AM on July 25, 2007


No Robot Monster? Feh.
posted by everichon at 10:12 AM on July 25, 2007


Not a good film by any stretch of the imagination, but Lisa Ryder as Kay-Em 14 in Jason X seemed to be having so much darn fun with such a silly role that I think she at least gets an honorable mention.

And speaking about robot heads, c'mon shouldn't 790 from the Lexx series be mentioned? It's at least the frikkin weirdest robot in the universe.
posted by elendil71 at 10:17 AM on July 25, 2007


Neither Sid 6.7 nor the robot police from THX1138 have a comedy value, yet V'Ger does? I don't remember V'Ger being funny, and it's not worth watching Star Trek: the Motion Picture again to find out whether or not I'm right.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:21 AM on July 25, 2007


Also, no K-9.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:22 AM on July 25, 2007


Wait ... and no Kryten from Red Dwarf, either. This list is wrong.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:24 AM on July 25, 2007


Also, no K-9

Oh, hell yes. Also, now that I'm thinking about it, the Cybermen were badass, but the cybermats were badass-er.
posted by everichon at 10:27 AM on July 25, 2007


I'm sorry, but the comedy level for Robocop's ED 209 is much higher than 1

No kidding. It's even funnier when you know that the whole design of the thing satirized American cars of the 1980s.
posted by teleskiving at 10:28 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Replicants from Blade Runner are genetically engineered, but they are more correctly thought of as synthetic humans. They are androids built out of meat.

The androids from the alien series are not organic, but they are also 'synthetic humans' in that they have blood & various organs, & so forth, but it is not constructed out of biological material.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:33 AM on July 25, 2007


All robots are gay
posted by Webbster at 10:39 AM on July 25, 2007


posted by DU Sure HAL was a robot. His body was the ship. If you have to be humanoid to be a robot then Johnny 5 and R2D2 don't qualify either.

Say what? HAL was not a robot; HAL was the computer that ran Discovery, which was a ship piloted by humans. Also:

1. HAL is an acronym for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer.

2. HAL refers to himself as a computer: "Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois, on the 12th of January, 1992..."
posted by fandango_matt at 10:50 AM on July 25, 2007


Can't believe you wannabe nerds are arguing over whether HAL is a robot, when the real glaring error here is that the article is called "The 50 best movie robots," yet number 3 was Kitt. There was a Knight Rider movie? How the Hell did I miss that?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:53 AM on July 25, 2007


K-9 and Kryten are not movie robots. A technicality, but where if not in a thread about robots can we be pedantic?

HAL refers to himself as a computer.

And HAL was insane. QED on him being a robot.
posted by DU at 10:55 AM on July 25, 2007


HAL 9000 WAS NOT A ROBOT!!! +!
posted by tkchrist at 10:58 AM on July 25, 2007


Yes, I know there's a Knight Rider movie in production, but that hardly counts when making a best-of list, since no one's really seen the movie version in action, yet.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:59 AM on July 25, 2007


We then weighted the results according to an arbitrary scale and mixed a few select robots who, while immensely popular, have not as yet appeared in a feature-length production.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2007


K-9 and Kryten are not movie robots.

But, neither were Twiki or the Cylons.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2007


There's no Max from Flight of the Navigator. And his comedy value scores are just stupid. A "9" for bill and ted's robot doppelgangers from the horrific sequel is incomprehensible.
posted by stavrogin at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2007


DOGS ARE CATS! CARS ARE TRUCKS!! BRITISH FOOD IS CUISINE! THE BONDS OF REALITY ARE BREAKING DOWN!
posted by tkchrist at 11:05 AM on July 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Cylons did, indeed, appear on the big screen. TOR Battlestar Galactica was released in theaters back in the day. It was glorious.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:06 AM on July 25, 2007


Ah. This is one of those uses of the world 'cool' that actually means 'so nerdy there are zits on its eyeballs'. I just can't keep up with the kids' language these days...
posted by i_cola at 11:08 AM on July 25, 2007


IRFH - Oh! That's right, I'd forgotten about that.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:09 AM on July 25, 2007


There was a Knight Rider TV movie. Will that do?
posted by teleskiving at 11:09 AM on July 25, 2007


RELEASE THE VIKINGBOT
posted by cortex at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2007


What? No V.I.N.CENT?

Haters.

And don't even try to tell me that V.I.N.CENT was gay.
posted by mazola at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2007


Yeah, HAL’s a computer. Iffy on whether the meat-based synthetics are robots. But Data isn’t a robot. In fact he’s clarified that several times.
And Ranxerox should be at the top of the best robot ever list.
(The movie is on its way)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2007


Henry C: By that definition, any alterations on a human produce my handle. Would you say the clones in many sci fi settings are androids made out of meat?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:16 AM on July 25, 2007


The "plausibility" factor is what tickles me. The T-1000 is more plausible than Star Wars battle droids or Twiki? He's liquid frigging metal.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 11:16 AM on July 25, 2007


I'm going to start a website called heywhatdoyouthinkofthislist.com where people just post lists of the top x y's and other people go "No way should z be on the list" and "Hey they forgot to put my favorite y! Bogus!" and I am going to call it Metafilter.
posted by ND¢ at 11:17 AM on July 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


What, no R.O.T.O.R.?
posted by Venadium at 11:22 AM on July 25, 2007


posted by The Great Big Mulp But, neither were Twiki or the Cylons.

The pilot for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century made its debut on the big screen. It too was glorious, right there with Erin Gray's spandex-clad breasts.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:22 AM on July 25, 2007


Seriously, though, whence the apparently clearcut division between "robot" and "computer with moving parts"? Is it a question of self-identification? That HAL called himself a computer; that he doesn't insist when the journalist says "you're the brain, and central nervous system of the ship..." that the ship is in fact him—are these the reasoning?

Is it the degree of articulated control of the body-portion of the robot? The size and scale? The mobility? The resemblence to a humanoid form?

If you remove the functioning computer/brain from an ED-209 and leave only the chassis, is the lifeless chassis still a robot? Is the computer itself still a robot? If you hook the disconnected brain up via a wireless connection to the chassis and let them communicate over a distance, is it still a robot (or, if you prefer, a robot once more)?
posted by cortex at 11:32 AM on July 25, 2007


Well, it seems I stand corrected. Or sit corrected, rather.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:34 AM on July 25, 2007


..whence the apparently clearcut division between "robot" and "computer with moving parts"?

I don't get that either. If R2D2 is a robot, then there's no way HAL isn't.
posted by DU at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2007


If the machine in question can serve drinks, then it's a robot.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:48 AM on July 25, 2007


posted by DU I don't get that either. If R2D2 is a robot, then there's no way HAL isn't.

I'm not following your logic here.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:49 AM on July 25, 2007


They forgot C.H.E.E.S.E. too.
posted by i_cola at 11:51 AM on July 25, 2007


What with all of these other bad 80s robots mentioned, I almost expected to see an Andy Kaufman shoutout on the list. But then I thought again about how bad that movie was and realized they were probably right to leave it off.

Still, I mean, Steve Gutenberg's movie made the list...
posted by herichon at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2007


Not only can HAL run the ship, he can also run all of the EVA pods with their gimpy little manipulator arms.

HAL is a robot. A robot hungry for life - human life.
posted by loquacious at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2007


I am surprised they did not list The Iron Giant.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:54 AM on July 25, 2007


Also Demon Seed.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:56 AM on July 25, 2007


HAL was seperable from the ship, we even see his sister, SAL, in 2010. HAL was highly integrated into the Discovery, but he was not the ship, anymore than my VW becomes human when I drive it.

Of course I'm a self-motivated robot purist, and would always be screaming at the TV when a 'robot' fighting show would come on, and they are all just remote controlled cars with weapons. Maybe not 'self-motivated', so much as 'non-human motivated', I remember a group-mind robot from Asimov's universe.
posted by nomisxid at 11:56 AM on July 25, 2007


RELEASE THE VIKINGBOT

Yay, being a robot! That's where he's a viking!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:01 PM on July 25, 2007


Where the hell are Tom Servo and Crow?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:05 PM on July 25, 2007


No Huey, Dewey, and Louie?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:14 PM on July 25, 2007


The exclusion of the Iron Giant is unacceptable. The further I read without seeing him, the more pleased I became. I assumed that meant he'd be ranked higher.
posted by painquale at 12:15 PM on July 25, 2007


I balk that they included the Austin Powers' Fembots in the list and not the original Bionic Woman ones.

Interestingly, Oscar Goldman was once replaced by a male fembot. How embarrassing is that?
posted by mazola at 12:19 PM on July 25, 2007


Johnny Five of Short Circuit fame is for sale on ebay. Only 100,000$!!
posted by andywolf at 12:38 PM on July 25, 2007


No Huey, Dewey, and Louie?

Check #20.

And I fully agree. Not including the Iron Giant is inexcusable.
posted by quin at 2:38 PM on July 25, 2007


Henry C: By that definition, any alterations on a human produce my handle. Would you say the clones in many sci fi settings are androids made out of meat?

Dude, I didn't write Blade Runner. What you see on screen clearly depicts them as having genetic material, & Roy's discussion with Tyrell concerns genetic diseases. Whether they are *all* meat, or have artificial brains, is not clear. I forget what they were like in the book, but the movie is more or less a different creature altogether anyway. They bleed & have organs, tissue, etc. They're made of meat.

No, clones are not androids, because they are no different from human beings in any respect other than conception method. The Replicants appear to have been assembled from ready-made 'parts' rather than grown, otherwise the issue of their 4 year lifespan would be absurd.

I have no idea what other books or backstories may have been invented to explain any of this, & I ignore it in any case.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 2:39 PM on July 25, 2007


'Robot' simply means 'worker'. An android is a sophisticated robot that is modeled on the human form. A robot doesn't need a sophisticated brain, certainly not an AI, to be a robot. Those assembler arms in car factories are robots, they don't even have brains. But then again, an android or non-anthro mechanoid with a true AI could still be termed a robot, depending on its function. I would guess the issue is complexity or specialisation. I have a feeling this issue is going to become important in the next 50 years or so.

All androids are robots, but not all robots are androids.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 4:18 PM on July 25, 2007


Good call denpo. Even though Hardware was a sort-of crappy film, it still wins major points for having the most terrifying movie robot ever.

It also gets an A for effort due to trying (and pretty much failing) to say something interesting instead of being just another sci-fi/horror movie.

Plus, dude, Ministry, Motorhead, Iggy Pop and PIL on the soundtrack, plus cameos from Lemmy AND Carl McCoy from Fields of the Nephilim. That just rules.
posted by xthlc at 4:48 PM on July 25, 2007


And V.I.N.CENT was gay.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:37 PM on July 25, 2007


Homilord. Hardware was the first R-Rated movie I ever snuck into.

Iggy Pop on the soundtrack and in the movie as the future-DJ-guy.

And it was teh

heh

heh

herrible.
posted by abulafa at 7:40 PM on July 25, 2007


I like Bruno. Pluto Nash's bodyguard.
posted by tadellin at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2007


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