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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The crew built the command center with 12 giant monitors. According to Visual FX Supervisor Michael L. Fink,"Those kinds of screens didn't exist." The monitors were rear-projected, similar to the way live backgrounds have been inserted into movies since the 1930s. See more »
The code to launch the missiles is "CPE1704TKS" when displayed
on the big screen and on most of the launch consoles, but it is shown as "JPE1704TKS" on one console shown in closeup in the sequence where the WOPR is attempting to determine the launch codes itself. See more »
FBI Agent George Wigan:
He does fit the profile perfectly. He's intelligent, but an under-achiever; alienated from his parents; has few friends. Classic case for recruitment by the Soviets.
Now what does this say about the state of our country, hmm?
[General Beringer rolls his eyes]
I mean have you gotten any insight as to why a, a bright boy like this would jeopardize the lives of millions?
FBI Agent George Wigan:
No sir. He says he does this sort of thing for fun.
Dammit, John, I want some answers and I want them *now*!
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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 »
In the 1980's, the realisation that computers will soon play an extremely important role in everyday life was becoming more and more evident. This idea was treated with excitement, curiosity, and fear - people genuinely did not know how powerful they would become, but they were certainly fearful of it. Cinema explored this fear in successful films such as The Terminator (1984), which depicted a future where humans were locked into a battle with robots, and Tron (1982), in which a character is sucked into a game where he is forced to battle with the computer to survive. Never had the capabilities of computers been so realistically portrayed than in WarGames, a film that introduced the world to home computers, hacking, and how humanity can be replaced by machines (as well as the idea that nuclear destruction is still a threat).
When two missile controllers fail to launch a missile during a test launch due to uncertainty, government bigwig McKittrick (Dabney Coleman) introduces his superiors to WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), a giant super-computer that repeatedly plays games with itself to generate stats and results of possible nuclear war outcomes. The operation is given the go-ahead, and workers find themselves replaced by this metallic super- brain, that will deal with any potential nuclear threat to the US. High school punk David (Matthew Broderick) is a highly intelligent computer- obsessive who uses his hacking skills to change his grades on his high school system. When he learns that a company is releasing new breakthrough games in California, he scans the area for computers in order to hack into their mainframe. He stumbles upon a computer that lists many strange war games, including 'Global Thermonuclear War'. He begins a game, choosing to be Russia, but unbeknownst to him, he is actually playing WOPR who is playing the game for real. Soon David is brought in by the FBI who suspect him of working with the Russians, while the threat of global nuclear destruction lingers as WOPR carries on playing the 'game'.
I viewed this film quite often when I was a child as I owned the VHS, but admittedly the film went over my head somewhat and I found it quite boring. Watching it now, I was shocked to find out this is a very good film, and it makes for a gripping adult thriller, while maintaining that 1980's kids-film-feel. The technical aspects shown on screen are extremely well-researched, and David's hacking activities make for exciting and interesting viewing. It's also fascinating to see the early giant, clunky computers of the 1980's and an early portrayal of the Internet. Overall, this is a highly entertaining thriller that is well acted, scripted and filmed (and even received three Academy Award nominations), and has plenty of those nostalgic qualities for us children of the 80's.
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