A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Kent Williams ...
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Joe Dorsey ...
Irving Metzman ...
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William Bogert ...
Susan Davis ...
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David Clover ...
Stockman
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Storyline

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 <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Wouldn't YOU rather play chess? See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 June 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

War Games  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$79,568,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the opening scene of the movie, the launch code is DLG2209TVX. See more »

Goofs

Despite the DVD commentary and popular belief, Defense Conditions (DEFCONs) actually do go from 5 to 1 as the situation worsens. DEFCON 1 represents imminent or ongoing attack on the US by a foreign power, while DEFCON 5 represents normal peacetime operations. See more »

Quotes

Malvin: I can't believe it, Jim. That girl's standing over there listening and you're telling him about our back doors?
Jim Sting: [yelling] Mister Potato Head! Mister Potato Head! Back doors are not secrets!
Malvin: Yeah, but Jim, you're giving away all our best tricks!
Jim Sting: They're not tricks.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Villains (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

War Games
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Stills
Performed by Crosby Stills & Nash (as Crosby, Stills & Nash)
[Promotional song used in theatrical trailer and MTV video]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Wanna play Global Thermonuclear War ?
4 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It was with much interest to me to revisit this early 80s hacker piece armed with the knowledge of just how the advent of change in the computer world had evolved. With that in mind the film could quite easily be classed as a bit clunky due to the now almost Neanderthal toys, games and computers used in the movie, but casting aside the nostalgia feelings I had with it, it still hits the spot as both a poignant piece of interest, and a dam good thriller as well.

Matthew Broderick is David Lightman, a young computer gamer geek who is something of a whizz kid on the PC. He can change his school grades and hack into various sites he shouldn't be even looking at. During one eventful sitting he hacks into a computer called Joshua and plays a game called Global Thermonuclear War, he harmlessly chooses to be The Soviet Union and proceeds to launch a nuclear attack on his own country, the U.S.A. Trouble is is that the game is for real and the wheels are in motion for World War III!.

It helps to remember the time this film was made {for those old enough of course}, for it was the time of the ever worrying cloud of the Cold War, a time when nuclear war was more than a hearsay threat. I really think that in this day and age where computers literally do run our lives, this film stands up really well not only as a warning piece about messing with technology, but also as a gentle poke in the ribs about defence systems and the people we trust to run them. Tho the film is a kind of watered down and accessible 2001: A Space Odyssey for the 80s set, it impacts well and only really suffers from a pointless romantic plot strand involving the sprightly Ally Sheedy (could they not just have been pals?) and the aforementioned dated gadgets. The ending to the film is excellent as the tension builds up nicely and we are left chewing our nails watching a game of Tic-Tac-Toe, sounds simple doesn't it? Not so.

Good honest and intelligent entertainment. 7.5/10.


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