The 12 Best Movies and TV Shows Based on Video Games, From “The Last of Us” to “Tomb Raider”

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HBO, Getty

In the world of entertainment, movies and TV shows often draw inspiration from various sources, including novels, biographies, and notably, video games. Over the years, several video game adaptations have made their way to the big and small screens, and in 2023, they are enjoying newfound popularity and success. One of the most prominent examples is HBO’s “The Last of Us“, which has broken viewership records, becoming the most-watched show in the history of HBO Max’s streaming platform.

But “The Last of Us” is just the tip of the iceberg. Video game adaptations have taken the industry by storm, with diverse offerings such as the star-studded “The Super Mario Bros.” movie, and most recently, “Five Nights at Freddy’s“.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular movies and TV shows adapted from video games.

Related: Magic, Mayhem and More: The Best Games of 2023 So Far

Movies and TV Shows Based on Video Games

“Five Nights at Freddy’s”

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is a horror game like no other. Released by Scott Cawthon in 2014, it took the gaming world by storm. Nine games later, it took a daring leap to the silver screen in 2023, with Josh Hutcherson taking on the lead role as he’s hunted by the eerie animatronics of a pizza joint.

“The Last of Us”

Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us episode 8 after killing David and escaping the stakehouse.

“The Last of Us”, a survival horror game from 2013, thrust us into a post-apocalyptic world where a fungal infection has turned humans into nightmarish creatures. In 2022, HBO Max transported us back into this world with a series starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, delivering the same gripping narrative.

Related: Bella Ramsey Is “100 Percent” Excited For the Queer Romance in “The Last of Us” Season 2

“The Witcher”

The Witcher” is a unique entry in our list, stemming from a series of fantasy novels that began in Poland in 1990. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that these novels made their way to the U.S., coinciding with the release of “The Witcher” video games for PC and Mac. The game series expanded to consoles with “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings” in 2011 and “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” in 2015.

On the streaming front, Netflix took on the challenge of bringing “The Witcher” to life. The series starred Henry Cavill for its first two seasons, portraying Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter in a fictional medieval world.

“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”

When you think of iconic adventurers, Lara Croft is right up there. The “Tomb Raider” game dropped in 1996, and it was all about Lara’s adrenaline-pumping quests for ancient artefacts. Fast forward five years, and we were treated to a slew of video game sequels, which culminated in an eventual movie adaptation. The game was so good that it inspired not one, but two Angelina Jolie movies in 2001, and a 2018 reboot featuring Alicia Vikander.


Artwork for Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection on PC and PS5.

Uncharted” may not have been the first game to make treasure hunting look cool, but it sure mastered the art. It debuted on the PlayStation 3 in 2007 and introduced us to the charismatic Nathan Drake. Then came the 2022 movie adaptation, led by the dynamic duo of Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. The storyline? Think adventure, think ancient treasures, and think Santiago Moncada, the villain you’d love to hate.

“Resident Evil”

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil” is like that vintage bottle of fine wine. It all started in 1996 when the game hit the scene, and it quickly evolved into a fan-favourite franchise. It then decided to share the love with the silver screen, producing six heart-pounding movies. The plot? A world infested with zombies due to a pesky viral outbreak, and the fearless Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, taking centre stage.


“Halo: Combat Evolved” hit the gaming world in 2001, spawning a franchise of six core games. The Hulu series introduced us to Master Chief, a supersoldier locked in a 26th-century battle with the Covenant, an alien force determined to erase humanity from existence.


Warcraft: Orcs & Humans” stepped into the gaming arena in 1994, offering a realm of adventure, magic, and thrilling online missions. The game ventured into film territory in 2016, featuring Paula Patton and Ben Foster in a saga of warring clans.

“Sonic the Hedgehog”

The blue blur, Sonic, arrived on the gaming scene in 1991, alongside the likes of Super Mario. Fast forward to 2020, and Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, teamed up with a local sheriff, James Marsden, to thwart the evil plans of Dr. Robotnik, played by the inimitable Jim Carrey.

“Mortal Kombat”

Mortal Kombat” has long been a favourite among gamers. The game stormed into arcades in 1992, and its unique characters and fatalities had us hooked. It was only fitting that it inspired the first film adaptation in 1995, where fighters faced off in a blood-soaked tournament. Then in 2021, they dropped another instalment which also garnered huge buzz.


In 1986, “Rampage” gave us the chance to become giant monsters and wreak havoc while battling military forces. In 2018, Dwayne Johnson teamed up with a giant gorilla in the movie adaptation to save Chicago from monster-induced chaos.


“Doom” isn’t just any game; it’s the game that turned the first-person shooter genre into a global sensation. Way back in 1993, it was unleashed on the world, and it didn’t stop there. Karl Urban was the man in charge in the 2005 film adaptation, hunting down demons and battling the forces of darkness.

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, we can eagerly anticipate more adaptations in the years to come, further cementing the relationship between video games and entertainment.

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