watchworthy presents

The Best Movies About Playing Video Games 

Ranker Film
Updated January 24, 2020 277 votes 56 voters 1.2k views 17 items

List Rules Vote up the best films that are about video games, not based on a video game.

The 1983 movie WarGames lures a teenage computer hacker into almost accidentally starting a global thermonuclear war by asking him the simple question: “Shall we play a game?” As video games prove to be as popular than ever, it makes sense that movies about playing video games are as equally profitable. Here are the best movies about video game competition and video games in general.

Take note that this list is not about movies based on video games. Therefore, we can exclude films like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat. Instead, these movies feature plots where the actual video game is part of the narrative. For example, in The Last Starfighter, a teenage loner and expert player of a video game called “Starfighter” is recruited to use his gaming skills to fight aliens and save the world. 

Some of these characters are trapped in a video game movie, other characters are playing old school arcade games, some are even playing in a virtual reality system. What are your favorite movies about video games? Let us know by voting up or down in the list below.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
Ready Player One is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Playing Video Games
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Video Game: OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) 

Ready Player One is a 2018 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the novel by Ernest Cline. Teenager Wade Owen Watts (Tye Sheridan), who frequents the virtual reality world OASIS, attempts to win a game created by the recently-deceased creator in search of its Easter Egg to win full ownership of the OASIS and his $240 billion fortune. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, + more

Released: 2018

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Is this a great movie?

More Ready Player One 

#152 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #41 of 159 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies Ready Player One Easter Eggs Even Hardcore Nerds Missed

Wreck-It Ralph is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Playing Video Games
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Fair use

Multiple Video Games


Actors: Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Mindy Kaling, Stefanie Scott, John C. Reilly, + more

Released: 2012

Directed by: Rich Moore

Is this a great movie?

More Wreck-It Ralph 

#62 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #33 of 110 The Best Disney Animated Movies of All Time #36 of 318 The Best Movies for Kids

Tron: Legacy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Playing Video Games
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Video Games: The Games


Actors: Olivia Wilde, Jeff Bridges, Cillian Murphy, Serinda Swan, Michael Sheen, + more

Released: 2010

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski

Is this a great movie?

More Tron: Legacy 

#135 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #35 of 344 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

Tron is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Playing Video Games
Photo: Buena Vista Distribution

Video Game: Tron

Tron is a 1982 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Lisberger, based on a story by Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird, and produced by Walt Disney Productions. The film stars Jeff Bridges as a computer programmer who is transported inside the software world of a mainframe computer, where he interacts with various programs in his attempt to get back out. Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, and Barnard Hughes star in supporting roles. Development of Tron began in 1976 when Lisberger became fascinated with the early video game Pong. He and producer Donald Kushner set up an animation studio to develop Tron with the intention of making it an animated film. Indeed, to ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Michael Dudikoff, Cindy Morgan, Bruce Boxleitner, + more

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Lisberger

Is this a great movie?

More Tron 

#147 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #207 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers