Home Movie You Must Watch The Best Sci-Fi Hack Movie On Amazon Prime ASAP

You Must Watch The Best Sci-Fi Hack Movie On Amazon Prime ASAP


In 1982, Time declined to nominate a man of the year. Instead, the magazine selected a machine of the year: the computer. Time noted that “Computers were once seen as distant and menacing abstractions, like Big Brother. In 1982, they became really personalized, scaled down, so people could hold, push, and play with them. “

But beyond the technological boom, the shadow of a nuclear war is looming. While the early 1980s were a time of tremendous growth, technology also allowed governments to further extend their reach with faster missiles like the Pershing II. Amid it all came the 1983 John Badham film which carefully linked the two trends with a story about teenagers.

War games has become a Silicon Valley classic. When Google hosted a 25th anniversary screening in 2008, co-founder Sergey Brin called it “a key movie of a generation, especially for those of us who are new to computing.” War games is skeptical of technology, he trusts the hacker.

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That hacker is David Lightman, played by Matthew Broderick three years before he solidified into 80s canon with Ferris Bueller. David, a teenager from Seattle, is pretty ordinary. He might study harder, enjoys making jokes at the expense of his teachers, and is not particularly close to his parents. But he’s incredibly computer savvy, so much so that he can hack into his school system and alter his grades.

War games also suggests that talent with computers can help a young man attract girls. David’s hacking ability impresses his classmate Jennifer (Ally Sheedy), and although she initially rejects his offer to change her rating, she later changes her mind. David had already changed her in the hope that she would come back eventually.

Fashion has changed, but kids will always push computers as far as they can.MGM / UA Entertainment Company

Meanwhile, the US Air Force has serious personnel issues. They carried out surprise nuclear attack exercises, and 22% of the personnel showed that they were unable to fire the weapons that could kill millions of people. A wonderfully tense opening scene shows what failure looks like, and in light of those failures, NORAD official John McKittrick (Dabney Coleman) recommends that all command and control functions be handed over to a computer system called War Operation Plan Response, or WOPR.

As this drama unfolds, David uses his computer to dial all the Seattle area phone numbers in the hopes of eventually finding an IT company. Known as digitization, this was a common hacking technique. But after the film popularized the idea, it became known as Wardialing. David ends up making his way through a system he doesn’t recognize and is curious to find out more.

This curiosity is what drives David, and perhaps what made him an icon for a first generation of computer assistants. While David has personal reasons for using computers, what drives him to discover WOPR is the simple desire to learn what it is. And once he finds out he offers games, well, that’s all he wants to play.

When War games came out, contemporary supercomputers had 128 megabytes of memory.MGM / UA Entertainment Company

David takes a clue from the computer and begins to search for the man who created WOPR, Stephen Falken, who apparently died young after the death of his child. Assuming the child’s name, Joshua, is a password, David has access to a list of games ranging from “chess” to “world thermonuclear war”.

By choosing to go nuclear, David initiates the game of war. This triggers a panic reaction from NORAD. It is clear that adults have no idea War games, especially when David is able to sneak out of custody when WOPR begins to take the game a little too seriously. These moments help the film get to where it needs to be: David, at the head of NORAD, trying to outsmart the WOPR.

War games demanded that humans control the technology, but also let the computer warn humanity of the futile nature of war. As WOPR runs his simulations, he realizes that the only way to win a war is not to play. Even though the technology of War games is obsolete, its teachings are still cutting edge.

War games is streaming on Amazon Prime.