7.1/10
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160 user 76 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
1,239 ( 280)

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ON DISC
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:

Wouldn't YOU rather play chess? 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

In the Director's commentary, one of the writers says that the writers got the DEFCON numbers wrong in the movie - in the movie, DEFCON 5 is peace, while DEFCON 1 is war. The person doing the commentary is actually wrong about the movie getting DEFCON wrong. DEFCON 5 is indeed the "peace" rating, while DEFCON 1 is the war rating. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

[after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War]
Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken.
Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.
Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
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 Tutti gli uomini del deficiente (1999) 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

See more »

User Reviews

 
A movie of its time, mandatory viewing for hackers
31 January 2008 | by pvollanSee all my reviews

One important piece of reality in this movie is when David Lightman looks for the computer game company, and stumbles across WOPR, by using a program that automatically calls every number in an area looking for a carrier. Such a program was called, after this movie came out, a "Wargames dialer" or a "Wardialer". And today, as well as old fashioned wardialing, we have wardriving, warstrolling, warchalking... war everything else, because of this movie. And have you heard of the annual hacker convention, held in Las Vegas, called.... Defcon? There are, of course, factual problems with this movie, some of which one just accepts as necessary to the ploy. When David plugs the speech synthesizer into his computer, he explains that the computer isn't really speaking, just interpreting the text that's coming in. We can't have an entire movie just looking at a video screen, so we accept that. But then at the end, Joshua speaks the climactic lines of the movie in the same voice, which makes no sense at all. The way that Joshua could find one character at a time of the password never did wash. And the paper clip method could only make a local call.

The nuclear freeze movement was certainly quite strong in the '80s, more so than many today realize. I hope you understand what "freeze" means, because it's not the same as disarmament. It means: lets just stop throwing money down this black hole by stopping the nuclear arms race where it is. Who cares if they can reduce us fine powder and we can only reduce them to sand. Ronald Reagan outmaneuvered the freeze movement with all that SDI nonsense, which was just another excuse to waste money and extend the arms race into space. With Reagan, it's hard to tell, of course: maybe he really thought it was a "purely defensive" system, that could "make nuclear weapons obsolete". When the Soviet Union finally collapsed, there was talk of a "peace dividend", in which the obscene amount of money previously spent on the arms race could actually help people at home. There ain't too much talk about that now, with the "War on Terror", which is a war about as much as the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty, and just about as successful.


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