So this post has been in draft mode for over a year as I keep changing my mind about the top 10 and the correct order. However, now I can actually say that this is the definitive list of the top 10 hacker movies of all time. It is definitive because I have decreed it such and can only be changed by a court order or by command of Wil Wheaton. With no further ado, I present: The Top 10 Hacker Movies of all time!
10. Johnny Mneumonic (1995)
What better way to start off a top ten list than with Keanu Reeves and Dolph Lundgren? Reeves plays the title character, a data courier that has a hard drive in his head overflowing with data that the bad guys want…badly. Look out for Ice-T and Henry Rollins.
9. Hackers (1995)
Two words: Angelina Jolie. Three more words: Hot hacker chick. One last word: Naked.
8. Swordfish (2001)
Take everything I said about Hackers and just replace the words Angeline Jolie with Halle Berry. Interesting tidbits about this film: 1) It got quickly yanked from the theaters after the 9/11 attacks due to a scene involving an exploding building. 2) Production company Warner Brothers reportedly asked 2600 Magazine (‘The Hacker Quarterly’) for permission to use the magazine in the film, while at the same time suing the same publication for linking to DVD deciphering programs. Bonus: Awesome soundtrack.
7. The Net (1995)
The THIRD movie from 1995 on this list! Sandra Bullock (not naked) plays a software programmer who gets sucked into a web of computer espionage. Look out for SNL alumni Dennis Miller and lots of really fake computer graphics.
6. Tron (1982) / Tron Legacy (2010)
No self respecting list about hacker movies would leave off Tron. I grouped in Tron Legacy because, well…even though Tron Legacy sucked, it was cool to see The Dude without his wrinkles. Apparently Tron is returning to us in the form of a Television Series.
5. eXistenZ (1999)
I’m just gonna say it…. I love this movie, and it’s probably the one that you’ve most likely never heard of because it came out around the same time as the Matrix. Written & directed by David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly, Naked Lunch), and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh as a virtual reality game programmer. One of those thrillers that you never really know if you’re in the game or not….or ARE you????
4. Sneakers (1992)
The codebreaker of all codebreaker movies with Dan Aykroyd and Robert Redford. This one has a couple of sly references to Cap’n Crunch, (aka John Draper) who very famously discovered that one could make free phone calls by enlisting the use of a plastic whistle that one could only acquire in boxes of Cap’n Crunch Cereal.
3. Electric Dreams (1984)
A guy spills some champagne on his brand new PC, causing it to become sentient. Edgar the PC then falls in love with the guy’s girlfriend. Antics ensue.
2. The Matrix (1999)
You saw this one coming. Keanu’s second appearance on this list, The Matrix is clearly unparalleled in this genre. We’re just going to pretend that the sequels never happened. Let that simmer in your coppertop brain. Woah.
1. WarGames (1983)
This is the movie that made me want to learn how computers worked. It’s your typical boy-starts-global-thermonuclear-war love story with tic-tac-toe.
Weird Science (1985)
John Hughes written and directed comedy about two geeks (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) who use their computer to make a beautiful woman (Kelly LeBrock) that has magical powers. Bill Paxton at his best.
Real Genius (1985)
Ok, so technically not a straight-up movie about hackers, but there are some pretty geeky moments in this comedy about a group of teenage geniuses developing the world’s most powerful laser.
Strange Days (1995)
Yet another movie from that hallmark year, 1995, Strange Days is about an ex-cop who now deals with data-discs containing recorded memories and emotions. Put on a squid-like device on your head and you can re-live someone else’s experiences. With a very hot Juliette Lewis and a very badass Angela Bassett.
I have yet to see the American version, but the original was pretty badass. Girl hacker, rides motorcycles, body art. Me likey.