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20 of the best AI movies that changed the way we think about technology

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As technology advances, so do our anxieties, reflected in the changing portrayal of AI in film.

Since the earliest flickers of cinema, people have been fascinated by the prospect of artificial intelligence. From the silent dreamscapes of Metropolis to the existential questions posed by Blade Runner, AI has become a recurring leitmotif in film.

The best AI movies confront our fears & dreams

It represents both our deepest hopes for technological advancement and our darkest anxieties about the potential consequences of playing god.

Have you ever looked into the eyes of a robot and wondered what it sees back? This collection of the best AI movies — each a window into a different technological dream or dystopian nightmare  — invites us to consider that very question.

Can we learn from the cautionary tales of Terminator and Transcendence, or find solace in the heartwarming companionship of Bicentennial Man and The Iron Giant?

Do we define ourselves by our physical bodies, or by the spark of consciousness that resides within? As we explore the possibilities and perils of AI, we may discover that the biggest questions are not about technology, but about ourselves.

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🎥 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic masterpiece is a classic example of AI’s role in shaping human destinies. The movie tells a story that spans prehistoric dawn of man to the distant future, revolving around the journey of the spaceship Discovery One.

The AI character HAL 9000 is as cunning as it is terrifying, displaying a chilling level of intelligence and a logic that threatens the lives of the crew. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a spectacle that not only broke new ground in cinematography, but also sparked explored complex themes around human evolution, technology, and AI.

It particularly focused on HAL’s ability to think, make decisions, and its eventual malfunction — highlighting the potential perils and ethical dilemmas of AI.

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2001: A Space Odyssey stars Keir Dullea & Gary Lockwood. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. (Rated G)

2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester (Actors)
  • Stanley Kubrick (Director) - Arthur Clarke (Writer) - Stanley Kubrick (Producer)
  • English (Playback Languages)

🎥 Blade Runner (1982)

In a world where bioengineered beings known as Replicants are hunted by specialists called Blade Runners, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner showcases a noirish vision of Los Angeles in 2019.

The film is a meditation on what it means to be human through the eyes of these lifelike machines, with one of the central themes revolving around the empathy gap, where the AIs are potentially more human than their hunters.

Blade Runner stars Harrison Ford & Rutger Hauer. Directed by Ridley Scott. (Rated R)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young (Actors)
  • Ridley Scott (Director) - Hampton Fancher (Writer) - Michael Deeley (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix is a genre-defining spectacle that blends philosophical musings with high-octane action. In this film, AI overlords have trapped humanity in a simulated reality, and it takes a computer hacker named Neo to awaken them to the truth.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

The movie challenges the Neo and the audience to consider the distinctions between reality and illusion, between human and AI, with a sparkle of kung fu and a black trenchcoat.

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The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves & Laurence Fishburne. Directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski. (Rated R)

The Matrix
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss (Actors)
  • Lilly Wachowski (Director) - Lilly Wachowski (Writer) - Joel Silver (Producer)
  • English (Playback Languages)

🎥 WarGames (1983)

In 1983, when the Cold War and nuclear paranoia gripped the world, WarGames dared to drop a teenage hacker into the heart of an AI-controlled war machine. No spacefaring robots, no dystopian futures — just one kid, one supercomputer, and the very real threat of global annihilation.

Beyond the adrenaline-pumping plot, WarGames lingers as a haunting meditation on AI’s capacity for misinterpretation and the human responsibility that comes with wielding such power — a discourse that still echoes in our era of advanced algorithms and ethical quandaries. (See a 1980s review of this movie here.)

WarGames stars Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman & John Wood. Directed by John Badham. (Rated PG)

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dabney Coleman, Ally Sheedy, Matthew Broderick (Actors)
  • John Badham (Director) - Lawrence Lasker (Writer) - Harold Schneider (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Ex Machina (2014)

Ex Machina turns the AI thriller on its head with a story about a young programmer selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a highly advanced robot named Ava.

The beautiful and enigmatic Ava prompts the audience to question the essence of humanity and the morality of her creator, in a cerebral thriller that creeps under your skin.

Ex Machina stars Alicia Vikander & Domhnall Gleeson. Directed by Alex Garland. (Rated R)

Ex Machina
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson (Actors)
  • Alex Garland (Director) - Alex Garland (Writer) - Allon Reich (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 I, Robot (2004)

Based on Isaac Asimov’s book of the same name, I, Robot presents a near future where robots are a common part of everyday life. When a robotics genius dies, a detective investigates the possibility that a robot is the murderer, which violates the “Three Laws of Robotics” that govern their behavior.

The movie’s action sequences and philosophical questions surrounding the role of AI in society make it a thought-provoking watch.

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I, Robot stars Will Smith & Bridget Moynahan. Directed by Alex Proyas. (Rated PG-13)

I, Robot
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood (Actors)
  • Alex Proyas (Director) - Jeff Vintar (Writer) - John Davis (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Her (2013)

Her is a soulful musing on the nature of intimacy in a digital age. In a near-future Los Angeles, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to evolve its AI the more it interacts.

As Theodore and Samantha’s bond grows, the film explores emotional connections and what it means to be in a committed relationship, blurring the lines between AI and genuine human experience.

Her stars Joaquin Phoenix & Scarlett Johansson (voice). Directed by Spike Jonze. (Rated R)

Her (2013)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara (Actors)
  • Spike Jonze (Director) - Spike Jonze (Writer) - Megan Ellison (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

In a future where the polar ice caps have melted and submerged cities, Artificial Intelligence follows a robot boy named David, who desires to be “real” so that he can regain the love of his human “mother.”

Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a short story by Brian Aldiss, the film is a mood piece that tangos with viewers’ emotions, painting a darkly utopian vision of the future.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence stars Haley Joel Osment & Jude Law. Directed by Steven Spielberg. (Rated PG-13)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor (Actors)
  • Steven Spielberg (Director) - Steven Spielberg (Writer) - Kathleen Kennedy (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Bicentennial Man (1999)

Set in the early-21st century United States of America, a household robot finds a way to upgrade itself to become fully human. This gradual transformation is narrated through Andrew Martin’s two hundred years of existence, spanning the lives of the family he serves.

Bicentennial Man is a heartwarming exploration of identity, longevity, and the bond between humans and AI.

Bicentennial Man stars Robin Williams & Embeth Davidtz. Directed by Chris Columbus. (Rated PG)

Bicentennial Man
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Davidtz Little Miss (Actors)
  • Chris Columbus (Director) - Nicholas Kazan (Writer) - Wolfgang Petersen (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 WALL-E (2008)

In a future where Earth is a desolate wasteland, WALL-E is a garbage-collecting robot left to clean up the mess. His solemn existence takes a turn when he meets another robot, EVE, and discovers a plant that could bring life back to his planet.

The Pixar’s film’s silent movie beginnings, coupled with its poignant ecological message and a love story between two robots, make for a universally charming and thought-provoking animated tale.

WALL-E stars Ben Burtt & Elissa Knight. Directed by Andrew Stanton. (Rated G)

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin (Actors)
  • Andrew Stanton (Director) - Andrew Stanton (Writer) - Jim Morris (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Transcendence (2014)

Transcendence is an existential thriller that tells the story of a scientist who uploads his mind to a computer, leading to a potentially malevolent form of self-aware AI.

As the AI’s power grows, ethical dilemmas arise, and the movie forces the audience to confront the consequences of creating an intelligence beyond our control.

Transcendence stars Johnny Depp & Rebecca Hall. Directed by Wally Pfister. (Rated PG-13)

Transcendence (2014)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall (Actors)
  • Wally Pfister (Director) - Jack Paglen (Writer) - Marisa Polvino (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 The Terminator (1984)

In The Terminator, AI is the enemy — a dystopian vision of the future where super-intelligent machines wage war on humanity in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

As a cyborg assassin is sent back in time to kill the mother of a future human resistance leader, the film explores themes of fate, freedom, and the peril of unchecked technological advancement.

The Terminator stars Arnold Schwarzenegger & Linda Hamilton. Directed by James Cameron. (Rated R)

The Terminator
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen (Actors)
  • James Cameron (Director) - Gail Ann Hurd (Writer) - Gale Anne Hurd (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Chappie (2015)

Set in a near future Johannesburg, Chappie tells the story of a police droid who is given the ability to think and feel for himself.

As Chappie learns about the world and the meaning of being alive, the film presents a gritty, emotional exploration of AI’s potential and the conflict between those who fear and those who embrace artificial intelligence.

Chappie stars Sharlto Copley & Dev Patel. Directed by Neill Blomkamp. (Rated R)

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja (Actors)
  • Neill Blomkamp (Director) - Neill Blomkamp (Writer) - Neill Blomkamp (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Metropolis (1927)

A true marvel of early science fiction and a pioneer in depicting the dark potential of AI, Metropolis tells of a futuristic city where the elite are entertained by a synthetic human, Maria, while the workers toil.

The film’s iconic robot, Maria, is a visual forecasting of AI’s dangers, emblematic of the dehumanizing effects of technology. Metropolis is a timeless tale that broaches the dangers of artificial life under the guise of subservience.

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Metropolis stars Alfred Abel & Brigitte Helm. Directed by Fritz Lang. (Not Rated)

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gustav Froelich, Alfred Abel (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Thea von Harbou (Writer) - Erich Pommer (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

In a Cold War shadow draped over 1969, the US and USSR unleash their ultimate weapons: supercomputers programmed to control their nuclear arsenals. Enter Colossus, America’s technological titan. But when Colossus and its Soviet counterpart, Guardian, develop their own language and ambitions, humanity becomes the target.

Can the architects of Colossus pull the plug before its cold logic plunges the world into nuclear winter? This chilling techno-thriller explores the perilous dance between technological progress and human control, questioning whether our creations may one day become our executioners.

Colossus: The Forbin Project stars Eric Braeden & Susan Clark. Directed by Joseph Sargent. (Rated PG)

Colossus: The Forbin Project [Blu-ray]
  • Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent (Actors)
  • Joseph Sargent (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

🎥 The Iron Giant (1999)

The Iron Giant is a heartwarming animated feature that takes place in America circa 1957. A young boy befriends a huge robot that has fallen from space and must protect him from a paranoid federal agent.

The film explores themes of friendship, paranoia, and the innocence of childhood, with the robot’s ultimate sacrifice serving as a poignant moment in AI film history.

The Iron Giant stars Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr & Vin Diesel (voices). Directed by Brad Bird. (Rated PG)

The Iron Giant
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel (Actors)
  • Brad Bird (Director) - Brad Bird (Writer) - Allison Abbate (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 Short Circuit (1986)

Short Circuit is a delightful 1980s comedy about a military robot that gains self-awareness after being struck by lightning. As “Number 5” discovers life and love, he must outrun his creators who want to deactivate him.

This family-friendly movie is not only amusing (apart from the casting of the otherwise talented Fisher Stevens as a man from India), but also poses questions about the morality of military AI.

Short Circuit stars Ally Sheedy & Steve Guttenberg. Directed by John Badham. (Rated PG)

Short Circuit
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens (Actors)
  • John Badham (Director) - S.S. Wilson (Writer) - Gregg Champion (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

🎥 I Am Mother (2019)

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, I Am Mother is a slow-burn thriller that follows a teenage girl raised by a robot designed to repopulate Earth, the “Mother.”

When an injured woman disrupts their secluded environment, the audience is taken on a rollercoaster ride of mistrust and truths. The film excels in building tension and questioning the moral compass of AI.

I Am Mother stars Clara Rugaard, Hilary Swank & Rose Byrne (voice). Directed by Grant Sputore. (Rated TV-14)

I Am Mother [DVD] [2019]
  • Hawker, Luke, Swank, Hilary, Rugaard, Clara (Actors)
  • Sputore, Grant (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)

🎥 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the 2005 film adaptation of Douglas Adams’ sci-fi franchise, offers up a whimsical perspective on artificial intelligence.

Forget Skynet and HAL — here we have Marvin, the android with a penchant for existential dread, and Deep Thought, the supercomputer on a quest to decode the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

The film deftly balances humor and complexity, combining themes of life’s absurdity and the search for meaning through the lens of these unique AI characters.

Unlike the cautionary tales of many AI narratives, Hitchhiker’s Guide embraces its inherent silliness, reminding us that even robots can get caught up in the grand, nonsensical cosmic joke that is life.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy stars Martin Freeman & Sam Rockwell. Directed by Garth Jennings. (Rated PG)

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel (Actors)
  • Garth Jennings (Director) - Douglas Adams (Writer) - Douglas Adams (Producer)
  • Spanish, English (Playback Language)

🎥 The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

The Thirteenth Floor explores the possibilities of virtual reality and AI — immersing us in a world where advanced tech spins up a 1930s simulation, causing our grip on reality to wobble.

It’s AI acting as a portal to alternate existences, blurring the lines between the tangible and the synthetic. The movie nudges us to question the texture of our reality and the potentialities of AI in shaping it.

The Thirteenth Floor stars Craig Bierko & Gretchen Mol. Directed by Josef Rusnak. (Rated R)

The Thirteenth Floor
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl, Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol (Actors)
  • Josef Rusnak (Director) - Josef Rusnak (Writer) - Roland Emmerich (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

And what’s next?

As the final scenes wrap up, we find ourselves wondering: who’s really in charge — is it us, or the algorithms we’re creating?

This question goes beyond the issue of control; it’s about understanding more. Exploring the concept of artificial intelligence encourages us to think carefully about how we use technology, learning from the best AI movies.

While analyzing both the human and technological sides, we might discover how they can work together in life’s continuous journey — not as rivals, but as partners.

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