A young computer whiz kid accidentally connects into a top secret super-computer which has complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It challenges him to a game between America and Russia, and he innocently starts the countdown to World War 3. Can he convince the computer he wanted to play a game and not the real thing ? Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
In the beginning sequence, there is a sign next to the door to the missile launch room that reads, "Anyone urinating in this area will be discharged". See more »
After David hangs up the modem, disconnecting from the WOPR, his screen is shown with the game countdown continuing. Actually, in the 80's when a remote terminal was being used to connect to another computer, screen updates such as this halted when the call was disconnected, the countdown would have "frozen" on David's screen (continuing only on the WOPR). See more »
FBI Agent George Wigan:
He does fit the profile perfectly. He's intelligent, but an under-achiever; alienated from his parents; has few friends. Classic case for recruitment by the Soviets.
Now what does this say about the state of our country, hmm?
[General Beringer rolls his eyes]
I mean have you gotten any insight as to why a, a bright boy like this would jeopardize the lives of millions?
FBI Agent George Wigan:
No sir. He says he does this sort of thing for fun.
Dammit, John, I want some answers and I want them *now*!
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A movie of its time, mandatory viewing for hackers
One important piece of reality in this movie is when David Lightman looks for the computer game company, and stumbles across WOPR, by using a program that automatically calls every number in an area looking for a carrier. Such a program was called, after this movie came out, a "Wargames dialer" or a "Wardialer". And today, as well as old fashioned wardialing, we have wardriving, warstrolling, warchalking... war everything else, because of this movie. And have you heard of the annual hacker convention, held in Las Vegas, called.... Defcon? There are, of course, factual problems with this movie, some of which one just accepts as necessary to the ploy. When David plugs the speech synthesizer into his computer, he explains that the computer isn't really speaking, just interpreting the text that's coming in. We can't have an entire movie just looking at a video screen, so we accept that. But then at the end, Joshua speaks the climactic lines of the movie in the same voice, which makes no sense at all. The way that Joshua could find one character at a time of the password never did wash. And the paper clip method could only make a local call.
The nuclear freeze movement was certainly quite strong in the '80s, more so than many today realize. I hope you understand what "freeze" means, because it's not the same as disarmament. It means: lets just stop throwing money down this black hole by stopping the nuclear arms race where it is. Who cares if they can reduce us fine powder and we can only reduce them to sand. Ronald Reagan outmaneuvered the freeze movement with all that SDI nonsense, which was just another excuse to waste money and extend the arms race into space. With Reagan, it's hard to tell, of course: maybe he really thought it was a "purely defensive" system, that could "make nuclear weapons obsolete". When the Soviet Union finally collapsed, there was talk of a "peace dividend", in which the obscene amount of money previously spent on the arms race could actually help people at home. There ain't too much talk about that now, with the "War on Terror", which is a war about as much as the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty, and just about as successful.
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