back to article Androids in celluloid – which machine deserves the ULTIMATE MOVIE ROBOT title?

Vulture Weekend brings you this poll, after Reg reader Cassie got in touch to tell us about a really neat timeline depicting the evolution of robots in film. We couldn't help but wonder what other Reg readers would think about the robots that made it onto the list, as well as the ones that didn't make the cut. Naturally, this …

  1. DF118

    Wot, no Data?

    As far as I'm concerned the result will be null and void unless you put Data in the list of candidates.

    1. S2S

      Re: Wot, no Data?

      Yes I agree, also where is the T800, (Terminator)

      1. DF118

        Re: Wot, no Data?

        Or Bishop, or the T-1000, or, or....

    2. AbortRetryFail

      Re: Wot, no Data?

      Quite. If you're going to exclude Data for being an Android then Ash should be excluded for being one too. In fact, Data is more robotic than Ash is.

      Furthermore, you could say Ash is a Synthetic in which case what about Roy Batty from Blade Runner?

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Wot, no Data?

      The Doctor deserves to be in there too. Okay, he's a photonic, not an android, but he's still AI...

      1. Khaptain Silver badge


        It would have been kinda funky to ioclude the Daleks even though they are from a TV series.

        1. Mark York 3 Silver badge

          Re: Exterminate

          Daleks are the muted creatures evolved from Kaleds & living in a armoured life support travel machine.

          Cyborgs at best like the Cybermen.

        2. Steve Knox

          Re: Exterminate

          The Daleks have been in films.

          You do not want to see the films they were in, but they were...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Exterminate

            Day of the Doctor was a film - and certainly a lot more fun than the Peter Cushing films.

            (Although Peter Cushing would have been an interesting choice for a real, not human, Doctor.)

            Edit: a valid argument above that they are in fact cyborgs - so probably not applicable here.

        3. Suricou Raven

          Re: Exterminate

          Daleks are not robotic. They are biological. They once fought a civil war against a faction that wished to improve themselved with cybernetic enhancements - they lost.

          The visible pepperpot is essentially just a very advance wheelchair. With a built-in supercomputer, ray gun, sensory augments, communication system and force field. Oh, and it flies. But it's still a wheelchair.

    4. vonBureck

      Re: Wot, no Data?

      Screw Data, where the hell is Kryten?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Box in Logan's Run was rubbish. Apart from its contribution to the plot, I think it was just an excuse to see Jenny Agutter's...

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    What is this list?

    Moon: "Gerty"

    And those Gynoids from Ghost in the Shell.

    And the military Boomers from Bubblegum Crisis.

    Plus all those insectoid robots maintaining the Matrix. These were great (plus the fact they were probably agents who didn't get a job inside the Matrix because of a lack of human-oriented soft skills)

  4. James 51

    Isn't Vincent a cyborg rather than an android?

    1. S2S

      No, definitely a robot

      1. James 51

        It's been a long time since I saw the movie but I remember human eyes under his visor. I thought the main bad guy had been cutting up the crew for parts (way before doctor who got in on the act).

        1. Judge Chuck

          You're thinking of Maximilian, who melds with Dr. Reinhardt on the other side of the Black Hole.

          I don't know why it's got such a low rating on IMDB. I love that film!

        2. Clamps Silver badge

          yeah some of the others were ex crew cyborgs but vincent was a dustbin with cartoon eyes painted on and not even humanoid. Full robot i say, although i think he does introduce himself with some badly chosen technical words...

          Anyway who said this poll wasnt open to TV shows / cyborgs / androids ?

          ok , i now see it has "Movie" in the title... and robot.... but thats just splitting 2 hairs. If theres a picture moving on my tv I'm not going to give acrap if its a movie or a tv show.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Citizen. Please put ED209 into this list.

            You have twenty seconds to comply!

  5. A Known Coward

    Marvin - Remember it's film version, not the book, radio or TV version

    I see an early surge in votes for Marvin, but I'm sure most of those are people thinking of the alternate, non-film, versions of Marvin. IMHO while Marvin was the best bit of the film, that's really not saying much ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Marvin - Remember it's film version, not the book, radio or TV version

      Also remember at the time the TV series was made it was common for TV production to use 8mm or 16mm film and telecine to create broadcast video for TX or tape archive.

      I don't know if H2G2 was filmed or not but I think it likely given when it was made.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Marvin - Remember it's film version, not the book, radio or TV version

        16mm, Keef - 8mm was looked upon with horror as a pale domestic thing unable to meet broadcast quality requirements (yes, we had them, a long time ago.)

        HHGTTG had the titles and effects filmed, in particular the book animations. I don't recall whether the shot scenes were studio (and therefore electronic) but the exterior stuff was almost certainly 16mm.

        I'd ask around, but I've lost the contacts these days...

        (Since the only possible icon would be a painful diode, and there isn't one, I shan't attach one.)

    2. Michael Habel

      Re: Marvin - Remember it's film version, not the book, radio or TV version

      I see an early surge in votes for Marvin, but I'm sure most of those are people thinking of the alternate, non-film, versions of Marvin. IMHO while Marvin was the best bit of the film, that's really not saying much ...

      Too true, that....

    3. Captain Hogwash

      Re: Marvin - Remember it's film version, not the book, radio or TV version

      But the one from the TV series DID appear in the film while they were queuing for something or other.

    4. BRYN

      Re: Marvin - Remember it's film version, not the book, radio or TV version

      Marvin the one from the TV series also appeared in the movie. He's in the queue for something at the Vogon homeworld. Thus his entry is valid.

      1. Paratrooping Parrot

        Re: Marvin - Remember it's film version, not the book, radio or TV version

        I was going to vote for Marvin thinking of the TV series, then I realised that it was the film version being talked about. I hated the film. So, I voted for Johnny 5.

        What about DARYL? Data Analysing Robot Youth Lifeform.

  6. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    No flesh shall be spared

    M.A.R.K. 13 from Hardware. An oldy but a goodie. Bad robot, Angry Bob and Lemmy as your cab driver. What more could you want?

  7. Mondo the Magnificent
    Thumb Up

    Good question....

    ..but firstly, thanks for the mention of Dewey, Huey and Louie from the old school sci-fi epic Silent Running

    These were the first "robots" I ever really paid attention to, seeing the movie as a young kid, I was mesmerised at their abilities, fixing the ship, gardening, playing cards and attending to Bruce Dern's left, or was it right[?]* leg in the movie (*Blooper alert) What I really enjoyed about them was the fact they were "tape driven" which was quite freaky for a 70's sci-fi movie, it added that little "limited RAM realism" when I think about it..

    There are many worthy contenders in the poll, all legends in their own way, all worthy "candidates" too, but there was a missing candidate, an old school chap just called "Robot" from the late 60's TV show "Lost in Space".. how did Robot get forgotten?

    The robot that got my vote was Sonny from I Robot. Why? Because he was the perfect mixture of intelligence, ability and form. If I were to ever own a home/work robot/droid, the "Sonny" appearance would be ideal, not too human (unlike Ash/Alien), very functional, intelligent and strong.

    Thanks ElReg, another great survey and some great memories of the many electro-mechanical sidekicks that make us sci-fi fans smile

    1. Adrian 4

      Re: Good question....

      Wasn't the Lost in Space robot just Robby, moonlighting ?

      1. Stuart Halliday

        Re: Good question....

        Nope, nothing like each other.

      2. ocratato

        Re: Good question....

        I am fairly sure there was at least one episode where both featured, with Robby as the bad robot.

        (This is based on my memory from when it first aired - so I might be wrong)

  8. Banksy

    Another vote for Data here.

    Also really liked TARS and CASE in Interstellar.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not celluloid but cathode ray...

    I would like to nominate 'Sir Killalot' (Robot Wars)....what a Bastard.

    1. VinceH

      Re: Not celluloid but cathode ray...

      Nah, Razor!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I voted for Gort

    Because I think based on when the movie was released, right at the dawn of the golden era of B movie sci fi, he set the tone for the "evil robot" for decades to come. Granted, he wasn't evil, but was purely a robot that did what he was told without any silly "3 laws" or feelings or anything like that.

    Many other robots, along with 'not really robots but pretty much the same thing to most people' like HAL 9000 and the terminator that were true robots in that sense, followed in Gort's (rather large) footsteps. They simply followed orders/programming without the typical shlock of having a machine that wasn't programmed to think or feel do so because "love overcomes all".

    While the three laws make a lot of sense, those aren't the robots we'll end up with. You can require it legally, but people will root/jailbreak their robot to get it to commit crimes for them, guaranteed.

    1. AbortRetryFail

      Re: I voted for Gort

      There's a school of thought that says that Gort was the one in charge and the human was his subordinate.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: I voted for Gort

        If one reads the book, that was explicitly the case - though not revealed until the last page.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I voted for Gort

          Whether Gort is in charge of Klaatu or not doesn't matter, so long as he was merely following orders from above.

    2. Fungus Bob

      Re: I voted for Gort

      So far, I'm the only one who voted for the bikini robots....

      Do I get a perv award or something?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...where's twiki? How about the next 'timeline' deals with plotting the personalities of Robots through the decades...for example if you were stuck on a desert island, which robot ,TV or Cinema, would you like to be stranded there with?

    1. stucs201


      Twiki, a proper positronic brained Asimov robot (at least according to the series which also had Crichton (who wouldn't make this list being TV only, and not in the feature length film pilot - I guess this is also the reason for the ommision of the similarly named Kryton).

  12. AbortRetryFail

    Is a mech a robot?

    Possibly splitting hairs here, but isn't Gypsy Danger a mech rather than a robot, because it is piloted by humans (like a tank or an aircraft is) rather than being autonomous?

    Still, at least the poll didn't fall into the trap of including cyborgs which is what usually happens with things like this.

    1. Michael Habel

      Re: Is a mech a robot?

      Or indeed the way the Daleks are Mech's and NOT Robots...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is a mech a robot?

      > Possibly splitting hairs here, but isn't Gypsy Danger a mech rather than a robot

      On the other hand it did have an AI portrayed by Ellen McClaine in her GlaDOS voice.

  13. Christian Berger

    Well it's missing the "Analoge Haluzinelle"

    It's the holographical woman here:

    (there are English subtitles to turn on)

  14. Dr_N

    ABC Warriors

    Not the lone unit featured in Stallone's Dredd, but the whole cadre from 2000AD.

    Now there's a bunch of comic characters that need a film adaptation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ABC Warriors

      Joe Pineapples in full drag would be worth the ticket price alone...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isaac Hayes 3 laws of robotics:

    #1: A robot may not injure a 'funky motherfukka' or through inaction allow a 'funky motherfukka' to come to harm.

    #2: A robot must obey the orders given to it by a 'funky motherfukka' except where such orders would conflict with the funk.

    #3: A robot must protect its own funk as long as such protection does not conflict with any other 'funky motherfukkas' funk.

    With this kind of wisdom i don't think we have anything to fear in the future of AI development.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isaac Hayes 3 laws of robotics:


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kryten, Queeg, Scutters, HAL, T800, T1000, Data, Lore, Number Johnny 5

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      If you're going to throw in Lore, you probably have to add B4 and Data's mom (Juliana Tainer). Or just say "Soong Type Androids."

      Also...what abotu the Exocomps?" Or M-5? V'Ger? The Robotic Repair Space Station from Enterprise? Automate Personnel Units? Flint, Mudd and Sargon Type Androids? The various nanites? Hell, the ship's computer?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Is there a definitive list somewhere of all the robots and droids in Red Dwarf and Star Trek? seems like the sort of thing someone would have compiled already... if not....

        <pours extremely large mug of coffee and heads to piratebay>

  17. po

    Roy Batty. How could you even begin such a list without a Blade Runner reference. 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... But until now I hadn't seen such ignorance in print. Time to die.

    1. Adrian 4

      You would include Roy Batty, and not Rachael ? Or Pris ?

    2. Stuart Halliday

      Because they were artificial humans, not robots? Maybe watch the film again?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        >artificial humans, not robots

        Well, there is a spectrum. Could you not have a silicon 'barined' robot that used mammel-like systems such fibrous muscles and circulatory systems, or would you dub it an 'artificial badger'? The artificial people Ash and Bishop appear gooey and biological, but Bishop alludes to something like Asimov's 3 Laws.

        Was it Brian Aldiss who wrote of prosthetic body parts for humans giving would-be robot builders 'off the shelf' components?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got to go with Marvin. Let's face it, if you give a robot intelligence and personality the only way it will turn out is with an existentially depressed robot or a homicidal maniac. I prefer the former.

    "Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't. "

    1. Notas Badoff

      Marvin, yes! That movie, NOOOO!!

      Love Marvin, I live Marvin (well, and Z'athr'as). But that movie left me with a terrible pain in all the sulci inside my skull.

  19. Michael Habel

    No more votes for Marvin..

    Hes already won with exactly 42 Votes!!... Though not an, Android... I'm sorry to see that HAL was not mentioned..

  20. Adrian 4

    Seems a bit Austin Powers meets Charlies Angels. But the name R.U.R. has an excellent pedigree.

    1. Kubla Cant

      the name R.U.R. has an excellent pedigree

      R.U.R. is the pedigree!

      It's the play by Karel Čapek where the word "robot" first appeared (in 1920). The name stands for "Rossum's Universal Robots". Čapek seems to have imagined organic androids, rather than mechanical robots, though that may have been mainly to simplify stage presentation.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about that badass bald-guy...

    From the movie "Westworld" ?

    Or Sid 6.0 from the movie "Virtuosity" ?

    Or Wall-E ?

    Or D.A.R.Y.L ?

    Or that chick from the movie "The Machine" ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about that badass bald-guy...

      The Machine.... Fantastic sound track.

      Oh, and Westworld. Is in there.both survey and article.

  22. Ketlan

    Hooray for Marvin...

    Great to see Marvin way out in the lead. I'm sure that would make him very happy. Or maybe not...

  23. Roger Greenwood

    Wot no Bomb 20?

    Dark Star?

    1. Queeg

      "I'll have a water"

      Omega Doom

      Rutger Hauer at his silliest :)

  24. Stuart Halliday

    At least for once the Register didn't list Daleks or Cybermen. Small mercies, small mercies...

    1. Mark 85

      Add to that Cylons but they were TV.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Original BSG series had 2 or 3 multiple-episode stories edited for cinema release in Europe.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Muffit II the Daggit would have to be included if you allowed film length TV series things.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Richard Lloyd

    A bit difficult to take seriously without the Terminator robots

    OK, movie robots - the *immediate* thought is surely The Terminator movie franchise? Which model you pick is up to you (I'm partial to the T800 cos that's the model number of my new Samsung Tab S 10.5" :-) ), but it's frankly a complete joke that The Terminator has been ignored here.

  27. Spanners Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    What about AI's?

    As soon as you include artificial intelligences, which may be a robot, Android, Cyborg or robot, There are a number of other suggestions.

    My vote would have been on that great British invention Hal 9000

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: What about AI's?

      If you included AI, you'd have to allow Proteus from Demon Seed.

  28. T. F. M. Reader

    Unwarranted omissions

    1) The various Terminators should be in the list, especially since the poll seems to be about androids.

    2) Fembots from Austin Powers deserve at least an honourable mention...

    3) Surely the movie called "Android" ( should be mentioned for a) title, b) androids interested in sex?

  29. Greg Fawcett

    I'll be baaaack

    Can't take this seriously without the terminators.

  30. Frankee Llonnygog

    OK, it's a cyborg in a B movie

    But the movie of Algis Budrys's Who with Elliott Gould is quite creepy

  31. westlake


    WALL-E without EVE? (Eve's Theme) (Define Dancing)

  32. Chrome

    No Bonder? I mean, Bender...

    - Do you want me to give you false hope?

    - Only if you don't have any real hope...

  33. A nony Mouse Cow Herder

    David from A.I.

    I would like to Vote for David from A.I is there any good reason why Mecha doesn't fall into this category.

  34. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    No Cherry 2000?

    Come on, there must be a few Howard Wolowitz types here.

  35. Scott Earle

    How about Andromeda?

    Andromeda ("Rommy"), the AI for the Andromeda Ascendant, also in a robot body played so well by Lexa Doig ...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: How about Andromeda?

      Yes, UI designers could learn a lot from Romy :-)

  36. Unlimited

    What a load of crap

    "neat timeline depicting the evolution of robots in film."


    "crap list of some movie robots, in chronological order, with significant gaps"

    I vote crap.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also missing the robots from Laputa (Castle in the Sky).

  38. Alister

    Is this strictly film, or does TV count?

    I notice people mentioning Daleks (which are definitely not Robots) but what about Kryten from Red Dwarf?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maximilian from The Black Hole surely, not bloody V.I.N.CENT?!

  40. Hilmi Al-kindy

    What happened to Vicky from the TV series many of us watched as kids? Or is the Register desk staffed with kids too young to know the 80's and know the 70's era robots only because the came from such massive hit movies?

    Vicky was great, a little girl who is actually a robot, every week I would wait for the scheduled broadcast of that show and it was a major high-lite of my TV time.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      You'll be wanting Robert's Robots in there as well. And Metal Mickey.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But don't forget the Atomic Thunderbusters!

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Roy Batty?

    Has to be the best introduction into philosophy a teen could hope for:

    "I have… 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 Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears… in… rain. Time… to die…"

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: Roy Batty?

      Brilliant storysetting - in a few words "attack ships" "c-beam" and "Tannhäuser Gate" you get the setting. Tell-don't-show wonderfully done.

      Always liked the phrase Tannhäuser Gate - mind you it did make a return in Gunbuster!, (there was an anime with an epic ending) which may have coloured my memory.

  42. Chozo

    Technical Disqualifications & Honorable Mentions

    Hector – Saturn 5 : An organic brian makes it a cyborg

    Stitchpunks – 9 : Installed with part of a human soul so it's cyborg

    Gypsy Danger – Pacific Rim : Human operators, strictly speaking it's a waldo

    Atom – Real Steel : again remotely operated by a human

    Honorable Mentions for...

    the Horus Probes sent to Darwin 4: Da Vinci, Newton & Balboa

  43. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Paris Hilton

    Best for what?

    Too general a question. Robby may be best for carrying steel girders and making whiskey, but the Stepford Wives were best (allegedly) for something else entirely.

    Paris icon, of course.

  44. HAL-9000

    Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.

    Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

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