158 user 69 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.


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


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


"Global Thermonuclear War." You may think it's one hell of a game. You couldn't be more right. 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)


$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?


This movie inspired congress to create and update the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984. Representative Dan Glickman (D-Kansas), opened the proceedings by saying: "..are gonna show about four minutes from the movie 'WarGames,' which...outlines the problem fairly clearly." A House committee report solemnly intoned: "'WarGames' showed a realistic representation of the automatic dialing and access capabilities of the personal computer." See more »


One of the key plot devices in the movie involved using a computer modem to connect to various computer systems. The type of modem depicted in the movie used an "acoustic coupler", which is a cradle that the phone headset is placed in to allow the modem to send and receive audio over a regular telephone.

This type of modem cannot make phone calls on its own, because when the handset is physically removed from the phone it immediately connects to a dial tone, and the only way to hang up is to physically press the button on the phone base or replace the handset.

The first time the modem is used in the movie you can see how it really works: David picks up the handset, and he manually dials the school's phone number on the phone base, then he places the handset in the acoustic coupler so the modem can connect.

The goof is that war-dialing, which is where David had his computer call long lists of phone numbers one after the other, is not even possible with his modem because the phone cannot be physically hung up between calls to make the next call (you can clearly see the handset on the acoustic coupler when the war dialing is going on, so he's not using some other modem). This is incredibly ironic, because the term "war dialing" came from this movie, but it was not even possible as depicted in this movie.

Further evidence that each call must be made or answered manually with this type of modem is when WOPR calls David back, and he has to manually answer the phone and place the handset on the acoustic coupler to connect. See more »


[David and Jennifer attempt to find a way to get off Professor Falken's island to prevent NORAD from launching a nuclear attack]
David Lightman: I think I saw one...
[runs ahead for a moment and stops]
David Lightman: What kind of an asshole lives on an island and he doesn't even have a boat?
Jennifer: Maybe we can swim for it. How far do you think it is?
David Lightman: No. It's uh, two, three miles at least. Maybe more.
Jennifer: Well, what do you say? Let's go for it!
David Lightman: No.
Jennifer: [starts to remove her shoe] Come on!
David Lightman: No!
See more »


Referenced in Scorpion: Plutonium Is Forever (2014) See more »


War Games
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

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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!

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