The 5 Best Video Game Movie Adaptations Of All Time

Published: Jan 8, 2022

Video Game Movies

Video game movies are always a tricky proposition. On one hand, you have something cherished and often times near-perfect with its own universe and story to tell, on the other you have Hollywood who hardly ever gets video game adaptations right. There have been so many video game movies that didn't live up to expectations, but there were also some exceptional movies that managed to do justice for their source material.

Video game movie adaptations are often censored, re-written, lower the rating to be more "family-friendly", etc. These five movies managed to stay true to the original concept and make it relevant for a wide audience without compromising too much on its integrity. Video game fans will have a blast watching these 5 movies, and even the biggest critics will be able to appreciate what these films did right.

Several video games were turned into television programs, animated films, and series, as well as direct-to-video films. For this list, we'll look at live-action movies that debuted as major theatrical releases.

Questions About Video Game Movies

What is the best movie based on a video game?

Getting a movie adaptation right is more than just talented writing, acting, and editing. Staying true to the game and its fans is important, as is finding a way to attract a new audience to make the movie a big success. To find the best video game movie, we combined Worldwide box office sales, critic and peer reviews, and personal opinion. Some movies that we liked, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Silent Hill (2006), didn't make the cut but were early examples of what a successful adaptation looks like. Continue reading to see which video game movies made our top 5 list and which one we consider to be the best.

What are some movies about video games?

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Werewolves in our lives (2019), Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019), Mortal Kombat (2021), Silent Hill (2006), Monster Hunter (2019), Tomb Raider (2017), and Warcraft (2016) are video games that have been adapted into movies. Video game movies that were successful include Resident Evil (2002), Mortal Kombat (1995), and Super Mario Bros (1993).

What video game would make a good movie?

Halo, Uncharted, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty, Dead Space, assassin's Creed, God of War are popular video games that could make good movies. Halo currently has a live-action series in the works and has had several short films made revolving around the Halo universe. A theatrical movie based on the original game would please longtime fans and newcomers.

Top 5 Video Game Movie Adaptations


Warcraft (2016)

Warcraft (2016)


About Warcraft (2016)

The film is based on the Warcraft video game series and novels set in the world of Azeroth. The film follows the story of Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) and Durotan ( Toby Kebbell), leaders of the humans and orcs, respectively, as they attempt to find a way to stop the war that is tearing their world apart.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Writers: Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Duncan Jones (story) and Chris Metzen (story), Charles Leavitt (screen story)

Rating: PG-13

Awards: Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Visual Effects, Visual Effects Society Awards for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live-Action Feature Motion Picture

Worldwide Box Office: $439 million


Detective Pikachu (2019)

Detective Pikachu (2019)


About Detective Pikachu (2019)

Detective Pikachu is an action-mystery-adventure film directed by Rob Letterman and written by Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, and Nicole Perlman. It is based on the Pokémon franchise, specifically the Detective Pikachu video game. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Detective Pikachu, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, and Bill Nighy.

The story follows Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a young man who teams up with Pikachu to find his missing father. This leads the two on an adventure where they must unravel the mystery surrounding his father's disappearance. One of the things that makes this movie so unique is that Detective Pikachu speaks in the film. This provides a lot of comedic relief and makes for an interesting dynamic between Tim and Pikachu.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy

Writers: Nicole Perlman (story) and Alex Hirsch (screen story), Rob Letterman (screenplay)

Rating: PG-13

Awards: Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Visual Effects, Visual Effects Society Awards for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live-Action Feature Motion Picture

Worldwide Box Office: $433 million


Mortal Kombat (1995)

Mortal Kombat (1995)


About Mortal Kombat (1995)

Mortal Kombat is an American martial arts action film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson and written by Kevin Droney. It is based on the video game series of the same name that follows the Mortal Kombat fighting tournament to save Earth from Shao Kahn (Brian Thompson), emperor of Outworld. The film stars Christopher Lambert, Robin Shou, Linden Ashby, Bridgette Wilson, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa with Ian Anthony Dale playing the role of Scorpion.

Genre: Action

Writers: Kevin Droney (screenplay)

Rating: R

Awards: Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Actor (Christopher Lambert), Streamy Award for Best Fantasy Cinematography, Golden Raspberry Award for Worst New Star (Linden Ashby)

Worldwide Box Office: $122 million


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Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider (2018)


About Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure film directed by Roar Uthaug and written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons. It stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, and Hannah John-Kamen.

The story follows Lara Croft as she sets out to finish her father's research and uncover ancient secrets to clear his disgraced name. During her adventure, she becomes tied up with a shady organization that seeks to use her work for its agenda. With this knowledge, Lara must fight back against their continuous attacks in order to keep her friends and family safe.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Writers: Geneva Robertson-Dworet (screenplay) and Alastair Siddons (story by), Evan Daugherty (screen story), Mark Fergus (screen story), Hawk Ostby (screen story), Marti Noxon (screen story)

Rating: PG-13

Awards: Critics' Choice Awards for Best Costume Design, Denver Film Critics Society for Best Score, Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actress (Alicia Vikander), Academy Award for Best Sound Editing

Worldwide Box Office: $274 million


Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)

Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)


About Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)

Sonic the Hedgehog is an American-Japanese computer-animated action comedy film produced by Paramount Animation and iTheatrics. It was directed by Jeff Fowler based on a screenplay by Patrick Casey, Josh Miller, and Oren Uziel. The story centers around Sonic (Graham Phillips) as he teams up with Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) to defeat villainous scientist Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey).

Genre: Action, Adventure

Writers: Patrick Casey, Josh Miller and Oren Uziel (screenplay), Evan Susser & Van Robichaux (story by), Ian Pocketle (original character created for the film)

Rating: PG

Awards: Golden Trailer Award for Best Animation/Family, Las Vegas Film Critics Society for Best Animated Feature

Worldwide Box Office: $146 million

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