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War Games (1983)

Matthew Broderick , Ally Sheedy , John Badham  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (452 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, John Wood, Dabney Coleman, Barry Corbin
  • Directors: John Badham
  • Writers: Lawrence Lasker, Walon Green, Walter F. Parkes
  • Producers: Bruce McNall, Harold Schneider, Leonard Goldberg, Richard Hashimoto
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 1998
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (452 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792838467
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,851 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "War Games" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 8-page booklet with trivia and production notes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club) star in this compelling drama filled with action, suspense and high-tech adventures! Featuring superb performances by Dabney Coleman and Barry Corbin, WarGames is "brilliant...funny...and provocative" (New York)a fast-paced cyber-thriller. Computer hacker David Lightman (Broderick) can bypass the most advanced security systems, break the most intricate secret codes and mastereven the most difficult computer games. But when he unwittingly taps into the Defense Department's war computer, he initiates a confrontation of global proportionsWorld War III! Together with his girlfriend (Sheedy) and a wizardly computer genius (Tony AwardÂ(r) winner John Wood), David must race against time to outwit his opponent...and prevent a nuclear Armageddon.

Additional Features

The DVD release has a widescreen presentation, theatrical trailer, Dolby sound, director commentary, optional English, French and Spanish subtitles. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
127 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars would you prefer a nice game of chess? July 6, 2000
Format:DVD
This was an instant teen classic. Far more than a movie about romance, lust or "parents who just don't understand" .... this was a great flick and it still is.
Matthew Broderick introduced the masses to the world of hacking, phreaking and global thermo nuclear war.
The average person at that time had never heard of a phone phreak, but we see the lead character get free calls on a payphone and stealing software via his 300 baud modem before anyone knew there was software worth stealing.
Not only are his parents affluent enough to supply him with a computer, he gets discarded computer hardware from friends at a local university to make the super-duper hacking machine that ends up getting him in big big trouble.
While a lot of this story is pretty improbable, some of the plot was dead on for the time. There were no minature computers and cameras and while the government had satelites, they couldn't count your eyelashes from the stratosphere like they can today.
Nuclear war with the Soviet Union was a real threat when this movie came out... all of my friends talked about it and posters with mushroom clouds were all over our school. Sting came out with the song "Russians" and we all peed in our pants when the show "The Day After" aired on prime time TV.
It was a scary time and this movie masterfully played on the fear of nuclear threats and the real likelihood (and nowadays a reality) of having formerly human-manned stations automated by computers.
Lots of excitement, great background music and lots of 80s nostalgia abound in this film. If you're in your late 20s to early 40s and you haven't seen this film, it's your duty to get it!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie is great, but the commentary is superb! September 6, 2000
Format:DVD
Watching this movie again brings back some great nostalgic feelings -- back in these days computers were *special*, something amazing and almost magical. Being a software professional, I often yearn for those times again, where we weren't something as boring as "IT professionals" but "wizards". Reading an old copy of BYTE from 1980 or watching WarGames helps :)
I won't praise the movie further, but I want to highlight the commentary audio track: the director, John Badham and the two writers, Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes comment every scene in the movie. It's really great stuff, not the usual junk you might hear actors say about their own role in the movie (that seldom sounds convincing) but lots of technical details about how the movie was made (for example, the initial blizzard scene was apparently created with the help of helicopters) to exactly what sort of computer equipment was used (a TRS-80) and why. The commentators are having lots of fun and manage to share a lot of trivia (for example, W.O.P.R. was considered named PSIOP(sp)).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still worth watching. July 19, 2004
Format:DVD
When this movie was released it was very up to date with the technology it featured. In this day of laptop computers and Internet access to mobile phones it certainly looks dated but put that aside and you are still left with a really good movie with a plot idea that still works today.
The story revolves around an underachieving, bored teenager (played by a very young Matthew Broderick) whose main interest in life is his computer. From his bedroom he can alter his school grades, reserve flights, and download software, all by hacking into other computers. While searching for new games from a software company he comes across a set of titles he assumes are games and decides, with his girlfriend, to play Global Thermonuclear War. Unfortunately it isn't a software company he has hacked into but a military system and he is playing against NORAD's computer. When the realisation hits that the NORAD computer, when it's turn comes round, will launch atomic missiles for real, the race is on the stop the game.
This is still a gripping film that can well pump up the tension even after several viewings. Recommended
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matthew Broderick invented the Internet July 27, 2002
Format:DVD
I think it's safe to say that "WarGames" is the movie that defines many of those who came of age in the early '80s. I was about 10 when I saw the film in the theater. Although I didn't come to own a computer until several years later, certainly the idea came to me through "WarGames". Other movies I saw as a child defined a lot of my later interests -- "The Muppet Movie", "Star Wars", and "Superman" -- but this was the first film I could relate to on a real-life level.
Watching the DVD was the first time I'd seen "WarGames" in about a decade. The movie still holds together quite well, especially when you realize that's Michael Madsen right there in the first scene. It takes a short while to get to Matthew Broderick, but he owns the movie once he shows up -- until John Wood arrives as Professor Falken in the final reel and makes things even more interesting. The progression from suburban Seattle to the brink of World War III is done without the slightest hint of dramatic overkill (until perhaps the computers explode in a shower of sparks), and even the love story is charming. Ally Sheedy was so good in her small role that you sort of wish her career had fared better.
The DVD edition is a bit dated by 2002 standards -- the only special feature is the commentary track, by director Badham and the two screenwriters. I enjoyed this, as it pays special attention to the construction of the script and shows just why the movie holds together so well. It may seem obvious when Badham points out which lines are the jokes, but you can learn a lot about dramatic structure just by listening to these guys. ...
Oddly, the DVD case lists "trivia and production features" among the special features, but these aren't actually anywhere on the disc.
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War Games Soundtrack
who performs 'Edge of the World'?
Jul 24, 2008 by Humanity's children are returning home... |  See all 4 posts
Tom Keogh is horrible
I agree with other's assessments of Mr. Keogh's critiques. Mr. Tom Keogh seems to be unappreciative of the goal or achievements of particular films and/or directors. Many of his reviews are positive of many films which, while have enjoyed box office successes, have been very weak in plot and... Read More
Nov 3, 2012 by Daniel P. Elliott |  See all 3 posts
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