21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
not completely accurate, but still informative/entertaining,
This review is from: Pirates of Silicon Valley [VHS] (VHS Tape)
If you're looking for a documentary that accurately explains the beginnings of the personal computer industry, then "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" is not it. You'd be better served watching the excellent 1995 PBS documentary "Triumph of the Nerds" instead.
If however, you're looking for an entertaining movie that gets most of the major details right, then you're in luck. The script is pretty bad (it's obvious that this was a TNT-original, made-for-TV movie), but Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall do such a superb job, each *nailing* their roles of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, respectively, that it's worth watching.
This movie is based on the excellent book "Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer". However, that book was published in 1984, and this movie covers events slightly farther in the future. Many of the details are combined, left out, or sometimes fabricated (a.k.a. "creative license"), and I'm told that some of the additional information not in the book came from the director Martyn Burke himself watching "Triumph of the Nerds" (and having his actors watch it, too, to help them get in character).
Still, I'm a high school computer science teacher, and I have my students watch this every year to give them the big picture before following it up with "Triumph of the Nerds" to accurately place the details.
Overall, this is a decent movie, and the whole cast does a laudable job portraying their characters. The story is an interesting one, and despite the generally poor script and often seemingly needless inaccuracies, "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" is a glimpse behind the scenes at the events and personalities that built the computer industry as we know it today.