160 user 73 critic

WarGames (1983)

PG | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | 3 June 1983 (USA)
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.


1,566 ( 644)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

TRON (1982)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A computer hacker is abducted into the digital world and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program.

Director: Steven Lisberger
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Video game expert Alex Rogan finds himself transported to another planet after conquering The Last Starfighter video game only to find out it was just a test. He was recruited to join the team of best starfighters to defend their world from the attack.

Director: Nick Castle
Stars: Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Kay E. Kuter
Cocoon (1985)
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigor.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn
Innerspace (1987)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A hapless store clerk must foil criminals to save the life of the man who, miniaturized in a secret experiment, was accidentally injected into him.

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan
Flash Gordon (1980)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow
Ladyhawke (1985)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Philipe Gastone, a thief, escapes from the dungeon at Aquila, sparking a manhunt. He is nearly captured when Captain Navarre befriends him. Navarre has been hunted by the Bishop's men for ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer
Enemy Mine (1985)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A soldier from Earth crashlands on an alien world after sustaining battle damage. Eventually, he encounters another survivor, but from the enemy species he was fighting. They band together ... See full summary »

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett Jr., Brion James
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the Principal thinks of that.

Director: John Hughes
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara
Willow (1988)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A reluctant dwarf must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis
Weird Science (1985)
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two high school nerds attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that.

Director: John Hughes
Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock
Project X (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An Air Force pilot joins a top secret military experiment involving chimps, but begins to suspect there might be something more to the mysterious "Project X".

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Helen Hunt, Willie


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


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


Wouldn't YOU rather play chess? See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

3 June 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Genius  »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,227,804, 5 June 1983, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The main NORAD Command Center is located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The underground facility portrayed in the film is the Alternate Command Center, which is located in a nuclear bunker deep within the nearby Cheyenne Mountain. See more »


After David is arrested, the next scene is at NORAD where a tour group is being escorted. The escort asks a woman with a camera around her neck to sit in the command chair. A visitor would not be allowed to bring a camera into NORAD. See more »


[They are in NORAD, watching the computer WOPR playing Tic-Tac-Toe and Global Thermonuclear War at the same time]
Jennifer: What is it doing?
David Lightman: It's learning.
See more »


Referenced in American Flyers (1985) See more »


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)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A young computer whizz kid accidentally taps into a top secret super-computer and nearly starts WW3
26 July 2013 | by See all my reviews

A rogue young man named David (Matthew Broderick) along with his best friend Jennifer (Ally Sheedy) hack into their high school's computer to change his grade and later on , find a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III . As the United State's Department of Homeland Security is led to believe an American teen hacker playing a terrorist-attack simulator game online is a real terrorist out to destroy the U.S . The system is called the War Operation Plan Response, or WOPR for short, developed by brilliant but now deceased scientist Stephen Falken (John Wood), who programmed the system to learn continually through game simulations . At the end , a message : The only winning move is not to play.

This is an entertaining film of the 80s ; it was way ahead of its time and it stills grips the spectator . A popular flick in which a young computer whiz hooks into a game manufacturer's computer and accidentally starts WWII when he decides to play a selection titled ¨Global Thermonuclear Warfare¨ . The picture contains almost no violence , nor murders or any other sensationalistic content . Interesting as well as amusing screenplay by writers Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes who during their extensive research for the film, made friends with many 'hackers' and security experts. They later wrote ¨Sneakers¨ another film featuring 'hackers' and security experts. Likable starring couple , Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy , both of whom hold a great chemistry . Large support cast such as Barry Corbin , Dabney Coleman , Dennis Lipscomb and many of them uncredited as Michael Madsen , Eddie Deezen , James Tolkan , ArtLeFleur , William H. Macy , Maury Chaykin and John Spencer . Special mention to John Wood as Professor Stephen Falken ; main inspiration for this character was Cambridge Professor Stephen Hawking ; he was originally approached to appear in the movie, but he declined because he didn't want the producers exploiting his disability . Adequate musical score accompanying the action by Arthur B. Rubinstein and inventively photographed by classic cameraman William A Fraker . The film was part of a 1980s cycle of films about atomic bombs and nuclear warfare which had started in 1979 with ¨The China syndrome¨. The films included ¨Silkwood¨, ¨Testament¨, ¨Threads¨, ¨The day after¨ , ¨The Atomic Cafe¨, ¨Ground zero¨,¨Special Bulletin¨ , ¨Barefoot Gen¨, ¨Rules of Engagement¨, ¨Letters from a Dead Man¨ , ¨The chain reaction¨, among others . Followed by an inferior remake titled ¨ WarGames: The Dead Code (2008)¨ by Stuart Gillard with Matt Lanter as Will Farmer , Amanda Walsh as Annie D'Mateo , Colm Feore as Joshua and Chuck Shamata as Bill Carter .

The motion picture was professionally directed by John Badham , though the original director was Martin Brest, and several of the scenes he shot are still in the movie , but he was fired as filmmaker a short while into production due to creative differences . Badham's breakthrough credit was the box office smash Fever Saturday night (1977) ; other hits on his resume include The Blue Thunder (1983), War games (1983), and Shortcircuit (1986). He's a nice director who achieved his greatest success in the 80s and 90s . He directed several hits (Drop zone , Nick of time , Skateout ,Point of No Return , Bird on a wire) , though today making TV movies (Jack Bull , Floating away) and television episodes (Crossing Jordan, Psych, Las Vegas, Standoff , Heroes).

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 160 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Watch the Latest Episode of "The IMDb Show"

Zach Braff tackles acting and directing on his new show "Alex, Inc.," and we take a look at the 15 most bingeable TV shows of all time.

Watch the show