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11 Best Movies and TV Shows About Hacking

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In this digital age, activities compromising the cyber security of organisations or individuals are becoming increasingly common, and so are their depictions in movies. Such acts are termed “hacking,” and the people who participate in them are called hackers.

There are three main types of hackers:

White hats: These are also called ethical hackers. They hack to improve the security of systems and often work with the government and the military.

Black hats: These are the people that pop into your mind when you think of a hacker. A hat-wearing, skinny computer geek, wreaking havoc from his dingy basement. Black hats hack to steal money, and information, or blackmail other people.

Grey hats: They hack into systems without permission but don’t have malicious intentions. Instead, they follow unethical practices to point out flaws in unassuming systems and then ask for a reward.

Like hacking, movies based on hacking have also become popular nowadays, thanks to the advent of computers and the easy availability of high-speed internet. Although movies on hacking may give the impression of being boring, that’s far from the truth. Hacking movies and TV shows can be quite intriguing and informative as well. They can also instil in people a passion for computers. On that note, we bring you the list of the 11 best movies and TV shows on hacking.

1. Who Am I

Who Am I (2014)

Release Year: 2014

Cast: Tom Schilling, Elyas M’Barek, Wotan Wilke, Hannah Herzsrpung, Stephan Kampwirth

Who Am I is a German techno-thriller film about international hacker groups. Who Am I centers on a socially awkward programmer, Benjamin, who joins a notorious hacker group and soon finds himself at the top of the most-wanted terrorist list in Europe.

What follows is an intense chase as Benjamin tries to evade 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-watch for anyone looking for a great hacking movie.

2. The Matrix

The Matrix (1999)

Release Year: 1999

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano

The Matrix puts forth the question, “What if our world wasn’t real and we were living 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 help them in their war against the “machines,” and AI harvesting humans in the future for energy.

There are plenty of sci-fi stuff and computer-hacking scenes in The Matrix, along with jaw-dropping action sequences. The Matrix is an essential watch for anyone even remotely interested in hacking or sci-fi.

3. Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot

Release Year: 2015 – 2019

Cast: Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday

Mr. Robot is an acclaimed TV show that has won praise for its near-accurate depiction of hacking. Mr. Robot doesn’t give in to drama and features long, inexplicable hacking scenes that make no sense. Instead, the show takes a realistic approach to hacking and appeals to the viewers’ curiosities.

Mr. Robot is created by Sam Esmail and follows a reclusive programmer Elliot as he is recruited by an anarchist named Mr. Robot to join his underground hacker group.

4. Sneakers

Sneakers (1992)

Release Year: 1992

Cast: Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell

Sneakers is an American thriller film centering on the concept of cyber security. 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 who specialises in testing the security of various San Francisco companies.

But matters get complicated when NSA officers ask him to steal a top-secret black box before it falls in the wrong hands. Sneakers is a suspenseful and highly entertaining watch. It received positive reviews upon release and was a financial success as well.

5. WarGames

WarGames (1983)

Release Year: 1983

Cast: Matthew Broderick, John Wood, Ally Sheedy, 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, who unassumingly hacks the US Military supercomputer designed to simulate, predict, and execute nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

WarGames was directed by John Badham from an original screenplay by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes. The film was a big box office success and is regarded as one of the best sci-fi films of all time.

6. Snowden

Jagranjosh

Release Year: 2016

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Nicolas Cage

Snowden is based on Edward Snowden, the American intelligence consultant who leaked the mass surveillance schemes of the National Security Agency (NSA). 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 subsequently labelled a traitor by some, a hero by others, and hunted by the authorities. He currently resides in Russia.

7. Live Free Or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Release Year: 2007

Cast: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Live Free or Die Hard is an action movie where the villains aren’t Russian, Arab, or related to drug cartels. Instead, the film features a former defence analyst turned cyber-terrorist as the villain who wants to debilitate the USA’s digital infrastructure.

Veteran cop John McClane is tasked with bringing in a computer hacker who has the key to stopping the nefarious schemes of the antagonist Thomas Gabriel. Die Hard 4 is a must-watch for all hacking or action aficionados.

8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Release Year: 2011

Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is based on Stieg Larsson’s best-selling book 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, keep in mind that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not for the faint-hearted. The film features brutal violence, horrifying plot twists, and graphic assault scenes. In fact, the Indian censor board demanded so many cuts in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that director David Fincher decided to scrap the film’s Indian theatrical release.

9. Mission: Impossible Series

Mission: Impossible series

Release Year: 1996 – Present

Cast: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Renner

Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible series has become synonymous with riveting action sequences and iconic face-reveal moments. But every film in the series also features a computer hacking scene.

Ving Rhames has played hacker Luther Stickell in all six movies and delivered some great one-liners.

10. A Wednesday!

A Wednesday! (2008)

Release Year: 2008

Cast: Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Sheirgill, Deepal Shaw

A Wednesday! is not mainly about hacking but has earned a spot on this list. The film was way ahead of its time in its depiction of police work, terrorism, and politics. A Wednesday! revolves around a mysterious caller who threatens the Mumbai police with a bomb blast unless they release four terrorists. Eventually, the police enlist the help of a hacker to locate the caller.

11. Ghost in the Shell

 

Release Year: 1995

Cast: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka, Iemasa Kayumi

Ghost in the Shell is an animated cyberpunk thriller film based on the popular Japanese manga series of the same name. Although animated, Ghost in the Shell is meant mainly for adults and consists of deeply philosophical and existential themes.

Ghost in the Shell follows a cyborg public security agent who hunts a mysterious hacker who hacks into the minds of cyborg-human hybrids.

Conclusion

Computer hacking has many types and goals. We have laid out the 11 best movies and TV shows on hacking, ranging from action movies and thrillers to even anime. Hopefully, you liked the list and learned something new about hacking. We’ll keep bringing you more insightful content related to cinema and education. Until then, take another look at the best movies and TV shows about hacking. And check out similar articles below.

  • Who Am I
  • The Matrix
  • Mr. Robot
  • Sneakers
  • WarGames
  • Snowden
  • Live Free or Die Hard
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Mission: Impossible Series
  • A Wednesday
  • Ghost in the Shell

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