Top 10 Coolest Robots from Film & TV

( — In honor of Transformers: Dark of the Moon‘s release this past weekend, we tip our hats to all the amazing robots and robettes who’ve entertained us through the years. Whether they are adorable, hilarious, terrifying, sultry, humane or just straight-up bad ass, they offer us something that no human counterpart ever could: they can recharge our cell phones.


10. Teddy (A.I. Artificial Intelligence, film, 2001) Voiced by Jack Angel

Who was it that said robots can’t be cuddly? Truth be told, I’d put this character higher on the list, but then most of you would spit at me. In an attempt at objectivity, I’ll recognize that Teddy maybe didn’t have the deepest of roles or character development, but, you know what? He is so adorable he’s in the Top 3 list of Things That Make Me Melt, and he displays the kind of loyalty and simplistic wisdom most of us wish we had in our lives. Also, he’s the most perfect teddy bear I’ve ever seen outside of a teddy bear picnic, and look at that walk, guys! I tear up almost every time I see that lil guy stumble so preciously over his furry paws. OK, you can move on to the next robot. I’m just going to snuggle in a warm blanket with this one for a bit.

Memorable robot quote: “I am not a toy.”


9. Bender (Futurama, animated series, 1999) Voiced by John DiMaggio

A hilarious, foul mouthed, beer-guzzling, womanizing robot of the future? If only they’d made more than one copy! Despite his cold, robotic un-feeling image, he’s as lovable as a puppy, though maybe for different reasons. Sure his humor is a little obvious and simple, but it works perfectly with the show. And, besides, he’s way too machismo to care.

Memorable robot quote: “Bite my shiny metal ass!”


8. Number 5/Johnny 5 (Short Circuit 1 & 2, films, 1986-88) Voiced by Tim Blaney

He’s adorable and funny. He loves books and ’80s slang — what more could there be to love? He’s also true to his friends and brave beyond all reason: see his “I Need a Hero” montage. All that aside, he’s still a great iconic movie image from my days of building sheet tents in the living room with my little brother and sister. When the pile of VHS’s came out, you can bet this classic flick was always in there.

Memorable robot quote: “Number 5 is ALIVE!”


7. Optimus Prime (Transformers, animated series & film trilogy, 1985-2011) Voiced by Peter Cullen and others

You knew he had to be in this list. One minute he’s nothing but your typical semi-truck, the next he’s deconstructing and reconstructing into a giant alien robot with one arm that’s a mega sword and the other arm a cannon. He’s also got a heightened sense of justice, courage and ethics — and how about that super impressive, booming voice?

Memorable robot quote: “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”


6. R2-D2 and C-3PO (Star Wars, film series, 1977-2005) Voiced by Anthony Daniels

Now I’m sure that you’re already very familiar with this dynamic duo. Sidekicks to a timeless hero and comedic relief as well, they bring a fun and light-hearted element to the Star Wars films. In short, they’re classics. Growing up with these movies gives these two robots a warm place in my 1980s-lovin’ heart, as I imagine it does with most of you too. They’re just wonderful, and the memories they evoke are even more so. How much duller would Star Wars be without these guys?

Memorable robot quote: “Artoo says the chances of survival are seven hundred seventy-five… to one.”

5 – 1

5. HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey, film, 1968) Voiced by Douglas Rain

Possibly the most infamous robot villian of all film history, Stanley Kubrick’s creation, HAL, is one of the most dangerously subtle and patient enemies a human could ever nightmare about. First appearances might insinuate that he’s not much more than a disturbingly eerie, inflectionless voice and an ominously red lighted camera lens, but as 2001 unfolds HAL demonstrates that, on his ship, he holds all of the power — including that of life and death. When the astronauts aboard Discovery One notice HAL has been malfunctioning in certain areas, they decide it would be best to disconnect him. No, that would not be best. That would not be best at all.

Memorable robot quote: “It can only be attributable to human error.”

Want to judge him for yourself? Watch this video footage.


4. Roy & Pris (Bladerunner, film,1982) Played by Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah

Bladerunner is, hands down, one of my favorite films (and novels) of all time. In the future humanoid robots called “replicants” have been banished to outer planets and are utilized solely as slave labor — a punishment born out of the humans’ fear of their potential intelligence and strength. Any replicant caught on Earth is immediately executed, aka “retired”, and, as a secondary precaution, all replicants have a lifespan of only four years.

Despite these threats, a Nexus 6 model by the name of Roy rallies a small group of his peers, including his lover, Pris, and heads to Earth to locate their maker so that he might prolong their lifespans. The trouble is, he’s not an easy man to find, and even less so to meet with. While the replicants hunt down their creator, they’re in turn hunted by the police and killed off one by one. Before long, Roy and Pris find themselves alone, but are they criminals or victims? “I’ve done… questionable things,” Roy admits later in the film, a trail of murder victims in his wake. For replicants, the price of perfection is slavery, and the cost of freedom is life. So who are the monsters?

Memorable robot quote: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain.”

Want to judge them for yourself? Watch this video footage.


3. Maschinenmensch / “Machine-Man” (Metropolis, film, 1927) Played by Brigitte Helm

A misleading name, since the Machine-Man is not meant to be a man at all, but a woman. This robot character has disturbed and intrigued audiences since its first appearance in 1927. The shape of her is incredibly feminine and seductive, with all the contours of a perfectly streamed woman, but the face is stoic and its eyes display a “calm madness.” The film itself is a drama of mythological proportions, and Machine-Man acts as its final catalyst. After her creator alters her shape and look to mimic a beautiful young woman named Maria, he sets her loose into the city to wreak havoc among the workers and their “managers” — the two classes of people living in Metropolis. Posing as a dancer at a night club, her performance seduces the audience’s men to such a degree that they’re driven to a lust-fueled madness and butcher each other to have her. Later, she ensues a revolt among the workers so that they might overturn their manager masters, and the whole city is turned upside down with violence. Now that’s a robot.

No memorable quotes as this is a silent film.


2. T-800/The Terminator (Terminator series, films, 1984-present) Played by Arnold Schwarzenegger

We can attribute this partly to nostalgia, and partly to the fact that I just love these movies. It doesn’t hurt either that the T-800 goes through one of the most monumental behavioral shifts of any robot ever put on screen — now that’s evolution. In the first movie, the Terminator is just that: a robotic assassin whose unquenchable determination and hunting prowess are terrifying to witness. He’s more a monster than a man, but by the second installment matters take a complete 180. After a little bit of tinkering, the Terminator’s personality becomes as warm as a Build-A-Bear, though he remains just as deadly with a weapon when engaged. From killer to protector, he makes the unlikely change believable, even enjoyable, instead of absurd and impossible — a transformer of a different color.

Memorable robot quote: “It is in your nature to destroy yourselves.”

Want to judge for yourself? Watch this video footage.


1. Number Six (Battlestar Galactica, SyFy miniseries, 2003-2004) Played by Tricia Helfer

She has many titles, many forms, and there are many copies. Caprica Six, Head Six, just plain Six, but they all have something in common, don’t they? All dangerously sexy, complicated, and, mostly, influential. Whether she’s haunting Gaius Baltar’s mind and dictating his decisions and actions among the human survivors on Battlestar Galactica, or altering the fate and path of the cylons on their baystars, she is one uniquely bad-ass bionic woman — the only of her kind to earn herself a name in place of a number. On top of that, she’s as strong and agile as a Transformer, accompanied by all the allure a former Victoria’s Secret model should have.

All at once Six is sultry and scary, trustworthy and deceptive, loving and abusive, sensitive and cruel. You don’t know what you’re going to get or when, but you better believe that you’re going to get it. Only one robot could bring the entire human race down to a pathetic 50,000 strong population, and all in stilettos — but is she a super villain, or just a fallen angel? You can guess, but you won’t know for certain until the end.

Memorable robot quote: “Humanity’s children are returning home. Today.”

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Michelle Eggers is a writer of articles and has great taste in robots and other noteworthy things.You can follow her on Twitter to find out what they are.