Updated: November 08, 2020|
The robot Gort is one of the most memorable pop culture images from the Cold War era. Introduced in the 1951 movie classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, Gort comes to Earth as the killer robot bodyguard of the mysterious spaceman, Klaatu, who is on a mission of peace.
Even in black and white, Gort is an awesome presence as he emerges from the flying saucer, a giant eight-foot robot with the power to evaporate anything he targets with his laser-like vision.
Gort embodies the threat of the unknown and the unfamiliar, as the film explores the human tendency to panic and rush to violence when confronted by situations we don't know and don't understand. Of course, Gort is most remembered for his dramatic encounter with actress Patricia Neal, in which her character Helen stops his mission of destruction with one of the most famous commands in science fiction: Gort, Klaatu barada nikto!
As a character of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Gort was the creation of screenwriter Edmund North, who with director Robert Wise, created one of the greatest science fiction movies and the greatest science fiction robots of all time.
Don Marinelli, professor of drama and director of Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center says about Gort,
"...Gort represents a watershed moment in science fiction ideology. Gort was a reaction to a world mired in post-Holocaust existential relativism, to belief in definable concepts of 'good and evil' and other societal and moral dictums...The proposition that there is an absolute sense of right and wrong, or acceptable and unacceptable, is a political debate that continues to dictate peace and conflict throughout the world today."
GORT, for your unforgettable screen presence that, even today, communicates the lethal consequences of human conflict and inspires us to carefully contemplate the use of robots in war and peace...we welcome you, GORT, to the Robot Hall of Fame!