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A History of Movie Robots, From 'Metropolis' to 'Star Wars' to 'Transformers'

June 30, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction opened this weekend to over $300 million worldwide, proving that humans are still programmed to love robots at the box office. Movie robots were first introduced in 1919’s Harry Houdini-starring The Master Mystery (back in the days when they were called “automatons”), and then, most iconically, 1927’s Metropolis. Robots have evolved greatly since those early days, from the singlemindedly evil tin machines of 1950s and ’60s sci-fi schlock to the human-seeming androids programmed to kill for good or evil (The Terminator, Robocop) to the more sensitive killer ‘bots who develop a conscience (Terminator 2, Aliens). And what are the Transformers’ Decepticons and Autobots but a mix of all that came before them, an enormous, CGI’d mix of metallic might and human personality? Check out this episode of The Yahoo Movie Show for an incisive history lesson of how movie robots have changed over nearly 100 years.

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