Top Five Robot and Cyborg Action Films

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
February 12th, 2014

As robotic technology advances, science fiction films about robots and cyborgs continue to fascinate movie-goers. Robots in film have advanced as much as robots in real life. New technology makes the imagery and effects so realistic that viewers feel like they are actually in the film. However, this does not mean that some of the earlier action films about robots are worth any less when it comes to the art of making a great film.


terminator.jpgPhoto Credit: Orion Pictures Corporation

"The Terminator"

This famous 1986 film not only features movie action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger in the titular role, but it was also co-written and directed by James Cameron of "Titanic" and "Avatar" fame. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the titular Terminator, a cyborg programmed to assassinate. He is sent back from 2029 to eliminate his target, a young, pregnant waitress. The child in her womb is the future leader of humans in a battle between humans and robots. A human resistance fighter is also sent back from the future to prevent the assassination of the waitress and her unborn son. The story of "The Terminator" was so popular that it spawned several sequels and a television show.




robocop.jpgPhoto Credit: Orion Pictures Corporation


"Robocop" was released in 1987, shortly after "The Terminator," when robot action movies were wildly popular. In fact, many of the same actors were considered for "Robocop" and "The Terminator." This exciting film takes place in a crime-filled future Detroit. The city is practically run by a major corporation that makes a deal with the mayor to take over the police department and eventually manage most of the city. In order to replace the current police force with machines, the corporation experiments with robots and cyborgs. The company eventually revives a recently murdered cop to patrol the city. The police officer is brought back as a cyborg called Robocop. As Robocop fights crime in the city, he begins to remember things he experienced as a human, and this opens up new possibilities for him. The film was a critical and box office success, and it still holds a place as one of the best science fiction films ever made. It has also inspired a 2014 remake.



iron-giant.jpgPhoto Credit: Warner Bros.

"The Iron Giant"

"The Iron Giant" is a buddy film from 1999 about a giant robot and a boy. In the film, the robot crashes to 1957 Earth from outer space where he is discovered by a boy who befriends him. The unlikely duo embarks on an adventure, and the two learn a few things from each other along the way. This animated action adventure film is a great robot movie for the entire family. The film has an important message for kids and deeper themes to keep adults interested as well.



forbidden-planet.jpgPhoto Credit: MGM

"Forbidden Planet"

Released in 1956, "Forbidden Planet" is the original robot action movie. Starring a very young and handsome Leslie Nielsen, the film follows the crew members of a starship who are sent to investigate a suspiciously quiet colony on another planet. The film made a huge impact on the science fiction genre immediately, and the influence remains. It inspired many future creators of science fiction entertainment, including "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry. It was the first film to feature a robot as a fleshed-out character with a personality of its own. The movie used many innovative techniques to create the futuristic and realistic feel of the film, such as using all electronic music and building vehicles and Robby the Robot specifically for the film. These props were very expensive to build, but they were loaned out for use in many other science fiction films and television shows. "Forbidden Planet" is still considered one of the best science fiction films of all time, and it has been reserved in the National Film Registry. This film is rated G, so it makes a great family film.



i-robot.jpgPhoto Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

"I, Robot"

Released in 2004, "I, Robot" is a relatively new science fiction and action film based on short stories published in 1950 when the genre was just beginning to gain popularity. The stories on which the movie was based were written by famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. The 2004 film takes place in 2035 and stars Will Smith as Del Spooner, a detective in Chicago who is wary of new technology, especially robots. He investigates the death of a personal acquaintance that was ruled as a suicide, but he believes it was murder. He investigates whether it is possible that a robot broke one of the Three Laws of Robotics and committed the murder of a human, which would mean robots could do anything they chose.

While these are some of the best films about robots and their part-human cousin the cyborg, there are plenty more to choose from. Enjoying these robot action films is a great way to see first-hand how the genre has evolved over the years.