USA 1983. Dir: John Badham. 114 min. Blu-ray Disc


“Shall we play a game?” Long before “hacking” was a household word (to say nothing of the “internet”), John Badham introduced the concept to a generation of cinemagoers with his superb ’80s cyber-thriller, one of the first, and certainly best, of the decade’s computer-centric films. Fresh-faced Matthew Broderick is computer whiz David, a slacker Seattle teen who’d sooner boost his letter grades by hacking into his school’s system than study (hey, didn’t he do that as Ferris Bueller too?). When he gains access to what appears to be a sophisticated computer game — but is actually a US military supercomputer — his decision to play “Global Thermonuclear War” rather than chess unwittingly initiates WWIII. A prescient, Cold War nail-biter that taps into contemporary anxieties around national defence, online espionage, and headline-grabbing hacktivism, this triple-Oscar-nominated film may be Badham’s finest work. “Scary and intelligent ... As a premise for a thriller, this is a masterstroke” (Roger Ebert).



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After the film, Cinema Sunday host Michael van den Bos will moderate a Q&A with John Badham, director of WarGames. Badham has earned critical praise and box-office success during a career distinguished by its range and diversity. He is the director of 17 feature films — including Saturday Night Fever (1978), Blue Thunder (1983), Short Circuit (1986), and Stakeout (1987) — and numerous television episodes.


"A geek-geist classic ... The film that turned geeks and phreaks into stars."

Wired | full review

"Classic humanist-didactic filmmaking, effectively presented as a thriller ... John Badham impresses with his Spielberg-inflected direction."

Chicago Reader | full review