With ‘Real Steel‘ opening this weekend, Sciencefiction.com, thought we would look back on some of the most memorable robots to ever grace the genre. Some come from movies, some from tv, most are icons, a couple may surprise you, but by absolutely no scientific method here are my picks!
Top 10 Science Fiction Robots:
10. Maria (Metropolis 1927)
The very first film robot in science fiction is the “machine man” in Fritz Lang’s dystopian Metropolis. Yes, I said “machine man!” The robot is actually kind of genderless, but is then grafted with the visage of the film’s lead female character, Maria. Besides just looking damn cool, Robot Maria drives a pack of gangsters into a murderous frenzy of lust with a sexy burlesque routine! YouTube it, if you don’t believe me!
9. Gort (The Day The Earth Stood Still, 1951)
Gort is the golem-like servant of visiting alien Klaatu. Upon Klaatu’s seeming death, Gort goes on a rampage with his disintegrating eye beams! But otherwise, he just stands around a lot.
8. (tie) Robot (Lost In Space, 1965-68)
Robot basically served as a babysitter for supposed child prodigy, Will Robinson, who managed to get himself endangered in every episode of ‘Lost In Space’. And apparently, as per the photo below, had to fend off advances by that perv Dr. Smith. Although he was essentially the robotic equivalent of domestic help, Robot deserves a spot based solely on his impact on pop culture with his catchphrase “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!”
And Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet, 1956)
Built by the nefarious Dr. Morbius, based on alien blueprints, Robby is a hyper sophisticated artificial life form who, like Robot, is used as domestic help. (He “made” all the gowns Alteria (Anne Francis) wore in the movie!) He also displayed a dry whit, paving the way for the likes of C-3PO. Robby is one of the most successful working robots in film, having not only starred in ‘Forbidden Planet’, but making over 30 subsequent appearances in movies and television, including ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Columbo’ and ‘Wonder Woman’, not to mention commercials for Charmin and AT&T. (Technically, I could have stuck Rosie from The Jetsons in here, since we’re talking domestic help.)
7. Bender (Futurama, 1999-the present)
Described by costar Leela as an “alcoholic, whore-mongering, chain-smoking gambler,” (she left out kleptomaniac) Bender is pure Id unleashed… and who doesn’t love that?! (And to be fair, the alcohol is what fuels his power cells.) He’s the ultimate wing man to best buddy Fry and regularly shows that he isn’t completely heartless and does the right thing.
6. Danger (Astonishing X-Men, 2004)
Joss Whedon created Danger, essentially the X-Men’s Danger Room, with all its hard light holograms and so forth, come to life! Imagine, being able to simulate ANY scenario and make it seem 100% real to the person it’s directed at! She could make anything a reality!
And while I’m at it…
5. The Sentinels (The Matrix Trilogy, 1999-2003)
That’s exactly what The Sentinels in ‘The Matrix’ movies did, except to almost the entire human race! All humans were entombed in small pods and linked into the titular “Matrix” and believed that they were going about their everyday, mundane existences, all the while, they were being used as a power source for these robotic invaders!
4. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, 1974)
High concept has its place, but let me get really simple here. Godzilla? That giant dinosaur/dragon-like creature who could breath fire and spent his time fighting with other gigantic creatures like a Pterodactyl and a huge moth, all the while continually destroying Tokyo? Imagine THAT… but as a robot. Hard to top!
3. C-3PO and R2-D2 (The Star Wars Franchise, 1977-2005)
Technically, these guys are totally the most famous robots in all of science fiction. They’re icons! The only reason they aren’t at number one is, well, C-3PO is kind of a coward and R2-D2 doesn’t actually speak, so he almost comes across as more of a mascot. Plus, they had real mobility issues, which makes it odd that they got on so well on Tatooine. I mean, I have trouble walking in sand and I’m fully mobile, but 3PO could only take like two inch steps and Artoo had to roll around! Also, points taken off for 3PO’s “What a drag” joke from Episode 2.
2. T-1000 (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, 1991)
Yep… I was actually going to include the Arnold Schwartzenegger Terminator on this list, as he certainly deserves it, but I wanted to be democratic and represent as many genres as I could and unfortunately, Arnold’s bot doesn’t compare to the T-1000 from T2! He could morph into anything and could hardly be hurt. If you blew his head apart, he’d just reform it! And Robert Patrick brought the requisite iciness to the role. The morphing effects still look cutting edge today!
1. Optimus Prime (Transformers, 1985-the present)
What Captain America is to the Marvel Super Heroes, Optimus Prime is to the Autobots. He’s the most altruistic, honest, most honorable robot there is and I’d follow him into battle anytime! Though he was killed off (for shock value) in Transformers: The Movie (the original animated one), you can’t keep a good man down, much less the BEST and he rose again and again, every time the franchise has been revived for a new generation, Optimus has been at the forefront leading the charge! (Plus, like all Transformers, he shape-shifts, which in itself if VERY cool!)