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
889 ( 1,491)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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 »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sheedy and Badham would work together again in Maid to Order in 1987; also in Short Circuit in 1986. See more »

Goofs

The Air Force uniform worn by Barry Corbin, in his role as General Beringer, appears to be a stock costume designed to depict an Air Force general of the early 1960s rather than the 80s. This is obvious from the complete lack of medals for the Vietnam War, while at the same time having an abundance of World War II decorations. A four star general in 1983 would most certainly have served in Vietnam and most likely would not have joined the Air Force until after World War II. See more »

Quotes

1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Seven... Eight... Nine... Ten... All missiles enabled.
Computer Voice: T-minus thirty.
Captain Jerry Lawson: Get me Wing Command post on your direct line.
1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: That's not the correct procedure, Captain.
Captain Jerry Lawson: SAC? Try SAC on the HF.
1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: That's not the correct procedure...
Captain Jerry Lawson: Screw the procedure, I want somebody on the goddamn phone before I kill 20 million people!
Computer Voice: T-minus twenty.
[LT Phelps tries the phone lines]
1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: I got nothing here! They might've been knocked out already.
[...]
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 »


Soundtracks

History Lesson (Long Line Leading To Man)
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 »

User Reviews

 
A young computer whizz kid accidentally taps into a top secret super-computer and nearly starts WW3
26 July 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A rogue young man named David (Matthew Broderick) along with his best friend Jennifer (Ally Sheedy) hack into their high school's computer to change his grade and later on , find a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III . As the United State's Department of Homeland Security is led to believe an American teen hacker playing a terrorist-attack simulator game online is a real terrorist out to destroy the U.S . The system is called the War Operation Plan Response, or WOPR for short, developed by brilliant but now deceased scientist Stephen Falken (John Wood), who programmed the system to learn continually through game simulations . At the end , a message : The only winning move is not to play.

This is an entertaining film of the 80s ; it was way ahead of its time and it stills grips the spectator . A popular flick in which a young computer whiz hooks into a game manufacturer's computer and accidentally starts WWII when he decides to play a selection titled ¨Global Thermonuclear Warfare¨ . The picture contains almost no violence , nor murders or any other sensationalistic content . Interesting as well as amusing screenplay by writers Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes who during their extensive research for the film, made friends with many 'hackers' and security experts. They later wrote ¨Sneakers¨ another film featuring 'hackers' and security experts. Likable starring couple , Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy , both of whom hold a great chemistry . Large support cast such as Barry Corbin , Dabney Coleman , Dennis Lipscomb and many of them uncredited as Michael Madsen , Eddie Deezen , James Tolkan , ArtLeFleur , William H. Macy , Maury Chaykin and John Spencer . Special mention to John Wood as Professor Stephen Falken ; main inspiration for this character was Cambridge Professor Stephen Hawking ; he was originally approached to appear in the movie, but he declined because he didn't want the producers exploiting his disability . Adequate musical score accompanying the action by Arthur B. Rubinstein and inventively photographed by classic cameraman William A Fraker . The film was part of a 1980s cycle of films about atomic bombs and nuclear warfare which had started in 1979 with ¨The China syndrome¨. The films included ¨Silkwood¨, ¨Testament¨, ¨Threads¨, ¨The day after¨ , ¨The Atomic Cafe¨, ¨Ground zero¨,¨Special Bulletin¨ , ¨Barefoot Gen¨, ¨Rules of Engagement¨, ¨Letters from a Dead Man¨ , ¨The chain reaction¨, among others . Followed by an inferior remake titled ¨ WarGames: The Dead Code (2008)¨ by Stuart Gillard with Matt Lanter as Will Farmer , Amanda Walsh as Annie D'Mateo , Colm Feore as Joshua and Chuck Shamata as Bill Carter .

The motion picture was professionally directed by John Badham , though the original director was Martin Brest, and several of the scenes he shot are still in the movie , but he was fired as filmmaker a short while into production due to creative differences . Badham's breakthrough credit was the box office smash Fever Saturday night (1977) ; other hits on his resume include The Blue Thunder (1983), War games (1983), and Shortcircuit (1986). He's a nice director who achieved his greatest success in the 80s and 90s . He directed several hits (Drop zone , Nick of time , Skateout ,Point of No Return , Bird on a wire) , though today making TV movies (Jack Bull , Floating away) and television episodes (Crossing Jordan, Psych, Las Vegas, Standoff , Heroes).


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 203 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed