Robots in Film

Robots and artificial intelligence entities have played an immense role in many iconic films. They expanded the film universe and gave more ways to engage with the thematic depth of any story. They have been used to both commemorate and criticize human potential. Some of the most iconic robots in cinema history are:

The Terminator

This famous action franchise by director James Cameron stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a time-traveling cyborg from the dystopian future. The first two films in the franchise are hailed as some of the best action movies of all time. The Terminator is tasked as an assassin in the first film and as a saviour in the second. Hence we get to see both the dark and loving side of a machine. The films can also be a warning sign for humans and the extent to which unbridled ambition could result in their own destruction someday.


This Pixar production concerns a non-humanoid character with a human heart. The main robot character happens to fall in love with another robot and despite their metallic bodies, the love between them feels just as real. The first half of the film is almost without any dialogue and portrays its message purely through fascinating visuals. The second half of the film ends up being an enjoyable slapstick comedy with a lot of humour and heart. The film also shows the destruction humans can cause to their own environment which acts as a heartwarming cautionary tale.


When Officer Murphy is brutally murdered by a gang of criminals, instead of a trip to the morgue he is reborn as part-human, part-machine. Despite the robotic veneer, a part of his past human life still remains within his mind. He starts to get severe flashbacks to his family in the past life and has to amicably come to terms with the fact that he’s now a robot. The film also acts as a satire for police brutality and crime in urban America, in addition to portraying a deeply philosophical internal struggle of a man.