I decided to compile a list of movies about hacking, or Hacking as one of the main themes, I could find. This list is no particular order.
1) Sneakers (1992)
Martin Bishop is the head of a group of experts who specialise in testing security systems. When he is blackmailed by Government agents into stealing a top secret black box, the team find themselves embroiled in a game of danger and intrigue. After they recover the box, they discover that it has the capability to decode all existing encryption systems around the world, and that the agents who hired them didn’t work for the Government after all…
The plan was flawless… the job was executed perfectly… the escape was clean. The only threat mastermind thief Charlie Croker never saw coming was a member of his own crew. After pulling off an amazing gold bullion heist from a heavily guarded palazzo in Venice, Italy, Charlie and his gang — inside man Steve, computer genius Lyle, wheelman handsome Rob, explosives expert Left-Ear and veteran safecracker John Bridger – can’t believe when one of them turns out to be a double-crosser. Enter Stella, a beautiful nerves-of-steel safecracker, who joins Charlie and his former gang when they follow the backstabber to California, where they plan to re-steal the gold by tapping into Los Angeles’ traffic control system, manipulating signals and creating one of the biggest traffic jams in LA history. Now the job isn’t the payoff, it’s about payback.
3) WarGames (1983)
A young computer whizz kid accidentally connects into a top secret super-computer which has complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It challenges him to a game between America and Russia, and he innocently starts the countdown to World War 3.
4) Hackers (1995)
A young boy is arrested by the US Secret Service for writing a computer virus and is banned from using a computer until his 18th birthday. Years later, he and his new-found friends discover a plot to unleash a dangerous computer virus, but they must use their computer skills to find the evidence while being pursued by the Secret Service and the evil computer genius behind the virus.
5) The Net (1995)
Angela Bennett is a computer expert. This young and beautiful analyst is never far from a computer and modem. The only activity she has outside of computers is visiting her mother. A friend, whom she’s only spoken to over the net and phone, Dale Hessman, sent her a program with a weird glitch for her to de-bug. That night, he left to meet her and was killed in a plane crash. Angela discovers secret information on the disk she has received only hours before she leaves for vacation. Her life then turns into a nightmare, her records are erased from existence and she is given a new identity, one with a police record. She struggles to find out why this has happened and who has it in for her.
6) 23 (1998)
The movie’s plot is based on the true story of a group of young computer hackers from Hannover, Germany. In the late 1980s the orphaned Karl Koch invests his heritage in a flat and a home computer. At first he dials up to bulletin boards to discuss conspiracy theories inspired by his favorite novel, R.A. Wilson’s “Illuminatus”, but soon he and his friend David start breaking into government and military computers. Pepe, one of Karl’s rather criminal acquaintances senses that there is money in computer cracking – he travels to east Berlin and tries to contact the KGB.
7) Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
This film is the semi-humorous documentary about the men who made the world of technology what it is today, their struggles during college, the founding of their companies, and the ingenious actions they took to build up the global corporate empires of Apple Computer Corporation and Microsoft Inc. Written by Flotis
Biographical look at the men who founded Apple and Microsoft and a look at the early days of the companies. Noah Wyle and Joey Slotnick portray Apple founders Steve Job and Steve Wozniak. Anthony Michael Hall and John DiMaggio play Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. The film attempts to compare the two firm’s operations and differences in the founder’s operations.
8.) Takedown (2000)
Kevin Mitnick is quite possibly the best hacker in the world. Hunting for more and more information, seeking more and more cybertrophies every day, he constantly looks for bigger challenges. When he breaks into the computer of a security expert and an ex-hacker, he finds one – and much more than that…
9) TRON (1982)
Computer Classic, one of the first computer generated movies. A hacker is split into molecules and is transported into a computer. In this computer a mean program called Master Control behaves like a dictator. The hacker, who programmed a number of features of the environment he got into, teams up with a book keeping program and his girl-friend and together they try to replace Master Control with Tron. Tron is an honest safety system.
10) Office Space (1999)
Peter Gibbons, thanks to a hypnotic suggestion, decides not to go to work at the same time his company is laying people off. When layoffs affect his two best friends, they conspire to plant a virus that will embezzle money from the company into their account.
11) Antitrust (2001)
This movie is the fictional story of computer programming genius Milo Hoffman after graduating from Stanford and getting out into the competitive world of computer software. In his contemplation of where to begin his career, he is contacted by Gary Winston whose character is loosely based on Bill Gates. Winston is the CEO of a company called NURV, and they are on the brink of completing the global communication’s system, Synapse. They need Hoffman to help them meet their launch date, so after much thought and with the full support of his girlfriend Alice, he accepts the job. Tragedy soon after strikes and Milo becomes suspicious of the company he has been wrapped up in. He learns that trusting anyone could be a mistake, and that nothing is as it seems.
12) The Matrix (1999)
Computer hacker Thomas Anderson has lived a relatively ordinary life–in what he thinks is the year 1999–until he is contacted by the enigmatic Morpheus who leads him into the real world. In reality, it is 200 years later, and the world has been laid waste and taken over by advanced artificial intelligence machines. The computers have created a false version of 20th-century life–the “Matrix”–to keep the human slaves satisfied, while the AI machines draw power from the humans. Anderson, pursued constantly by “Agents” (computers who take on human form and infiltrate the Matrix), is hailed as “The One” who will lead the humans to overthrow the machines and reclaim the Earth.
13) The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
6 months after the events depicted in The Matrix, Neo has proved to be a good omen for the free humans, as more and more humans are being freed from the matrix and brought to Zion, the one and only stronghold of the Resistance. Neo himself has discovered his superpowers including super speed, ability to see the codes of the things inside the matrix and a certain degree of pre-cognition. But a nasty piece of news hits the human resistance: 250,000 machine sentinels are digging to Zion and would reach them in 72 hours. As Zion prepares for the ultimate war, Neo, Morpheus and Trinity are advised by the Oracle to find the Keymaker who would help them reach the Source. Meanwhile Neo’s recurrent dreams depicting Trinity’s death have got him worried and as if it was not enough, Agent Smith has somehow escaped deletion, has become more powerful than before and has fixed Neo as his next target.
14) The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
As Neo (Keanu Reeves) somehow becomes trapped in a train station between The Matrix and the real world, Morpheus, Trinity, and Seraph set out to rescue him by means of the Merovingian. As this is going on, the Machines are approaching Zion with the intent of laying waste to every human there, but they do not realize that something is taking over The Matrix, with the intent of destroying everything: Smith. After Neo is freed, he and Trinity take the Logos and make a beeline for the Machine City. The Machines have reached Zion and the battle of a lifetime rages on. However, there is one way to save Zion and put an end to the war, and that is Neo. He must venture into the Matrix and put an end to Smith’s evil plans once and for all, and if he succeeds, Zion will live to see another day. It’s like the Oracle says, “Everything that has a beginning has an end.”
15) Swordfish (2001)
When the DEA shut down its dummy corporation operation codenamed SWORDFISH in 1986, they had generated $400 million which they let sit around; fifteen years of compound interest has swelled it to $9.5 billion. A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell, headed by the duplicitious and suave Gabriel Shear, wants the money to help finance their raise-the-stakes vengeance war against international terrorism, but it’s all locked away behind super-encryption. He brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson, who only wants to see his daughter Holly again but can’t afford the legal fees, to slice into the government mainframes and get the money.
16) Enemy of the State (1998)
Robert Clayton Dean is a successful labor lawyer based in Washington DC. He has a beautiful wife and adorable son with a nice house located in Georgetown. But things take a turn for the surreal, when a chance encounter with an old friend leaves him evidence of a politically-motivated murder. On the run from a treacherous NSA official and his men, he comes into contact with a former government operative and surveillance expert, who is his only way out.
17) The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Computer scientist Hannon Fuller has discovered something extremely important. He’s about to tell the discovery to his colleague, Douglas Hall, but knowing someone is after him, the old man leaves a letter in his computer generated parallel world that’s just like the 30′s with seemingly real people with real emotions. Fuller is murdered in our real world the same night, and his colleague is suspected. Douglas discovers a bloody shirt in his bathroom and he cannot recall what he was doing the night Fuller was murdered. He logs into the system in order to find the letter, but has to confront the unexpected. The truth is harsher than he could ever imagine…
18) Revolution OS (2001)
REVOLUTION OS tells the inside story of the hackers who rebelled against the proprietary software model and Microsoft to create GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement.
On June 1, 2001, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”
Microsoft fears GNU/Linux, and rightly so. GNU/Linux and the Open Source & Free Software movements arguably represent the greatest threat to Microsoft’s way of life. Shot in cinemascope on 35mm film in Silicon Valley, REVOLUTION OS tracks down the key movers and shakers behind Linux, and finds out how and why Linux became such a potent threat.
REVOLUTION OS features interviews with Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Brian Behlendorf, Michael Tiemann, Larry Augustin, Frank Hecker, and Rob Malda.
19) Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
When someone hacks into the computers at the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division; the Director decides to round up all the hackers who could have done this. When he’s told that because it’s the 4th of July most of their agents are not around so they might have trouble getting people to get the hackers. So he instructs them to get local PD’S to take care of it. And one of the cops they ask is John McClane who is tasked with bringing a hacker named Farrell to the FBI. But as soon as he gets there someone starts shooting at them. McClane manages to get them out but they’re still being pursued. And it’s just when McClane arrives in Washington that the whole system breaks down and chaos ensues.
20) Transformers (2007)
High-school student Sam Witwicky buys his first car, who is actually the Autobot Bumblebee. Bumblebee defends Sam and his girlfriend Mikaela Banes from the Decepticon Barricade, before the other Autobots arrive on Earth. They are searching for the Allspark, and the war on Earth heats up as the Decepticons attack a United States military base in Qatar. Sam and Mikaela are taken by the top-secret agency Sector 7 to help stop the Decepticons, but when they learn the agency also intends to destroy the Autobots, they formulate their own plan to save the world.
If you know of any other movies, feel free to share them in your comments.