Seeing “Sneakers” on sale on Apple TV reminded me that there are some movies younger geeks might not know they should watch. So, here is a helpful list of 90’s “hacker” movies to watch or not ordered by how much I like them.
Sneakers (1992) – Pen testing, social engineering, cryptography and lasers. What more could a teenage geek want? I could watch this 100 times and not get board. Also, Cooties Rat Semen.
Office Space (1999) – Before Silicon Valley there was Office Space. Painfully true to life for anyone who has had a ‘corporate’ IT job.
The Matrix (1999) – Mind blowing for a young systems engineer. Everyone wanted the cool Nokia slide phone. This was perhaps one of the first times I’d seen a movie that presented “hackers” as cool.
War Games (1983) – Its a little bit pre-90s, but its really good. You may be surprised to learn it was written but the same screenwriter as Sneakers.
Disclosure (1994) – Its mostly gender politics set in a tech startup, but its pretty good. As with most movies based on Michael Crichton books, the book is better (see also: Jurassic Park)
Hackers (1995) – From what I remember its a lot of style over substance. Hacking into “The Gibson” etc. Give it a miss unless you are desperate.
(A lot of people on reddit disagree with me about this. I might have to rewatch it.)
The Net (1995) – Terrible movie but Sandra Bullock is hot. Fight me.
Antitrust (2001) Ryan Phillippe as a hacker. Not great.
Swordfish (2001) – Hugh Jackman was a hacker before he was Wolverine. Famous for that particular scene with Halle Berry.
The Manhattan Project (1986) – kid builds a nuclear bomb. While waking up from general anaesthetic I told a nurse I knew how to build a nuclear bomb on the basis of watching this movie. I was a special child.
Short Circuit (1986) – Sentient robot (but also kinda racist)
Code Rush (2000) – Documentary about Netscape open sourcing as Mozilla. Features the illustrious jwz.
Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999) – Biopic about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs starting out. I got a lifetime ban from our local Blockbuster because I refused to pay an overdue fine for this movie on the basis that I hadn’t rented it from them. They closed two weeks later. Suck on that, Blockbuster.
I’m sure there are others but these are the ones that stick out.
This post was originally published on Reddit.