Robot Movies of the ’80s

Monday, November 2, 2009 at 10:23 am

Robot movies of the ‘80s were often hit-or-miss affairs. On the one hand, there were a number of films released with interesting plotlines and plenty of action. On the other, most special effects from that time look pretty cheesy when compared to the modern variety. But that doesn’t mean that all robot movies of the ‘80s should be avoided. In fact, I’ve compiled 10 films below that you should actively seek out if you’re looking to get your robot cinema fix for the week.

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Robocop (1987) – Peter Weller emerges from acting obscurity to portray Alex Murphy, a Detroit cop who gets gunned down in the line of duty and returns as a badge-wielding cyborg. Nancy Allen is his plucky partner who helps him learn how to be human again, and Kurtwood Smith secures a career playing jerks and a-holes by portraying the villainous Clarence Boddicker. I’d buy that for a dollar.

Cherry 2000 (1987) – It’s 2017, and the world has went all to hell. But on the bright side, sex androids are available to those who can afford them. When Sam Treadwell’s Cherry 2000 model breaks down, he hires a tracker named Edith Johnson (Melanie Griffith) to guide him into a bombed-out United States in the hopes of finding a replacement. As they fight their way past a post-apocalyptic warlord (Tim Thomerson) and his minions, the unlikely duo begin to experience real feelings for one another. But can Edith hold a candle to a sex android? You bet your ass she can!


Runaway (1985) – While Runaway qualifies as a robot movies of the ‘80s, I’m not sure if it’s a good robot movie of the ‘80s. Still, it has to be seen to be believed, as the film stars Tom Selleck as a cop who specializes in taking down out-of-control robots known as “runaways.” About the time he gets a new partner, a sudden rash of homicides begin, and you just know it’s got something to do with scowling robotics genius Dr. Charles Luther (Gene Simmons of KISS). If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing Magnum P.I. fighting spider robots who can inject their targets with acid, then Runaway is the film for you.

Deadly Friend (1986) – Matthew Laborteaux stars as Paul Conway, a nerdy kid who’s developed a sophisticated robot named BB. When neighborhood pal Samantha (Kristy Swanson) is left beaten and dying by her father, Paul does what any self-respecting geek would – he takes the AI chip from BB and installs it in Samantha’s brain. The result is a cute-yet-murderous blonde. Wes Craven directs, and the highlight is Anne Ramsey (“Owen, you’re fat and you’re stupid.“) meeting her end via a basketball to the face.

Galaxina (1980) – A parody of films like Alien and Star Wars, Galaxina features a sexy android who watches over the crew of a deep-space freighter while they slumber away for decades in hyper-sleep. All alone, the sexy Galaxina (Dorothy Stratten) begins to develop feelings for Thor, the pilot of the ship. Hardly a classic, but it’s worth a look considering that Stratten, Playboy Playmate of the Year for 1980, was murdered by her deranged husband soon after the film’s release.

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Blade Runner (1982) – In this world based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, “replicants” are androids who look identical to humans and exist to perform dangerous and menial tasks on the outer colonies. Considered illegal on Earth, a special group of cops–known as “Blade Runners”–exist to destroy rogue replicants, and that’s just what recently retired Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is asked to do one last time. But while he’s tracking down a group led by combat replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), Deckard must also deal with his attraction towards Rachael, a replicant who believes she’s human. A sci-fi classic or completely overrated? Watch it and decide for yourself.

Saturn 3 (1980) – Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett play a pair of scientists who live in bliss on a food research station in orbit around one of the moons of Saturn. Their paradise is interrupted when an insane pilot named Benson (Harvey Keitel) shows up along with a homicidal robot named Hector. Goofy fun, and the late Fawcett looks magnificent. It’s also interesting to note that Keitel’s Brooklyn accent was dubbed over before the film’s release.


Short Circuit (1986) – Johnny 5 is a cute robot who gets struck by lighting and becomes sentient. Rejecting his military programming, he sets out to make a life of his own, but he’ll have to evade the authorities in order to do so. Luckily, he gets a little help from the likes of Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, and Fisher Stevens. Man, I wish Steve Guttenberg would show up at my house for some impromptu adventures.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Sure, robots aren’t the main theme of this sequel to Star Wars, but C-3PO and R2-D2 certainly play a large part in the story. The Empire Strikes Back is notable for being the darkest of the original trilogy, with Luke losing his hand, learning that Vader is his father, and Han Solo being shipped off to Jabba the Hutt encased in carbonite. Since the most recent trilogy sucked, it might not be a bad idea to go back and get a reminder of why people fell in love with this series in the first place.

Aliens (1986) – Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) accompanies a group of Colonial Marines on a “bug hunt,” but things quickly get out of hand when a whole host of xenomorphs descend upon them. The robot quota is satisfied by Bishop, a friendly android who’s handy with a knife and played by Lance Henriksen. If you’re a fan of sci-fi/action and haven’t seen this film, head over to Netflix and sign up immediately.

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That concludes our look at robot movies of the ‘80s which you might be interested in. For more nonsense and time wasters, be sure to check out the following articles:

This entry was posted on Monday, November 2nd, 2009 at 10:23 am and is filed under Good Movies, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “Robot Movies of the ’80s”

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November 2, 2009


My evaluation of the movies you listed:

1. RoboCop – Great film. Lots of death by gunfire!
2. Cherry 2000 – Awful. Melanie Griffith couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag.
3. Runaway – Gene Simmons should stick to playing bass. Selleck’s moustache steals the show.
4. Deadly Friend – Basketballs to the head rule!
5. Galaxina – Never seen it, although Stratton has some nice boobs for the early 80s.
6. Blade Runner – Garbage.
7. Saturn 3 – A total waste of money, although I envy old Kirk Douglas getting to boff Farrah Fawcett (in the movie, that is).
8. Short Circuit – It inspired Weird Al to write a song, so it can’t be all bad. Fisher Stevens insults Indians by dressing up in “brownface.”
9. The Empire Strikes Back – Before Lucas totally lost his mind.
10. Aliens – Balls to the wall, action. “Game over, man. Game over.”

March 6, 2010


How could you possibly rate terminator rise of the machines higher than Judgement day. DO YOU SMOKE CRACK!!!

March 7, 2010


Well, actually…

December 21, 2010


I’ve trying to find the name of a very bad/great movie I saw in the 80’s.
She was a writer going to a cabin in the woods to relax and got a robot to help her with chores, cooking…and sex!
Of course he’s in love with her, get’s creepy and when she tries to “desconect” him he gets murderous. It was very funny. The actors faces will ring a bell when you see them but they’re not that well known.
Any ideas?
Thank you!

March 13, 2011


Thanks a lot, This list helped me to find out the movie which i have forgotten his name, I found it here (Short Circuit)

March 31, 2011


Great movies!!!

Anyone knows the name of a movie (a think is from de 80’s) about a man whose realize he is a robot, and that his life a fake? I remember that his wife don’t know him. And he has a bomb.

thanks 🙂

April 7, 2011


I think the film you’re thinking of is Imposter starring Gary Sinese, though it’s actually from 2002!

September 25, 2011


Looking for a classis time traveling robot/android movie! Have had no luck please someone help..came out in the late 80s early 90s i believe! Best i can remember they time travel and one of the robots actually attaces himself to like a small tank/land vehicle with bullzoner tracks on it.and they travel back to roman times as well…please help!

March 31, 2012


looking for a robot/computer movie. Its about a super computer that wants to be human, and A baby is born in side robot woom with metal skeils like a crocodile.
I do not remember much.
somebody saves the robot baby before the s-computer can download it self in the babys mind, and that person picks metal skeils and and brobably raises it as a human.

sounds formiliar.

August 3, 2012



There is a movie I seen in early 90’s, in it there were 3-4 robot vehicles like small tanks responcible for the security of a building, then they go out of control and start killing every one – can you please mention the name?


October 23, 2012



Do you know about a movie where the main characters use small “Transformers”-like robots to defeat a man-size robot. I think this scene is in the end of the movie, and I believe it to be from the 80’s. One of the characters is asian, but I cant remember if he’s a professor or a martial art guy.

I really hope you can solve this, as this has been popping up in my mind ever since.

Thanks! 🙂

July 11, 2013


Hi Trevor,

i searched for this movie a very very long time too:

“Mad Mission Part 2: Aces Go Places”

The robot scene start from 1:21:30

enjoy it (and maybe the other parts too).


December 18, 2016

80s geek

The film you are looking for is ‘chopping mall’ 1986, they were the killbots.

December 18, 2016

80s geek

It sounds like the film with the half tank robot dude and Roman centurions was ‘eliminators’ 1986 he was the mandroid.
I think…

December 18, 2016

80s geek

Whilst I’m here, I can’t believe you left off ‘batteries not included’ and although not the star of the film let’s not forget Lisa from ‘weird science’, how many happy memories did she give us 80’s geeks


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