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The Best Movies About Playing Video Games

Updated January 24, 2020 476 votes 71 voters 1.6k views17 items

List RulesVote 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.

  • 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
    • Released: 2018
    • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
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  • 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
    • Released: 2012
    • Directed by: Rich Moore
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  • Jumanji: The Next Level is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Playing Video Games
    Photo: Jumanji: The Next Level / Sony Pictures Releasing
    Jumanji: The Next Level is a 2019 American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan and a sequel of the 2017 film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and the third installment in the Jumanji franchise. Bethany, Fridge, and Martha arrive at Spencer's grandfather's house and find the Jumanji video game running with Spencer missing, they decide to re-enter Jumanji to save him.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas
    • Released: 2019
    • Directed by: Jake Kasdan
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  • WarGames is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Playing Video Games
    Photo: MGM/UA Entertainment Company

    Video Game: WOPR (War Operation Plan Response)

    WarGames is a 1983 American science-fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally Sheedy. The film follows David Lightman, a young hacker who unwittingly accesses WOPR, a United States military supercomputer programmed to predict possible outcomes. Lightman gets WOPR to run a simulation, originally believing it to be a computer game. The simulation causes a national nuclear missile scare and nearly starts WWIII.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy, Ally Sheedy, Michael Madsen, Dabney Coleman
    • Released: 1983
    • Directed by: John Badham
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