The FIFO life: Top 20 robotics films

Welcome to this week’s inflight entertainment, your very own robotic movie extravaganza.

The future of robotics and computers is today! So why not relive some of the worst case scenarios Hollywood can come up with by taking “on the fritz” to the next level.

Here we have assembled the best films featuring the theme of integrated automatic systems – based on the quality of the story concept and execution. Learn how to stave off the supercomputer takeover, or have a quiet chuckle with Asimov over zero harm policy with our top 20 list.

20. Austin Powers International Man of Mystery

One word: Fembots.

19. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey

Evil Bill and Ted prove the future does indeed include robotic technology, and it’s out to get us.

18. Iron Man franchise

Tony Stark is a master of machinery, but unlike some of our higher ranked movies, Stark’s technology is human-dependent.

17. Star Wars original trilogy

C3PO and R2D2 prove themselves capable spies communicating with security and aircraft systems – par for the course in the world of Star Wars, though integrated systems plays a lesser theme in the series.

16. The Iron Giant

Based on the 1968 novel by Ted Hughes, we learn that governments can be a bit paranoid about technology, but good grief wouldn’t you be after seeing what aliens know how to do?

15. The Day the Earth Stood Still

Be a traditionalist and catch the 1951 version, or give in to the 2008 remake with Keanu Reeves – don’t worry, human weaponry still isn’t advanced enough for GORT.

14. Westworld

Unsuspecting amusement park patrons are subject to the murderous rampage of a deranged cowboy-robot. Written and directed by bestselling novelist Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park parallels), and starring Yul Brynner, (your mum’s favourite love interest in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I) as the crazed gun-wielding android.

13. Alien franchise, Prometheus

We hope you’ve already seen this one because it would be a shame to ruin one of the best movie plot twists simply by placing it here. Oh, and the future has some sick technology.

12. Short Circuit

There are several list contenders running with the Pinocchio plot (A.I. Artificial Intelligence), but this 80’s robot just wanted to experience the cute, family-friendly wonder of his malfunction. As should we all. Aw.

11. Surrogates, I mean Avatar

Debuting the same year as Avatar, Surrogates was steamrolled by its alter ego’s special effects and epic plotline. So, with a nod to Avatar, which was a bit more bio-centric rather than computerised, Surrogates is a Bruce Willis special a la Fifth Element where the Sims walk the streets.

10. Moon

We’re partial to the energy crisis plot, but this is what happens when your only friend for three years is a computer.


And it was made with computer animation – that’s worth a few bonus points.

8. Metropolis

The original 1927 sci-fi robotic thriller: Machines make a shaky cornerstone when building utopia.

7. I, Robot

See 12, more guns.

6. Blade Runner

Ah Ridley Scott. Can we find our own humanity in the machines?

5. Total Recall

Whether Arnie is your dish or Colin Farrell is more your cuppa, it’s worth watching both versions. You could even turn it into a spot the difference game, like both movies have the three… well, go watch them.

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey

A nice story about your friendly spaceship computer doing what’s best. A Kubrick classic.

3. Ghost in the Shell

It wouldn’t be fair to exclude this Japanese anime: Brain hackers and networked cyborgs, tracking devices and diplomatic subversion are the life of dark corners in this futuristic city.

2. Terminator franchise

The machines are rising. The Governator teaches us machines are like cockroaches, they will always survive the apocalypse.

1. The Matrix franchise

This. The ultimate in plugged-in, integrated systems messing with our minds, and proving – if the Terminator didn’t already – that there is no use in fighting the automated revolution.

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