Good Board Game Movies

Friday, April 9, 2010 at 9:59 am

This list of good board game movies was compiled in recognition of April being National Board Game Month. It wasn’t an easy list to put together, however, as the number of quality films featuring board games is pretty sparse.

But expect all that to change in the coming years, because Hasbro has teamed up with Hollywood to adapt a number of their classic games into feature films. For example, Peter Berg will be helming Battleship, a film about a naval fleet protecting the world from alien invaders (and you can bet they’ll work in the line “You sank my battleship!”). It’s scheduled for a Memorial Day 2012 release, and other game adaptations being discussed include Monopoly, Magic: The Gathering, and Risk. Can the Pictionary feature be far behind?

Whether you’re looking to purchase good board game movies or actual board games, Netflix is the place to go. They rent every film under the sun, and they even offer a free trial membership. Even better, they’ll deliver the movies right to your house or you can stream them online. We do get a commission for sending you their way, but that doesn’t affect your price at all.

Oh, and happy National Board Game Month!

Jumanji (1995) – A brother and sister (Kirsten Dunst) find a board game named Jumanji in the attic, and they can’t resist playing. But when baboons and giant mosquitoes appear to attack them, the siblings begin to suspect that there‘s more to this game than meets the eye. Then they encounter Alan Parrish (Robin Williams), a grown man who was stranded inside the game as a child. With their help, Alan must complete the game he started in 1969, but he’ll have to contend with hunters, elephants and rhinos in order to do so. And don’t forget about those damned rampaging monkeys!

Zathura (2005) – Based on a book by the author of Jumanji, this film is directed by John Favreau and stars Kristen Stewart, Dax Shepard and Tim Robbins. The movie’s namesake is a space-themed board game, and Zathura is the ultimate destination for the players. But when the game becomes all too real, a pair of brothers must brave killer robots, meteor showers, and even an alien fleet.

Clue (1985) – Based on the popular whodunit from Hasbro, Clue revolves around a series of unsolved murders in a creepy New England mansion. And check out the cast: Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn), Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Wadsworth (Tim Curry) and Mr. Green (Michael McKean). To keep audiences guessing as to the identity of the killer, three endings were filmed and sent to different theaters. A box office disappointment upon its release, Clue has since come to be regarded as a cult classic.

Sneakers (1992) – Okay, this spy thriller starring Robert Redford may only feature a brief appearance by a game of Scrabble, but it‘s still an important (and entertaining) one. Watch it to find out what I’m talking about. The film’s impressive supporting cast includes Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, River Phoenix, David Strathairn and Dan Aykroyd.

The Checker King (2001) – This fascinating short film tells the true story of Harold O’Brien, a widower and former checkers champion who enters the National Checkers Championship following years of severe depression. While the film deals with death and aging in a straightforward manner, it also provides plenty of inspirational material via Harold and his love of checkers.

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) – Based on the life of chess whiz Joshua Waitzkin, this film captured the imagination of both grandmasters and novices upon its release. A number of real-life chess legends make cameos, and the stellar cast is comprised of Joe Mantegna, Joan Allen, Ben Kingsley and Laurence Fishburne.

Scrabylon – A 50-minute short film about the 2001 World Scrabble Championships in Las Vegas. Players we get to know include a comedian, an options trader, the head of the National Scrabble Association, and the highest-rated female player in the world. If you’re a fan of Scrabble, be sure to check out this compelling character study.

The Seventh Seal (1957) – When it comes to depictions of chess in film, perhaps no image is more enduring than that of a world-weary knight (Max von Sydow) playing against Death. Predictably, the Grim Reaper plays as black, saying, “It becomes me well.” On the line is the knight’s own life, as well as those of a young family of jugglers. Filled with iconic scenes, The Seventh Seal established director Ingmar Bergman as an international powerhouse for years to come.

Word Wars (2004) – A documentary film that follows four Scrabble players in the nine months prior to the 2002 National Championship. As you might expect, it’s filled with drama, passion, and lots and lots of words. This 80-minute film would later become an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

Geri’s Game (1997) – Available on DVD copies of A Bug’s Life, this short from Pixar was the first to feature a human main character. During a lonely autumn day, an elderly man named Geri plays chess against himself. But as the bizarre game progresses, the senior transforms into two distinct personalities: Black Geri and White Geri. On the line: his very life and a pair of false teeth. Winner of an Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

If you enjoyed this list of good board game movies, be sure to check out some other fine posts from Only Good Movies.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 9th, 2010 at 9:59 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Good Board Game Movies”

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June 27, 2010

Jamie Bonner

Seriously Good info. I’ve gotta say though that for games, I’m still old school and love monopoly. Which is your favorite?

June 29, 2010

Shane

I’d probably have to go with Trivial Pursuit.

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