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:

Is it a game, or is it real? 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

The original director was Martin Brest, and several of the scenes he shot are still in the movie. He was fired due to creative differences. He has stated that he took NORAD'S control center layout and did a scaled down version of it for Beverly Hills Cop (1984)'s police control center. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, the female corpsman says, "General, DBS is tracking 300 inbound Soviet ICBMs"; that should be DSP, not DBS. See more »

Quotes

Richter: [looking at a report] There's just been a very serious penetration into our WOPR Execution Order file.
Lyle Watson: What the hell's he saying?
Arthur Cabot: Let's have it in English.
General Beringer: I'll give it to you in English - somebody broke into Mr. McKittrick's well-known system and stole the codes that'll launch our missiles. That right, Mr. McKittrick?
John McKittrick: There's no cause for alarm. The system won't accept the launch code unless we're at DEFCON 1. I can have those codes changed in less than an hour.
Lyle Watson: Well, who did this?
John McKittrick: I think the ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

Video Fever
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

 
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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