14 user 5 critic

The Gamechangers (2015)

The struggle of Houser's legal feud against American lawyer Jack Thompson, over the morality of the Grand Theft Auto video game series.


Owen Harris


James Wood
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Daniel Radcliffe ... Sam Houser
Bill Paxton ... Jack Thompson
Joe Dempsie ... Jamie King
James Gracie ... Tom Masters (as James Alexander)
Nick Boraine ... Doug Lowenstein
Ryan Gage ... Jounalist / Presenter / Crowd (voice)
Lex King ... Hillary Clinton's PA
Inge Beckmann ... Michelle Gerilikos
Alex McGregor ... Bridjet
Jay Benedict ... Reporter (voice)
Tristam Summers Tristam Summers ... US Radio Caller (voice)
Michelle Allen ... Kiera
Demetri Goritsas ... US Radio DJ (voice)
D. David Morin ... Judge Moore
Garth Breytenbach ... Police Officer Arnold Strickland


In the late 1990s middle class British brothers Sam and Dan Houser and two friends, all video game enthusiasts, devise a violent new game Grand Theft Auto, set in a fictionalized America and appearing to reward a car thief for murdering anybody who gets in the way of his crimes. In Britain the Police Federation brands it as sick and contemptible whilst politician Hillary Clinton accuses it of "stealing the innocence of our children." Most vocal of its critics is crusading Florida lawyer Jack Thompson who, in the wake of an Alabama teen-ager going on a killing spree and blaming the game, attempts to get it banned, bringing a court action against the Housers and their company Rockstar Games, now based in San Diego. However Thompson's public denunciation of the game is instrumental in determining the outcome of the court case. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

docudrama | See All (1) »


Biography | Drama







Release Date:

15 September 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Grand Theft Auto See more »

Filming Locations:

Cape Town, South Africa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In May 2015, Rockstar filed an injunction against the BBC, claiming that they hadn't been consulted in the making of the film. They even tweeted after the film's showing on BBC2 "Was Basil Brush busy? What exactly is this random, made-up bollocks?" See more »


A Bobble brand water bottle is shown in the Thompsons' refrigerator. The company that produces these bottles wasn't founded until 2012. See more »


References Fox News (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Liberty City
16 September 2015 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

I have been playing arcade games since the late 1970s. Computer games since the Home Computer revolution of the early 1980s and I bought a copy of GTA III for the Playstation 2. Despite this I do not consider myself as a gamer. However I am known to show my skills off to my kids every now and then to let them know that their old dad has a trick or two up his sleeve when it comes to Mortal Kombat or Virtua Fighter.

What struck me about GTA III was the expansive almost free flowing game-play. You had missions to complete but you could just wander off and do something else. For the first time I felt video-games had made that leap forward more than the hype from console manufacturers going on about Emotion chips.

People might be surprised to discover that GTA is actually British created by two brothers, Sam and Dan Houser who in this BBC film are based in New York. Daniel Radcliffe plays Sam Houser, the Don Simpson obsessed visionary who wants to take gaming to the next level. He also comes across as brattish rather than a maverick.

After a shooting incident the game's developer Rockstar lock horns with Jack Thompson (Bill Paxton) a God fearing conservative lawyer on a moral crusade against rap and video-games and its insidious effects on kids.

Thompson struggles at court and is at risk of being disbarred but Rockstar rather ineptly or deliberately left hidden coding in one of their later version of GTA which brought them further trouble in the US courts.

The problem with the film was it was too slight. The BBC received no cooperation from Rockstar who also enforced their trademark to not to allow them use the game footage. I think this was unwise of them.

The film is based on true events but some scenes have been changed for dramatic effect. In short padded out to create tension where probably none existed.

Like a lot of recent BBC one off films its noticeable that the 5 years licence fee is having an effect. Part of it just looked a little too cheap and low budget even though there was New York location shooting and it had a style of filming in parts to give it an immersive computer game setting.

The makers hoped to create a buzz like the film The Social Network but here the battle about a moral crusader who uses grandstanding to destroy Rockstar felt overlong even at 90 minutes. Paxton also reminded me too much of the righteous character he played in his directorial debut, Frailty.

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