If you're looking to sob over some hardware today, might we recommend this handy compendium cataloging some of the best sad robot movie moments? Sometimes (oftentimes), we see a robot character dying, sacrificing itself for the greater good of humanity, a species which it cannot quite understand. Sometimes, in these final moments, the dying character gets as close as it will ever be able to achieving something close to humanity. Occasionally, it's a villain dying, but that doesn't make the moment any less affecting, as we'll discuss. Sometimes, it's an inter-species breakup that gets the tears going, or an appreciation of human mortality. Movie robots are really quite multifaceted and resourceful when it comes to opening up human audience tear ducts.
Vote on your favorite (or least favorite) moments below!
- Photo: Tri-Star Pictures
"I know now why you cry, but it is something I can never do." So says the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to young John Connor (Edward Furlong) and his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) after the trio successfully vanquishes the malicious T-1000 (Robert Patrick). Some context: The T-800 needs to destroy every "chip" that could lead to the creation of a Terminator - and the subsequent apocalyptic decimation of humanity. The chip is a Neural Net CPU, the microprocessor "brain" that powers these lethal future cyborgs.
Because the T-800 is unable to self-terminate, he relies on the Connors to lower him into a vat of steel plant smelter to melt his robot brain. Sure, he can't cry. But we sure can, and we usually do when this scene rolls around to cap off one of the greatest movies of all time.Emotional moment?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Nine-year-old Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) has a pretty cool best friend: a 50-foot-tall robot designed to combat and exterminate extraterrestrial hostiles. Unfortunately, the US military doesn't agree about the Iron Giant (Vin Diesel)'s coolness. In the movie's climax, Hogarth's small hometown of Rockwell, ME, is scheduled to be wiped off the face of the planet by a nuclear missile.
The Giant realizes that, much like Hogarth's favorite comic book character Superman, he must rise to the moment and sacrifice himself in an outer-space collision with the nuke if he wants to save Hogarth, Hogarth's family, and the town at large.Emotional moment?
Baymax (Scott Adsit), a personal health robot created by Tadashi Hamada (Daniel Henney) in Big Hero 6 (2014), is confronted with a tough choice during the climactic moments of the movie. Baymax determines that, with a portal to safety becoming increasingly less stable, he can still help transport Tadashi's little brother Hiro (Ryan Potter) and Abigail Callaghan (Katie Lowes), the latter of whom is in hyper-sleep, to safety. Baymax asks Hiro to deactivate him, and thus uses Baymax's rocket fist to transport himself and Abigail through the portal.
"Hiro, I will always be with you," Baymax insists. Hiro acquiesces to Baymax's request, and he floats into the darkness, deactivated. Killing off a beloved side character is a bold choice for a Disney children's film. Perhaps because this is a contemporary Disney children's film, Disney ultimately opted to back off, leaving Baymax's original "healthcare chip" in his rocket hand for Hiro to discover later. Using this, Hiro rebuilds Baymax. It's something of a cop-out.Emotional moment?
In Chris Columbus's Bicentennial Man (1999), NDR series robot "Andrew" (Robin Williams) has a complicated relationship with the Martin family, to whom he was originally given as a housekeeper. After Andrew exhibits an artistic impulse not originally intended to be part of his programming and becomes a successful clockmaker, patriarch Richard Martin (Sam Neill) gifts him with his independence but banishes him from the family home.
Andrew is reunited with Richard on his deathbed and reconnects with the Martins. Eventually, Andrew's daughter Amanda (Embeth Davidtz) winds up on her own deathbed, and as now-human-passing Andrew visits with her, he realizes he is doomed to outlive every human he ever cares about.Emotional moment?