From movies directly inspired by iconic video games, to motion pictures about computers and gaming, the film industry is a fan of putting pixels on the big screen. The world of gaming is hot stuff, and has been for decades now, and that means there are a bunch of great game-based films out there ready for you to watch.
But whether it is movies adapted from games, such as Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog, or films that merely use games as inspiration, like Tron: Legacy and Free Guy, where do you begin? Well, how about with the handy list contained in this post?
Below you will find a list of the best films about video games. These films include a mix of action, adventure, horror, and even comedy, and are sure to give you something fun to watch, when you put down your controller or switch off your monitor.
Tomb Raider (2018)
First up, is Tomb Raider – the action-adventure movie based on the video game series of the same name. The film – directed by Roar Uthaug – stars Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, and Walton Goggins, and follows the story of adventurer, Lara Croft.
Tomb Raider is the third movie in the Tomb Raider movie series, but is easily the best so far. Vikander is great in the role of Croft, while the film itself is an Indiana Jones-style romp.
Detective Pikachu (2019)
Next is the live-action adventure-comedy, Detective Pikachu. The film – based on the Pokémon game of the same name – stars Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith, and tells the story of a former Pokémon trainer who teams up with a Pikachu to solve a mystery.
Detective Pikachu is loaded with iconic Pokémon, and is filled with some witty lines. It also offers up a dose of intrigue and drama, and is suitable for audiences of all ages.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
In Sonic the Hedgehog, SEGA’s super-fast mammal finds himself stranded on Earth and up against a new enemy in the shape of Dr. Robotnik. Thankfully, Sonic soon discovers some human friends to help him out, in this enjoyable family adventure-comedy.
And if you like Sonic…
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)
Sonic returns for yet more high-speed antics in the appropriately titled, Sonic the Hedgehog 2. In this fast-paced sequel, Sonic joins forces with his friend Tails, to take on a deadly double in the form of Dr. Robotnik and newcomer, Knuckles!
Free Guy (2021)
Free Guy tells the story of a bank teller, called ‘Blue Shirt Guy’, who unbeknown to him, exists as a non-playable character in a video game called Free City. That is until one day, when he finds himself attracted to a mysterious woman, and he learns a lot more about the world around him.
Starring Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer, Free Guy is a movie inspired by open world games. The film is directed by Shawn Levy, and is a superb action-comedy.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Packed with numerous references, sight gags and nods to the classic era of gaming, Wreck-It Ralph is an animated romp for gamers and non-gamers alike. The voice cast of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman is excellent, the animation is even better, and ultimately this makes Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph a joy to watch.
Directed by Steven Lisberger, and starring Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, and David Warner, Tron is a sci-fi adventure picture, about programmer, Kevin Flynn, who is transported inside a computer. At the time of its release, Tron film featured state-of-the-art special effects, which even today have helped it maintain its cult status.
Tron: Legacy (2010)
In this belated sequel to Tron, Garrett Hedlund takes on the role of Sam Flynn – the son of computer programmer Kevin. After responding to a message from his father, Flynn Jr. is transported into The Grid – a virtual world overseen by a malevolent program.
And now for something a little different. GoldenEra is a docu-film, which details the creation and legacy of the 1997 Nintendo 64 game, GoldenEye 007.
Directed by Drew Roller and featuring input from gamers and industry insiders alike, as well as those who were instrumental in bringing GoldenEye to living rooms and back bedrooms, GoldenEra is an insightful little documentary about the history of a gaming icon. The film discusses the highs and lows of making an award-winning game, and lifts the lid on what it was like to be involved in a best-selling Bond title.
Ready Player One (2018)
Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the book of the same name by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is a sci-fi adventure movie about a virtual reality game. The film stars Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke, and is loaded with cameos from countless pop culture characters.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan take centre stage in this adventure picture about four teenagers who are zapped into a jungle computer game. The movie is jam-packed with laughs and action sequences, as well as various gaming references.
Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
Set two years after the events of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jumanji: The Next Level is a fun sequel, which sees Johnson and Co. transported back into the computer game for yet more rumbles in the jungle. This time around, they are joined by Danny Glover, Danny DeVito, and Awkwafina.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Based on the game series of the same name, Mortal Kombat is a martial arts action film, about a fighting tournament. The film – directed by Paul Anderson – is daft, but enjoyable stuff, and features iconic characters such as Sub-Zero, Rayden, and Johnny Cage.
Resident Evil (2002)
In action-horror movie, Resident Evil, a young woman with amnesia works with a team of commandos to contain a mysterious virus at an underground facility. Paul W. S. Anderson directs, while Milla Jovovich stars.
Matthew Broderick stars in this sci-fi techno-thriller about a young computer hacker who accesses a military supercomputer programmed to unleash a nuclear war. Directed by John Badham, WarGames is an ‘80s favourite, which received three nominations at the Academy Awards.
Duncan Jones directs this action fantasy film about two clans locked in a bitter war. The movie – based on the hugely popular gaming series of the same name – stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper, and Ben Foster.
Dwayne Johnson stars in this preposterously fun adventure picture, based on the classic computer game of the same name. Rampage features a collection of gigantic creatures, including an albino gorilla named George.
And finally, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong all feature in this sci-fi comedy about an alien invasion on Earth, and the subsequent fight back from the human race. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Peter Dinklage star, while Chris Columbus directs.
To save having to scroll back up, here is a list of the best video games movies:
- Tomb Raider (2018)
- Detective Pikachu (2019)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)
- Free Guy (2021)
- Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
- Tron (1982)
- Tron: Legacy (2010)
- GoldenEra (2022)
- Ready Player One (2018)
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
- Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
- Mortal Kombat (1995)
- Resident Evil (2002)
- WarGames (1983)
- Warcraft (2016)
- Rampage (2018)
- Pixels (2015)
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about the best video games movies. For more posts, check out the recommended reads below.