27 user 12 critic
When the orphaned Karl Koch and his friend David start breaking into government and military computers, an acquaintance senses that there is money in computer cracking - and travels to east Berlin to try to contact the KGB.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
August Diehl ... Karl Koch
Fabian Busch ... David
Dieter Landuris Dieter Landuris ... Pepe
Jan-Gregor Kremp Jan-Gregor Kremp ... Lupo
Stephan Kampwirth ... Maiwald
Zbigniew Zamachowski ... Sergej
Peter Fitz Peter Fitz ... Brückner
Burghart Klaußner ... Weber
Lilly Marie Tschörtner Lilly Marie Tschörtner ... Beate (as Lilly Tschörtner)
Patrick Joswig Patrick Joswig ... Alex
Arnulf Schumacher Arnulf Schumacher ... Seybert
Sven Lehmann Sven Lehmann ... Computerverkäufer
Oscar Ortega Sánchez Oscar Ortega Sánchez ... Mr. Minit
Brigitte Janner Brigitte Janner ... Sekretärin
Katrin Klein Katrin Klein ... Sekretärin


Based on the true story of a group of young computer hackers from Hannover, Germany. In the late 1980s the orphaned Karl Koch invests his inheritance in a flat and a home computer. At first he dials up to bulletin boards to discuss conspiracy theories inspired by his favorite novel, R.A. Wilson's "Illuminatus", but soon he and his friend David start breaking into government and military computers. Pepe, one of Karl's rather criminal acquaintances senses that there is money in computer cracking - he travels to east Berlin and tries to contact the KGB. Written by Armin Ortmann <armin@sfb288.math.tu-berlin.de>

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Nothing is as it seems. See more »


Thriller | Drama


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Did You Know?


Fallingbostel, the train station where they get off the train (and which isn't actually Fallingbostel) used to be the location of a world renowned annual international demoscene (underground computer arts) party, Mekka & Symposium. The location is likely a nod to this event. The movie was screened publicly at Mekka & Symposium after its release, and the audience cheered at this scene. See more »


When Pepe wants to call the transport company across from Karl's apartment, David gives him a six-digit telephone number from the phone directory, but you can only hear Pepe dialing four digits. See more »


Karl Koch: We hacked into everything we could. We took files from colleges, corporations and libraries. It was really easy most of the time. People were not creative with their passwords. Some used "password" others their pets' or wife's name. We worked at night for cheaper phone rates. Our weeks had 6 days of 28 hours. Which caused problems
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Referenced in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) See more »


The Passenger
Written by Iggy Pop (as Osterberg) and Ricky Gardiner (as Gardiner)
Performed by Iggy Pop
See more »

User Reviews

Hacking History
11 March 2004 | by laurentaSee all my reviews

A well researched accurate but still fast-paced movie.

This movie is of some significance to the history of computer hacking. Karl Koch may have been the loonie the movie presents, and I'm not sure he invented the concept of a Trojan, but the depiction of BBS/hacking/phreaking in the late eighties is nice and nostalgic.

The acting really works, very believable. Also reminiscent of cold war madness and fears. The "illuminatus" aspect is a bit of a sideshow, maybe true to what really happened, but it's not so certain. Who knows what really went on between these crazy Germans?...

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German | English | Russian

Release Date:

14 January 1999 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

23 See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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