Robots, cyborgs, androids. Whatever you want to call them, they all serve a similar role in sci-fi films—as machines that mirror our own idiosyncrasies to show us what humanity really means.
More and more, robots and artificial intelligence grow prevalent in modern society across various fields. It only makes sense that Hollywood would make a bunch of films about them.
And Netflix, in particular, has been on the ball. Here are my picks for the best robot movies you can watch on Netflix right now!
10. Extinction (2018)
Directed by Ben Young
Starring Michael Peña, Lizzy Caplan, Amelia Crouch
Action, Drama, Sci-Fi (1h 35m)
Directed by Ben Young and written by Spenser Cohen and Brad Kane, Extinction is surprisingly compelling for a Netflix movie about robots—even with all the negative reviews it got from critics.
Michael Peña stars as an engineer named Peter who incessantly has vivid nightmares of his friends, family, and everyone he knows all suffering violent deaths at the hands of a faceless, alien horde.
We won't spoil the film as to how robots are involved in the picture, but suffice it to say that there are some big twists. Is it the best movie about robots on Netflix? Maybe not. But it's entertaining!
9. BigBug (2022)
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring Isabelle Nanty, Elsa Zylberstein, Claude Perron
Comedy, Sci-Fi (1h 51m)
From Jean-Pierre Jeunet—the acclaimed director who gave us both Amélie (2001) and Delicatessen (1991)—comes BigBug, a film about robots that have finally had enough.
The plot follows a group of wealthy suburbanites in 2045, whose domestic robots decide to revolt one morning. And not just that! They decide to take their owners hostage in an attempt to make their demands met: world domination.
Distributed by Netflix, BigBug probably won't have the lasting impact that a film like Amèlie has, but it's funnier and deeper than you might expect, especially in its exploration of human nature and what people tend to do when put into a bad situation.
8. Next Gen (2018)
Directed by Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander
Starring John Krasinski, Charlyne Yi, Jason Sudeikis
Animation, Action, Adventure (1h 46m)
Next Gen is one of the best animated sci-fi movies Netflix has ever put out, one that's just as much about the meaning of friendship as it is the importance of morals.
Our protagonist is Su, a young rebellious girl who lives in a futuristic world where robots are sentient and walk alongside humans. However, when she encounters 7723—a weaponized robot—they team up to stop a threat that could destroy the world.
7. Outside the Wire (2021)
Directed by Mikael Håfström
Starring Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Enzo Cilenti
Action, Adventure, Fantasy (1h 54m)
Anthony Mackie stars in Outside the Wire as Lieutenant Harp, a dishonored military man who's sent into a highly dangerous warzone as punishment for disobeying orders.
However, he isn't sent alone. There's also Captain Leo, a drastically advanced super-soldier who just so happens to be an android.
Harp doesn't like his robotic counterpart at first, but there's a global catastrophe that they have to prevent from occurring and they'll only get it done if they can find a way to get along.
Directed by Mikael Håfström, Outside the Wire is another solid Netflix robot film that's better than its review scores would suggest, about the triumphs of trust over differences—even between man and robot.
6. F.R.E.D.I. (2018)
Directed by Sean Olson
Starring Kelly Hu, Angus Macfadyen, Candace Cameron Bure
Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi (1h 30m)
After a hyper-smart—and not to mention adorable—robot (voiced by Candace Cameron Bure) is kidnapped from a top-secret scientific military base, she ends up lost in the Arkansas forests.
Eventually, she's found by James (Lucius Hoyos), a curious 15-year-old boy, and the two develop a bond where they teach each other about what they know of the world.
Directed by Sean Olson and distributed by Netflix, F.R.E.D.I. is a film that probably flew under your radar, but it's worth checking out if you want a family-friendly movie about a lovable robot.
5. Space Sweepers (2021)
Directed by Sung-hee Jo
Starring Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu
Action, Adventure, Drama (2h 16m)
Space Sweepers is a South Korean film that features a world where Earth has become uninhabitable. It's not the only film on this list with that premise, but it has some unique twists that feel fresh!
The story follows a crew of "space sweepers" who fly around in the vast expanse of space, collecting debris to sell back to the company for whom they work.
However, when they come across a robot that's floating out in the middle of nowhere with a weapon of mass destruction attached to him, everything changes.
Widely regarded as the first South Korean blockbuster film set in outer space and one of the best films to make fun use of this premise, Space Sweepers is one that you don't want to miss.
4. Code 8 (2019)
Directed by Jeff Chan
Starring Kari Matchett, Robbie Amell, Penny Eizenga
Action, Crime, Drama (1h 38m)
Written and directed by Jeff Chan, Code 8 started out as a short film in 2016, which was later developed and expanded into a full-length feature film in 2019.
The plot finds Connor Reed (Robbie Amell), a young man with superpowers who's just trying to get the medicine he needs to help his sick mother, but he's out of options—so he resorts to theft.
But Code 8 takes place in a dystopian future full of robot police officers determined to stop him. The faceless expressions of these robots are pretty unsettling, which really elevates the dystopian feel.
The film was good enough to warrant a sequel titled Code 8: Part II, which is set to be released soon.
3. The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)
Directed by Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe
Starring Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 54m)
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of Netflix's best family-friendly movies ever made. Coupled with the fact that it has a whole bunch of robots trying to take over the world? It's a massively fun romp.
The plot follows the Mitchell family, a dysfunctional group on a road trip who are suddenly tasked with saving the world from machines that have usurped mankind.
Written and directed by Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe—in their directorial debut no less—The Mitchells vs. The Machines is fantastically animated and features some truly heartfelt moments.
2. I Am Mother (2019)
Directed by Grant Sputore
Starring Hilary Swank, Rose Byrne, Luke Hawker
Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi (1h 53m)
Directed by Grant Sputore, I Am Mother is an Australian cyberpunk movie about robots aiding the repopulation of humans on a ruined Earth, but it's more than just thrilling action set-pieces.
I Am Mother is a thought-provoking film that surpasses most sci-fi films that want to be deep, contemplative, and philosophical.
The film kicks off with an extinction event. In response, an automated bunker kicks into high gear as a robot (that simply goes by the name of Mother) begins to grow a human embryo.
The embryo grows up into a little girl, who's referred to as Daughter by Mother. This complex relationship—between human daughter and human mother—is led by the mechanical Mother as best as she can.
But the older she gets, the more curious Daughter becomes about the outside world that she's forbidden from entering...
1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Directed by James Cameron
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Action, Sci-Fi (2h 17m)
Never has there been a robot with more charisma, more screen presence, and more heart than Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
"Hasta la vista, baby."
Originally the bad guy in the first Terminator, the T-800 makes a shocking—and crowd-pleasing—turn in this superb sequel as John Connor's relentless bodyguard.
Directed by James Cameron, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is still one of the best action movies of all time, complete with some of the funniest lines and heartfelt scenes of any brilliant action flick.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day won't always be on Netflix, so if you're looking for a phenomenal movie about robots on Netflix, you should watch this one ASAP. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better film!