If Fallout games were films, who'd direct them and which one would be best?

Fallout Yes Man
(Image credit: Future)

The Fallout TV show is a bit good. Indeed, here at PC Gamer we think it is the best Fallout has been since the highs of New Vegas. So, you know, go watch it! But while it's true that the TV show is good, it's fair to say it's only showing a very narrow slice of what the Fallout universe has to offer. Which got me thinking… if the Fallout games were movies, what would they be like and, most importantly, which would be best?

As such, here I list the major Fallout game releases to date and then use the totally scientific method of using my opinion to determine what the movie would play like, who would direct it, and what score I'd give it. It's time to buckle up.

Fallout screenshot

(Image credit: Future)


David Leitch
Director: David Leitch

A focused, mature, pressure cooker of a movie that is short and stylishly violent? Better call the director of John Wick to take the directorial reigns. Personally, I find Leitch's movies tend to have rather underwhelming final acts, too, and also have a penchant for ending abruptly when you feel more could have followed, so he's the perfect fit for a game that's incredible until it very quickly ends without much fanfare. John Wick movies don't tend to be very wacky either, often depicting the hero's world as very serious (despite the ludicrous premise of the fiction), so again this feels a strong and apt choice for the OG Fallout. A Friday night action movie.

Fallout 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Fallout 2

Terry Gilliam
Director: Terry Gilliam

Who better to direct this expansive and often wacky depiction of the Fallout universe than the director responsible for epics such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 12 Monkeys, Brazil, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote? Gilliam loves a good road trip in his work, too, which fits with Fallout 2's Highwayman-based exploration, and his penchant for vast vistas with wacky and absurd details feels perfect. The combat scenes wouldn't be as slick as Leitch's Fallout movie, but characterisation and a more rambling, philosophical, off-beat narrative would deliver. Plus, Fallout 2 even has a Bridge Keeper encounter that directly references Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which Gilliam starred. Watch on a Saturday night for a bit of everything.

Fallout Tactics

(Image credit: Fallout Tactics Redux)

Fallout: Tactics

Kathryn Bigelow
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

For a movie based on a game that is focussed almost entirely on squad-based combat in urban environments, combat where soldiers die in terrible ways and the horrors of war are all too apparent, I feel the director of The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow is perfect for this. Fallout: Tactics would be a war movie with a very tight focus and strong characterisation for just a handul of lead characters. Tense and at times adrenaline-inducing due to the flashes of extreme violence, but interspersed with soul-searching dialogue from its grizzled, war-scarred leads, this would be an erudite and focused Fallout war movie. Watch on a Monday or Tuesday night.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

(Image credit: Uploader)

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

Uwe Boll
Director: Uwe Boll

It would be so bad. Forget about A-bombs, everyone in the movie would drop an F-bomb every other line. Don't watch on any night.

Jogging across the wasteland with your dad and an laser pistol in Fallout 3

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Fallout 3

John Woo
Director: John Woo

As the game that properly introduced V.A.T.S. system slow-mo to the Fallout universe, with kill shots shown off in glorious bullet time, there can be only one director for a film version of Fallout 3: the master himself, John Woo. Woo's stellar action movie work in titles such as Hard Boiled, Broken Arrow, Face/Off and Mission Impossible 2, among others, means the action in this game is off the charts. Slow-mo radiated doves and all!

Woo handles the post-apocalypse war vibes well, too, thanks to his work on Windtalkers, while he communicates the hero's awakening into the future thanks to previous on Paycheck. A good fit for Friday night, thanks to the action, or midday during the weekend due to a longish, war movie-style runtime.

Fallout New Vegas

(Image credit: Future)

Fallout: New Vegas

Guy Ritchie
Director: Guy Ritchie

Casinos, gritty environments, extreme violence and heist movie vibes mean I think of Guy Ritchie for this film adaptation. Ritchie's also a fan of slow-mo combat shots, too, so we've got the game's V.A.T.S. system represented well, too, while the game's macho factional warfare as undertaken by factions like Caesar's Legion and the NCR, is right in keeping with Ritchie's love of gang-based conflict. There's not much romance in New Vegas, either, which is a weak spot for Ritchie, but as shown in movies like Sherlock Holmes, Snatch, The Gentleman, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, he's good at holding together movies with various interconnecting narratives. His work on Aladdin also shows he can handle the comedic and wacky aspects of New Vegas, too. A mid-week action-comedy treat.

Fallout 4

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Fallout 4

Ang Lee
Director: Ang Lee

I feel Ang Lee is a good choice for a Fallout 4 movie adaptation, having good form in handling large and sprawling fictions with plenty of characters and side-stories. Just look at films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi as an example of this. He's got some form with action, too, thanks to his work on Hulk. There's probably more romance/relationship offering in Fallout 4 than in any other Fallout, and Ang Lee has form here too. The result, though, is a movie that ends up being a bit flabby and unfocussed at times, despite technically bringing more to the table than Fallout 3, and being funnier and lighter overall. Watch on a day off due to a chonky runtime.

A couple share a kiss in their room in Fallout Shelter.

(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Fallout Shelter

Christopher Nolan
Director: Christopher Nolan

Fallout Shelter would in some ways be the most obvious setup for a movie: the self-contained story of a vault-dwelling society, interspersed with the surface adventures of random dwellers. Sounds a bit like the TV show when you put it like that, which is why there's only one Nolan for the job: Christopher! Yes, fresh off Oppenheimer it is time for Oppenheimer 2, focusing on the aftermath of all-out nuclear war (hell, Cillian Murphy can even have a cameo as a brain in a jar, I'm that generous). Moody, intense, riven with twists you didn't see coming, and with all special effects done for realsies, this movie could only ever be rad. The only downside is that, like the TV show Silo, you'd spend an awful lot of time indoors.

Fallout 76

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Fallout 76

Russo Brothers
Director: Russo Brothers

As an MMO that takes many aspects of the Fallout universe to the extreme, it feels a movie version of Fallout 76 would be akin to a huge-budget, climatic MCU movie where it really helps if you've had previous with the series to get most enjoyment. As such, I feel the Russo brothers would take the reigns for Fallout 76. The result would be a jack-of-all-trades action-adventure that borrows bits of every previous Fallout to make something that appeals to a lot of people but, after watching, doesn't go down as something you'd rewatch for most all of them. Big, bright, wacky and action-filled, there's no doubting though that you get a spectacle and fun, though. Watch in two sittings over two nights (as the movie's runtime is 3 hours 47 minutes).


So, which Fallout game would make the best movie? My feeling is that Fallout 2 or Fallout New Vegas would likely, in an ideal world, lead to the best Fallout movies, followed by Fallout 3 and, if you were happy with a more restrictive scope, Fallout Shelter. I'm sure not everyone will agree, but that's the beauty of opinions. We can dream, anyway: the games offer such an expansive depiction of the Fallout universe that no one movie or TV show could ever hope to encapsulate it all. Movie studios, you know what to do.

Print Editor

Rob is editor of PC Gamer magazine and has been PC gaming since the early 1990s, an experience that has left him with a life-long passion for first person shooters, isometric RPGs and point and click adventures. Professionally Rob has written about games, gaming hardware and consumer technology for almost twenty years, and before joining the PC Gamer team was deputy editor of T3.com, where he oversaw the website's gaming and tech content as well its news and ecommerce teams. You can also find Rob's words in a series of other gaming magazines and books such as Future Publishing's own Retro Gamer magazine and numerous titles from Bitmap Books. In addition, he is the author of Super Red Green Blue, a semi-autobiographical novel about games and gaming culture. Recreationally, Rob loves motorbikes, skiing and snowboarding, as well as team sports such as football and cricket.