Adventure Movies

20 Movies Like Ready Player One Everyone Should See

February 9, 202416 Mins Read


  • Ready Player One captures the immersive sci-fi world and adventure of a Spielberg movie, with action, humor, and romance.
  • The movie is influenced by many other movies that explore similar themes and technology, offering plenty of options for fans.
  • The concept of escaping the real world through a new reality is a central theme, explored in documentaries like Life 2.0 and The King of Kong.

While it is hard to ever match Steven Spielberg, movies like Ready Player One capture the similar immersive sci-fi world and engrossing video game adventure of his movie. Adapted from Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel of the same name, the movie is jam-packed with action, humor, and romance all set around a video game scavenger hunt. There are many aspects to the movie to enjoy, like the nostalgic references and idea of living among them, the young rebel heroes fighting against the corrupt powers, and the concept of escaping the real world through a new reality.

Ready Player One is, by virtue of its core themes and source material, informed by a great many movies both legendary and underrated. There are so many examples of movies that either directly influenced Spielberg’s Ready Player One or similarly explored the ideas of the technology of this world. Those looking for similarly fun and thought-provoking stories, whether they may be light and colorful adventures, darker and violent action movies, or deeply detailed documentaries, will have plenty of options to choose from.


Ready Player Two: Will It Happen? Everything We Know

Will Ready Player Two ever happen? Ready Player One was a hit with viewers, but the poorly reviewed sequel book by Ernest Cline raised some eyebrows.

Watch on Netflix

1 The Last Starfighter (1984)

A Young Video Gamer Discovers The Game He Beats Was A Test For A Greater Adventure

Alex standing in front of an arcade game in The Last Starfighter

Ready Player One was far from the first movie to incorporate video games into a sci-fi fantasy story and it bears several similarities to the cult favorite space adventure The Last Starfighter. Both movies feature protagonists who escape their dead-end lives in trailer parks with their gaming skills, only to find that they might be their ticket out of there. While The Last Starfighter is clearly influenced by Star Wars, its effects were ambitious back in the mid-80s even if they don’t hold up today, and is much more influential than it’s often given credit for.

2 Life 2.0 (2010)

A Documentary About People Creating New Virtual Lives

A woman in the Life 2.0 documentary looking at computer screen

This enveloping documentary follows the lives of several people who develop new lives in the online world of Second Life, a virtual world that offers its users opportunities that range from financial to romantic. Spielberg’s Ready Player One explores both the escapism elements of the virtual reality world and the idea of it taking away from real life. The documentary is similarly an even-handed study of what draws people to virtual spaces and then keeps them there, examining how and why games can become preferable to people’s actual realities.

No streaming options are available.

3 The King of Kong (2007)

A Documentary About Two Men Battling For The Top Score In Donkey Kong

A referee watches a player in an arcade in The King of Kong

Another documentary about the obsessive tendencies that can come with a love for video games, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters delves into the strange and fascinating world of arcade game high scores, specifically the competition surrounding the record for the classic game Donkey Kong. As unlikely as it may seem, the movie finds a larger-than-life hero and villain in the endearing outsider Steve Wiebe and the overconfident champion Billy Mitchell, respectively. The movie is a surprisingly thrilling ride with an entertaining narrative of a true underdog story.

4 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

An Eccentric Chocolatier Opens His Mysterious Factory To The Public

Willy Wonka stands by the chocolate river as his boat approaches in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Release Date
June 30, 1971

Mel Stuart

Jack Albertson , gene wilder , Peter Ostrum , Denise Nickerson , Julie Dawn Cole

100 minutes

While 2023’s Wonka surprised many people, the best Willy Wonka movie is still considered to be the first one. This classic adaptation of author Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book brought the titular character to life in an unforgettable way with Gene Wilder’s performance as the eccentric chocolatier.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is referenced throughout Ready Player One as one of its most fundamental pop-culture influences, each story sharing the central concept of a reclusive genius presenting the public with a rare opportunity to understand and profit from the imaginative world that they’ve created. It’s certainly not an action movie but the comedy and adventure are still unbeatable even today.

Watch on Max

5 The Matrix (1999)

A Man Realizes His World Is A Simulation

The Wachowskis’ iconic sci-fi mind-bender injected modern philosophical concepts like transforming identities in a predominantly digital future with dazzling action and effects, drawing inspiration from a vast legacy of popular culture from across the world. The story of a nobody who discovers that his life is merely a simulation remains a landmark of both genre filmmaking and discussions about virtual reality, with the conversations between the characters proving as stimulating to audiences as its meticulous fight choreography. Though the franchise continued, the sequels failed to capture the special feeling of The Matrix.

Watch on Max

6 Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

A Video Game-Inspired Action Love Story

Scott holds a flaming sword in Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Release Date
August 12, 2010

Michael Cera , Alison Pill , Mark Webber , Johnny Simmons , Ellen Wong , Kieran Culkin

113 minutes

Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series is bursting with colorfully creative action and all the adolescent kicks that a movie fan’s heart could possibly desire. Michael Cera plays the eponymous bass player who must battle a woman’s evil ex-boyfriends in order to win her heart and the movie’s video-game-inspired quest is one of the greatest marriages of the mediums ever made.

The movie is also full of fun references to nostalgic video games, from the 9-bit opening title sequence to the fact that defeated characters turn into a pile of coins. The Scott Pilgrim cast recently returned for the animated series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.

Watch on Prime Video

7 Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

A World Where Cartoon Characters Are Real

Who Framed Roger Rabbit*

Release Date
June 22, 1988

Robert Zemeckis

Amy Irving , Christopher Lloyd , Charles Fleischer , Bob Hoskins , Kathleen Turner

104 minutes

One of the many filmmakers that are frequently referenced throughout Ready Player One is Robert Zemeckis, who made many strides in the field of integrating animation with live-action in feature films. There are many movies that show Zemeckis’ development of Ready Player One‘s most essential technologies but his classic cartoon mystery adventure is still arguably his magnum opus.

While it is fun to see the characters of Ready Player One walk around in a world inhabited by iconic characters like The Iron Giant and Chucky, it feels like an homage to the world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit where icons like Mickey Mouse and Bug Bunny inhabit the same space.

Watch on Disney+

8 Gamer (2009)

Convicts Are Used As Real-Life Video Game Avatars

Logan Lerman controls Gerard Butler in a video game in Gamer


Release Date
September 4, 2009

Mark Neveldine , Brian Taylor

Gerard Butler , Kyra Sedgwick , Ashley Rickards , Ariana Scott , Zoe Bell , Keith David , Milo Ventimiglia , Jonathan Chase , Amber Valletta , John Leguizamo , Ludacris , Jade Ramsey , logan lerman , Terry Crews , Aaron Yoo , Michael C. Hall , Alison Lohman , Mimi Michaels

94 minutes

Gerard Butler stars as a death row inmate who’s forced to become a real-world avatar that’s controlled by gamers in a deadly gladiator game not too dissimilar to Ready Player One‘s virtual reality world, “the Oasis.” Michael C. Hall is the megalomaniacal creator of the futuristic tech that allows all of this to happen and Logan Lerman is the young player who teams up with Butler’s action hero to take his empire down. The idea of real people being used as video game characters is a clever one and allows for some fun examinations of video game quirks and concepts.

Watch on Peacock

9 Brigsby Bear (2017)

A Young Man Recreates The Television Show From His Childhood To Give It An Ending

Mark Hamill standing next to Kyle Mooney in Brisgby Bear

Brigsby Bear

Release Date
July 27, 2017

Dave McCary

Chris Provost , Kyle Mooney , Jorge Lendeborg Jr. , Michaela Watkins , Mark Hamill , Christopher Sullivan , Andy Samberg , Ryan Simpkins , Claire Danes , Greg Kinnear

One of the most interesting themes of Ready Player One is society’s growing inability to grow beyond the stage of childhood and there are few movies that tackle the difficult subject in as heartfelt and unique a way as Brigsby Bear.

The story follows a grown man who was raised in an isolated facility with only his parents and an educational children’s TV show made by his father for a company. When he is freed and told that he was abducted as a child, he attempts to adjust to reality by creating his own movie to finish the story of his fake father’s creation and forms lasting bonds of friendship through the process, finding meaning through the collaborative creative process.

10 Room 237 (2012)

A Documentary About The Obsession Over The Shining’s Biggest Mysteries

Room 237 poster

Another interesting concept at the heart of Ready Player One is the obsessive quality of fans’ fascination with the work of their favorite artists and creators, constantly looking for meaning and hidden secrets within their back catalogs. Spielberg chose his contemporary Stanley Kubrick as the next biggest influence running throughout the adaptation. The Shining itself makes up one of the most memorable scenes of Ready Player One.

The documentary Room 237 explores the way people have latched onto that movie and built elaborate theories about its meaning, references, and allegories, specifically the mystery of The Shining‘s Room 237.

Watch on Tubi

11 Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Impressive CGI Filmmaking Brings A Cyborg Warrior To Life

Alita: Battle Angel

Release Date
February 14, 2019

Robert Rodriguez

Rosa Salazar , Christoph Waltz , Lana Condor , Jackie Earle Haley , Eiza Gonzalez , Mahershala Ali


Steven Spielberg is a filmmaker known for impressing people with practical effects that still hold up decades later, like the shark in Jaws or the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. However, Spielberg embraced the CGI of modern filmmaking, including creating entirely animated characters, for Ready Player One. That’s in line with Alita: Battle Angel, which tells the story of a scrapped cyborg who, after being revived, can’t remember anything about who she is, embarking on a quest to find out.

The movie is full of action but it also has the video game vibes of Ready Player One. Alita herself is an animated character in a real environment, which makes her and her deadly mechanical opponents very similar to the virtual creations of the Oasis.

Watch on FXNow

12 Tron: Legacy (2010)

A Young Man Enters A Video Game In Search Of His Missing Father

Garrett Hedlund holding a disk in Tron: Legacy

TRON: Legacy

Release Date
December 7, 2010

Joseph Kosinski

Olivia Wilde , Garrett Hedlund , Jeff Bridges

2h 5m

This belated sequel to the classic brings so much more modern technology and action. In Tron: Legacy, the son of a virtual world designer searches for his father but ends up in the deadly reality that he created. The movie is a giant video game where the story’s main players are tasked to compete against each other on “the Grid.” With a tale of family, self-discovery, and incredible technology, it’s a visually striking splendor that immerses the viewers in a video game world. Fans will have the chance to return to the world in the upcoming Tron: Ares.

Watch on Disney+

13 Pacific Rim (2013)

Giant Robots Defend The World From Kaiju

Pacific Rim

Release Date
July 12, 2013

Guillermo del Toro

Charlie Hunnam , Idris Elba , Charlie Day , Ron Perlman , Rinko Kikuchi , Clifton Collins Jr.

Some of the best scenes in Ready Player One involve the beloved animated hero Iron Giant being brought in as one of the good guys to battle the villain’s army. It is a crowd-pleasing moment that feels similar to the vibe of Pacific Rim. Starring Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam, this sci-fi adventure movie revolves around a war between humankind and the monstrous kaiju that emerge from the sea. An original concept derived by Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro from numerous pop-culture sources, this movie is full of friendship, huge battles, even huger robots, and terrifying creatures.

Watch on Netflix

14 Ender’s Game (2013)

A Sci-Fi Film With Rising Stars

Ben Kingsley standing behind Asa Butterfield in Enders Game

Ender’s Game

Release Date
November 1, 2013

Gavin Hood


Starring Asa Butterfield as the titular Ender Wiggin, Ender’s Game is an adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s popular novel of the same name follows a young boy recruited by a military group in the future to fight a technologically superior alien race. Through budding friendships, bullies, and training, Ender is tested to become a fighter in hopes of saving his world and the effects-driven battles. The movie draws interesting parallels to the video game world with the simulated war training of the main character having shocking real-world implications.

Watch on Peacock

15 Divergent (2014)

A Resistance Forms Against A Society That Splits People Into Factions

Shailene Woodley aims a weapon in Divergent


Release Date
March 14, 2014

Neil Burger

2h 19m

While the nostalgic fun of Ready Player One is alluring, it is also a story of a resistance fighting against oppressors. In that way, it feels like one of the young adult movie adaptations that became popular in Hollywood for a time, with specific similarities to Divergent. This action-adventure series takes place in a dystopian future depicting a world divided into factions.

Tris (Shailene Woodley) learns that she is Divergent, fitting into none of the factions and soon finds out the leadership is trying to destroy them all. This first adaptation in a series of movies based on author Veronica Roth’s trilogy is perfect for fans of teen action dramas.

16 Assassin’s Creed (2016)

A Prisoner Is Sent Into A Virtual Reality World As A Hired Killer

Two assassins stand on a ledge of a building in Assassin's Creed

Assassin’s Creed

Release Date
December 21, 2016

Justin Kurzel

1h 55m

Ready Player One draws from the love of video games, but that doesn’t mean all video game adaptations have a similar feel to Spielberg’s movie. However, Assassin’s Creed is an exception as it follows Michael Fassbender’s prisoner must become a master assassin through a virtual reality technology that sends him to the past in hopes of taking on a powerful secret society out to control the world. While the movie was not warmly received by critics, there is an interesting meta element to a video game movie in which the main character basically enters the video game viewers have played.

Watch on TNT

17 Dune (1984)

The Son Of A Noble House Must Lead An Army Against Those Who Betrayed His Family

Kyle MacLachlan as Paul with blue eyes in Dune

While there are a lot of differences between 1984’s Dune and 2021’s version, there are many who love David Lynch’s ambitious early adaptation. In the distant future, warring families fight across the stars for control of a coveted commodity and a Duke’s son leads an army of desert warriors against the galactic emperor in an attempt to free themselves from his rule. Another adaptation of a seminal science-fiction novel, Dune is a weird mind-bending journey and one of the many references scattered throughout Ready Player One.

Watch on Max

18 Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017)

Four Heroes Must Escape A Video Game

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a fun action-adventure movie reboot of the classic film starring Robin Williams. Of course, this one is much more modern and tells the story of four teenagers who are sucked into a magical video game rather than a board game coming to life. Trapped in a jungle, the only way out is to finish the game. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black, this movie has all the adventure and humor of Ready Player One, but in a simpler setting.

Watch on Hulu

19 Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017)

A Space Station Is Home To Countless Alien Races

A firestorm above the protagonists of Valerian

Adapted from a French comic series, this fantasy adventure takes place mostly on a giant space station that’s home to a melting pot of alien societies. When a dark force threatens the stability of the metropolis, special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) must find the menace and save their titular city of a thousand planets.

With tons of alien species, a vast galaxy of planets, and some futuristic weaponry and gadgets, it is a stylish and inventive story. Entering this vibrant and interesting sci-fi world is similar to the Ready Player One sequences that take the audience inside the Oasis.

Watch on Prime Video

20 Mortal Engines (2018)

An Underrated Sci-Fi Gem

Mortal Engines

Release Date
December 14, 2018

Christian Rivers

Frankie Adams , Robbie Sheehan , Colin Salmon , Hera Hilmar , Ronan Raftery , Stephen Lang , Jihae , Hugo Weaving


This movie also takes place in a post-apocalyptic universe, where a giant roaming predator city seeks to take everything in its path. A mysterious young woman, an outcast boy, and a dangerous outlaw join forces to stop the destruction. The screenplay was adapted by Lord of the Rings movie ringleaders Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson from Philip Reeve’s young adult novel of the same name and the movie is brimming with wild designs and huge computer-generated battles. It captures the same sci-fi world-building mixed with the fight against corruption at the center of Ready Player One.

Watch on AMC+

  • Ready Player One 1980s Throwback Poster

    Ready Player One
    When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg.The latest film from legendary director Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One is based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name. The book was originally published in 2011 and received much acclaim, taking home an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association and the Prometheus Award in 2012. Critics enjoyed its nostalgic and heartfelt elements, with many feeling it has a fun and engaging narrative. Its story is noteworthy for making references to 1980s pop culture, including several movies Spielberg was involved with earlier in his career. Ready Player One‘s OASIS virtual reality also inspired the real-life Oculus system.The film is set to have some clear differences from its source material. Spielberg has mentioned he is going to tone down the ’80s references (though there are plenty in the trailer), and Ben Mendelsohn said his character in the movie is not loyal to the version from the novel. The intent appears to be crafting a story that maintains the spirit of Ready Player One, but has the leeway to go off in its own directions if need be.Want to know more about Ready Player One?

    Watch the Ready Player One Trailer

    Every Easter Egg in the Ready Player One Trailer

    Ben Mendelsohn’s Ready Player One Character Different From Book

    Release Date:

    T.J. Miller, Hannah John-Kamen, Lena Waithe, Mark Rylance, Mckenna Grace, Letitia Wright, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson, Simon Pegg, Olivia Cooke, Tye Sheridan

    Steven Spielberg

    Sci-Fi, Thriller, Action


    Eric Eason, Zak Penn, Ernest Cline

    2h 20m

    155–175 million

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Warner Bros. Pictures

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