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 overview, first billed only:
Kent Williams ...
Joe Dorsey ...
Irving Metzman ...
William Bogert ...
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


Is it a game, or is it real? See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

3 June 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

War Games  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)


$79,568,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the message for the tour group in NORAD is activated, the sound effect that plays is actually used in the video game Galaga (1981). It can also be heard if you listen carefully when David is playing the game in the beginning of the movie. See more »


NORAD is a joint United States/Canada operation, but no Canadian soldiers are ever seen in the command center in the film. See more »


Radar Analyst Kirkland: Inbounds presently MIRV-ing. We now have approximately twenty-four possible targets in track.
Colonel Joe Conley: Sir, new time to impact: eight minutes.
Major Dawes: [hands Beringer a telephone] Sir, SAC is launching the bombers. General Powers is on the line.
General Beringer: [into the telephone] Beringer.
General Beringer: Goddamn it! We didn't get a launch detection from our satellite!
General Beringer: No, no. Radar picked 'em up already out of the atmosphere. That's the first we heard of it.
[Beringer gives phone back to his aide, Major Dawes]
General Beringer: [to Colonel Conley]
See more »


Features Pac-Man (1980) 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

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User Reviews

Pleased with the film
6 February 2006 | by (Liberec, Czech Republic) – See all my reviews

If you want to see a film with the most real style of hacking, forget Swordfish, The Net and all these other films where "hackers" work in graphically superb programs and can hack government server in few seconds. Broderick, working in his text-only mode, using social-engineering and having good abilities handling primitive electric devices is nearest the real world's "hacking", at least in his period.

As thought that the film sometimes lacks tension, especially in the middle, it has its very strong moments. To be honest, I got most excited on the very beginning, I really loved it.

The performances are good, but I disliked and didn't believe the performance of the man, who should have played the wooden-head general. It seemed to be too overacted. He himself lowered my rating by one.

This film might not be so interesting for people, who aren't interested in computers, because, as I mentioned upper, the plot lacks some deeper crisis, but I thing that everyone else will like it, so if you match the upper criterion I can recommend you only one thing: Go and get it!

36 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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