Robots have been appearing in movies for nearly 100 years. They can be cute, cool, scary or just plain annoying, but one things for sure, everyone seems to love them.
The term "robot" was first used by Czech playwright Karel Capek in his stage production R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). Capek attributed the creation of the word to his brother, Josef. It's derived from the Czech word "robota", which literally translates as "work" or "labour". Writer Isaac Asimov coined the term "robotics" in 1941, and then famously invented its three "laws".
I have been quite strict with the criteria for this list. Cyborgs have been disqualified, as have human-like androids. Just out of the Top 10: Gort (Day the Earth Stood Still), Maximillian (The Black Hole), Hector (Saturn 3).
Robby is a genuine Science Fiction and pop-culture icon. He was first seen in Forbidden Planet (1956) and went on to appear in numerous movies and TV shows, including The Twilight Zone, Columbo, Wonder Woman and Gremlins.
I could have filled this entire list with various robots from the Star Wars movies, but R2 is undoubtedly the most loved of all the droids. In the original Star Wars trilogy (1977 - 1983) and The Phantom Menace (1999), Artoo was bought to life through a combination of radio controlled models and a suit worn by actor Kenny Baker. A fully CGI version was used for many shots in Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005).
Named after the nephews of Donald Duck, these robots are an important part of Douglas Trumbull's underrated Silent Running (1972). Interestingly, the three actors inside the costumes were all double amputees who moved around by walking on their hands.
The big, bad enforcement robot from Robocop (1987). ED was bought to life in the movie using a combination of miniature stop-motion animation and a full sized model. A great design - mean and aggressive. Not so great when faced with a flight of stairs though...
Definitely one of the highlights of the mediocre Judge Dredd (1995) movie. The ABC robot is modeled on the character Hammerstein from the 2000AD comic strip ABC Warriors . 2000AD, of course, is also where the Judge Dredd comic strip appears, so his inclusion in the film is somewhat of an in-joke and a fan pleaser.
Designed by "visual futurist" and legendary film concept designer Syd Mead, Johnny 5 appeared in two Short Circuit movies (1986 & 1988). Johnny's voice was provided by Tim Blaney, who also served as the character's puppeteer.
I love The Iron Giant (1999) movie, and I just had to include this robot in my top ten. I think it's a wonderfully designed and realised character; equal parts intimidating and lovable. Although the movie is predominantly hand drawn, the Iron Giant is completely computer animated.
Wall-E is a masterclass in design, taking the best elements from some of cinema's greatest robots and wrapping them up in one adorable, yellow package. Wall-E's "voice" was provided by Ben Burtt, the sound-effects genius behind R2-D2.
It was a bit of a battle for last place on my list, but after careful consideration, Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy claims the final spot. Marvin has the rare distinction of being brilliantly realised twice on screen - in the 1981 BBC television series and the 2005 movie. The version from the TV series actually makes a cameo in the movie, which I thought was a nice touch. Marvin also gets extra kudos for inspiring the superb Radiohead song, Paranoid Android.