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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
1,466 ( 218)

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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:
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:

Shall we 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

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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$79,568,000
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

When David makes a joke directed at his teacher about asexual reproduction the laughter heard afterwards is considered to be the rest of the kids in the classroom. But John Badham (director) said that some of the crew didn't know the punch line and laughed out loud during the scene. That laughter was left in the sound track, and if you listen closely you will hear what is clearly adults laughing out loud, rather than classroom sniggering. See more »

Goofs

Prof. Falken's fake death is in 1973, a full 10 years before this movie is set to take place. The WOPR would not have existed in 1973 when Prof Falken existed. Any work he did before 1973 would have been seriously outdated by 1983 due to the "Moore's Law" which states computer technology doubles every two years. This would mean that computers in 1983 were 10 times more powerful than in 1973. See more »

Quotes

John McKittrick: Why are we at Defcon 4?
Pat Healy: The Soviets saw our bombers scramble until they went on alert. We told them it was just an exercise, but, we're waiting for them to relax their posture before we do. Wait. Wait... here.
John McKittrick: Oh, Christ, another tour group, just what we need today. Why don't they go to Disneyland where they belong.
Pat Healy: Well, I think they're going to tomorrow.
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

Features One Million Years B.C. (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

War Games
(uncredited)
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

 
Let's play Global Thermonuclear War
2 July 2009 | by hall895See all my reviews

WarGames is a film which in some ways seems hopelessly dated and in other ways seems to have been way ahead of its time. There's the Cold War angle, the United States and the Soviet Union gearing up for the seemingly inevitable World War III and the nuclear holocaust that would go along with it. It's a 1980s storyline which doesn't play as well all these years later with the Soviet Union long having been consigned to the dustbin of history. Nowadays the threat comes not from one communist superpower but from...well, pretty much anywhere it seems. But then again this movie, made in 1983, is at its heart really about a computer hacker. Who, in 1983, even knew there was such a thing as a computer hacker? Ahead of its time this movie is.

While certain aspects of the story may seem less relevant today there is no denying that WarGames is an effective, entertaining thriller. There may be some flaws in the movie's logic now and again, not everything we see seems entirely plausible. But the movie works. The story centers around Seattle high school student David Lightman, who is not doing particularly well in school. But it's not because he isn't bright, he certainly is. He just seems unmotivated and perhaps distracted by his obsession with computers. That obsession plays itself out as he attempts to hack into a video game manufacturer's computer...and instead unknowingly hacks into a Defense Department computer. In playing the "games" on that computer he almost starts World War III. Whoops.

Matthew Broderick plays David and his performance is excellent as he portrays a young teen who finds himself caught up in a situation behind his imagination. Ally Sheedy plays his friend Jennifer, a character who seems a tad bit underdeveloped. It often seems that Jennifer's just along for the ride rather than having any real purpose in the plot. But Sheedy does well with what she has to work with. Our young hero and heroine are very much the focus of the story, at times to detrimental effect. All the adults in the story seem rather one-dimensional. Some of them have very important roles to play in the story yet we never know much of anything about them. Besides David and Jennifer there's really only one other character for whom there is any kind of character development going on and that character doesn't even show up until rather late in the proceedings. But this is a movie which will definitely hold your attention. It's a tense, taut thriller which also has some heart to it. And it often looks spectacular, most notably in the scenes which take place inside the NORAD war room, a movie set which was stunningly impressive for its time and actually would still be stunningly impressive today. All in all WarGames is a well-made, suspenseful, enjoyable film. It has its flaws but it is still a film well worth seeing.


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