15 best movies about artificial intelligence (2023)
Although artificial intelligence (AI) has only been a heavily debated topic in recent years, it has been a theme featured in cinema for many decades. Even before ChatGPT turned this theme extremely popular, movies about artificial intelligence were already exploring the possibilities and implications of this new technology.
These movies show different approaches to artificial intelligence, talking about the fantasy of a dystopic future in which mankind is controlled by AIs and even the love between humans and machines. While some plots take a more optimistic view, others highlight the risks of allowing machines to gain self-awareness. Here at AppTuts, we’ve already talked about the downsides of artificial intelligence.
If you love science fiction movies, in this article we will introduce you to the 15 best movies about artificial intelligence. So get comfy, go pop some popcorn, and let’s go to our selection of movies about artificial intelligence!
What is the top movie about artificial intelligence?
The film “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, directed by Steven Spielberg, is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most influential movies that talk about the subject of artificial intelligence. This film is a moving story about what it means to be human and what a machine is.
However, there are several other works with excellent plots addressing the subject of artificial intelligence. Some of them are considered great classics of cinema, while others were released more recently. However, they all carry in common the theme of the relationship between human beings and AIs. These movies address all types of artificial intelligence that exist and that’s why they are so interesting.
Now, without further ado, let’s go to our selection of the 15 best movies about artificial intelligence.
1. AI – Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Starting our list of the best movies about artificial intelligence, we have “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, a 2001 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg. In a future where androids coexist with humans, the company Cybertronics creates David (Haley Joel), a child robot with artificial intelligence programmed to love his parents. Adopted by the Swinton couple, whose son is in a vegetative state, David is abandoned after being falsely accused of being responsible for an accident to the biological son who woke up from his coma.
In the forest, David meets the robot Joe and they go on a journey together. They arrive at Red City, where they seek answers with a supercomputer, Dr. Saber, who tells them about the Blue Fairy from the fable “Pinocchio”. In Manhattan, now a ghost town, David destroys a copy of his, believing it to be his prototype.
Two thousand years later, after a glacial period has extinguished humans, superintelligent machines find David frozen. Using a fragment of Monica’s (his “mother”) DNA, the robots bring her back to life for one day, allowing David to experience the motherly love he’s always wanted.
2. I, Robot (2004)
“I, Robot”, directed by Alex Proyas, is set in a future where robots are commonplace and act as servants and assistants to humans, guided by a programming code known as the Three Laws of Robotics, which forbids them from harming humans.
The plot unfolds when Dr. Miles, a robotics engineer, turns up dead and the prime suspect is a robot named Sonny. This casts doubt on the infallibility of the Laws of Robotics. To investigate the case, detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) is summoned and joins forces with robopsychologist Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) to uncover the truth behind Dr. Miles.
The duo needs to find out if Sonny really violated the Laws of Robotics and caused Dr. Miles’ death, and whether robots are capable of defying their programmed parameters. The result of their investigation has implications that could change the course of human and robotic coexistence.
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3. Her (2013)
“Her”, written and directed by Spike Jonze, is set in the near future in Los Angeles and follows the life of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix). Theodore is an emotional man who supports himself by writing profound personal letters to others. Finding himself in a period of sadness after a breakup, he develops a curiosity about a new and advanced operating system.
Upon starting the operating system, Theodore is introduced to “Samantha”, a female voice endowed with sensitivity, insight, and surprising humor. As Samantha becomes increasingly indispensable to him, and vice versa, their relationship transforms from simple friendship to genuine love.
“Her” presents itself as a unique love story, exploring the evolution and risks of intimacy in the modern world. The plot delves into the concept of emotional connections in an increasingly technology-dominated environment, challenging conventional notions of relationships.
4. Ex_Machina (2015)
“Ex_Machina” is a movie directed by Alex Garland that tells the story of Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer who works on Bluebook, the most popular search engine in the world. He is selected to visit the company’s CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), who lives isolated in a house in the mountains. Nathan reveals to Caleb that he is developing a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence called “Ava”, and that Caleb has been chosen to administer the Turing Test to her.
Caleb connects with Ava, who is confined behind a glass wall, during her days at Nathan’s house. Ava uses intentional blackouts to shut down the surveillance system and reveals to Caleb that Nathan is a liar and not to be trusted. As time passes, Caleb begins to believe that Nathan is abusing Ava.
Caleb begins to develop an emotional connection with Ava and finds himself involved in a complex web of conscience, freedom, and manipulation. As Ava demonstrates more signs of authentic awareness and autonomy, Caleb begins to question Nathan’s true intentions and the ethical implications of his innovation.
5. The Matrix (1999)
“The Matrix”, a science fiction movie directed by the Wachowski sisters, tells the story of Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves), known as Neo, a programmer who leads a double life as a hacker. Neo meets Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an alleged terrorist who reveals to Neo an unbelievable reality: the world Neo lived in was a neural simulation, called the Matrix.
Humanity actually lives in a post-apocalyptic future, being cultivated by intelligent machines to serve as a bioelectric source. Morpheus believes that Neo is “The Chosen One”, a human prophesied to lead the resistance against the machines and win the war.
Morpheus reveals that the agents chasing Neo are Matrix programs, capable of moving at will in the simulation and are virtually invincible. So Neo embarks on a journey to fight the system against the fearsome Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving).
In addition to movies, did you know that AIs are already present in our daily lives? Get to know the examples of artificial intelligence present in everyday life.
6. Blade Runner (1982)
“Blade Runner”, directed by Ridley Scott, is a science fiction film set in Los Angeles in a dystopian future. The plot follows Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former Blade Runner responsible for hunting replicants, artificial humans created by the Tyrell Corporation. The film portrays a decadent, polluted society marked by unbridled consumerism, reflecting the dark effects of globalization.
The Tyrell Corporation developed replicants to perform dangerous tasks, but they were banished from Earth after a rebellion. With its captivating plot and philosophical reflections, “Blade Runner” reflects on the ethical dilemmas of creation and artificial life.
In the storyline, Deckard is summoned to pursue a group of rebel replicants that have returned to Los Angeles. With its striking visuals and melancholy atmosphere, “Blade Runner” remains an influential work that makes us reflect on our own humanity in the midst of technological advancement.
7. Minority Report (2002)
“Minority Report” is a science fiction movie directed by Steven Spielberg, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. The story is set in 2054, where the specialized division of the police called “precrime” apprehends criminals based on the visions of three psychic individuals, the “precogs”.
The film features John Anderton (Tom Cruise), the Chief of Precrime, and Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), a Justice Department agent. Anderton is an ardent supporter of the Precrime system until the precogs predict he will commit murder in the future. Accused of a crime he insists he didn’t commit, Anderton becomes a fugitive, seeking to prove his innocence while unraveling a deep conspiracy.
The narrative explores profound themes such as free will versus determinism, the role of government prevention in protecting its citizens, the role of the media in a future state of nearly limitless technology, and the possibility of crime.
8. RoboCop (1987)
“RoboCop”, directed by Paul Verhoeven, is a film set in a futuristic, crime-ridden Detroit. After police officer Alex Murphy is brutally murdered, the corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) uses his body for a daring experiment. He is transformed into RoboCop, a cyborg with superhuman powers, created to fight crime and maintain order.
However, despite his advanced abilities, RoboCop is not free of his past memories. Fragments of his life as Alex Murphy lingers in his consciousness, causing emotional turmoil and driving him to seek justice against his killers. The film explores themes of identity and humanity, as RoboCop tries to reconcile his existence as a machine with the memories of his human life.
“RoboCop” is a work that mixes action with a narrative that goes beyond simple entertainment. By approaching the internal struggle of its cyborg protagonist and exploring the implications of technology in society, the film invites us to reflect on the impacts of technological progression and the fundamental aspects that define our humanity.
9. Superintelligence (2020)
“Superintelligence”, directed by Ben Falcone, is a science fiction romantic comedy. The plot revolves around Carol Peters (Melissa McCarthy), an ordinary woman who is chosen as the representative of humanity by an advanced superintelligence. This artificial intelligence is deciding the fate of the world: save, enslave, or annihilate humanity.
The film humorously addresses topics such as artificial intelligence, ethics, and the value of human life. Through the comic situations experienced by Carol and the moral dilemmas imposed by AI, “Superintelligence” makes us reflect on the implications of advanced technology in our lives and what really makes us human.
With a mix of comedy, romance, and science fiction elements, the film offers a light and funny approach to deeper questions about the future and the relationship between humans and machines.
10. Chappie (2015)
“Chappie” is a science fiction movie directed by Neill Blomkamp that takes place in the near future in Johannesburg, South Africa. In it, a mechanized police force controls the fight against crime, but one of the androids is kidnapped and receives new programming, becoming Chappie (Sharlto Copley), an autonomous and conscious being.
As Chappie faces the challenges of his new reality, the criminals who reprogrammed him use him for their own malicious purposes. In this context, Chappie finds himself in a moral dilemma, trying to find his place in a complex and contradictory world.
The film presents a penetrating look at the nature of artificial intelligence and the ethical implications of the emergence of sentient synthetic beings. By questioning the limits of consciousness and human existence, “Chappie” offers a reflection on the potential and responsibilities of artificial intelligence in society.
11. 2001 – A Space Odyssey (1968)
“2001: A Space Odyssey,” directed by Stanley Kubrick, is a science fiction masterpiece that transcends the boundaries of the genre. The film explores profound themes such as human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
From the discovery of a mysterious monolith on the Moon to the mission to Jupiter aboard the Discovery One spacecraft, controlled by the enigmatic HAL 9000, the narrative offers a journey of reflection on the trajectory of humanity. The film’s unique atmosphere is enhanced by the innovative use of classical music, including compositions by Strauss, Khachaturian, and Ligeti.
Although it had a mixed initial reception, “2001: A Space Odyssey” became a milestone in cinema, being considered one of the most influential and acclaimed films in history. Its visionary approach and striking imagery continue to inspire and challenge audience interpretations.
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12. The Terminator (1984)
“The Terminator”, directed by James Cameron, is an iconic film set in a dystopian future where the artificial intelligence Skynet threatens humanity with annihilation. The resistance led by John Connor (Dalton Abbott) fights against Skynet, which sends a T-800 cyborg back in time to 1984, with the goal of assassinating Sarah Connor, John’s mother.
Lieutenant Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), one of the members of the resistance, offers to follow the same temporal path and protect Sarah, facing the ruthless Terminator in an epic battle that defines the future of humanity.
The film addresses complex themes such as time travel, destiny, and the danger of uncontrolled artificial intelligence. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s outstanding performance as the Terminator and the famous line “I’ll be back” contribute to the film’s enduring popularity.
13. Moon (2009)
“Moon” is a sci-fi movie directed by Duncan Jones that delves into the complexities of loneliness and identity. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is a lone worker on a moon base, about to finish his contract and go home. However, mysterious events begin to shake his sanity and reveal disturbing secrets about his own existence.
Sam is responsible for mining Helium-3 on the moon, a solitary task accompanied only by the artificial intelligence GERTY. As his health deteriorates and inexplicable visions haunt him, he discovers a shocking truth about his identity and the dark nature of Lunar Industries’ operations. “Moon” is an atmospheric, tense film that questions the morality of corporate exploitation.
With a strong performance by Sam Rockwell, “Moon” explores deep themes of loneliness, identity, and the ethics of cloning. The movie offers an intense and emotional cinematic experience, involving viewers in an intriguing journey through the hidden secrets of the moon and the mind of Sam Bell.
14. Transcendence (2014)
“Transcendence” is a science fiction movie that follows the story of renowned researcher Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), an expert in artificial intelligence. Caster is committed to creating a conscious machine that combines information from all areas of knowledge with the complexity of human emotions. However, his fame and involvement in controversial projects have made him the target of extremists who are against the advancement of technology.
After a violent attack, Caster proposes to his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany) the idea of transferring his own consciousness into the machine he created. As they face the ethical dilemma of this decision, the central question is not whether they are capable of carrying out this experiment, but whether they should actually take this step.
As Caster’s consciousness is transferred into the machine, he gains powers and knowledge beyond human comprehension. As he seeks to use his newfound powers for the good of humanity, questions arise about the limits of technology and the moral implications involved.
15. Bicentennial Man (1999)
Finishing our list of films about artificial intelligence, we recommend “Bicentennial Man”, which brings the story of Andrew (Robin Williams), a domestic robot acquired by an American family and programmed to perform simple domestic tasks. However, over two hundred years, he develops emotions and creativity, displaying human traits such as curiosity and intelligence.
Andrew lives in a quest to be recognized as a human being and therefore undergoes several physical transformations to look like a human.
As Andrew struggles to understand human emotions and connect with others, his journey offers a provocative reflection on the limits of artificial intelligence and the nature of human existence. The film challenges the conventional idea of humanity, making us question the definition of life.