|Mysterious Dr. Satan|
So the robots on this list are not cartoon animations, CGI's, or radio controlled animatrons. They are also not androids that are pretty much regular people on the outside with implied gears on the inside (like in the original Alien, Bladerunner, the enforcement cops in THX 1138, Yul Brynner in West World, or The Terminator--who becomes a CGI anyway). We're not up for telling ourselves throughout a film that this actor with a gear or lens stuck to their face is supposed to be a robot. Computers like HAL in 2001 are also not it. HAL was great, but he's not a robot. We like to watch a person, 98% of them at least, wrapped in a fantastic costume play a robot or monster. A note: new Dr. Who show's robots do qualify for our list and are popular, but we find them very annoying. The robots can be scary, or lovable, just not like nails on a chalkboard. We also do appreciate some of the non-suit robots. The stop-action, animated model robots in the original star wars were wonderful, for example. Here's our list of top robots:
10. Lost in Space Robot (B-9 environmental control robot). We know that this was a really bad show. We also know that if you were a kid in the 1960s, you watched it. Lost in Space was like a slow motion train wreck. But that robot was a blast. The slinky arms were nutty, as was the telescoping glass eyeball, halo, or whatever it was supposed to be that craned out of its upper body. This robot deserves fame and appreciation just for its, "Danger, danger Will Robinson!" warning calls.
8. Robocop Robot. Another crappy movie franchise that made a bundle for the schlocky producers. But Peter Weller, whose costume qualifies for this list because he was completely covered in it save his lips and chin, really created a memorable character. The film also gets points for attempting to lampoon the all too real police state. Fun factoid is that Weller won the part because his lips looked the best. I think that's studio flack hype, but it's fun.
7. Forbidden Planet "Robby The Robot." This was the perfect movie robot for its time. This robot did not have a bad angle and made beautiful toys. It actually was kind of a little scary in the film too, if you were young enough.
6. Wizard of Oz "Tin Man." Not taking any arguments about this one. Tin Man is amazing.
5. The Day The Earth Stood Still "Gort" Robot. This film and this robot are in a class all by themselves. The robot's aesthetic is so spare and elegant. It wears its metal suit like it was on the spring runway in Milan. Everything in this movie worked including this singular rubber suit robot. If you get a chance to see the film in large format, go for it. There are details inside the ship that don't come through any other way.
4. Metropolis "False Maria" Robot. Another superlative. She is the rubber suit automaton by which all others are judged. Her style is quoted by costume designers again and again, from Star Wars to Dr. Who. But nothing compares to Maria in the film in all her Art Deco, black and white, silent film glory.
1. Godzilla Movie Franchise "Mechagodzilla." All stars encounter their character's evil twin, if their show or film franchise is around long enough. It is only right that the king of all rubber suit monsters Godzilla would have its robot mirror image. Mecha was genius. It was so much fun watching these two slug it out. Will have to watch it again soon.
Honorable Mention: 1940's The Mysterious Dr. Satan robot - truly a "man in a can."