Code in Cinema – Famous Hacker Movies


Hacker movies have been around since 1968 believe it or not. There is something about these types of movies that are alluring to us computer, technology and gamer geeks alike. More often than not these movies feature a teenager who is smarter than average, an underdog who gets their own back, or a group of geeks saving the day (Hooray for the underdogs!) While a good chunk of these movies are chock full of inconsistencies, they are still fun and exciting to watch. The average person watching these movies will probably not notice the difference between improperly used source codes and real ones, but I have seen programmers go mental over coding misuse.

Let’s have a look at some of the most famous hacker movies out there:

War Games – An oldie but a goodie, War Games shows us an intelligent teen who knows how to hack into his school’s computer, amongst other places. He gets in trouble when he tries to hack into a gaming company and inadvertently finds a way into NORAD’s computers and nearly starts WW3. Interesting fact: in 1984 there was a video game version of the movie created for Commodore 64, Atari, and ColecoVision consoles (double points to those who actually have played on these).

Hackers – This is one of my favorites. A story about a teen who gets arrested for hacking into the NY Stock Exchange and crashing it. He gets banned from using computers until he hits 18 but before that happens a plot is discovered by him and his friends regarding a computer virus that is about to be spread globally. What’s great about this one is that it came out at a time when the internet was not so well known by the majority of the public.

Tron Legacy – While the original Tron movie is a classic in its own right, the 2010 creation of Tron Legacy gave the old movie concept a bit of “umph”. We are brought back to the digital world that was created in the original movie which has grown in ways never thought of.

The Matrix – This movie went on to make two sequels but who didn’t fall in love with the idea of a simulated world in our heads and a band of rebels on the outside trying to put an end to those trying to control the population. The binary patterns and codes from the movie are still used today in art, games, and other memorabilia.

Johnny Mnemonic – Keanu Reeves in another computer hacker movie. He is known as a “data courier” in a world where data is stored inside of a person’s head. He ends up with a file that is too large to hold for long and must find a way to get it out before it kills him. This requires the help of a hacker to get into his head and stop the madness.

These are just a scant few of the movies that have come out about hackers over the past 40 plus years. Some of these movies have inspired games, books, and new programs to be created and, while not always 100% realistic about the craft of hacking, it has its own huge following of us hacker loving geeks.