The arcade version of Street Fighter: The Movie differs from the previous Street Fighter II games in several ways. The game gives a greater emphasis towards air combos or "juggling" than previous games: the player can continuously attack their opponent while they're falling in the air with a series of attacks. Additionally, players can cancel any Special Move while performing it into another Special Move. This can even be done with projectile attacks.
Many of the returning Street Fighter characters feature new Special Moves exclusive to the game, such as Bison's "Electric Arc", Cammy's "Whip Choke", and Guile's "Handcuff" (a Special Move based on a glitch in the original Street Fighter II). Characters such as Zangief and Balrog now have the ability to deflect projectile attacks back to their opponent. Many of these new Special Moves require for the player to hold down a specific attack button, input a directional-based command on the joystick and then release the button.
The method for grappling attacks was reversed for the game: perform the throw command while holding the joystick towards an opponent will throw the opponent to the opposite direction and vice versa. Player has the option of inputting a specific command to "escape" a throw with no damage or perform a "counter throw". However, a character can counterattack a "counter throw" by performing a "reverse", while reversing a counter throw can ultimately be countered with a "slam master" technique.
Other techniques exclusive to this game include "interrupt moves", which are perform after blocking an opponent's attacks, and "comeback moves", which are special moves that can only be used when the player's life gauge is on the "danger" level. These would later return as Alpha Counters and Ultra Combos. The Super Combo gauge from Super Street Fighter II Turbo is featured in the game. Most of the characters in the game (with only a few exceptions) have at least two Super Combo moves: one that leaves a trail of blue shadows and another that leaves a trail of red shadows. In addition to Super Combos, the players can also perform a "Regeneration" move when their Super Combo gauge is full to restore a portion of their vitality gauge. This would later be seen in Street Fighter EX3 and Street Fighter III.
The standard single-player mode consists of a series of 14 matches (including a clone match), ending with a final match against M. Bison. There are also several secret game modes, including a Tag Team Mode. In a Tag Team match, the player gets to choose two characters and fight against other tag teams in single-round matches, switching to the second character only after the first one has been defeated.
The game's end sequences feature a still from the film, and rerecorded versions of the original World Warrior character themes.