WarGames (1983)

Description[from Freebase]

WarGames is a 1983 American Cold War science-fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film stars Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. The film follows David Lightman (Broderick), a young hacker who unwittingly accesses WOPR, a United States military supercomputer programmed to predict possible outcomes of nuclear war. Lightman gets WOPR to run a nuclear war simulation, originally believing it to be a computer game. The simulation causes a national nuclear missile scare and nearly starts World War III. The film was a box office success, costing US$12 million, and grossing $79,567,667 after five months in the United States and Canada. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards. A sequel, WarGames: The Dead Code, was released direct to DVD on July 29, 2008. During a secret live fire exercise of a nuclear attack, many United States Air Force Strategic Missile Wing missileers prove unwilling to turn a required key to launch a missile strike. Such refusals convince Dr. John McKittrick (Dabney Coleman) and other systems engineers at NORAD that command of missile silos must be maintained through automation, without human intervention.

Review

Not only was WarGames one of the first films to tap into fears about the dangers of technology at the hands of mad geniuses, but it’s easily the best of the so-called techno-paranoia genre as well. Plus, it’s the movie that put Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy on cinema’s map, and the picture was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1983, including one for Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker’s brilliant screenplay. At the time, WarGames also sparked an almost inconceivable interest in computer hacking among our juvenile intelligentsia, and the movie’s effect on Hollywood and the American consciousness can still be seen today. These days, huge tech companies and government snooping may be more frightening realities than lone hacker-types, but the resonant phrase ‘Shall we play a game?’ still retains its power.

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