In this digital age, activities that threaten the cybersecurity of organizations or individuals are becoming more common, as are their depictions in movies. Such acts are called “hacking” and the people involved are called hackers.
There are three main types of hackers:
White hats: These are also known as ethical hackers. They hack to improve system security and often work with the government and military.
Black Hats: These are the people that come to mind when you think of a hacker. A hat-wearing, skinny geek wreaking havoc in his dingy basement. Hacking black hats to steal money and information or blackmail other people.
Gray hats: They hack into systems without permission but have no malicious intent. Instead, they follow unethical practices to point out flaws in humble systems and then ask for a reward.
Like hacking, hacking-based movies have become popular these days thanks to the advent of computers and the easy availability of high-speed internet. While movies about hacking might give the impression of being boring, that is far from the truth. Hacking movies and TV shows can also be very fascinating and informative. You can also instill in people a passion for computers. With that in mind, we bring you the list of the 11 best movies and TV shows about hacking.
1. Who am I?
Publishing year: 2014
Pour: Tom Schilling, Elyas M’Barek, Wotan Wilke, Hannah Herzsrpung, and Stephan Kampwirth
Who Am I is a German techno thriller about international hacker groups. Who Am I centers on socially awkward programmer Benjamin, who joins a notorious hacking group and soon finds himself at the top of the list of Europe’s most wanted terrorists.
What ensues is an intense chase as Benjamin tries to dodge the authorities and a dangerous hacker group at the same time. Who am I? is directed by Baran Bo Odar and features numerous plot twists. It’s a must-see for anyone looking for a great hacking movie.
2. The Matrix
Publishing year: 1999
Pour: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
The Matrix asks, “What if our world wasn’t real and we lived in a computer simulation? Written and directed by the Wachowski sisters, The Matrix follows a computer hacker Neo who is chosen by a fringe group to aid them in their war against the “machines” and AI that will harvest humans for energy in the future.
There’s loads of sci-fi stuff and computer hacking scenes in The Matrix, along with mind-blowing action sequences. The Matrix is an essential watch for anyone even remotely interested in hacking or sci-fi.
3. Mister Robot
Publishing year: 2015 – 2019
Pour: Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday
Mr. Robot is an acclaimed TV show that has been praised for its near-accurate portrayal of hacking. Mr. Robot doesn’t indulge in drama and features long, inexplicable hacking scenes that don’t make any sense. Instead, the show takes a realistic approach to hacking and appeals to viewers’ curiosity.
Created by Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot follows a reclusive programmer Elliot who is recruited by an anarchist named Mr. Robot to join his underground hacking group.
Publishing year: 1992
Pour: Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell
Sneakers is an American thriller film centered on the concept of cybersecurity. The film is directed by Phil Alden Robinson and written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes. Sneakers follows the head of a computer hacking group that specializes in testing the security of various San Francisco businesses.
But things get complicated when NSA officials ask him to steal a top-secret black box before it falls into the wrong hands. Sneakers is an exciting and highly entertaining watch. It received positive reviews upon release and was also a financial success.
5. War Games
Publishing year: 1983
Pour: Matthew Broderick, John Wood, Ally Sheedy, and Dabney Coleman
WarGames is a sci-fi techno thriller that was way ahead of its time when it came out. WarGames follows a high school student named David Lightman as he quietly hacks the US military’s supercomputer designed to simulate, predict and execute a nuclear war against the Soviet Union.
WarGames is directed by John Badham from an original screenplay by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes. The film was a huge box office success and is considered one of the best science fiction films of all time.
Publishing year: 2016
Pour: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Nicolas Cage
Snowden is based on Edward Snowden, the American intelligence adviser who leaked the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance plans. Snowden follows the titular whistleblower as he becomes disillusioned with the NSA’s spying on ordinary citizens and decides to leak the secrets to the press.
Snowden is then labeled a traitor by some, a hero by others, and is being hunted down by the authorities. He currently lives in Russia.
7. Live free or die hard
Publishing year: 2007
Pour: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Live Free or Die Hard is an action film in which the villains are neither Russian nor Arab nor connected to drug cartels. Instead, the film stars a former defense analyst-turned-cyberterrorist as a villain bent on weakening America’s digital infrastructure.
Veteran cop John McClane is tasked with bringing in a computer hacker who has the key to stopping antagonist Thomas Gabriel’s nefarious plans. The Hard 4 is a must for any hacking or action fanatic.
8. The girl with the dragon tattoo
Publishing year: 2011
Pour: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is based on Stieg Larsson’s bestseller of the same name. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows a journalist and an anti-social hacker who team up to solve the 40-year-old mystery of a missing woman.
However, remember that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not for the faint of heart. The film features brutal violence, terrifying plot twists and graphic assault scenes. In fact, the Indian censorship board demanded so many cuts in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo that director David Fincher decided to cancel the Indian theatrical release of the film.
9. Mission: Impossible series
Publishing year: 1996 – present
Pour: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Renner
Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible series has become synonymous with gripping action sequences and iconic face-unveiling moments. But each film in the series also includes a computer hacking scene.
Ving Rhames played hacker Luther Stickell in all six films and delivered some great one-liners.
10. A Wednesday!
Publishing year: 2008
Pour: Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Sheirgill, and Deepal Shaw
A Wednesday! isn’t primarily about hacking, but it deserves a spot on this list. The film was way ahead of its time in its portrayal of policing, terrorism and politics. A Wednesday! follows a mysterious caller who threatens the Mumbai police with a bomb blast if they don’t release four terrorists. Finally, the police enlist the help of a hacker to track down the caller.
11. Ghost in the Shell
Publishing year: 1995
Pour: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka, Iemasa Kayumi
Ghost in the Shell is an animated cyberpunk thriller based on the popular Japanese manga series of the same name. Although animated, Ghost in the Shell is primarily intended for adults and consists of deeply philosophical and existential themes.
Ghost in the Shell follows a cyborg public safety agent as he hunts a mysterious hacker who hacks into the minds of cyborg-human hybrids.
Computer hacking has many types and goals. We’ve rounded up the 11 best hacking movies and TV shows, from action movies and thrillers to anime. Hope you enjoyed the list and learned something new about hacking. We will continue to bring you insightful content related to cinema and education. Until then, check out the best movies and TV shows about hacking. And check out related items below.
- who am I
- The Matrix
- Mister Robot
- war games
- Live free or die hard
- The girl with the dragon tattoo
- Mission: Impossible series
- A Wednesday
- ghost in the shell
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