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:

To David Lightman, "Global Thermonuclear War" will just be one hell of a game. To everybody else, it will be hell waiting to happen. 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:

The Genius  »

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

One version of the script had an early version of WOPR named "Uncle Ollie", or OLI (Omnipresent Laser Interceptor), a space-based defensive laser run by an intelligent program, but this idea was discarded because it was too speculative See more »

Goofs

McKitrick (Dabney Coleman) says to David (Matthew Broderick) "Computers don't call people. Even back then, in the days before caller ID and IP addresses, a computer (B)ulletin (B)oard (S)ystem (BBS) would have you enter your phone number, then you hang up and set your modem to answer mode and the BBS would call you to make sure it was a valid number. See more »

Quotes

Stephen Falken: The whole point was to find a way to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves. To get the computers to learn from mistakes we couldn't afford to make. Except, I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson.
David Lightman: What's that?
Stephen Falken: Futility. That there's a time when you should just give up.
Jennifer: What kind of a lesson is that?
Stephen Falken: Did you ever play tic-tac-toe?
Jennifer: Yeah, of course.
Stephen Falken: But you don't anymore.
Jennifer: No.
Stephen Falken: Why?
Jennifer: Because it's a boring game. It's always a tie.
[...]
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Soundtracks

History Lesson (Long Line Leading To Man)
Performed by Arthur B. Rubinstein, Cynthia Morrow, Brian Banks and Anthony Marinelli (as The Beepers)
Lyrics by Cynthia Morrow
Music by Arthur B. Rubinstein
Produced by Anthony Marinelli (uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A movie of its time, mandatory viewing for hackers
31 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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