The 15 best Hollywood robots ever, ranked (pictures)

They're the coolest characters without a pulse. Check out our list of Hollywood's most impressive bots, from C-3PO to The Iron Giant. (This could contain spoilers for those who haven't had the pleasure of seeing these fantastic movies and shows.)

Gina Scanlon
Gina Scanlon is a freelance writer and producer for CBS Interactive and BBC America. She has a film degree from UCF, and a masters in scriptwriting from The University of London. She just recently moved to Encino from NYC, and finally made it a point to watch Encino Man.
Gina Scanlon
1 of 15 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

15. Johnny 5

If you're looking for a robot with comic relief value, Johnny 5, from the 1986 classic "Short Circuit," is your guy. He was originally designed for Cold War shenanigans, but surprised everyone with his human-like abilities. Johnny becomes lost after a lightning strike damages his circuits, and he goes wandering into our world. The results are hokey, saccharine and completely entertaining.

2 of 15 Twentieth Century Fox

14. Sonny

Sonny, the lead machine in "I, Robot," has a sweet face. He also, supposedly, has been imbued with programming that prevents him from harming humanity. But much to Del Spooner's (played by Will Smith) dismay, we discover an epic bit of shoddy coding that just happens to make Sonny limitlessly dangerous.

3 of 15 Warner Bros.

13. David

The creepy child-robot in Steven Spielberg's "Artificial Intelligence" is designed to replace an actual child who has died. David is sickeningly adorable, and never takes that grin off his face. His innocence and obedience, coupled with ignorance of human psychology, gives him a layered, and empathic dynamic, which is sometimes hard to pull off with a robot.

4 of 15 David Livingston/Getty Images

12. Optimus Prime

The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime has some serious hero skills. What makes him so badass? His retractable sword, for one. But physical strength aside, he's also a bit of a philosopher. There aren't many robots who come up with quotes like, "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."

5 of 15 CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

11. Data

He would give anything to be human, but he makes a pretty fun robot, too. The lead robot on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Data has not only the speed and processing power of a computer, but also an ability to mimic personalities. The Pinocchio of the series, Data never permanently became a real boy, but he did give us some memorable stories. One TNG episode, titled "Data's Day," is one of the most poignant in the series.

6 of 15 Marvel Studios

10. Ultron

When you can terrorize Captain America, Thor AND Iron Man, that's when you know you're a pretty darn powerful force of nature. The sentient supervillain Ultron, most recently featured in the latest Avengers film, is hell-bent on destroying the human race with his genius intellect, ability to read minds, fly and even control other machines. Ultron's best feature, however, just might be his irony-heavy voice, provided by James Spader.

7 of 15 Sony Pictures Classics


Voiced by Kevin Spacey in the 2009 sci-fi drama "Moon," GERTY is the only friend and source of support for protagonist Sam, who, if you haven't guessed, is all alone. On, you know, the moon. It's not GERTY's capabilities that make the robot memorable, but rather, its lack of functions. GERTY is the embodiment of a distant, indifferent corporation that couldn't be bothered to provide much more than a smiling face and an articulated arm.

8 of 15 Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

8. Gort

The powerful and evil robot from the 1951 science-fiction classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" uses his cyclops-like laser beam to vaporize anything he feels like. What's even more impressive: He can destroy so much without even moving -- ideal if you're, say, trying to make a sci-fi classic on the cheap.

9 of 15 Warner Bros.

7. The Iron Giant

This robot definitely belongs in the lovable--not evil--category. The 50-foot metal Iron Giant (voiced by Vin Diesel) is accidentally dropped on Earth and discovered by a boy who secretly befriends him. Their relationship, and the movie's monster-with-a-heart-of-gold character, makes this robot one of the most underrated in Hollywood.

10 of 15 Getty Images

6. Ash

No actor has infused more subtlety, or more malice, into a robot than Ian Holm in 1979's "Alien." After posing, quite convincingly, as a human for the first part of the film, Ash reveals his artificial nature and his evil mission. The best part: He comes clean only after he's been reduced to a robot head covered in cyber-goop.

11 of 15 Getty Images

5. Nos. Six, Three and Eight

Were Tricia Helfer, Lucy Lawless and Grace Park the only humanoid robots on the reboot of Battlestar Galactica? No. But did anybody really give a fig about any of the other models? Of course not.

12 of 15 Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

4. The Terminator

Aside from being remarkably clever at coming up with catchphrases, the "Terminator" robot is a force to be reckoned with. Both hero and killing machine, Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-101 almost single-handedly launched a franchise that's still killing 'em today. We hear you should go with him if you want to live.

13 of 15 Warner Brothers/Getty Images

3. Pris

The femmebot fatale of "Blade Runner" (1982) is both sexy and terrifying. Daryl Hannah's chaotic replicant steals every scene she's in, even those with charismatic robot co-conspirator Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer). If you know Darryl Hannah only from "Splash" or "Sense8," do yourself a favor and get to know Pris.

14 of 15 Disney Pixar


Arguably the most lovable robot ever on the silver screen, Pixar's junk-rummaging underdog manages to endear himself to us by doing the simplest things, like compacting trash and exploring human artifacts. After being abandoned and tossed aside like a piece of waste himself, WALL-E must find his own path to love, a story that appeals to our most primal -- or, dare we say, human -- sensibilities.

15 of 15 Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

1. C-3PO and R2-D2

R2-D2 is famous for saving his friends from danger, and he can even fly when the situation calls for it. C-3PO is smarter than a human, and much more polite. Together, their personalities meld and clash like the perfect odd couple, adding a whole new layer of nuance and heart to the already-iconic "Star Wars" universe.

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