7 exciting films that are based on popular toys (Image via IMDb)

7 must-watch films based on toys

Like book adaptations, films based on toys have also achieved popularity among movie lovers over the years. Narratives involving well-known toys are easy to connect with, as they evoke a sense of nostalgia. However, like book adaptations, not all films based on toys have met the expectations of the viewers. There have been plenty of hits and misses along the way, but quite a number of films of this genre have achieved the status of massive blockbuster hits.

One such franchise that has amassed a considerable fanbase is the Trolls movies. Based on the Troll doll toys created by Thomas Dam, these movies are fun musical comedies catered to audiences of all ages and provide family-friendly entertainment.


The third installment of the Trolls movie will be released on November 17, 2023. Trolls Band Together follows Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) as they attempt to rescue Floyd (Troye Sivan) and reunite the Branch brothers. Viewers who enjoy Trolls movies should check out other films based on toys that are both nostalgic and enjoyable.


Clue, Barbie and 5 other films based on toys where nostalgia meets fresh perspectives

1) Clue (1985)


When it comes to films based on toys, it would be amiss not to mention this classic based on Cluedo, designed by Anthony E. Pratt. Cluedo is a murder mystery board game that is popular around the world. In the game, a murder takes place, and all players need to investigate to identify the killer, the weapon and the correct location of the murder.

In the movie, six characters find themselves in a mansion, and when the host is murdered, they start an investigation. Directed by Jonathan Lynn, it is a witty detective story boasting plenty of fun moments. It is particularly interesting to see the way the actors portray Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Mr. Green, and Miss Scarlet to life on-screen.


2) Transformers (2007)

In terms of films based on toys that went on to become extremely popular worldwide, Transformers is one name that instantly comes to mind. They are based on the Transformers toy line, which are essentially toy robots that could change into an alternate form when certain parts are moved and rearranged.


This is the first installment in the Transformers film series, directed by Michael Bay, and stars Shia LaBeouf in the lead. Like other films on this list, this movie also presents a unique narrative. Featuring alien robots with attitude, powerful artifacts, alien wars and more, it has everything to keep viewers hooked for the entirety of its runtime.

3) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)


Usually, films based on toys take inspiration directly from popular toys. Given how G.I. Joe was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, fans of the action figures hoped that filmmakers would see its potential for the big screen.

The first installment in the G.I. Joe film series follows two soldiers, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), who join the G.I. Joe team after getting attacked by Cobra, an evil organization that needs to be shut down. Directed by Stephen Sommers, it boasts cool gadgets, highly skilled soldiers, epic fights and more that appeal to fans of action movies.

4) The Lego Movie (2014)


Viewers looking for good films based on toys that the whole family can enjoy don't need to look any further than The Lego Movie.

Based on the world-famous Lego line of construction toys, it centers around an ordinary Lego minifigure named Emmet (Chris Pratt). He is chosen to lead a resistance movement against an evil businessman (Will Ferrell), but he feels that the task is way out of his league. Intelligent writing and interesting characters voiced by an eclectic cast make this movie a must-watch.

5) Trolls (2016)


Films about toys tend to get movie lovers excited because it offers them an opportunity to see their favorite toys in a whole new avatar. And so, fans of the Good Luck Trolls dolls were understandably elated when this movie was announced.

In the movie, two trolls, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake), team up to save their village from giant creatures called the Bergens. Directed by Mike Mitchell, it is a cheerful and hopeful movie with plenty of catchy tunes to enjoy.

6) Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)


There is a common misconception that films on toys are targeted at a younger audience. However, on most occasions, films of this genre cater to a much wider audience that appeases old fans as well as encourages new ones. Dungeons and Dragons, designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, is a world-famous role-playing game. Therefore, it is safe to say that expectations were high from this movie.

The story centers around a thief and a group of adventurers who are on a mission to find a long-lost relic, but their path is rife with obstacles and dangerous enemies. Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, it has a stellar star cast, including Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, and more.

The beloved tabletop game offers a unique experience in terms of exploration, teamwork, and creative thinking. While it is impossible to emulate all of this perfectly in a movie, it is still a fun watch that stays true to the sense of adventure of the sense.


7) Barbie (2023)

This movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, is likely one of the most popular films based on toys to date. For years, Barbie dominated the toy industry and is often regarded as one of the most iconic toys of all time. Therefore, it is not surprising that a movie based on the popular toy garnered a lot of attention from fans around the world.


The movie stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken. The story is focused on Barbie having an existential crisis and taking a trip to the "real world" to find answers. The highest-grossing film of 2023, Barbie explores feminism, self-worth, love and much more. Viewers looking for fun and thoughtful films based on toys should add Barbie to their watchlist.

This list is perfect for movie lovers who want to catch up on quality films based on toys that will make them nostalgic about their favorite childhood playthings.


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Edited by
Yukta Baruah
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