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 ... 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 »


The BKA (Bundeskriminalamt) is located in Wiesbaden, not in Köln (Cologne) as mentioned in the movie. 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 Distant Lights (2003) See more »


Written by Paul Ferguson (as Ferguson), Jaz Coleman (as Coleman), Geordie Walker (as Walker) and Paul Raven (as Raven)
Performed by Killing Joke
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User Reviews

Apparently realistic, but a bit arid narration focusing on one side only
29 August 2016 | by BeneCumbSee all my reviews

Films dealing with real events in the past and focusing on a non-general subject should find a specific form or approach - for the sake of wider understanding and praise. In 23, the story begins auspiciously, but then the pace abates, and many scenes and characters have little meaning for the story development - or they have a role, but the viewers obtain no satisfactory clarification. The activities of law enforcement are almost not depicted at all. True, the leading performances are realistic and good (particularly August Diehl as Karl Koch), and the moods and style of the 80ies have been caught, but the run of events and the ending did not meet my expectations in full.

Well, this story has its interesting angles at present as most of people in the 1980ies had no PC or intranet, but it is not on the level of e.g. Who Am I – Kein System ist sicher, dealing with hackers as well.

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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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