7.1/10
85,331
173 user 80 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.

Director:

John Badham
Reviews
Popularity
1,426 ( 1,056)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Broderick ... David
Dabney Coleman ... McKittrick
John Wood ... Falken
Ally Sheedy ... Jennifer
Barry Corbin ... General Beringer
Juanin Clay ... Pat Healy
Kent Williams ... Cabot
Dennis Lipscomb ... Watson
Joe Dorsey ... Conley
Irving Metzman Irving Metzman ... Richter
Michael Ensign ... Beringer's Aide
William Bogert ... Mr. Lightman
Susan Davis Susan Davis ... Mrs. Lightman
James Tolkan ... Wigan
David Clover 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:

The only winning move is not to play. See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM | Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 June 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

War Games See more »

Filming Locations:

Culver City, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,227,804, 5 June 1983

Gross USA:

$79,567,667

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$79,567,667
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A February 2016 New York Times article reported that this movie ended up having a significant effect on President Ronald Reagan's understanding of and policy on telecommunications and computer systems security, and led directly to Reagan pushing the first federal laws intended to outlaw hacking. Reagan saw the movie at Camp David on June 4, 1983, and the next week, while in a meeting with some congressmen and his national security advisers to prepare for Russian arms negotiations, he asked if any of them had seen the movie. When they said they had not, he recounted the plot and then asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John W. Vessey Jr. if "someone [could really] break into our most sensitive computers?" Vessey, who didn't know anything about "hacking" or cyber-security, asked a former NSA analyst, Donald Latham, who replied that it was not only possible but very plausible--since the NSA had already been hacking into China's and the USSR's telecommunications and computer systems for years. Latham had first become acquainted with this danger through his friendship with Willis Ware, a computer scientist at the RAND Corporation; Ware had written a paper in the 1960s about the high likelihood that as the use of shared computer networks increased, so would the risk of those networks being accessed, even remotely. Ware, in turn, was also a source for the War Games screenwriters Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes--when they wanted to make sure that the plot they were devising for the movie was plausible, they called RAND (which was headquartered close to Lasker's house) and ended up meeting with Ware, who served as a technical consultant for them. See more »

Goofs

When David is typing in the passwords and fails, the log on screen spells out "Indentification failed" not Identification. See more »

Quotes

Radar Analyst Kirkland: BMEWS has continuous radar tracking on inbounds. Confidence is high. I repeat, confidence *is* high.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the premiere telecast version of the film, in the scene where the female airmen is counting down to Impact, there is more background music that plays than in the theatrical version and home video releases containing English language versions. However, the extra background music plays in foreign versions of the movie. Also, the extra BGM has not played in subsequent TV airings since that first telecast, as far as I am aware. See more »

Connections

Referenced in You Got Trumped: The First 100 Days: You're Fired! (2016) See more »

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)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Wanna play Global Thermonuclear War ?
4 March 2008 | by SpikeopathSee 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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