Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy inspired a generation of computer geeks with the cult classic


Some films mark an entire generation. These cult classics can have a far greater impact than ever thought possible. Actors Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy did just that when they starred in the 1983 film, War games.

‘WarGames’ is an ’80s tech cult classic starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy

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Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes and Walon Green (uncredited) wrote War games, which premiered in 1983, according to IMDb. John Badham directed the film which also had Broderick and Sheedy in the two lead roles.

In War games, David Lightman, played by Broderick, is a smart teenager who loves playing video games or fiddling with his computer. Lightman finds another computer that appears to be affiliated with a game company while performing an automated modem search. At first, he doesn’t have the necessary password but is able to find it after extensive research. Lightman begins playing the game “Global Thermonuclear War” and sets Seattle, his hometown, and Las Vegas as targets for nuclear missiles.

What Lightman doesn’t know is that he doesn’t play on the computer at a game company. It actually interacts with the War Operations Plan Response or WOPR. It’s a top-secret system that helps the military decide what to do in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack. For military officials watching Lightman perform in their Situation Room, this seems like a real first-strike situation.

The military finds out who is playing the “game” and Lightman and his girlfriend, Jennifer, are arrested and taken to the top-secret military installation. Upon arriving, Lightman realizes that the WOPR is still playing Global Thermonuclear War, but this time it’s for real. Someone has to stop him before a real thermonuclear war breaks out between the United States and Russia.

‘WarGames’ turns 40 and continues to inspire

According to Wired, Google hosted a 25th anniversary screening of War games in 2008, Google engineers cheered on Broderick’s character as he struggled to save the world from a video game.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin told viewers, “A lot of us grew up watching this movie. It was a key generational movie, especially for those of us who got into it. computing.

The Cybersecurity Education Guides state, “It’s heady stuff for nerds ripping off pizzas and playing PC games in the basement all through high school — a path to power and respect that uses their talents and wits during a time in their lives when the big guys on the football team usually get the spotlight.

The creators originally titled “WarGames” as “The Genius”

The stars of the 1983 Wargames: Ally Sheedy and Matthew Broderick | Archives Hulton/Getty Images

The two main screenwriters of War games, Parkes and Lasker, started with a completely different concept for their film. Their brainchild, named The geniuswas going to be “about a dying scientist and the only person in the world who understands him – a rebellious child who is too smart for his own good. The idea of ​​featuring computers and computer networks would come later. The dying scientist was supposed to be someone like Stephen Hawking.

The film’s futuristic and creative consultant, Peter Schwartz, worked at the Stanford Research Institute. He introduced Parkes and Lasker to this developing subculture of extremely bright kids who would later become known as hackers. He made the connection between these young people, computers, the army and games.

There have been many different iterations of the film, but ultimately, The genius turned into War games. War games was made for $12 million and went on to make $80 million plus three Oscar nominations. Cold War-weary moviegoers were relieved and inspired when WOPR declared, “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess? »

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