Pssst, want to check out WarGames in our new look?
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Saw WarGames in the theater way back in 1983, but not since. Still quite watchable, it puts together two fears from the era - nuclear annihilation and hacking - and gives both an air of verisimilitude. This is the movie that taught me the word DEFCON, and the low-tech hacks perpetrated by Matthew Broderick's character look they would actually work. The A.I. that almost starts World War III is science fiction, but the rest of it seems very legit. None of that silly Hackers stuff. You might also watch it to see some actors before they became stars (like John Spencer, Michael Madsen and an uncredited William H. Macy); this was also the year Broderick and Allie Sheedy broke out), and the script is smart enough to give even the smaller parts some quirks. I thought this would be retro beyond redemption; in fact, it's a smart techno-thriller that doesn't take itself too seriously, but still has a message to impart.
Delightfully nostalgic in its dated portrayal of top notch computer technology and its cold war paranoia. However, some hiccups occur like the laughable blowing up of computer hardware when the computer is caught in a paradox and the embarrassingly illogical MacGyver-stuff Matthew Broderick is pulling off when in a pinch. The acting ensemble do a splendid job, especially the young newcomers Broderick and Sheedy which both would go on to even greater things in the 80s.
War films don't need to be action packed to be enjoyable, and this is a perfect example.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #444 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office
This movie ranks #958 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die