Thursday, February 4, 2010

The 20 Best Hacker Movies

The 20 Best Hacker Movies

# 20) The Net (1995)
Sandra Bullock plays a software engineer who loses her identity to digital thieves. Filmed during the fanatic years of the then-novel World Wide Web, this film is now cliched. Nevertheless, fans of Sandra Bullock will still enjoy watching this B movie.

# 19) The Matrix (1999)
This was such a groundbreaking adventure in reality and existentialism. No, you will not learn how to break into a Linux server by watching Trinity port-scanning with "nmap". But this movie is definitely cool, nonetheless.

# 18) Takedown (2000)
This is the sensationalized story of famous phone phreaker, Kevin Mitnick. This is a cult classic that is very hard to find in rental stores.

# 17) Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
This is the flawed storytelling of how Apple and Microsoft came to be. While this movie got mixed reviews, many people have commented they loved it. Three dollars at your video store, and you can decide for yourself if this was a good film.

# 16) The Conversation (1974)
While you won't see computers in this classic film, the theme of surveillance and the violation of people's privacy is so masterfully explored here.

**Related movie: The Conversation was re-imagined as Will Smith's Enemy of the State in 2001. The 2001 treatment of the story was designed as a modern techno thriller, and has some tremendous special effects and satellite surveillance sequences. Having Gene Hackman star with Will Smith makes it worth the price of a DVD rental.

# 15) Antitrust (2001)
This movie has some strong points about it. Two idealistic computer whiz kids graduate from Stanford, and one of them enters the world of private sector programming. Sure enough, these two programmers find themselves in the middle of cybercrime scandals. Definitely worth renting for three bucks.

# 14) Real Genius (1985)
There is only about 5 minutes of actual "hacking" in this comedy, where Laslo "brute-forces" his way into the defense network, and Kent and Mitch do phone bugging. But there are laughs aplenty in this fun B movie. Definite smile factor if you like playful and quirky humor movies.

# 13) Hackers (1995)
Well, this story was really weak, and the hacking scenes were nowhere near reality. But you have to watch this just to say you did. Plus: Angelina Jolie is reason enough for some males to rent this.

# 12) Mission Impossible (1996)
While many people no longer like Tom Cruise, his first MI movie did have I.T. and computer hacking sequences. Some good action, too.

# 11) The Thirteenth Floor(1999)
A very extreme version of "The Sims", this movie is about scientists who create a virtual world where participants plug in and take over a computer character's life. The characters are unaware of their puppet existence, but then a real life murder shakes the foundation of the game.

# 10) Swordfish (2001)
Over-the-top violence, preposterous situations, sexy women, and outstanding special effects make this a great popcorn rental. No, don't bring your brain to watch this, but if you like techno-thrillers, definitely rent this. John Travolta is the slimy villain, Hugh Jackman is the studly hero hacker, and Halle Berry is the mysterious damsel.

# 9) The Italian Job (2003)
Modern heist movies always involve some sort of hacking. This particular heist movie is extremely entertaining, especially when the supposed true inventor of "Napster" is the main hacker. At least 20 minutes of hacking footage in this actioner. Definitely worth renting if you haven't seen it.

# 8) Foolproof (2003)
A lower-budget movie about hobby bank robbers, this was a delightful surprise to many viewers. Ryan Reynolds and his friends "virtually" rob banks for fun, but are blackmailed into doing a heist for real. This is a good action rental.

# 7) eXistenZ (1999)
A David Cronenberg film, this is the creepiest entry in the list. A game designer creates an artificial reality game that plugs directly into people's minds. The line between reality and game then blurs in a violent and gruesome way. This is very much a powerful art film, and not for everyone.

# 6) The Score (2001)
Edward Norton and Robert De Niro are fabulous in this heist flick. In a clever plot to rob a Montreal customs house of some royal artifacts, Norton and De Niro must break into the security systems with the help of a socially-awkward hacker who lives in his mother's basement. Ten minutes of hacking, and 100 minutes of phenomenal robbery storytelling!

# 5) Sneakers (1992)
While dated, this movie was groundbreaking at the time, and is still charming to this day. The story revolves around two college buddies who take different paths in life. One becomes an ethical hacker, and the other...well, he is not quite so noble. Some great plot twists and comic scenes make this a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon at home.

# 4) Revolution OS (2001)
This documentary tells the story about the Linux operating system, and how it forwarded the philosophy of "open source" and free intellectual property. Not an action movie, but definitely interesting for people who want to learn more about why computer culture is the way it is. If you can find a copy of this, definitely rent it.

# 3) Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Leave it to Bruce Willis to save the world from uber hackers. Macintosh advertising personality, Justin Long, plays the reluctant programmer caught up in an digital terrorism scheme. Like Swordfish, this movie has over-the-top violence and outrageous action sequences, but if you liked the Die Hard series, definitely see this .

# 2) Wargames (1983)
Yes, this movie is very old, but it is still a pivotal film in many viewers' minds. A young man finds a back door into a military computer that is linked to the nuclear defense grid of the United States. A preposterous plot, but a compelling commentary on nuclear war and the destruction of the human race. You have to see this movie just to say you have seen it.

# 1) Tron (1982)
A classic! A hacker is transported into the digital universe inside a computer, and must survive combat as a cyber gladiator in order to stop the villanous Master Control. The imagination behind this movie made big ripples in the science fiction world, and today, Tron is a cult classic that every computer user should see at least once.

**Special Mention - movies with hackers that almost made this top 20 list:

o Jurassic Park (1993)

o Untraceable (2008)

o The Core (2003)

o Lawnmower Man (1992)

o Disclosure (1994)

o Goldeneye (1995)

o Virtuousity (1995)

o One Point Oh (2004)

o Superman III (1983)

o Deja Vu (2006)

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