Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit and Pee-wee's Playhouse. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
The 1980s also saw robots appearing in two major series of the era: Superman III and Rocky IV. You can't page through the 80s without bumping into John Hughes and the Brat Pack. We saw robots in their mix in Weird Science by Hughes, with Brat Packer Anthony Michael Hall, and Short Circuit, featuring fellow Brat Packer Ally Sheedy.
To demonstrate just how deep 80s robots integrated into our imaginations, we're seeing them show up in our era, with Terminator Salvation, RoboCop 2014, and a Short Circuit remake on the way.
Click on the image below to start the slideshow. Did we miss any great robots from the 1980s? Tell us in the comments section below.
1983: Superman III. This film flop from director Richard Lester (A Hard Day’s Night) was the third in a series of Superman films from the 70s and 80s. In the film's climax, Vera Webster (Annie Ross), the sister-partner of villainous multimillionaire Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn), is monstrously transformed into a robot by an intelligent supercomputer hidden in a cave in the Grand Canyon. (Source: reddit.com)
Batar, not to painfully extend the discussion of terminology, but as I understand it:
Robot - mechanical/electrical (non-living, anyway) autonomous or semi-autonomous device
Android - robot with human form
Cyborg - combination living and non-living functional parts
"Robots" is used here for some things that meet the strict robot criteria (Short Circuit, Wall-E), androids (Data from Star Trek), and cyborgs (Robocop). Some things discussed here, like the replicants in "Blade Runner" aren't any of these things, as they are genetically modified humans with nothing robotic. Arnold's Terminator is called a cyborg, His skin was non-functional (don't know if it was supposed to be alive or not) and therefore he might actually be an android. Terminator 2 was clearly not a cyborg, but since it used some liquid metal technology beyond description which could make it appear human (in which case it would be an android) or non-human (in which case it is a robot), I don't know what to call it. I'm so confused... :)
My wife remembered Short Circuit as a nice family film too, and started watching it with our then 5 year old. There are a lot of words (and a jester or two) in this movie you don't want a youngster repeating. My wife asked if I could remove these sections of the film, so I made a clean version. It was quite popular with our friends that had similarly aged children.
@Cabe Atwell: Robots in newer films have too much CGI going on, wouldn?t you agree? I mean it?s hard to focus on any one part of Optimus Prime because he has got so many complicated movable parts that draw our attention. The newer robot films pay attention to the robot CGI and not the story. I loved Wall.E very much. I think that was the most movable animated movie in recent times besides Up!
I loved the old Terminator films and have come to appreciate the newer ones, and I think such robotic nuisance is increasingly possible in this age of advanced computers. I personally liked the Terminator (the ones played by Arnold) because it was old, yet robust, and it learned real quickly.
So perhaps not as "memorable" as the rest for most people, and none of the robots were the star of the film, but for me you just can't overlook the robots in 1984's "The Ice Pirates" starring Robert Ulrich!
The film includes dozens of robots, all of which are wonderfully silly machines. On the protagonists' ship you have sword-weilding Rock-Em-Sock-Em combat robots and the Kung Fu Master robot created by Roscoe (Michael D. Roberts) -- "So why did you make it black?" "Because I wanted it to be perfect!" -- and and the ship's self-propelled trash can robot. On the villainous Templar (yes you read that right) vessels you have the counterparts to the swordfighting robots. And in between you ancounter a delightful Pimp Bot and family of mommy, daddy, and baby bots at the spaceport... plus many others!
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