Behind The Scenes Of The Most Disappointing Game Movie Ever Made

Behind The Scenes Of The Most Disappointing Game Movie Ever Made

Considering its budget, the popularity of the franchise and its accomplished cast, 1993’s Super Mario Bros. is – relatively – surely the most disappointing video game movie of all time. Still, train wreck that it is, we can’t help but keep on looking at it, even after all these years.

And today we’re getting a real good look, with these never-before-seen photographs from the production’s filming, all taken by Makeup & Effects Laboratories, the guys responsible for the movie’s special effects.

The photos were recently acquired by fansite Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive. While they’re not “professional shots”, meaning they’re often blurry or obscured by glare, the fact they were taken by some MEL staffer, and not a paid outsider, means we get a more candid look behind the scenes of the movie than we may otherwise have been afforded.

Sadly, there are few shots of the movie’s top-shelf cast, which included the likes of multiple Academy Award nominee Dennis Hopper, Bob Hoskins and…John Leguizamo and…Samantha Mathis. What you get instead, however, are pictures of Koopa Troopas mixing drinks, wearing Mario moustaches and glimpses of the impressive animatronic rigs the actors had to wear to get those lizard heads moving around.

Indeed, accepting the movie was rubbish and looking back beyond that lets us appreciate things we may otherwise have overlooked, like those animatronics, which for the time were fairly impressive (especially on Yoshi).

Super Mario Bros. was released in 1993 and was a dismal failure, both in the eyes of critics and fans of the games. So you can imagine how everyone else found it. The flick maintained little from the successful Nintendo franchise bar the most basic of elements, swapping a fantasy kingdom out for a dark sci-fi future. If you’re up for a laugh, the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes listing is one of the worst you’ll ever see.

The gallery above shows a selection of the 100 or so photographs; Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive, linked below, has the entire thing, plus some interesting featurettes and other clips from the time of the movie’s release.

Behind the Scenes [Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive, via AICN]


  • I haven’t seen this movie for at least a decade and a half, but even in those faint memories I recall thinking it was pretty terrible.

    But now that it’s been so many years, combined with all these recent behind the scenes news articles, I’ve got the sudden urge to watch it again even though I know full well that it could (and probably will) be torturous.

    Dare I?

  • I’m with Shane, I grew up on Mario and I still loved the movie :)… In fact, it might warrant another watching

  • definitely, its actually pretty watchable. There are better movies to bash then this, I actually enjoyed it ways back when at time of release.

  • Same Same, i loved this movie, i loved the actors and music. I mean sure it was trying to be a movie about the best game at the time, which was about an Italian plumber that traveled through pipes to save a princes from a giant turtle monster. I mean c’mon i’m glade they used their poetic licence.

  • I got the DVD! Sure, it’s absolutely horrific in its destruction of the Mario universe, but I really don’t think it’s that bad of a movie for an early-teenage-boy kind of age bracket. Mindless fun.

  • I remember LOVING it when I saw it at the movies all those years ago. Keep meaning to buy the DVD…

  • I don’t remember much of it but I remember thinking that swinging on those overhead pulleys was a brilliant idea.

  • I am sick and tired of all the US posts bashing this movie, it’s great

    Those suits are pretty hilarious. Would have loved to be one of the guys tasked with creating them.

  • I liked the actors, I liked the animatronix, I loved the costume design, the parallel universe and I loved how they interpreted the game and gave the enemies that criminal edge. . I also thought Luigi & Daisy made a good romantic couple. If I remember correctly, the movie had almost everything from the third and fourth games

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!