Is the Tetris movie based on a true story?

Chris Tilly
A still from the Tetris movie

Tetris is a movie about the gaming phenomenon Tetris – but is it based on a true story?

Most video game adaptations follow the storyline of said games, from Doom and Tomb Raider to Sonic and Mario. But Tetris goes in a different direction, being about the fiendishly addictive puzzle game.

The film has some serious pedigree, being directed by Jon S. Baird (Filth, Stan and Ollie), produced by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Kingsman) and starring Taron Egerton (Rocketman, Eddie the Eagle).

In advance of Tetris hitting Apple TV on April 31, here’s everything we know about the story on which it’s based.

What is the Tetris movie about?

The Tetris movie is written by Noah Pink – best known for TV series Genius – with the film’s official synopsis as follows…

Tetris tells the unbelievable story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to avid players around the globe. Henk Rogers discovers Tetris in 1988, and then risks everything by traveling to the Soviet Union, where he joins forces with inventor Alexey Pajitnov to bring the game to the masses.

Is Tetris based on a true story?

Yes, Tetris is based on a true story.

This is how Apple TV describes the movie: “Based on a true story, Tetris is a Cold War–era thriller on steroids, with double-crossing villains, unlikely heroes, and a nail-biting race to the finish.”

Though producer Matthew Vaughn initially didn’t believe what sounded like a tall tale. Vaughn told Collider: “I was sent the screenplay. I didn’t believe it. I was like, what moron came up with this idea, making a sort of a political Cold War thriller about Tetris? And then I got told everything happened and it was real. So then I went, ‘Okay, we better make the movie then. If this really did happen, let’s make it.’

“Then I got to meet the characters in real life. You know, the Russian that invented Tetris, the crazy American that literally went behind the Cold War curtain and risked everything and stole the bloody thing and brought it back to America. I said, ‘this is a great, great original thriller.’ It’s sort of like imagine The Big Short meets Bridge of Spies. It’s sort of a crazy, unique story.”

Tetris is released on March 31, 2023.

In the meantime, check out these articles exploring whether movies and shows are based on true stories:

Forrest Gump | Where the Crawdads Sing | Blonde | The Staircase | Kaleidoscope | Emily the Criminal | Dog Gone | Treason | Happy Valley | The Black Phone | Cocaine Bear