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Robot texts, toys, kits, and fiction are great, but we have to look to the big screen to see some of the world's greatest robots. On this page we feature videos of robotics competitions and robotics documentaries. We also have a listing of classic robotics science fiction films.



   Metal Munching Maniacs

Metal Munching ManiacsIn the tradition the popular television series BattleBots, the four-DVD Metal Munching Maniacs series pits robot against robot in an adrenaline-fueled combat for supremacy.

After weeks of painstaking engineering, human contestants lead their homemade mechanical creations--ranging from 16 ounces to 340 pounds--into a bullet-proof arena to pummel each other to destruction. There's smoke, sparks and broken parts galore in Metal Munching Maniacs!

Metal Munching Maniacs: Gourmet Damage
A great introduction to Robot Combat, this highlights disc contains some of the best fights from the Mayhem, Robot Assault and Triangle Series Nationals events, plus interviews and pit reports.

Metal Munching Maniacs: Robot assault
This shrapnel-stuffed disc contains 48 in-your-face matches in weight classes from 1lb through the pounding 220lb heavyweights! Bonus pit reports show the builders bragging about their robots before the fights and trying to repair them afterwards.

Metal Munching Maniacs: Robot Club & Grille Mayhem
This metal-twisting disc features robots in the 1lb through 120lb weight classes dishing out heaping helpings of robotic destruction. Contains 38 fights, plus builder interviews and pit reports that show how easy it is to get involved in the exciting sport of robotic combat.

Metal Munching Maniacs: Triangle Series Nationals
The term "rocking the house" was redefined when robots from around the nation met to crown new national champions in weight classes from 12lbs through the floor-shaking 340lb super-heavyweights. This DVD features 53 spectacular robot fights.




   Survival Research Laboratories : 10 Years of Robotic Mayhem

Survival Research Laboratories : 10 Years of Robotic MayhemBefore BattleBots, The Matrix, The Terminator, or any of their imitators, there was Survival Research Laboratories. Founded by the visionary Mark Pauline, SRL utilizes incredibly complex props and robotics to create a unique spectacle unlike anything seen before. In this DVD Jon Reiss encapsulates the humor, terror, artistic bravado and technical genius behind the menacing machines and weaves it into a gloriously cacophonous whole. This DVD shows the development of SRL from its earliest performances in front of a handful of people in San Francisco to grand spectacles staged for thousands in the U.S. and Europe.

Mark Pauline envisioned the Survival Research Laboratories to be a premier purveyor of multimedia installations featuring robots and machines. Catch some of Survival Research Laboratories' most memorable performances in this compendium, as well as documentaries on the group, the video premiere of "Delusions of Expediency" and more. 60 Minutes



   FIRST Robotics DVDs

Watch America's brightest high school science students achieve breakthroughs, set the groundwork for brilliant careers, and make extremely cool robots. They're part of the FIRST Robotics Competition, in which more than 20,000 high school students from across the country compete to reach new breakthroughs in robotics. The contest gets its name from "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" (FIRST).

Follow three diverse teams in this Science Channel original special. Feel the heat of competition, marvel at the teenagers' ingenuity, and connect with the emotion of the experience.

Several other FIRST DVDs are available on the order page.



   The Great Robot Race

Twenty-three bizarre looking vehicles line up at the starting gate of the DARPA Grand Challenge with one thing in common: there s nobody behind the wheel. Sponsored by the Pentagon s research agency this race for robotic driverless vehicles has a $2 million prize. Its ultimate goal is to gather new ideas for the future of unmanned warfare.

With names like Terramax, Highlander, Ghostrider, and Stanley, these vehicles are armed with cutting-edge technology including artificial intelligence, laser-guided vision, GPS navigation, and 3-D mapping systems. But can some of the world s most advanced robots overcome a grueling 130-mile stretch of Nevada's scorching desert terrain?

NOVA follows the competing engineering teams as they deal with the glitches system crashes and tight deadlines that threaten to derail them at every turn. NOVA's cameras capture the race's technical challenges, hilarious pitfalls, and a final twist as a surprise contender comes from behind to steal the race. 56 minutes



   Roving Mars

When you consider the odds against success, the achievements on glorious display in Roving Mars are almost miraculous. This excellent IMAX production follows the design, launch, and successful landings of NASA's robotic Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. It offers an unprecedented level of visual splendor, highlighted by amazingly accurate computer-animated depictions of what really happened when the rovers arrived at their destination. This celebration of science and technology begins with an introduction narrated by Paul Newman, then dives right into the formidable challenge of launching and landing the rovers on time and budget, with a looming deadline of optimal Mars/Earth orbital alignment occurring only once every 26 months.

At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, we see highly skilled engineers addressing every challenge and every possible contingency. After launching in June and July of 2003, the rovers traveled for seven months and 300 million miles to Mars, landing on the red planet in January 2004. Every aspect of the mission is covered in concise detail, and tension escalates as touch-down (achieved with the now-familiar "bouncing balloon" landing system) draws near. What's most remarkable, even to the crew at JPL, is that Spirit and Opportunity succeeded far beyond their mission expectations, becoming one of NASA's most triumphant achievements in interplanetary exploration. The photos, chemical analyses, and other data gathered on Mars were intended to prove the past existence of water on Mars (and hence the possibility of life), and in this and many other respects, Roving Mars stands as a breathtaking tribute to the men, women, and robots who've given us a greater understanding of the planetary system we call home.

Roving Mars is presented in both full-screen and widescreen formats, and is accompanied by two excellent bonus features. First up is "Mars: Past, Present, and Future," a 25-minute "making of" featurette that provides additional educational detail about our closest planetary neighbor, along with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with key personnel at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Then comes the 50-minute featurette "Mars and Beyond," originally broadcast in 1957 as an episode of Walt Disney's popular Disneyland TV show. Typical of that series, it's a wildly imaginative, cleverly animated look at Mars and its significance in the history of mankind. Even after more than half a century, it's filled with scientific and speculative details that are sure to engage anyone's sense of wonder.



   Mars Pathfinder, NASA Sojourner Rover, the First Rover on Mars

Mars Exploration Rovers 2003-2004
Visit our new Mars Robotics section for a look at the Mars Exploration CD-ROM featuring the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.

Millions of viewers watched in fascination as the Mars rovers maneuvered around the Red Planet's surface like interplanetary dune buggies, sending back pictures of rocks and boulders. The books in our Mars Robots section detail that incredible mission plus other missions to Mars before and since.



   Robotic Revolution

Welcome to a world where flying saucers are real...where vehicles drive themselves...where you can control robots over the internet, and the only boundaries are the limits of your imagination. Robotic Revolution is an inspirational and educational overview of the robotics industry. Produced on location throughout North America, Robotic Revolution features: early robots developed by SRI International and the U.S. Navy; Lego Mindstorms robots that can be programmed by children; robotic arms used to build cars and deploy satellites; robot athletes; robot explorers, flying robots; underwater robots; robotic surgical tools; and robot cars that drive themselves.

Robotic Revolution is crammed with footage of robots in action in the air, on the ground, and underwater and manages to provide a good grounding on robotics to the novice--both child and adult.




WISOR RobotIn a lab somewhere on New York's Lower East Side, a team of scientists and engineers are designing a robot named W.I.S.O.R.; a futuristic, subterranean robo welder that will repair the rapidly decaying century old steam pipe system beneath Manhattan. Honey Bee Robotics, W.I.S.O.R.'s creators, are feeling the pressure. A thousand engineering hours behind schedule and way over budget they struggle and ultimately leads us into a world originally thought impossible in this eerie, stranger-than-fiction, end-of-the-century tale set in and below the streets of New York City.

W.I.S.O.R. is an extraordinary look at one of the stranger solutions to a New York problem. Beneath New York's streets lies a marvel of engineering, a steam system consisting of a network of 103 miles of pipes. These "lungs of steel" deliver electricity, water, gas, and steam to more than 2,000 buildings. But the century-old system is in constant need of repair, a perilous proposition for human workers who would face 300-degree temperatures. The solution is an eight-foot-long, 700-pound machine is required to walk, stand, and contract. This documentary is more than the compelling true story of how they created this remarkable robo-welder; it is a celebration of New York "can do" and "I will deliver" ingenuity realized by a multicultural team. 75 Minutes



   The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood StillThis much-loved sci-fi classic has acclaimed performances, compelling character development, and moody feel. A large silver saucer lands in Washington, D.C. A humanoid alien and a huge robot emerge, preaching peace. The humanoid has some mixed adventures among Washington's population. A family treats him well, but the same can't be said for the military. Klaatu barada nikto, baby!

Truly good science fiction is never outdated and The Day the Earth Stood Still has stood the test of time. It's message is still as important to the human race today as it was in 1951. This is a nostalgic classic that should be a part of every video collector's library. 92 Minutes



   Forbidden Planet

Forbidden PlanetShakespeare's The Tempest transformed into an exciting sci-fi film.  Leslie Nielsen plays one of a band of astronauts who travel to a planet ruled by a scientist named Dr. Morbius. The Doctor has built a kingdom on this distant world with his lovely young daughter, and his obedient robot. The good doctor pursues his mad quest for knowledge through his "brain booster" machine, and is plagued by Freudian "monsters from the id", while his daughter discovers other men and learns to kiss.

A terrible sacrifice is required in order to save the planet from the monster's destructive wrath. One of the all-time great science fiction movies. 1956, Color, Rating: G, 98 Minutes



   The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThis is the series that was broadcast on television in the UK, and USA. Now you can see for yourself what everybody has been talking about! The HHGTTG chronicles the comic and cosmic adventures of Arthur, an unassuming Englishman, and Ford his outwardly average neighbor who is actually an alien. Together, they are transported on an odyssey that takes them across the farthest reaches of time, as they search for the meaning of life.

Hear Marvin the Android complain about "this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left hand side". Laugh as you witness the arguments between Marvin and the automatic doors which "generate an intolerable air of smugness" when they are about to open, and then close again with "the satisfaction of a job well done".

Douglas Adams invented the genre of comedy- science fiction, and others have followed, most notably Red Dwarf. If you would rather read your HHGTTG, see our Robot Fiction page.

Includes all six of the 30-minute episodes of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. 194 Minutes



   THX 1138

THX 1138George Lucas creates a sterile 25th century world in which mankind is drugged into a continual stupor. When two workers avoid their "medication", they begin to feel the force of their repressed sexuality and need for freedom.

THX 1138 works underground at the robot factory building robot cops. When his wife starts cutting back on his mandatory drug usage, his job performance falters. Considered a threat to society, he is put into a prison which has no walls. Desperate for freedom, he steals a futuristic race car and makes his escape. 88 Minutes



   Blade Runner

Blade RunnerIn 21st century Los Angeles (2019), a semi-retired policeman, known as a "Blade Runner", is assigned to hunt down and eliminate four "replicants", genetically created humanoid robots. On earth illegally from an off-world colony where they were used as laborers, and with a built-in life span of only four years, the androids have jumped ship in order to confront the individual who designed them.

In this special edition, the director has removed the voice-over narration, as well as the 'up' ending. Several key never-before-seen elements have also been added and the result is a full immersion in the gaudy, decaying police state. 

A milestone in cinema-as-art, the film is the brainchild of director Ridley Scott who masterfully synthesizes sets, casting, score, acting, atmosphere, pacing, story, theme and script into a single vision. Every knickknack in the frame, every wisp of smoke, every stroke of style adds to the weight and momentum of the film's theme: that human life is precious and beautiful, and that its exploitation is a tragic evil. This visually dazzling and boldly moral film caught many critics napping when it first came out. Typical of works of genius, Blade Runner is one of the most often emulated and critically overlooked achievements of its time. Academy Award Nominations: Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects. 117 Minutes

See our Robot Fiction page for a beautiful new edition of the 1968 science fiction masterpiece that inspired this movie-- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.



   2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space OdysseyA magnetic anomaly under the surface of the moon pinpoints the location of the strangest artifact ever discovered by mankind. There is no possibility that this strange monolith is a natural formation. It is a deliberately buried calling card, left by an alien intelligence millions of years ago. This sets in motion a mission of extreme urgency: Get to Jupiter's moon Europa, and discover why this was the target of the pulse of electromagnetic energy from the monolith.

Five intrepid astronauts (3 in deep freeze), and their chatty computer HAL, embark on this adventure, the outcome of which will absolutely blow your mind. Hal is endowed with artificial intelligence, and the entire spacecraft is a robot under his control.  Hal-class computers have never been known to make a mistake until...

Stanley Kubrick's cosmic metaphor of human evolution is a stunning visual achievement. Four Academy Award Nominations including Best Director, Best Original Story and Screenplay, and Best Special Visual Effects. 139 Minutes

See our Robot Fiction section for the novel that started it all.

Also Available: 2010: The Year We Make Contact




RobocopAn ultra-violent -- but extremely clever -- sci-fi action fantasy set in a burnt-out, crime-infested Detroit of the future. When a cop is almost killed in the line of duty, the corrupt corporation that runs the police department decides to use his near-dead body as the basis for a specially constructed cyborg -- the first in what they intend to be a line of super-efficient, crime-fighting machines. But the corporate execs didn't take into account the vestiges of human nature still lurking beneath all that state-of-the-art hardware. It turns out RoboCop has a mind of his own and sets out to take bloody revenge on the vicious gang members who tried to kill him. 103 Minutes



   Silent Running

Silent RunningIn a grim future, Earth is so polluted plants can no longer survive. Plant-loving botanist Freeman Lowell happily carries out his duties on the spaceship Valley Forge, a giant orbiting greenhouse which contains the last remaining samples of flora from a now-barren Earth.

The government decides they are too expensive to maintain and orders Lowell to destroy his cargo and return home. He mutinies, kills his more obedient shipmates, and sets out for the far reaches of space with his robot companions Huey and Dewey in tow. 90 Minutes




WestworldYul Brynner and James Brolin star in this futuristic story of robotic mayhem. Westworld is a technological resort in which a vacationer's wildest fantasies are made real. When the resort's robots begin to kill the clients, the fantasy becomes a nightmare. 

The two Chicago businessmen, spend $1,000 a day to stay at Westworld, one of three amusement parks that feature remarkably life-like androids and realistic settings; the others are Romanworld and Medievalworld. During their 'frontier town' vacation, they rob banks, sleep with robot prostitutes, start brawls in the local saloon, and even gun down the local sheriff.

Westworld's technicians patch up the robots at night, and the androids are then ready to begin another day of servicing the customers. The nightmare begins when a computer virus infects the system that controls the robots. They become self-aware... and vicious. 90 Minutes



   Short Circuit

Short CircuitWhen a top secret Department of Defense experimental laser-armed robot named Number Five gets zapped by a lightening bolt, he malfunctions and starts spouting peace slogans. Naturally, the newly pacifist machine wants out of the military, so he escapes.

As a frantic search for the creature begins, Number 5 settles down in his new home... with a gentle young woman who has every intention of holding on to her find. 98 Minutes



   The Iron Giant

The Iron GiantWhen a mysterious object hurtles to earth near his small hometown, nine-year-old Hogarth Hughes investigates - and finds himself befriended by a gentle, giant robot. But the joys of owning the coolest toy in the universe ends when a nosey government agent arrives in town to hunt down the "alien" invader. A critically acclaimed animated theatrical release from the summer of 1999. 86 Minutes




MetropolisIn the 21st-Century, a de-humanized proletariat labors non-stop in a miserable subterranean city beneath a luxurious municipality. The entire metropolis is controlled by a sinister authoritarian whose son, Freder, rejects his father's world philosophy and attitude towards laborers. Meek though they are, the workers are encouraged by Maria, a wistful young woman who assures her comrades that help is on its way. Upon discovering her influence, a mad scientist creates a Maria-look-alike that will incite the workers to revolt. When they do, the results are cataclysmic. Fritz Lang's last silent film is a highly stylized and striking classic. 90 Minutes



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