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Skynet Supreme: The 9 Best Killer Robot Movies of All Time

The Best Killer Robot Movies of
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* Distract yourself for, or prepare for, the Robot Takeover
* See some of the most iconic AI-gone-awry films ever made
* From 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Matrix

With even tech giants like Elon Musk giving us dire predictions of the possible robot apocalypse, the great Hollywood tradition of the Killer Robot movie has perhaps never been more relevant.

In an age where some 15% of all Twitter accounts are bots, and where AI informs just about all the ways we interact with the world, a big screen robot apocalypse can be uniquely appealing. From Robocop to The Matrix, here are some of the best Killer Robot Movies of all Time.

Tyll Parker
2 months
What?! How about Collossus the Forbin Project?
Michael Mayo
3 months
Idiots! Where's Richard Stanley's brutal and nightmarish "Hardware"?

Tyll Parker
2 months
What?! How about Collossus the Forbin Project?
Michael Mayo
3 months
Idiots! Where’s Richard Stanley’s brutal and nightmarish “Hardware”?

1. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

This iconic anime film features a dystopian world of cyborgs and killer robots, including the titular heroine, controversially played by Scarlett Johansson in the 2017 live action remake. Stream the original anime instead, as you follow a protagonist that hunts a robot who robs humans of their memory.

Ghost in the Shell 1995

  

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 Sci-Fi masterpiece, written with Arthur C Clarke, may provide the most iconic and enduring image we have of a dangerous robot takeover. While today, the film looks to have been in some ways quite optimistic about what the year 2001 would look like, its themes and its masterful invocation of existential dread remain as relevant as ever.

2001: A Space Odyssey

  

3. Blade Runner

With a long-awaited sequel set to premiere in October, Ridley Scott’s classic 1982 future-noir thriller based on the book, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is practically required viewing for robot apocalypse fans. Harrison Ford (pictured below, with Scott), returns for the sequel.

Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott on the set of 1982's Blade Runner

  

4. The Terminator

The iconic Terminator gave us what is arguably Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most famous role, as the time-traveling cyborg sent back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) mother of the future leader of the human resistance.

Terminator

  

5. Robocop

1987’s Robocop is not only one of most ‘80s movies of all time, but it offers some great action and a story that is still eminently watchable and relevant today. A robot going through the motions of his day job, haunted by memories of the human he was: surely still a relatable sentiment.

robocop movie poster

  

6. Ex Machina

Alex Garland’s haunting psychological thriller Ex Machina takes us into a world where an android is human enough to make someone fall in love with her. A Machiavellian study of emotional manipulation and a striking tease of the thinning line between human and robotic consciousness, Ex Machina is as relevant as it is scary.Natalie Portman in Ex Machina

  

7. I, Robot

In one of his most-lauded roles, Will Smith plays a detective investigating a robot in I, Robot. Inspired by Isaac Asimov’s short story collection of the same name, this film takes us into the heart of a terrifyingly plausible robot takeover.

I, Robot

  

8. The Matrix

This trilogy released at the turn of the Millennium has furnished a great deal of our contemporary robot apocalypse imagery. Its eerie portrayal of a distant future in which humans live almost entirely in a simulation has formed the stuff of tech nightmares for the better part of twenty years now. With its visionary scope, we can forgive The Matrix for the term “red pill” and for a few moments of wooden acting.

The Matrix

  

9. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox star in this blockbuster adaptation of the famous Transformers franchise. Playing on contemporary tropes like the idea of “ancient aliens,” this Michael Bay film presents one of cinema’s most outlandish and fun robot apocalypses.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen All images courtesy of Amazon Courtesy Paramount/ Dreamworks

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