Over the past few years, Artificial Intelligence has evolved to become a hot trend in the tech industry. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s report on emerging jobs last year, AI and blockchain topped the list. While the practical implications of AI often differ from how it’s usually shown on film, here are the 25 best artificial intelligence movies you should watch in 2021.
Best Artificial Intelligence Movies to Watch in 2021
You can expand the table below to see a list of titles and go straight to the AI movie that catches your eye. So without further, let’s check out some of the best artificial intelligence movies:
1. The Matrix Series (1999)
If you haven’t seen The Matrix yet, I want you to stop whatever you are doing right now and start the binge-fest. Yeah, literally. There’s a reason why The Matrix trilogy is one of the critically acclaimed movies in the sci-fi space. The plot is set in a dystopian future and revolves around computer programmer Thomas Anderson, better known under the alias Neo. He learns the truth about the simulated world where Earth’s population is trapped in a simulated reality. What follows is a surreal storyline that is guaranteed to keep you hooked.
After completing The Matrix, do not forget to check out its sequels — The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003). You will also be glad to know that a fourth installment is coming in December later this year.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% / 85%
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Award-winning AI Movie
2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most popular movies on artificial intelligence, and everyone reading this can mark it as essential viewing. The movie is directed by Stanley Kubrick, known for The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. The storyline involves a trip to Jupiter with H.A.L 9000 (short for Heuristically programmed Algorithmic Computer), an AI character on the spaceship.
The movie got 16 awards and 11 nominations, including an Academy award to Kubrick for the best special visual effects and three BAFTA awards for the best art direction, cinematography, and soundtrack. It’s needless to say, but 2001: A Space Odyssey is a must-watch for anyone looking for an AI-related movie.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% / 89%
3. Blade Runner Series (1982)
A list of the best AI movies can’t afford to miss out on the Blade Runner franchise. Set in dystopian Los Angeles, the movie explores genetically bioengineered replicants. The protagonist Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is assigned the task of hunting down these replicants, and the story escalates from there.
Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner has also bagged various awards, including Oscar nominations and BAFTA awards for the best cinematography, costume design, and art design. If you like this movie, you should also check out its 2017 sequel, Blade Runner 2049, which has a more modern appeal and advanced cinematography.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% / 91%
4. Her (2013) – Emotional Artificial Intelligence Movie
Unlike other artificial intelligence movies, the 2013 sci-fi romantic drama Her shows the emotional side of our relationship with AI. In the movie, the protagonist is a lonely writer named Theodore Twombly, who catches feelings for a fascinating virtual assistant named Samantha.
The storyline is engaging and gives a fresh perspective on the impact AI has on human relationships. The movie’s cast includes notable actors, including Joaquin Phoenix (who plays Theodore Twombly), Scarlett Johansson (Samantha’s voice), and Rooney Mara.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% / 82%
5. Ex Machina (2014)
If a sci-fi thriller is what you are looking for, Ex Machina should be your immediate pick. As far as Ex Machina’s plot is concerned, a young programmer is given the opportunity to be part of an experiment to evaluate the capabilities of a humanoid AI. What happens next carries the storyline forward and captivates the viewers in the process.
Many often consider Ex Machina a major milestone when it comes to the involvement of artificial intelligence in mainstream movies. It has also received an Oscar award for best visual effects in 2016.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% / 86%
Watch Ex Machina on Amazon Prime Video
6. Coded Bias (2020)
Coded Bias is not a fancy, big-budget movie. It is not set in a dystopian future, and it doesn’t show humanoids or evil robots trying to take over the universe. Instead, it is a documentary that shows the practical use of AI and how it affects people in the real world. To be specific, Coded Bias explores how facial recognition algorithms are inherently biased against dark-skinned faces.
If you want to understand how algorithms and AI affect lives and the world we live in, I would highly recommend watching this movie about artificial intelligence.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% / 40%
Watch Coded Bias on Netflix
7. Metropolis (1927)
Metropolis is a cult classic among viewers who watch and appreciate artificial intelligence in movies. It is a silent German expressionist movie where a robot aims to take over the city. Metropolis is one of the first portrayals of AI in movies, and it has inspired many filmmakers to make movies with a similar trope. While Metropolis might not be appealing to everyone, the 1927 movie was undoubtedly ahead of its time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% / 92%
8. The Great Hack (2019)
If you have never bothered to understand what happened in Facebook’s infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, The Great Hack is all you need to watch. In this documentary, you get a detailed insight into how Cambridge Analytica claimed to have 5,000 data points on every American voter. The data analysis tools used artificial intelligence to create an accurate profile of voters in the US. And the movie shows how personalized ads can affect your purchase or even voting decisions.
If you feel like removing your private information from Facebook after watching this movie, come back here and go through our detailed guide on how to delete your Facebook account.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87% / 66%
Watch The Great Hack on Netflix
9. The Social Dilemma (2020)
Another excellent depiction of social media’s influence in our lives is The Social Dilemma. It consists of interviews with ex-employees who helped shape social media as we know it today. Ones that use AI algorithms to analyze your data and build an online profile to serve you better ads and recommendations.
In addition, it highlights the impact of conspiracy theories, mental health issues, fake news or misinformation, and political polarization that comes as an unconscious byproduct. While a tech-savvy individual might feel the narration to be a little too dramatic or exaggerated, the movie has an appeal that’s easily digestible for a mass audience.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86% / 83%
Watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix
10. I Am Mother (2019)
I Am Mother explores a dystopian reality where a robot raises a teenage girl to repopulate the Earth with humans after extinction. While the daughter is initially unaware of the reality, she experiences revelations when a power failure affects the mother robot. She then finds a rat that leads her to believe in the existence of life beyond the facility she’s locked in.
Moreover, the daughter then meets another woman, and the incidents after that shape the story of this artificial intelligence-backed sci-fi thriller. Popular actors in the movie include Hilary Swank and Rose Byrne.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% / 75%
Watch I am Mother on Netflix
11. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Directed by renowned director Steven Spielberg, A.I. Artificial Intelligence is set in the 22nd century, where global warming has made coastal cities a thing of the past. In this world, there exist Mecha (humanoid robots) that lack emotions and empathy. One such Mecha robot is David, but what makes David different is that David is the first Mecha capable of experiencing emotions. Want to know what happens next? Check out this artificial intelligence movie right now.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74% / 64%
12. Moon (2009) – Best Sci-Fi Thriller Artificial Intelligence Movie
While there are many mainstream space movies, Moon makes it on our list because of the fascinating dynamic portrayed between a human and AI. The protagonist is a contract-based employee working for Lunar Industries, a company with a research facility on the Moon. Just when his three-year contract is about to end, he faces communication problems to the Earth, and his interaction gets limited to GERTY, his AI companion. It is one of the best artificial intelligence movies on this list.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% / 89%
13. Automata (2014)
Another movie set in the dystopian future is Automata. In an attempt to rebuild the world, a robotics company creates safe humanoid robots they call Pilgrim. These robots have two ground rules – they can’t harm human beings, and a robot can’t alter itself or another robot.
But a police officer then shoots a robot claiming the robot was modifying itself. Want to know what happens next? Check out this movie right away!
Rotten Tomatoes: 31% / 30%
14. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
When Arthur Dent realizes that his friend is an alien and the world he’s living in is about to blow up the next day for a hyperspace bypass, his friend rescues him. Starring Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, and Zooey Deschanel, the artificial intelligence element in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comes later in the movie as the plot unfolds. And we don’t want to spoil that for you.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60% / 65%
15. Wall-E (2008)
Who doesn’t love a cute, wholesome little robot? Wall-E is a garbage collecting robot left on Earth to clean it up after humans abandoned the planet and took refuge in space stations. That’s when Eve (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), another robot, is sent to Earth to check if there are any other remaining signs of life.
Wall-E eventually falls in love with Eve. Yeah, it is a sci-fi romantic movie about two artificially intelligent robots falling in love. If you are someone who gets emotional while watching movies, do keep some tissues handy as you will need them.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% / 90%
16. Tau (2018)
What will you do if you are trapped in an experimental facility with an AI controlling your every action? Explore what happens when a woman is trapped in one such futuristic smart house with Tau, an advanced artificial intelligence system eponymous to the movie title. The leading cast in Tau includes Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, and Gary Oldman.
Rotten Tomatoes: 25% / 48%
Watch Tau on Netflix
17. Transcendence (2014)
Transcendence is a sci-fi thriller starring Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, and several other popular actors. It starts with scientist Will Caster’s partner and wife Evelyn going a step ahead and uploading Will’s consciousness into a quantum computer when his life is threatened. What Will chooses to do in his new virtual form is what drives the storyline from here.
Directed by Wally Pfister, known for his contributions as a cinematographer for various Christopher Nolan movies, Transcendence might feel like a cliché to some. But, it is one of the best and most thrilling artificial intelligence movies on this list.
Rotten Tomatoes: 19% / 37%
18. I, Robot (2004)
I, Robot is a movie that revolves around artificial intelligence-backed humanoid robots. Though they are designed to help humans in day-to-day tasks, the plot thickens when a humanoid robot is suspected of murdering a scientist. Directed by Alex Proyas, the movie has Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, and James Cromwell in the lead roles.
The movie bagged 14 award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for the best achievement in visual effects. It also won the ASCAP Film and Television Music Award earlier in 2005.
Rotten Tomatoes: 56% / 70%
19. Tron: Legacy (2010)
Tron: Legacy is the sequel to the popular 1982 sci-fi adventure movie Tron. Following his father’s disappearance, the protagonist manages to discover and enter the digital world created by his father. Interestingly, his father has been trapped in there for 20 years, and his AI clone now rules the movie’s digital world. Notable cast in Tron: Legacy includes Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, and Michael Sheen.
Rotten Tomatoes: 51% / 63%
20. Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (2016)
While this isn’t purely an AI movie, Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World explores the impact of AI, IoT, and the internet in general. The documentary includes interviews from influential personalities in the tech space, including Elon Musk, Bob Kahn, Sebastian Thrun, and Ted Nelson.
For those looking for an educational yet engaging documentary instead of a fictional movie about artificial intelligence, Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World won’t be a disappointment.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% / 68%
21. Morgan (2016)
Morgan is an experimental bioengineered child with gifted abilities. She began walking and talking within a month and was capable of self-sustaining within six months. Surprised by her abilities, the creators of Morgan reach the top-secret facility to assess if she should be kept alive. What happens next? Watch the movie to find out!
Morgan’s director is Luke Scott, and the movie has Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Toby Jones in lead roles.
Rotten Tomatoes: 37% / 30%
22. Superintelligence (2020)
Superintelligence shows what happens when a superior AI chooses an ordinary person for observation, with the end goal to take over the world. While you shouldn’t expect a realistic portrayal of artificial intelligence in this movie, it could be a light-hearted watch. Melissa McCarthy plays the lead role, while James Corden is the voice of superintelligence.
Rotten Tomatoes: 31% / 31%
23. Chappie (2015)
Chappie is set in a future where police robots are in charge of maintaining law and order in the city. One such robot is Chappie, who gets stolen and reprogrammed with the ability to feel and think. Starring Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, the director of Chappie is Neill Blomkamp. And if you are looking for an artificial intelligence movie where a robot can feel emotions like a human, Chappie is a must-watch.
Rotten Tomatoes: 32% / 56%
24. Singularity (2017)
In Singularity, a robotics company creates a supercomputer to end wars in the world. However, things go wrong when the AI robot decides that humanity is the biggest threat to the world and vows to destroy humans. Fast forward 97 years and only a few humans survive while hiding from the robot army. The general consensus is that the story development is a little slow, so this movie might not be for everyone.
Rotten Tomatoes: – / 44%
25. Robot and Frank (2012)
To sum up the list, we have Robot and Frank. Former thief Frank’s son gifts him a robot as a caretaker. Things, however, take a turn when Robot and Frank team up to commit heists. Directed by Jake Schreier, the movie casts Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, and Liv Tyler in the lead roles.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86% / 75%
Stream the Best AI Movies Online in 2021
Those are the best artificial intelligence movies we think you should watch in 2021. They explore almost every facet of AI, including friendly helper ones, those who feel emotions, and even artificial intelligence that wants to destroy the human race. Do you have a movie recommendation that’s not included in this list? Share in the comments below. If you are not in the mood for an AI-related movie, find a compelling alternative in our list of the best Netflix movies.