WarGames Poster

Release Date: 1983

DVD Release Date: April 29th, 1998

PG|1 hr 53 min

Plot Summary
High school student David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) unwittingly hacks into a military supercomputer while searching for new video games. After starting a game of Global Thermonuclear War, Lightman leads the supercomputer to activate the nation's nuclear arsenal in response to his simulated threat as the Soviet Union. Once the clueless hacker comes to his senses, Lightman, with help from his girlfriend (Ally Sheedy), must find a way to alert the authorities to stop the onset of World War III.

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, Ally Sheedy, John Wood, Barry Corbin, Juanin Clay, Kent Williams, Dennis Lipscomb

Director: John Badham

Genres: Thriller

Production Co: Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Keywords: Rescue, Girlfriend, Friend, Tense, Growing up, Quest, 1980s, Doctor

Ratings & Reviews

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  • There's not a scene here where Badham doesn't seem to know what he's doing, weaving a complex web of computerese, personalities and puzzles; the movie absorbs us on emotional and intellectual levels at the same time. And the ending, a moment of blinding and yet utterly elementary insight, is wonderful. show more

  • A thoroughly entertaining thriller about a teenage video game freak who almost starts World War III. A clever warning against nuclear weapons and too much reliance on computers. Only a preachy scientist hurts a fine entertainment. [22 July 1983, p.3-10]

  • The teaser scene is phenomenal. It depicts the escalating tensions that accompany being one of the men in the final chain that leads to a nuclear launch. In this case, it's just a drill, but the men (played by Michael Madsen and John Spencer) don't know that. They must confront the morality of obeying an order that could lead to a worldwide holocaust. It's a taut scene that is suffused with verisimilitude. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Winner Sound
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1983)
Nominated Special Visual Effects
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1983)
Nominated Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen)
Nominated Cinematography
Nominated Sound
Nominated Production Design
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1983)