What are the Top Hacker Movies of All Time?

It’s a question that generates as much heat as Mary Ann or Ginger? Tastes Great or Less Filling? Ranking the best hacker movies of all time is both highly subjective and, to judge by the number of curated lists that come up in a Google search, an extremely popular exercise.

While the definition of a “hacker” movie is fairly elastic, the operative concept is the brilliant (usually illicit) use of technology to pursue or combat a dangerous (usually pathological) agenda. What could be more entertaining, when it’s done right?

So which movies, by popular acclaim, get it right? One of the movies that shows up high on most lists is Tron, in which a hacker is transported into the digital universe of “The Grid” and must survive combat as a cyber gladiator in order to stop the villainous Master Control.

WarGames, starring Matthew Broderick, is regarded by most as a seminal if somewhat implausible hacker movie in which a young computer whiz kid accidentally hacks into a top secret super-computer with complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal and inadvertently begins the countdown to World War 3.

Takedown is viewed as an essential part of the hacker canon because it tells the true story of Kevin David Mitnick, a legendary hacker who eventually became a computer security consultant (natch).

Goldeneye, featuring Pierce Brosnan as 007, is a 1995 film that overlays the usual Bond candy — beautiful women, improbable stunts — onto a plot that centers on a malicious hacker program and weaponized satellites.

Other favorited hacker movies include Swordfish; Office Space; Hackers; Sneakers; Live Free or Die Hard; and The Matrix movies.

In truth, the number of films that can feasibly be filed in the hacker category is growing exponentially as advanced technology becomes an unavoidable feature of daily life.

Nonetheless, if you want to see what the genre has to offer, here are a few lists to get you started:





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