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Top 15 Hacking movies of all time (1983-2006)

Hacking Movies

Here’s a list of the best hacking movies. There are some great movies about hacking, but this is a list of the best.

WarGames (1983)

PG | 1h 54m | 7.1/10

Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy excel in this captivating drama full of action, hacking, and adventure! In it, director John Badham lets the viewer peer into the places where the fate of war is played out on giant screens. It takes very little to bring about its tragic end. David Lightman (Broderick) wants to play the new war games. By chance, he finds a back door into a military computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, simulating thermonuclear war, and possibly starting World War III. David chooses the places on earth where the nuclear weapons will land. He doesn’t know that by doing so, he is giving instructions to the control system of the United States’ defense. With his girlfriend (Sheedy) and a computer genius (John Wood), they must race against time to outwit his adversary and prevent nuclear Armageddon.

The KGB, the Computer and Me (1990)

TV Movie | 58m | 7.8/10

In 1986, an astronomer turned computer scientist Clifford Stoll had just started working on a computer system at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory when he noticed a 75-cent discrepancy between the charges printed by two accounting programs responsible for charging people for machine use. Intrigued, he deduced that the system was being hacked, and he determined to find the culprit. This is the re-enactment of how he tracked down KGB cracker Markus Hess through the Ethernet to Hannover, Germany, as is told in his best-selling book _ The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage_ (1989). Stoll has become a celebrity for being, as he terms himself, “a computer contrarian.”

Sneakers (1992)

PG-13 | 2h 6m | 7.1/10

Five security experts, led by Martin Bishop, make their living by finding vulnerabilities in security systems, which they then help affected companies fix for a hefty fee. The business gets off to a rocky start when the group is forced to accept an illegal contract from the National Security Agency. Bishop has no choice but to take the job because Bureau agents have him in their grasp thanks to a computer fraud he committed years ago. They force him to steal a black box from a genius mathematician named Janek. However, it soon becomes clear that the box is a decoder that can penetrate any system, even the most well-protected, and the mafia ordered its theft. Martin Bishop and his colleagues realize that they are in great danger and must do everything in their power to escape death.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

TV-MA | 1h 23m | 7.9/10

In the near future, corporate networks are reaching the stars, and electrons and light are streaming through space. But advances in computing have not yet eradicated nations and ethnic groups. In 2029, computer implants in synergized bodies are commonplace, and Japan has become one big city, networked by the flow of information. Investigator Motoko, half-human, half-machine, solves the case of criminal artificial intelligence that was created in a computer network by a strange analogy of evolutionary processes. A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master. What follows is not only a power struggle between multinational organizations but also a struggle over the boundaries of body, spirit, and machine.

Hackers (1995)

PG-13 | 1h 45m | 6.2/10

A newcomer to the company, a so-called hacker – a computer pirate – manages something almost impossible while working with a computer in a major corporation – he hacks into the database of a closely guarded corporate supercomputer. In doing so, he accidentally discovers a well-thought-out conspiracy that could lead to a significant environmental hazard. The government blames hackers for making a virus that caused it all. The FBI is on their tail, but their main enemy is a mentally ill superprogrammer. Made for crime, he puts nothing on the line. The young pirate and his friends launch a battle in cyberspace – to save themselves and avert a global catastrophe.

The Net (1995)

PG-13 | 1h 54m | 5.9/10

For Angela Bennett, computers are the world. She makes her living as an expert on computer viruses, communicates with others only by computer, and her only friends are on the Internet. Before leaving for a vacation, she receives a floppy disk with an unusual program. Her life turns into a nightmare when a chance holiday acquaintance turns out to be a hired assassin to eliminate her and retrieve the diskette. Angela manages to escape, but when she returns from the hospital, she finds that she has ceased to exist, her credit cards canceled. Her house has been evicted and sold, and according to police records, she is now Ruth Marks, accused of numerous misdemeanors and felonies.

The Matrix (1999)

R | 2h 16m | 8.7/10

Look for the Matrix behind everything. Have you ever had a dream that felt completely real? What if you couldn’t wake up? How do you know the difference between dreaming and reality? When mysterious beauty Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) leads a computer hacker named Neo (Keanu Reeves) into a mysterious parallel world, he discovers the shocking truth. The life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil artificial intelligence. The world is a fraud, an elaborate deception twisted by the powerful machines that control us. Neo joins legendary resistance leader Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) in a battle to destroy the illusion of enslaving humanity. Every move, every second, and every thought is a fight for survival – for escape from the Matrix.

Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

TV Movie | 1h 35m | 7.2/10

The story of how modern-day visionaries Bill Gates and Steve Jobs changed the world. History of Apple and Microsoft. At the dawn of the digital age, two visionary geniuses, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs unleashed an unrelenting race to develop technology, a clash of titans in the form of Microsoft and Apple Computers. From their college dorms to their CEO’s chairs, their lives were never ordinary, nor were they a chore. And there was no shortage of humor.

Takedown (2000)

R | 1h 36m | 6.2/10

When Kevin Mitnick was young, he was hacking for fun until the FBI caught him. But while he was still on probation, he got access to the S.A.S. system, which allowed him to connect to any line. The system seemed unbreakable, but Mitnick overcame it and began stealing information in the millions. For two years, the FBI searched in vain for him. Then they hired Tsotuma Shikomura. An expert paid by the government and big business to stay one step ahead of the hackers. But now, he seems to have found a whole new adversary in Mitnick, and the battle is about to go from the keyboard to the real world. Based on a true story, this film depicts the capture of computer hacker Kevin Mitnick.

Secret History of Hacking (2001)

Documentary | 50m | 7.6/10

A documentary film focuses on phreaking, computer hacking, and social engineering occurring from the 1970s through to the 1990s. The film starts by reviewing the concept and the early days of phreaking, featuring anecdotes of phreaking experiences (often involving the usage of a blue box) recounted by John Draper and Denny Teresi. By way of commentary from Steve Wozniak, the film progresses from phreaking to computer hobbyist hacking (including anecdotal experiences of the Homebrew Computer Club) to computer security hacking, noting differences between these two forms of hacking in the process.

Freedom Downtime (2001)

Documentary | 2h 1m | 7.3/10

The film documents several computer enthusiasts who drive across the United States searching for producers of the movie Takedown (2000) about the convicted computer hacker Kevin Mitnick. Demonstrating their discontent with certain aspects of the bootleg script of Takedown they had acquired. One of their major points of criticism was that script ended with Mitnick being convicted to serve a long-term prison sentence. While in reality, Mitnick had not yet even had a trial. Freedom Downtime also touches on what happened to other hackers after being sentenced. The development of the Free Kevin movement is also covered.

Swordfish (2001)

R | 1h 39m | 6.5/10

Top hacker Stanley Jobson has been released on parole from a prison where he was sentenced for internet fraud. Shortly after, he is visited by an attractive girl named Ginger. Her boss, Gabriel Shear, wants to offer him a job. A covert counter-terrorist unit called “Black Cell” led by Gabriel wants the money to help finance their war against international terrorism, but it’s all locked away. The man is determined to keep his parole and refuses. Ginger knows that Stanley desperately needs money for lawyers, with whose help he wants to get custody of his daughter Holly. She offers him a hundred thousand dollars to meet with her boss. After Stanley passes a tough test, Shear offers him ten million dollars for his continued cooperation. He’s to create a worm that will infiltrate a heavily guarded system. The target is a secret government account with funds to fight terrorism.

Antitrust (2001)

PG-13 | 1h 48m | 6.1/10

Brilliant young programmer Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillippe) is offered a job by charismatic millionaire Winston (Tim Robbins) to work for his powerful software company. Seeing the big money and encouragement from his girlfriend (Claire Forlani), he accepts the prestigious job. At first, everything looks ideal, but over time Milo realizes that some of the company’s practices are downright criminal. A computer programmer’s dream job at a hot Portland-based firm turns nightmarish when he discovers his boss has a secret and ruthless means of dispatching anti-trust problems. Confirmed by his attractive colleague Lisa (Rachael Leigh Cook), Milo decides to untangle the web of conspiracies that Winston’s people are using to fight the competition. Is it even possible for a mere programmer to succeed in his battle against a ruthless corporation and survive his attempt to uncover the truth?

V for Vendetta (2005)

R | 2h 12m | 8.2/10

In a future British dystopian society, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of V, plots to overthrow the despotic government with the help of a young woman. Who is the man hiding his scarred face under a mask? A hero or a madman? A liberator or a tyrant? Who is “V”? Natalie Portman stars as Evey, an ordinary girl who must decide if her hero has become a greater threat than those against whom he wages war. Hugo Weaving as V – a charismatic freedom fighter driven by a desire for revenge on those who have disfigured him. The stakes are rising for the winner. Tensions rise, and the fuse has been lit. Which side will you choose? In V’s world, there is no middle ground.

Firewall (2006)

PG-13 | 1h 45m | 5.8/10

Jack Stanfield has everything a man like him could want. As a bank account protection specialist, he has a great job at a Seattle bank and a happy family. One day Billy Cox shows up in his car and tells him that his family has just been kidnapped. He will only get it back if he follows precise instructions to transfer ten thousand dollars each from the accounts of the bank’s wealthiest clients to his account, for a total of one hundred million. A security specialist is forced into robbing the bank that he’s protecting as a bid to pay off his family’s ransom. Does a desperate man improvising in a near hopeless situation stand a chance of defeating a cold-blooded criminal with a perfectly thought-out plan?

Read the follow-up article: Top 10 Hacking movies of all time (2007-2016)

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