Top 20 GTA Moments That Copied Movies and TV
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Top 20 GTA Moments That Copied Movies and TV

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Alex Slade
Cinematic video games like the GTA franchise often borrow many elements from movies and television! For this list, we'll be looking at moments in any game in the series that were influenced or inspired by iconic movie or TV moments. Our countdown includes The Underwater Hatch “Grand Theft Auto V” (2013), O'Toole's Death “Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories” (2005), Meeting Salvatore Leone “Grand Theft Auto III” (2001), Saving Refugees “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (2004) and more!
Transcript
Script written by Alex Slade and Nathan Sharp

Top 20 GTA Moments Ripped Right From Movies and TV


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 GTA Moments Ripped Right From Movies and TV.

For this list, we’ll be looking at moments in any game in the series that were influenced or inspired by iconic movie or TV moments.

Let us know in the comment section below which movie referenced you enjoyed the most.

#20: The Whole Game is Miami Vice

“Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” (2002)

If you’ve seen any of “Miami Vice,” then this one will be apparent. The fictional Vice City is almost entirely based on the city of Miami, and both IP’s take place in the 80s. “Miami Vice” and Vice City have similar themes and concepts also. The stories and events involving drugs, murder, and crime as a whole, are prevalent in both titles. While you are technically playing as the bad guy in the game, who’s to say you can’t ignore your missions, pretend you’re a cop and go on patrol?

#19: The Underwater Hatch

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

On the easternmost part of the map, deep underwater, is an unexpecting looking hatch with an ominous glow of light shining through a window. Is this merely an easter-egg from the hit show “Lost,” or a more profound mystery yet to be uncovered? While you can’t interact with the hatch yet, Rockstar loves updating this game, so there's a chance it may be used in the future for a heist or for a more explicit connection to the show. However, if you do get close enough, you’ll hear morse code, which translates to a strange request to go bowling. Roman, are you in there?

#18: 1.21 GW

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

While exploring San Andreas, you may come across a power station with a label on it that indicates it’s 1.21 GW, or, Gigawatts, which is the amount of power required for the DeLorean from “Back to the Future” to travel through time. Now, this is oddly specific. Could the doc have something to do with this? We know he's had a hard time generating that much power before, so this could be a safeguard he’s managed to set up so he doesn’t get stuck again. While there aren’t any DeLorean’s in GTA V, you can always mod one in if you’re playing on PC.

#17: O’Toole’s Death

“Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories” (2005)

It’s hard not to expect the worst when someone is about to become a “made” man. This mission has you drive JD to the ceremony, only for him to be killed unexpectedly. The whole feeling of the mission, and the events that take place, are highly reminiscent of a scene in Goodfellas, in which Tommy is also assassinated under the guise that he’s actually going to be “made.” The bottom line is that if you’ve snitched, or killed someone you shouldn’t have, and think you’re going to be “made,” just skip town.

#16: Meeting Salvatore Leone

“Grand Theft Auto III” (2001)

“The Godfather” is such an icon in Mafia films that anything related at all to the criminal organization will make you think of him. Salvatore Leone in GTA III is the Don of the Leone Family, a character inspired by the likes of Don Corleone from “The Godfather.” The game does a respectable job in portraying the crime family. There’s always a sense of danger when you meet with the Mafioso. Any small mishap or wrongdoing will end in your death, just like what’s seen in the “The Godfather” films.

#15: Saving Refugees

“Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (2004)

While CJ probably isn’t as efficient as Frank Martin from “The Transporter,” he still gets the job done. We can compare a sequence from each title with both characters doing essentially the same thing; saving refugees trapped in shipping containers. CJ runs and guns along a cargo ship, finding the container with the captives inside, whereas the Transporter does the same thing but on a dock. One thing is for sure, and that’s the Transporter’s hand-to-hand skills being vastly superior to CJ’s, but we can just chalk that up to the outdated game mechanics.

#14: Tommy Becomes Jason Voorhees

“Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” (2002)

While the GTA series borrows heavily from film, you'd never think that they would steal from a horror movie, yet here we are. During the bank heist, Tommy dresses in a dark green boiler suit and an old school goalie mask. If this looks familiar, you're clearly a fan of slasher flicks, as this exact outfit is the one Jason Voorhees dons in “Friday the 13th Part III.” If that wasn't all, a giant machete is also available as a melee weapon in the game. By throwing on the Jason outfit and running amok in Vice City with his machete, Tommy Vercetti effectively becomes the acclaimed boogeyman of the “Friday the 13th” series.

#13: Love Fist’s Limo

“Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” (2002)

In this pain in the butt mission, Tommy is forced to drive around Vice City at insanely high speeds because the limo he is driving will explode if it dips below a certain speed. While it makes for an exciting concept, it was found almost a decade earlier in the movie “Speed,” which saw Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock driving a bus through the streets of Los Angeles at high speed for the same reason (although there was no drunken rambling in the movie). This wasn't the first time that GTA stole from “Speed,” as a very similar mission, simply titled “Bus,” was found in the very first game of the series.

#12: The Whole Game is Scarface

“Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” (2002)

Alongside Miami Vice, If there's something that “Vice City” owes its existence to, it's definitely the 1983 classic “Scarface.” Practically the whole game is modeled after the movie, including the concept itself of a low level drug dealer turning into the cocaine kingpin of Miami (Vice City, whatever). Other clear references include Tommy and Tony's Hawaiian shirts, that big chainsaw moment, the Malibu Club being modeled after the Babylon Club, the Vercetti Mansion modeled after Tony's, and the final shootout in which scores of enemies raid the hero's mansion in an attempt to kill him for his betrayal. It's as if they took the script for Scarface and just scratched out Tony's name and penciled in Tommy above it in red ink.

#11: Aston Martin

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

We’ve all seen a James Bond film. Even if we’re too young to have seen “Goldfinger,” we would have at least seen “Skyfall.” The car used in both those films, as well as others in the franchise, is the Aston Martin DB5. It’s Bond’s most iconic car, and it’s one you can drive yourself in GTA V. Well, not really. It’s technically called the Dewbauchee JB 700, but it’s heavily inspired by the DB5. It even comes with mounted guns, though they’re unfortunately decommissioned should you purchase the car online.

#10: Drive Jacket

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

The franchise has a habit of taking a beloved icon from media or life and putting a humorous spin on it. One such example is the jacket Ryan Gosling’s character wears in the movie “Drive.” It features a prominent gold scorpion on the back. The same jacket is featured in GTA V. Only instead of the scorpion, there’s a crab. Gosling’s character is a mostly silent and cold guy, whereas Trevor, who is the only one who can purchase the jacket, is a real maniac, so it wouldn’t be right for him to have the exact same design.

#9: Nakatomi Plaza

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

While the building in the film is actually the Fox Plaza in real-life Los Angeles, no one really looks at it and thinks that. Instead, they think of the Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard, in which most of the film is set in. The same building can be found in Los Santos. While it is called the Weazel Plaza in-game, we’d like to imagine a John McClane type character fighting for his life in there. Unfortunately, the building doesn’t play a significant role in the game, but with the “expanded and enhanced ”release on next-gen consoles, it could play a larger role.

#8: Reserve Bank Heist

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

Rockstar and the Grand Theft Auto series sure love their bank robberies. The third Die Hard movie features a bank robbery with events that play out similar to the Union Depository heist in GTA V. The name of the bank is a synonym for Federal Reserve, which is the bank robbed in “Die Hard With a Vengeance”. Both banks have a criminal crew roll in and steal millions of dollars worth of gold bars. The thing is, John McClane isn’t in GTA V, so your success in the heist is assured.

#7: I’m Walkin’ Here!

“Grand Theft Auto IV” (2008)

In the eleventh mission, titled Clean Getaway, the opening cutscene has Niko follow Vlad to his car. As they move to cross the road, a cab nearly hits them. Vlad spouts a line directly from the film “Midnight Cowboy,” mimicking a scene where Dustin Hoffman’s character improvises a retort after almost getting hit by a cab. The funny thing is that the cab driver had no idea they were filming and was just annoyed at two people crossing the road carelessly, but the filmmakers thought it worked, so they wrote it into the scene. Hoffman takes it in stride and wholly owns the scene. If only Vlad were as cool as Dustin Hoffman.

#6: Casino Heist

“Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (2004)

A casino heist in any form of media is always going to have us remembering Ocean’s Eleven. While the entirety of the film is based on robbing casinos, San Andreas has one mission for it. Still, it involves planning and intricacy as seen in the movie, albeit not quite to the extent of the film, but enough to give you satisfaction when you pull the heist off, much more so than any bank robbery. We wish there were more casino heists, but we’re glad we got to do another in Grand Theft Auto Online.

#5: Thelma & Louise Car

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

This game is packed to the brim with exciting moments to stumble across, including this very clear “Thelma & Louise” reference. During a specific time of day, players can encounter a dramatic scene in which a car is parked precariously close to the edge of a cliff, with numerous police cars and helicopters behind it. Before an officer can approach the vehicle, it speeds away, careening off the cliff to the occupants’ fiery deaths. This exact scenario is the ending to Ridley Scott’s “Thelma & Louise,” in which the titular heroes drive off a cliff and into the sunset. Well, into the canyon floor, but that's not as romantic.

#4: Deal Gone Wrong

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

In the lawless rural outback of Los Santos, players can stumble across an ominous scene in which various trucks are parked in a circle, with a few stunned survivors in a drug deal gone wrong. You can also pick up the briefcase containing the money, but two trucks will chase after you in pursuit of their sweet sweet green. This is extremely reminiscent of Llewellyn Moss coming across the scene of a failed drug deal in the Coen brothers’ masterpiece “No Country for Old Men.” He too decides to take a briefcase containing drug money, wherein, you guessed it, trucks chase after him in pursuit. It doesn't end as well for him, though.

#3: Sewer Chase Through Los Angeles

“Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (2004)

The mission “Just Business” sees CJ and Big Smoke driving a bike through the sewer tunnels of Los Angeles (or Santos, whatever) pursued by bikes and cars. While this chase is borrowed heavily from the car chase found in “To Live and Die in L.A.,” the big steal comes when a black truck dramatically blows through the railing of a bridge above the heroes in slow motion to join the chase. This is lifted directly from “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” when the truck driven by the T-1000 does the exact same thing in the exact same manner. Luckily CJ doesn't have to deal with a mimetic polyalloy.

#2: Michael Pulls Down a House

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

We think it's safe to say that Michael has quite the temper. It's fitting, then, that when he catches his wife sleeping with her tennis coach, he goes berserk and literally rips down the coach’s supposed stilt house by tying a rope to the house’s foundation poles and driving away. Michael is a movie buff, so it's possible that he got the idea from “Lethal Weapon 2,” wherein Riggs does the exact same thing with equally destructive results. Both are a little unhinged to say the least, so we suppose it's understandable.

#1: Armored Truck Robbery

“Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

The brilliant mission Blitz Play sees all three of our heroes robbing an armored truck by blocking its route and knocking it onto its side using their own truck. This mission is a clear reference to the truck robbery from “Heat,” wherein the exact same scenario plays out. Both the film and game include the truck ramming, blowing the door with explosives, taking hostages at gunpoint, and even the navy jumpsuits with goalie masks (or a monkey head, if you prefer). Rockstar are clearly fans of “Heat,” as the bank heist from “GTA IV” is also heavily modeled after the famous shootout from the movie. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.
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