6. Robby the Robot
Forbidden Planet, 1956
The oldest robot on this list was a poster boy for 50’s Sci-Fi movies and became something of a pop culture icon. First appearing in Forbidden Planet, Robby went on to appear in numerous films and TV shows up until the early 80’s, including The Invisible Boy, The Twilight Zone and Lost in Space. He even made a cameo appearance in the background of a couple of scenes in Gremlins! Originally operated by Frankie Darro and voiced by Marvin Miller, his personality varied from one role to another, but his chubby frame and large glass ‘face’ were instantly recognisable. His debut appearance included several heroic scenes, not least the one where he synthesises 60 gallons of whiskey for a visiting astronaut – who wouldn’t love a robot that can do that?
Short Circuit, 1986
Who else would we put in fifth place on our list but No. 5, who later named himself Johnny? Despite the 80’s being a relatively positive time, the majority of movie robots weren’t particularly friendly, with the T-800 and ED-209 being particularly unpleasant. That left the star of Short Circuit as the decade’s only likeable robot almost by default (the Fix-its from *Batteries Not Included were considered, but we decided they were sentient UFOs). Starting life as a military asset destined for use in the Cold War, everything changes for No. 5 when he’s struck by a bolt of lightning and becomes self-aware. A journey of self-discovery, adventure and comedy ensues as he gathers input, befriends a warm-hearted girl called Stephanie and ultimately outfoxes his pursuers. He may have been built for war, but thanks to that unexpected lighting strike, Johnny-5 became a friendly, peace-loving and lovable character synonymous with 80’s family-friendly Sci-Fi.
Big Hero 6, 2014
The thing with robots, generally, is that while they can be cute, quirky or funny, their metallic exteriors make them rather un-huggable. This is where Baymax comes in! Created as a medical assistance robot, his inflatable marshmallow-like form and soft voice are about as inoffensive as a robot can get. Following the death of his creator Tadashi Hamada, he is repurposed in hilarious fashion as a superhero by Hiro, younger brother of Tadashi. Early escapades show how ill-suited he is to the task, being slow moving and gentle-natured, but as Big Hero 6 progresses, he becomes a genuinely heroic character, not really for any powerful skills but by helping Hiro grieve over the loss of his brother. One of Baymax’s most memorable scenes shows his attempts to return home when his battery life has almost drained, which sees him staggering about like a drunken teenager. Moments like this, along with his amiable personality and cuddly frame, ensure we’d always be satisfied with his care.
Go to Page 3 for our final three choices…