Top 10 hacking movies

2011 so far has been filled with news of high-profile hacking - the Epsilon data breach, Microsoft and the various attempts of the nefarious Anonymous. Even the Australian Government copped a little unwanted interest. With this in mind, we thought it was time to track down the top ten Hollywood movies about hacking.

  • 2011 so far has been filled with news of high-profile hacking — the Epsilon data breach, Microsoft and the various attempts of the nefarious Anonymous. Even the Australian Government [[artnid:381289|copped a little unwanted interest]]. With this in mind, we thought it was time to track down the top ten Hollywood movies about hacking. Some of these examples might not be [[xref:|as realistic]] as others, but we know you'll enjoy them nonetheless.

  • 10. Hackers (1995) 11-year-old Dade Murphy, otherwise known by his hacker alias 'Zero Cool', is arrested by the US Secret Service for writing a computer virus and banned from using a computer until his 18th birthday. When he hits 18 he's back in action as 'Crash Override', and all hell breaks loose — the movie features a [[xref:|brilliant ten-minute sequence]] that spawned the unforgettable phrase "hack the Gibson". Hackers, as the name suggests, is one of the best hacking movies out there. If you haven't seen it, you're missing out.

    Image credit: [[xref:|Chas Andrews' Movie Blog]]
  • 9. The Net (1995) In The Net, Sandra Bullock plays Angela Bennett, a software engineer who has her identity stolen after a holiday gone wrong. It doesn't help that she works from home and doesn't have many friends — a peril we're sure many hackers can empathise with. She's chased across cyberspace by an evil group called the Praetorians — there's a classical reference for you — and has to use her computer to defend herself. Gutsy stuff.

    Image credit: [[xref:|Shout Me Loud]]
  • 8. Die Hard 4.0 (2007) John McClane has gone through a lot. He's dealt with office-block terrorists, airport chaos and crazed revenge-seekers. Die Hard 4.0 is a little more high-tech, though — when someone hacks into the computers at the FBI's Cyber Crime Division, he knows just what to do: drive a police car into a helicopter. Yep, you read right.

    McClane's tasked with collaring a notorious hacker whose group is responsible for countrywide mayhem. Unfortunately, computers ultimately adopt a supporting role to Bruce Willis's shiny, hacker-hunting head in this all-out action flick.

    Image credit: [[xref:|IMP Awards]]
  • 7. Sneakers (1992) Robert Redford's Marty Bishop leads a group of computer whiz kids who specialise in cryptography and computer security. After stealing a mysterious black box from some mysterious bad guys — who say they're government agents, so Bishop's conscience can be clear — he finds out the box is able to decode any encryption system in the world. Predictably, the bad guys are keen to get their hands on it. Cue intrigue.

    Image credit: [[xref:|Chas Andrews' Movie Blog]]
  • 6. Swordfish (2001) Convicted hacker Stanley Jobson — Hugh Jackman at his finest — has the task of stealing $9.5 billion of government funds forgotten about after the aborted Operation Swordfish, and he's being egged along by the ultra-suave Gabriel Shear (John Travolta, clearly playing himself). We don't need to say much about Swordfish, apart from the fact that there's a scene involving hacking on a computer with seven screens. Seven screens. You can’t get much more hacker-tastic than that.

    Image credit: [[xref:|IMP Awards]]
  • 5. Terminator II (1991) OK, so Terminator 2 isn't entirely about hacking, but there's sentient robots, time travel and a whole lot of [[xref:| Skynet]]. Oh, and teenaged John Connor breaking into a secure facility using an [[xref:|Atari Portfolio]]. Put simply, computers are threatening to take over the world, and it's up to a rag-tag band of heroes to stop them. It's also simply one of the best movies ever made.

    Image credit: [[xref:|IMP Awards]]
  • 4. The Matrix (1999) The Matrix is a meta-hacking movie. The hackers, including Keanu Reeves' Neo, live inside the world they're hacking. The Matrix is a computer system that tricks humans into thinking they're alive and well and enjoying their lives when they're actually being fed on by machines in a dark, dystopian real world. With its punchy nu-metal-cum-heavy-metal soundtrack and leather-heavy costume department, The Matrix shows hackers as they'd love to be seen — ultra-cool and revolutionary.

    Image credit: [[xref:|The Matrix Wiki]]
  • 3. WarGames (1983) Budding hacker David finds a backdoor entrance into a giant military supercomputer mainframe and starts messing around. Nothing could go wrong, right? David plays against the computer in a game involving an — entirely theoretical, or so it seems — nuclear war between America and Russia. WarGames celebrates hacking — we think it's required reading for any computer security enthusiast.

    Image credit: [[xref:|JomLand MovieDB]]
  • 2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) Again, not another movie specifically about hacking, but Ferris Bueller's Day Off includes one of the most optimistic and humourous representations of hacking in cinema. Ferris — burdened with a computer instead of a car as a birthday present — hacks into his school to change his grades, just as the film's antagonist Principal Rooney is looking them up. Mission completed successfully, Bueller then proceeds to borrow a Ferrari and dance with a marching band in the middle of Chicago.

    Image credit: [[xref:|IMP Awards]]
  • 1. Demon Seed (1977) Proteus IV — an organic super-computer — is being fed the sum of all human knowledge, from Chinese to cancer research. Rather unfortunately, the super-computer reaches sentience, and hacks into its creator's computer- automated house — where it develops an unhealthy interest in the scientist's wife. What happens next is entirely beyond simple hacking, but this movie teaches you to worry about a future where computers can think and act for themselves.

    Image credit: [[xref:|Wikipedia]]
  • 0. Independence Day (1996) We just have to mention the mother of all alien invasion movies even if we broke our promise of giving you the top 10. Faced with alien onslaught, the ever- awesome Steve Hiller (Will Smith) must take up the mantle of defeating those who threaten to overshadow the annual US fireworks show. Itʼs only when all seems lost that disaster movie extraordinaire and death escapee, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) comes up with a plan: Destroy the alien mothership with a computer virus. With Levinson's hacking skills and Hiller's flying genius, the two manage to implant the virus, lowering the shields of the mothership and allowing the might of the US Air Force to destroy the key commander of invading forces. Itʼs just too bad Randy Quaid's character had to die as a result - maybe they should have taken a leaf out of Tom Cruiseʼs book and just sneezed on the alien.

    Image credit: [[xref:|IMP Awards]]
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