The 10 Best Video Game Movies

Detective PIkachu looks puzzled while standing near a warehouse in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
(Image credit: Warner Bros./Legendary)

We’ve come a long way since 1993’s Super Mario Bros. (Which I know stinks, but I’ll still defend to this very day). 

We’ve come so far in fact, that 2023 might have just been the best year for video game movies ever. And, with so many upcoming video games movies (and TV shows) coming out in the near future, I thought it time to proclaim which video game movies are the absolute best of the best. Power up! 

Freddy Fazbear on stage singing in Five Nights at Freddy's movie

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

10. Five Nights at Freddy's (2023)

Oh, boy. One might say, really? This is how you’re starting off this list? And yes, yes, it is. Because while it didn’t get the best reviews (from us included), it’s still a damn good video game movie. Let me explain. 

So, you know how a majority of video game movies have been pretty bad? Well, one of the things that has made many of these movies so bad is that they have so little in common with the source material. However, there’s something to be said for a video game movie that’s as in love with its source material as Five Nights at Freddy’s is. 

Not only is the film jam packed with the series' lore and easter eggs, but it even has cameo appearances by YouTubers like MatPat and CoryXKenshin, who have a longstanding history with the series. 

In that way, Five Nights at Freddy’s is the kind of movie that won’t turn you into a fan if you aren’t already, but if you are a fan, then it’s one of the video game movies that delivers, which is why it lands here on this list. 

Radha Mitchell in Silent HIll

(Image credit: Alliance Atlantis)

9. Silent Hill (2006)

Unlike the Resident Evil movies, which went full on action, the first Silent Hill movie stayed pretty close to its psychological horror roots. Though it didn’t do well critically, most Silent Hill fans will agree that the first movie nailed the overall atmosphere and creepiness of the series.

This movie also fully embraces its R-rating. One of the most gruesome moments in the entire picture is when Pyramid Head rips the skin off of a woman. The video games are horrifying enough, but that first Silent Hill movie fully captures the vibe of the town itself. Just don’t watch the sequel. It’s horrendous.

The stars of The Angry Birds Movie 2

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

8. The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)

The highest reviewed video game movie on this list (No, seriously), I wouldn’t go so far as to call The Angry Birds Movie 2 the greatest video game flick ever, but I would say that if you see it with your kids, you’ll probably have a good time.

What makes the second movie better than the first is that the pigs and the birds actually come together in this one, which is pretty humorous. It’s also a spy caper, and that’s pretty engaging. 

I also really like Eagle’s love story since it’s sweet. Overall, you can kind of forget that it’s based off of a cell phone game and just have fun watching it, which is no small feat. 

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

(Image credit: Sony)

7. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

There are many who will say that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a crappy movie because it’s nothing like the games. But, any true FF fan will tell you that most of the series’ sequels are separate narratives anyway, so that doesn’t really matter. 

Visually stunning at the time, the film actually needs to be watched a couple of times since it doesn’t make everything clear. And, while it’s not for everybody, it certainly has its fans (Roger Ebert loved it, for instance!). It may have been a box office bomb, but it’s one of the few video game movies that genuinely took itself seriously, and for that, it should be praised.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in Mortal Kombat

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

6. Mortal Kombat (1995)

Let me be clear. 1995’s Mortal Kombat looks super dated. But Mortal Kombat was probably the greatest video game movie ever when it was first released. It’s definitely one of those “you had to be there” kind of movies, though. That said, I’d still rather watch this Mortal Kombat over the one that came out in 2021

And it might be because the 1995 movie just feels closer to the actual games. Goro was menacing, Raiden was awesome, and that scene with Scorpion and Johnny Cage in the forest still gives me chills. It would be even higher on this list, but I can’t in good faith call it a good movie if you weren’t a ‘90s kid and Mortal Kombat wasn’t your life growing up.

Archie Madekwe driving during a race in Gran Turismo.

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures/Sony)

5. Gran Turismo (2023)

Gran Turismo is an interesting case, since it’s both a biographical picture, as well as a story based around a video game. It’s different, but it works. 

It’s the story of one Jann Mardenborough, who’s an actual person who got to race in real life after setting a record in the Gran Turismo video game. 

What follows is a way-better-than-decent sports movie that is both exciting as a racing flick, but also fascinating as a character study. In a lot of ways, it hits all the regular story beats that you would expect in this kind of movie, but it still feels unique since it’s centered around a video game…and yet, based on a true story. 

As I said before, it’s different, but it works. 

Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)

Here’s what’s weird about the Sega sequel--Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is even closer to the games than the first movie, and yet, not as good. Now, that’s not to say that it’s bad (I mean, look where it lands on this list), but by adding in more elements from the games, like Tails, Knuckles, and the chaos emeralds, it kind of feels a little less special than the original. 

However, the fan service is laid on so thickly with this one that any Sonic fan is going to be in hedgehog heaven. Dr. Robotnik returns, which means Jim Carrey returns. And, just like in the first movie, he plays a complete weirdo. In fact, while Sonic and the gang are fun, I’d argue that Jim Carrey steals the show, as his performance is bigger, broader, and even a little scary, making him one of the most memorable video game movie villains ever. 

So, while it might not reach the heights of the first movie, it still manages to snag quite a few golden rings on its own. 

Detective Pikachu holds a magnifying glass to his eye in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

(Image credit: Warner Bros./Legendary)

3. Detective Pikachu (2019)

To this day, Detective Pikachu still impresses me. First of all, it does CGI animation right, and the Pokemon look amazing. And secondly, the fights are stunning, as anybody who’s actually played the Pokemon games will recognize just how true they are to the series.

But, most importantly, Detective Pikachu’s story is enjoyable enough for anybody who’s never played a Pokemon game before, but infinitely more enjoyable if you have played  the games before. And honestly, what more could you possibly want from a video game movie? 

The Super Mario Bros with Charles Martinet's Character

(Image credit: Peacock)

2. Super Mario Bros. The Movie (2023)

Much like with Five Nights at Freddy’s, the critics weren’t necessarily kind to Super Mario Bros. The Movie. But, do you know what? The fans, such as myself, didn’t particularly care since we loved it! All to the tune of a billion dollars

It’s probably because this was a movie purely for the fans. Levels and music from not only Mario’s history, but Nintendo’s history (I mean, there’s even a Kid Icarus reference for crying out loud) make this pretty much the perfect love letter to anybody who grew up playing Nintendo as a child. 

And, what’s even more impressive is that no matter when you were born, there was still something for you if you’ve ever played a Super Mario game, as the movie pulled from the plumber’s entire history. So, sure, maybe it wasn’t the deepest narrative, but for the first time ever, it seemed like a video game movie was made JUST for the fans. That said… 

Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

1. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

The original Sonic the Hedgehog film is still the best video game movie of all time. This is kind of shocking, because if you were to ask me which character has the better games, I’d say Mario in a heartbeat. However, while I think the 2023 Super Mario Bros. film is a great video game movie, I think Sonic the Hedgehog is a genuinely great movie overall.

Because from beginning to end, Sonic the Hedgehog is a wonderful family flick. Its greatest strength may be that it doesn’t follow any of the games’ narratives and instead sets off on its own path. Sonic and his newfound pal, “Donut Lord” need to get Sonic back home, but along the way, they connect in ways that are sweet in all the best ways. 

Most of the humor also hits, and the action is top notch. In that way, Sonic the Hedgehog is the current king of video game movies. 

But, what do you think? For more news on all things video games-adjacent, be sure to swing by here often!

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.