The 10 Most Underrated Movies About Artificial Intelligence

Filmmakers have long explored the idea and the concept of artificial intelligence, its possible benefits and dangers for decades but recently the topic has become even more relevant. The idea of a future in which intelligence is not restricted to humans has long been a fascinating one. A future where machines can think as well as humans and work with them to create is what we seem to lead to these days.

Recently, artificial intelligence has evolved from being just a figment of science fiction to a tangible reality. ChatGPT, a chatbot developed by the research and deployment company OpenAI is particularly considered as a game-changer and the idea of AI replacing artists and true human emotions has been a thing of concern for the creative artists of the industry.

Now that the subject is much discussed these days, it’d be fitting to watch films about the topic – both pro, anti, or neutral on the subject and have discussions about it. Here are ten films that can be considered a film about AI or heavily features AI that vary in genres, so everyone can find something to enjoy.


10. D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)

Before getting into rather heavy stuff, it’s best to start with the lighter features. Not that there will not be any more of light films but “D.A.R.Y.L” is something an entire family can watch and enjoy. It’s a type of old-school entertainment in a way.

The story follows a seemingly orphaned boy found alone on a road in a wooded region. Since no parents can be identified, the boy is entrusted to a foster family, Andy and Joyce Richardson (Michael McKean, Mary Beth Hurt). He is lovingly looked after and develops into a brilliant boy, who’s also always friendly, helpful, and innocent, but also highly intelligent. That’s the secret of it; he turns out to be an experiment that was intended as a prototype for a generation of new soldier robots.

Now some might want to destroy him because he develops feelings. It’s a kind of story common in 80s cinema, where you’re this too brilliant or different kind of person/kid and the government is worried about it. Then, of course this one has an AI twist to it and while it’s a common subject in films today, it’s interesting to watch the “what if AI develops human feelings?” subject in a film like this.


9. Brian and Charles (2022)

Can AI be your best friend? That’s what this film is asking. Brian is a quirky, eccentric inventor living in a small town in Wales. He’s a very introverted person. One day, feeling bored, he decides to build a robot. This creature of his becomes his best friend and develops, over time, a strong independence. Intrigued by the outside world, Charles dreams of being able to travel and discover new places.

Maybe some of its quirks would alienate a certain demographic but for those who enjoy this kind of film will love the charming, loving humanity it has. It’s a heartfelt film full of charm. The cinematography is excellent, especially when it comes to its use of the striking beauty of Wales. The humor is subtle enough, it doesn’t go for over-the-top stuff that might annoy you and then there’s the soundtrack that should be noted.

Overall, it’s a lovely film with beautiful messages. Co-writer Chris Hayward says they went for an optimistic future for AI but “I mean, if the culmination of AI is Charles, we’ll be fine because we can just push those robots over. But I’m more worried about those robot dogs that I’ve seen on videos walking around, trying to attack.”


8. Marjorie Prime (2017)

Marjorie Prime

Michael Almereyda had never been a director with a massive appeal. He doesn’t make crowd-pleasing films and even as an arthouse filmmaker, his films can be divisive, to say the least but still, his ideas and the kind of films he make are always fascinating. “Marjorie Prime” is one of his best films, this set in the future of artificial intelligence.

Marjorie is suffering from Alzheimer’s. She listens to stories told to her by AI version of her late husband Walter in order for her to remember and keep her memories going. The subject of memory had always intrigued filmmakers from Orson Welles to Christopher Nolan and here the director explores the topic of memory, and how we perceive our loved ones.

Almereyda says he doesn’t see the movie as an “AI film” but rather a film about humans because “It’s about how technology can both mirror our flaws and enhance them. And about how memory is part of that exchange–how memory can get displaced and revised.” Then again, we live in a world where AI tries to re-create dead artists for upcoming film and the film is about that also; how we can’t let go of our past sometimes and can use AI to bring back our dead ones or “fix” our past mistakes.


7. Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed (1977)

Probably the only film on this list that can be considered as a “horror movie”, it’s also one of the earliest science fiction films to feature artificial intelligence in a malevolent capacity. The film “Performance” (1970) is often considered one of the greatest films of British cinema but since Nicolas Roeg had done other majorly acclaimed films since then, the film is often associated with him. However, Roeg co-directed it with Donald Cammell who also directed “Demon Seed” which is well-known to cinephile circles (Edgar Wright mentions it among his favorites) but hardly ever gets a mention outside of it.

The film is based on a novel with the same title by Dean Koontz, whose film adaptations don’t always work but this one works amazingly well. “Demon Seed” is about “Proteus,” an organic super computer with artificial intelligence, designed by scientist Alex Harris, in order to help him with his research. Yet, Proteus is so smart he soon develops its own will and especially gets obsessed with Alex’s wife (Julie Christie).

Robert Vaughn’s voice acting as Proteus is particularly impressive because he can be very threatening at times; yet when it’s with Susan, the voice changes in a different direction. Kind of a 70s horror flick that is smarter than you expect it to be, “Demon Seed” is a scary view of an artificial intelligence and very thought-provoking genre cinema.


6. Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running Bruce Dern

If you had seen “Moon”, a very fine film on its own right by Duncan Jones, you can see it was an homage to “Silent Running”, which shares similar themes but is possibly an even better film. Led by an incredible Bruce Dern whose half of filmography consists of gems that would fit into any sort of “underrated films” lists, the film is set in the future where all plant life on Earth is becoming extinct. Four people are conducting research at large spaceship named Valley Forge, forming part of a fleet of American Airlines space freighters, currently just outside the orbit of Saturn. One of those people named Freeman particularly understands the importance of his work and ecology in general. The crew of each ship receives orders to jettison and destroy their domes and return the freighters to commercial service. Our Freeman decides to rebel.

It certainly has its fans. Celebrated British film critic Mark Kermode even argues that it’s better than Kubrick’s “2001” (which is a strange comparison but sure). The film is simple and unique at the same time, with a thoughtful premise, compelling leading character, and full of messages that are somewhat relevant even more today than its time.