MGM Released 1983


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Movie Summary

John Badham
WarGames is the classic 1983 thriller in which a computer whiz before his time nearly launches a world war. David (Matthew Broderick) usually uses his computer know-how for simple tricks like hacking into the school computer system and giving himself and his girlfriend Jennifer (Ally Sheedy) straight A's. One afternoon he does the impossible and hacks into the Pentagon's NORAD system. There he finds a supposed computer game called Global Thermonuclear War, a game he can't resist playing. What he's found, however, is a government experiment that runs various scenarios for the ultimate remedy to the cold war, and when it finds one that works, it prepares to launch. Taking on a sentient autonomy, the computer begins to defend itself against Pentagon computer programmers who can't find a way to turn it off. David teams up with the government to try to outthink the machine. The result is now a classic tale released six years before the Berlin Wall fell which captures the anxieties of the era.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    There's not a scene here where Badham doesn't seem to know what he's doing, weaving a complex web of computerese, personalities and puzzles; the movie absorbs us on emotional and i...

  • 88

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    A thoroughly entertaining thriller about a teenage video game freak who almost starts World War III. A clever warning against nuclear weapons and too much reliance on computers. On...

  • 75

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The teaser scene is phenomenal. It depicts the escalating tensions that accompany being one of the men in the final chain that leads to a nuclear launch. In this case, it's just a ...

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Thrillers, Teen