Another fun day here at the Film Guys Online / Chasfilm Productions Office of Cinematic Research. Since last week we tackled evil computers, this week we profile the other side of computer “evil”: hackers.
TOP FIVE COMPUTER HACKER MOVIES
Please note that this is just a list. Feel free to throw in comments on your faves, or the ones I may have overlooked.
5. Hackers (1995) – Why not begin with a movie simply called “Hackers?” Johnny Lee Miller is Dade Murphy, a kid caught hacking, sentenced to not being able to touch a computer until his 18th birthday. With newfound friends Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie) and Emmanuel Goldstein (Matthew Lillard) they come upon a plot to unleash a computer virus orchestrated by Eugene Belford (Fisher Stevens). They must evade the Secret Service and stop Belford from releasing the deadly virus. Overall, not too bad of a movie.
4. Sneakers (1992) – Robert Redford is Martin Bishop, a man with a hidden past who is now working as a “security specialist.” With help from his team of Dan Akyroyd, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, and David Straithairn, they recover a black box that has the possibility of decrypting every known code to man. On their trail are NSA agents led by James Earl Jones. With a top-notch cast, this “heist meets hacking” movie is worth checking out. (Watch for the scene where the guy sits on an actual Cray supercomputer.)
3. Enemy of the State (1998) – Will Smith is Robert Dean, a lawyer who accidentally receives evidence of a political assassination. On the run, he’s unmercifully being tracked by Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) and his team of NSA agents that include Jack Black and Jamie Kennedy. His survival comes from teaming up with Bill (Gene Hackman), a guy who lives “off-the-radar” by being paranoid enough to cover his tracks. Mixing action, adventure, spying, espionage, paranoia, conspiracies, and computer hacking, Tony Scott delivers in this thriller. (Note: The film was “inspired” by the Hackman movie, “The Conversation.”)
2. Tron (1982) – A hacker (Jeff Bridges) is sucked into a video game world where the computer’s Master Control Program rules. He must fight to survive the sadistic games created by the MCP so he can get back to “reality” and stop the MCP from taking over the real world. Along the way he aids Tron (Bruce Boxleitner), a security program whose goal it is to stop the games and vanquish the MCP. Although a little dated for now, “Tron” was ahead of its time for computer graphics in 1982. And c’mon, the Light Cycles were cool.
1. WarGames (1983) – I can’t even begin to calculate how many times I’ve watched this movie. If you haven’t seen it, “WarGames,” is about David Lightman (Matthew Broderick), a kid who hacks into computers for fun (and to change the occasional bad grade). When he finds a “back door” into a military computer, he activates a program called Joshua which begins simulating World War III. Taking Jennifer Mack (Ally Sheedy) along for the ride he hunts down Joshua’s creator, reclusive scientist Stephen Falken (John Wood) in order to stop nuclear war with the Russians. Fun movie. Watch for Michael Madsen in the opening scene. Directed by John Badham, who also directed “Saturday Night Fever.”