Films For Gamers

edited August 2007 in Story Games
OK, so I think I've missed out on a lot of the good films I should have seen. I'm looking for any "must see" films for gamers, broken out by genre if possible. And not films you think are mediocre but on-topic or even films you liked somewhat. We're talkin' films you gotta see type films with a gamer angle.

Here are some of mine in rough categories:

Western
Unforgiven
Magnificent Seven
High Plains Drifter
Silverado
Pale Rider
Last of the Mohican (OK, early western)

Sci-Fi:
Star Wars: Episode IV
2001 a Space Odyssey
Blade Runner
Aliens
Predator

Medieval/Fantasy
Excalibur
Braveheart
Rob Roy
Name of the Rose

Noir Detective
Chinatown

Samurai
Seven Samurai
Yojimbo
Ran
Kagemusha

Kung Fu
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Big Trouble in Little China (could easily be moved in comedy section)
Berry Gordy's the Last Dragon (also could be in comedy section)

Horror/Occult
The Crow
Pan's Labrynth
Sixth Sense
Poltergeist

Detective/Police/Noir/Spy
Chinatown
Three Days of the Condor
Thunderball
Dr. No
Man with the Golden Gun
French Connection
Serpico
Lethal Weapon
First Blood - not sure where this one belongs
Reservoir Dogs

War
Platoon
Full Metal Jacket
Apocalypse now
Saving Private Ryan

I know I'm leaving bunches off the list, but thats a start. Would welcome any suggestions of other films that should be included. Also, welcome any discussion about the films and why they should or should not be on the list.

James
«13

Comments

  • Um, I can't believe you didn't include Die Hard under police movies.

    Protagonist gets the crap kicked out of him and has shit go entirely wrong for 80 minutes, and then cleans house in the last 15.

    Or, as it exists in my head, he took compels the entire session and then blew all his fate points on the boss fight. That film isn't a film at all - it's half of a manual for how to play Spirit of the Century and/or Fate.

    Indiana Jones is the other half. So, by default, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Cast a Deadly Spell, if you can find it, for occult noir with a funny side. Also known as how I played World of Darkness most of the time, despite (or because of) occasional serious protest.

    Probably, for the story games crowd, Munich, Downfall, and old episodes of The Twilight Zone - not a movie, but I'll cheat a little. Because without these under your belt, how are you supposed to play any game of Jason Morningstar's without your face melting off?
  • Well, my list was spontaneous and not intended to be comprehensive. Merely as a prod for discussion. I'm much more interested in the list of games I haven't seen that comes out of discussion.

    Die Hard definitely should have been up there. Same with Raiders.

    Cast a Deadly Spell, I have not seen.
  • Everything you need to know about my gaming and me you can find out by watching Big Trouble In Little China. You can just scratch everything else off the list.
  • Angel Heart -- Voodoo movies are rare gems. Good voodoo movies are the Hope Diamond of horror films. This is, simply, a great horror/noir film.

    The Dirty Dozen -- This might as well be a roleplaying game. Convicts given a second chance if they can survive a suicide mission behind Nazi lines. That's a Godlike game waiting to happen.

    High Noon -- The quintessential Good vs Evil Western, as well as the first western to showcase human nature. Arguably a big inspiration for Unforgiven.

    Reincarnation -- A very bizarre indie film released at the "8 Films to Die For" festival, Reincarnation is a great tale of madness, murder, and vengeful ghosts viewed through the surreal lense of Japanese horror.

    The Thing (1982) -- John Carpenter's remake of the original manges to capture the paranoia of the original "Who Goes There?" with unparalleled excellence. Who can you trust?

    Versus (2000) -- Zombies. Kung-fu. Kung-fu zombies! It's illogical, plotless, and silly -- all in the correct proportions. When you just want to make with the undead killing action, there is no other choice.
  • edited August 2007
    sorry if some of these are doubles

    13th Warrior
    28 Days Later
    A Bridge too Far
    Amazon Women on the Moon
    Band of Brothers
    Big Trouble in Little China
    Black Hawk Down
    Blood Simple
    Bridge on the River Kwai
    Brotherhood of the Wolf
    Bubba Ho-Tep
    Bullitt
    Collateral
    Dark City
    Dirty Dozen
    Donnie Darko
    Dr. Strangelove
    Dune
    The Emporer and the Assassin
    Equilibrium
    Face/Off
    Fargo
    The Final Option
    Flight of the Phoenix (original)
    The French Connection
    The Getaway (both versions)
    Ghost Dog
    The Great Escape
    Hard Boiled
    Heat
    Hero (by Zhang Yimou)
    Highlander
    Hooper
    The Hunter (1980 with Steve McQueen)
    Iron Monkey
    Joe vs. The Volcano
    Kill Me Again (Noir)
    Kung Fu Hustle
    La Femme Nikita
    Last of the Dogmen
    To Live and Die in LA
    The Longest Day
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Magnificent Seven
    Man bites Dog
    Manchurian Candidate (original)
    Men of War
    Miller’s Crossing
    Mystery Men
    Night of the Comet
    Old Boy
    Once Were Warriors
    Osterman Weekend
    The Package
    Pitch Black
    Purple Moon
    Queen Margot
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker
    Richard III
    Road House
    Ronin
    Sanjuro
    Serpent and the Rainbow (Speaking of Voodoo)
    Seven Samurai
    Shaun of the Dead
    The Shining
    Sin City
    Smokey and the Bandit
    Snatch
    Sneakers
    Something Wicked this Way Comes
    Spartan
    Strange Days
    Straw Dogs
    The Thing (John Carpenter)
    Unbreakable
    Where Eagles Dare
    The Wild Bunch
    Yojimbo
  • The thing about these genres is, they're pretty broad. Personally, I really like the kind of visceral horror movie that's soaked in blood and profanity and gore, coupled with some good belly laughs. So, I would say you want to throw in Slither, Dog Soldiers, Feast, The Descent, and Hostel 1&2.

    However, there's also something to be said for more psychological horror, as found in movies like Seven and Jacob's Ladder.

    I don't know if it muddies the water to further splinter the genres that you've pointed out...
  • Sorry, but... why a "movie for gamers" list would be any different from a "movie for people" list?

    (and I have to add, "gamer talk" at the movies is a pet peeve of mine. I really don't care about how many hp Darth Vader has, or what it's Lord Voldemort's level, or any of these things. When after a movie I want to talk about the theme of a movie and my friends only want to talk "gamers-speak" I could strangle them)
  • edited August 2007
    Posted By: Moreno R.Sorry, but... why a "movie for gamers" list would be any different from a "movie for people" list?

    (and I have to add, "gamer talk" at the movies is a pet peeve of mine. I really don't care about how many hp Darth Vader has, or what it's Lord Voldemort's level, or any of these things. When after a movie I want to talk about the theme of a movie and my friends only want to talk "gamers-speak" I could strangle them)
    Well, I guess statting out characters from movies in your favorite game terms can be fun sometimes, but I too would rather discuss theme and pacing and cinematography, etc. However, I do feel that "Films for Gamers" provides a different focus for the list than just "Films for People." There are great films that wouldn't be my first choice to add to the list. F'rex "Kramer v. Kramer." I know you could have a great game playing a divorcing father of two trying to juggle work and family. But, if you are asked "what's your favorite film for a gamer" and you answer Kramer v. Kramer, you are more than likely making a philosophical statement about the question that was asked rather than providing an answer to the question itself.

    Admittedly, the question leaves much open to interpretation, but it is my hope that the nature of the question will prompt unusual and interesting responses as well as the expected ones.
  • I recently playtested two different games that produced good to great stories, neither of which would have made a good "general release" film. Now. Granted, I just watched Jo-Dou and Shanghai Triad back to back, so my taste in stories isn't "general release" anyway.

    But I can't imagine a movie about a Pirate that sodomizing the cabin boy is going to go over very well in the PG-13 market.

    There's something to be said for films that inspire us to tell different stories and to expand the range of acceptable "genres." I agree that the knights who say nee and the people who stat out R2-D2 probably don't donate money to the "arts," but I don't think a list that encourages people to make their Dogs games more like Unforgiven or Pale Rider is a bad thing, either.
  • Good stuff. I'll add a few more that hve inspired recent gaming for me.

    Curse of the Golden Flower
    Battle Royale (for perhaps obvious reasons)
    Sunshine
    Avalon
    VS
  • Wild Zero.

    Seriously, it has Mobsters, Zombies, Aliens, Arms Dealers and Rock & Roll. And there's a scene where a guy PULLS A KATANA OUT OF HIS GUITAR AND CUTS A UFO IN HALF!!!11one1!!eleven!!!

    Ask yourself: How many gaming sessions would be better if that happened at least once?
  • The Bicycle Thief
    La Dolce Vita
    Down By Law
    American Graffiti
    Apocalypse Now
    Jaws
    Scanners
  • edited August 2007
    Hey, could I ask that people spend a bit of time explaining why the films are worthy rather than just spitting out lists?

    The Wages of Fear is perhaps my favorite movie (it had a crappy American remake called 'Sorcerer'). Starts out at a slow pace, 45 minutes of hopeless expats trapped in a Venezuelan town with no money and no way out. Then they're offered a job by the oil company! There's an oil fire. And the company needs to get nitroglycerin to the fire to snuff it out. In trucks that don't have the right equipment for transporting nitroglycerin. Across the terrible conditions of the Venezuelan roads. So we're offering it to you hopeless schmucks because none of our guys will do it.

    What follows is perhaps the most harrowing hour and a half of film I've ever seen. And most of it is guys in a truck cab, driving slowly, watching the road for potholes. You wait for the explosion. And wait. And wait.

    And the first 45 minutes sketches out the characters, their situation, their lies and their hopes. The movie would not work without the setup in the town, it needs to show you the listlessness of their existence before plunging you into the thick of it. I don't know as it's directly applicable to gaming, but there are definitely some pacing lessons, and ideas about how simply presaging big defeat can be more effective than the defeat itself.
  • Posted By: jdrakehVersus (2000) -- Zombies. Kung-fu. Kung-fu zombies! It's illogical, plotless, and silly -- all in the correct proportions. When you just want to make with the undead killing action, there is no other choice.
    However, in the above it has some of the most awesome low-budget martial arts action scenes in the movie industry, period. Particularly the sword fights: They had awesome cuts and moves without using wires, CG, etc: Just normal cuts.

    Also, I'd recommend:
    BLADE 2 (my favorite of the series) for the reason that you watch how they do action and fights. Every fistfight/combat is cinematic awesome that is hard not to draw upon for a game which includes action and player narration of that action.

    -Andy
  • I know it's not technically a film, but anyone who likes anything should watch The Wire. It is the best thing ever captured in moving visual images.

    It's also perfect for RPG modeling due to its ensemble nature and meandering but still forward-moving plot.
  • edited August 2007
    Robert: My girlfriend and I just finished the first season and it blew us away. Gonna give it a week or two and then start on the next season. The Wire is really amazing.

    EDIT: It's a master-class on how to juggle a large cast, bringing up and filling out background characters. It was also nice because people changed, adjusting to their situation, and actually learning from their mistakes. So good.
  • Brazil
    I"ll third the Wire
    Rome
    Point Break (seriously!)
    City of God
  • "Run, Lola, Run" makes me feel like I'm watching a hippie-style story game.

    -- Alex
  • I can't believe none of you have mentioned Hudson Hawk.
  • jznjzn
    edited August 2007
    Silverado is a great roleplaying movie, because of Jeff Goldblum's character. Jeff Goldblum in Silverado is some guy who's a friend of the DM, and gets brought into the adventure midway. He actually makes his entrance in the middle of a very serious murder investigation, when he has no reason to be there. The other adventurers are all gritty and doing this grim scene, and Goldblum's player says, "Ok my character comes in and he's, like wearing this AWESOME fur coat.". The other players are like "uhh, ok...". They throw him a bone by interacting with him superficially, then try to move on with their dramatic scene, trying to find out who killed this woman. But then Goldblum's player says "Check it out, I've got a sweet silver-plated gun strapped to my ankle, and I run this super-ritzy gambling place". The other players are like "fine", and Goldblum is like, "my name's 'Slick'".
  • edited August 2007
    Posted By: Remi
    The Wages of Fearis perhaps my favorite movie (it had a crappy American remake called 'Sorcerer'). Starts out at a slow pace, 45 minutes of hopeless expats trapped in a Venezuelan town with no money and no way out. Then they're offered a job by the oil company! There's an oil fire. And the company needs to get nitroglycerin to the fire to snuff it out. In trucks that don't have the right equipment for transporting nitroglycerin. Across the terrible conditions of the Venezuelan roads. So we're offering it to you hopeless schmucks because none of our guys will do it.


    William Freidkin directed this film (one of his first) and it is among one of the best movies I've ever seen. Excellent addition to the list. Yeah, great suspense stuff... I wish there was a way to distill this sort of tension into an RPG.

    Kent... city of god is among one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen. Sweet zombie jesus.

    Andy... I agree. Blade 2 is a fantastic approach to the "misfit" group with dynamic fight scenes that never duplicate one another... unlike the ass-monkey film ... Ultraviolet.... or anything with Segal.

    Robert/Remi... I really wanted to enjoy the Wire... but I couldn't get past some of the low-production values and acting. I know there's some good there, but I'm probably being overly pretentious about it.

    And detailing some of my list.

    13th Warrior: Not enough Norse films out there. Here's my online review. http://top400.blogspot.com/2005_12_04_archive.html

    28 Days Later: Not just a zombie movie, but another of Danny Boyle's deep end of the world films, about man vs. his environment and the simplicity of life without the distractions of technology. The pacing in this movie is fantastic. Characters waking from a coma is always a good starting point for a campaign/adventure. And slowly dealing with zombies and the other evils of the world all the tension rackets up is perfect directing/GMing.

    A Bridge too Far: My favorite war movie and an excellent ensemble film. A little preachy at times, hearing Gene Hackman say "Jermans" in a polish accent is worth every penny of admission.
  • War
    Fuck movies that glorify war. If you want to play at war, get some idea what you are playing at:

    Idi I Smotri (Come and See), which is nominally about Ukrainian partisans during WW2. In addition to being a fine film from a technical perspective, the incandescent hatred for the Germans that radiates from the script, direction, and performances is eye-opening. This is a movie that will sicken you, which means it is a very good war movie.

    Kanal, a film about that Warsaw uprising all the cool kids are talking about. Most of it takes place in the sewers beneath Śródmieście and Old Town. Wajda shoots it in harsh black and white and uses his defined palette to great effect. Harrowing. Plus Teresa Izewska is hot.

    Kon Ichikawa's Fires on the Plain is as well-made and horrible as either of the two above, but it is infused with a grim humor that leavens the utter calamity of it all - a picaresque soldier's story about the retreat across Leyte by the remains of the Japanese army in February, 1945. The main character spends a lot of time counting grains of rice.
  • edited August 2007
    Posted By: jim pintoPosted By: Remi
    The Wages of Fear
    William Freidkin directed this film (one of his first) and it is among one of the best movies I've ever seen. Excellent addition to the list. Yeah, great suspense stuff... I wish there was a way to distill this sort of tension into an RPG.

    You're talking about the remake, Sorcerer, which I feel is inferior. The original is a French language film direct by Henri-Georges Clouzot. (that's totally cool, though! I agree about being able to distill that tension around a game table. I think that part of the reason the movie works so well is it exploits the relationship between the viewer and the movie so well. You are helpless to watch as the movie moves forward.)
  • Jason, have you seen Tae Guk Gi? It's a Korean War film from the perspective of the Koreans. Fantastic! It puts Private Ryan to shame.

    And the star of Old Boy makes an appearance as a North Korean officer.
  • edited August 2007
    Posted By: RemiPosted By: jim pintoPosted By: Remi
    The Wages of Fear
    William Freidkin directed this film (one of his first) and it is among one of the best movies I've ever seen. Excellent addition to the list. Yeah, great suspense stuff... I wish there was a way to distill this sort of tension into an RPG.

    You're talking about the remake, Sorcerer, which I feel is inferior. The original is a French language film direct by Henri-Georges Clouzot. (that's totally cool, though! I agree about being able to distill that tension around a game table. I think that part of the reason the movie works so well is it exploits the relationship between the viewer and the movie so well. You are helpless to watch as the movie moves forward.)

    you are absolutely right. damn. now i need to see the original.

    EDIT: hilarious. it was already at 118 in my netflix queue. it's at that top now. thanks for the recommendation.

    have you seen purple moon? it's the predecessor to talent mr. ripley... only 3 hours long and french.... oh and it's good.
  • Posted By: jim pintoTae Guk Gi?
    Sure have! I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would. I don't think it quite meets my "fuck movies that glorify war" criteria, which is totally understandable given the film's POV and audience. I really enjoyed the Korean take on the war, though. I also liked Joint Security Area.
  • And of course, there's Graves of Fireflies.
  • edited August 2007
    Posted By: jznSilverado is a great roleplaying movie, because of Jeff Goldblum's character. Jeff Goldblum in Silverado is some guy who's a friend of the DM, and gets brought into the adventure midway. He actually makes his entrance in the middle of a very serious murder investigation, when he has no reason to be there. The other adventurers are all gritty and doing this grim scene, and Goldblum's player says, "Ok my character comes in and he's, like wearing this AWESOME fur coat.". The other players are like "uhh, ok...". They throw him a bone by interacting with him superficially, then try to move on with their dramatic scene, trying to find out who killed this woman. But then Goldblum's player says "Check it out, I've got a sweet silver-plated gun strapped to my ankle, and I run this super-ritzy gambling place". The other players are like "fine", and Goldblum is like, "my name's 'Slick'".
    Holy hell!!!! Yeah, Silverado is one of my favorite flicks from long ago (haven't seen it in at least a dozen years though), but you nailed it to a T. Hil-Arious.

    Slick's player: (points to Danny Glover's player) Oh, and I'm totally boning your sister as well.
    Glover: What? I didn't even have a sister on my character sheet.
    Slick: You do now. And I'm givin' her skins.

    The Jeff Goldblum bit reminds me of another great movie he was in, which I recommend to just about everyone. Definitely a "story gamer" movie" and not a "gamer movie", though:

    DEEP COVER. Probably one of the best crime flicks of the 90s. The main character is at war with himself from A to Z, and by the end you can almost smell all sorts of Dogs-style fallout and relationship dice going back and forth.

    EDIT: Some quotes from Deep Cover, courtesy of IMDB:
    David is a lawyer with the Devil of "Respect".
    Nancy Jason: What did they do to you?
    David Jason: They taught me what I needed to know: that they don't respect me, that I don't deserve respect.
    Nancy Jason: Oh, David, you've gotta get out of this business. You have a wife and a daughter who love you. I love you. What more do you want?
    David Jason: I want my cake and eat it too. I want my cake and eat it too.

    ---
    On Stakes:

    John:: We took eleven million in drug profits out of the van. The money doesn't know where it comes from, but I do. If I keep it, I'm a criminal. If I give it to the government, I'm a fool. If I try and do some good with it, maybe it just makes things worse. Either way, I'll probably just wind up getting myself in more trouble. It's an impossible choice, but in a way, we all have to make it. What would you do?

    -Andy
  • jznjzn
    edited August 2007
    Deep Cover was fantastic! I had forgotten all about it!
  • How did you miss Casablanca? It's both noir and war. It's also one of the greatest movies ever made.

    For Westerns, I would add the dollars trilogy.
  • I'm going to add my voice to the noise for Deep Cover.

    Also, for sci fi, Silent Running needs to be on the list.
  • Posted By: jim pintoAnd of course, there's Graves of Fireflies.
    No fucking way I'm ever watching that again.
  • Jim - city of god. I know, right? When it finally ended, I just sat there, slack-jawed, wondering how I could ever get off the couch and crawl into bed and curl into a bundle and try not to think. I'm glad I found a way. :) Also, re: gaming, it's just a fabulous resource for urchins-in-the-barrio scenes.
  • And who doesn't love a good urchins-in-the-barrio game?
  • City of God is fantastic.

    Western: The Wild Bunch, hello? The perfect "group of doomed player characters" set-up.
    Tears of the Black Tiger, hello?
  • Labyrinth

    ... and, like it or not ... Willow.
  • "The Lion in Winter" is just awesome. :)
  • Any western by Sergio Leone, especially "Once Upon a Time in the West". That's probably the best film ever made.

    Any film by Hitchcock.

    "2001: A Space Odyssey". The other best film ever made.
  • Posted By: jdrakehThe Dirty Dozen -- This might as well be a roleplaying game. Convicts given a second chance if they can survive a suicide mission behind Nazi lines. That's a Godlike game waiting to happen.
    I ran this using The Mountain Witch. And you are right, it's a natural for story gaming!
  • Posted By: Moreno R.Sorry, but... why a "movie for gamers" list would be any different from a "movie for people" list?
    I would never recommend to a "person" that they see Ninth Gate. However, it's a fantastic gamer movie.

    Gamer movies might have interesting characters, interesting quotes, situations, and/or fascinating plot directions that can inspire, if not be outright stolen, for use in a game later. These facets can completely succeed despite horrible endings, wooden acting, or other factors that ruin a movie for most people.

    But this usually means good gamer movies that lack the bad stuff also end up being just plain good movies.
  • Lair of the White Worm
    Iron Monkey
    Bride With White Hair, parts one and two
    Pirates of the Caribbean -- 2 and 3 do good things making characters look at what's important to them, what they'll do to get what they want
  • Iron monkey's a great example
  • Jim -

    Wow. Kung Fu Hustle. Rented it tonight.

    I want the City of God/Kung Fu Hustle love child.

    I think Kung Fu Hustle is City of God, with a rubber chicken.
  • edited August 2007
    Posted By: AndyHowever, in the above it has some of the most awesome low-budget martial arts action scenes in the movie industry, period. Particularly the sword fights: They had awesome cuts and moves without using wires, CG, etc: Just normal cuts.
    Hell yes. It's like wire-fu without the wires. I actually chose it for "Bad Movie Night" back in Topeka several years ago (basically, everybody got to pick a horror movie that looked "bad" in an entertaining way and then we'd do an all-night marathon). Versus ended up being very GOOD much to everybody's surprise. That said, it had some competition from Deathrace 2000 (which was, in fact, horrible but in a very amusing "I run down a bus stop full of nuns" kind of
  • Posted By: Caesar_X
    I ran this using The Mountain Witch. And you are right, it's a natural for story gaming!
    Oooo. . . I bet that did kick ass. The Mountain Witch is one of those game that I've been hard-pressed to obtain a copy of (apparently, it's printed in really limited numbers, as IPR never seems to have one in stock whenever payday rolls around) but from all of the development chat and actual play discussion, it seems like a natural fit for a troupe-style game in the vein of The Dirty Dozen.
  • Oh. And I'd be remiss not to mention Ichi the Killer, which proves that internally consistent plot isn't necessary to get your audience's attention and keep it. A healthy does of Weird As Hell with a dash of Mobbed Up will do the job nicely.
  • Posted By: Alvin FrewerGamer movies might have interesting characters, interesting quotes, situations, and/or fascinating plot directions that can inspire, if not be outright stolen, for use in a game later. These facets can completely succeed despite horrible endings, wooden acting, or other factors that ruin a movie for most people.
    In that case... The Beastmaster. Creepy witches, creepy monsters, creepy magic. Rockin' scenery at times, too. Pretty much everything else about it is "meh."

    -- Alex
  • Posted By: jdrakehOh. And I'd be remiss not to mention Ichi the Killer, which proves that internally consistent plot isn't necessary to get your audience's attention and keep it. A healthy does of Weird As Hell with a dash of Mobbed Up will do the job nicely.
    "The rules say that you roll and extra 1d10 every time semen appears. WTF?"
  • edited September 2007
    Blood of Heroes

    Post-apocalyptic death-football and underground thunderdomes! This is one of my favorite movies ever and the game I've always wanted to play (edit: not literally play, I should add).
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