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A movie directed by John Badham

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Want to play a game?

  • Jul 30, 2000
Pros: Damn computer

Cons: Damn computer

Played off as a generally simple movie one wonders with all that is going on in computer land what is truth and what is folly. I actually enjoyed this movie even with its' unbelievable scenes of Matthew Broderick being dumped into the ‘war room' to defy the military and take on WOPR.

How enjoyable it is to see these actors at the beginning of their careers and reflect on how far they have traveled in a short time. Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy both gave good performances as the computer hacker and his girlfriend. I particularly enjoyed his interaction with WOPR because I truly believe these darn computers do rule our lives.

Is it just me or does anyone else believe Dabney Coleman plays an a$$ of the highest caliber in every movie he makes? Often I wonder where Coleman ends and the character begins. Trust me, I am not discounting his acting abilities, just wondering how much of it IS acting. He stays true to type in this movie, itching to push that red button.

I also liked seeing John Spencer again. One of those actors that have probably made 200 movies and been in countless TV hits but always in the smaller character roles adding meat to the movie. A good supporting actor that always gives a wonderful performance.

Of course the true star was WOPR with his quirky desire to dominate the world in a sweet little game known as Global Thermonuclear War. We were offered some nice computer graphics with staggering statistics in the re-creation of the war room computer system.

The Movie
Broderick is playing with his computer, changing school grades and generally just peeking into whatever his little hacker fingers can find. He inadvertently slips into the government computer system and hooks up with his new buddy WOPR, who is just itching for someone to play with. Being only a kid after all, he begins a new game with his buddy ~ Global Thermonuclear War ~ which brings all the military bigwigs a flying.

Eventually we find him and Sheedy inside the war room trying to tame the beast they have created. In a stand-off with Coleman (and others), Broderick knows the solution to the problem but being a kid, they won't listen. As we watch the screens flash the destruction paths, Broderick begs to let him step up to WOPR and shut him down. How can he accomplish what no one else can figure out? It's a computer darn it, it is designed to solve problems! Give it a problem it can't solve and it will burn itself out.

Broderick makes the computer play against itself in a game of Tick-Tack-Toe and we watch the computer slowly fry its' synapses. Fortunately, the world destruction is stopped and the computer is tamed once again. Or is it? Want to play a game?

Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, Ally Sheedy, Barry Corbin, John Spencer and WOPR. Fantastic special effects by Joe DiGaetano. Nominated for three Academy Awards. A great family movie (if your kid doesn't have a computer that is)


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


In director John Badham's WARGAMES, Matthew Broderick stars as David Lightman, a young hacker who accidentally logs on to the Department of Defense's network. Thinking that he's found a cool new computer game manufacturer, David plays checkers, chess, and other more intriguing games like Global Thermonuclear War. Realizing that their system has been tampered with, military operatives arrest him. However, the computer continues to play the "game" of thermonuclear warfare without David and generates the very real threat of World War III. In an attempt to prevent global disaster, David and his girlfriend, Jennifer (Ally Sheedy), search desperately for the scientist who designed the system before the goverment computer initates a full-scale nuclear war. <br> <br> A landmark of 1980s cinema, WARGAMES was keenly tuned into its time. Computers remained a relative mystery in the early 1980s, as they were used primarily by large corporations and government agencies, but not by many individuals at home. The gener...
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Director: John Badham
Release Date: 1983
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (June 10, 2008)
Runtime: 1hr 54min
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