Here are my top picks for robot movies from the 80s. They all felt more realistic, which added to the complexity of CGI during that time period. Movies like I-Robot, Surrogates, and Transformers were some of the big robot movies produced in the late 90s and the current decade.
5. RoboCop (1987).
The man who lost his identity and his family also felt bad, but you only liked watching him getting kicked in the butt. Robocop was a special effects revolution, transforming a human character into a cyborg or robot. Murphy, a cop in the future Detroit, is transformed into Robocop and takes control of his body, commandeering the OCP corporation. Ultimately, he defeats the OCP executives and cleans up the city. In a haunting scene, Murphy is killed and his body is mangled in a fight against his ultraviolent gang and Boddiker Clarence. This film was so violent that it almost received an X-rating. Peter Weller played Alex Murphy, the cop turned Robocop, and Kurtwood Smith faced off against him in the original Robocop.
4. Short Circuit (1986) is a film.
A third script was said to be produced for the movie, but the movie never materialized. Many of the human-like activities done by the robot were actually slight-of-hand tricks. 5 Johnny was actually a complex piece of machinery that brought fun and quirkiness to the world. When a freak lightning bolt strikes, 5 Johnny escapes from the military and becomes self-aware. 5 Johnny was one of several robots developed as military weapons. Steve Guttenberg starred in the comedy robot Short Circuit before he became fodder for bad jokes.
3. Fatal Pal (1986).
This movie may be a cyborg fringe that I love, with robots taking traditional thoughts and turning them on their ears to create a real movie monster. Instead of creating a super strong killing machine, he hopes to save her by implanting his robot friend’s brain into Samantha’s abusive father, who pushes her down a set of stairs. The robot then acts as Samantha’s friend and protector, hoping to stop the machine from killing. When Paul Friend moves to a new town, he befriends Samantha and becomes a genius robot. Wes Craven turns this pure non-sci-fi horror into a deadly vehicle for robots in the horror fi genre.
Deckard, a robot that has protocols to end life, has found himself in a great job of keeping you guessing whether he is a great robot or not. The final speech of Rutger Hauer’s character, a mix of a young and intelligent child and a powerful adult, was heart-wrenching. They just want to be like everyone else, living a strange mix of being a super intelligent being and a normal person. The replicants in Ridley Scott’s classic film aren’t bent on destruction or evil, they just want to live. When a small rebel group seeks their creator and wants to return to Earth, Deckard, portrayed by Harrison Ford, is tasked with tracking them down and bringing them to their death. Deckard is a blade runner, a renegade replicant tracker, who is only active for a short time before dying. If Humphrey Bogart starred in robot movies, this cerebral science fiction classic is what it would look like.
1. The Terminator (1984).
It is one of the most popular robot movies ever created, spinning the head of any physicist to make time travel paradoxes and loopholes enough to provide sequels. This movie also helped inspire movies like RoboCop and catapulted Schwarzenegger into the stratosphere of stardom. It spawned three sequels and a short-lived television series. The main stream of the first Terminator movie was a success, as it is an action-packed film. The Terminator, played by Michael Biehn, is charged with protecting Connor’s not-yet-pregnant mother and he comes back in time to fight against sentient machines in a future where humanity is at war. He becomes the leader of a resistance movement before he can be killed by John Connor. In his first films, Schwarzenegger starred as a major action star and was known as the ‘governator’ of California before his political career.