27 best movies about hacking, ranked

We're not talking your average Tor storylines; even code can be exciting when it's done right.
1 of 27 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

27. Hackers (1995)

Granted, it's not great on plot, or special effects, or well, story. But the movie is about hackers and it stars the very young, and very hot, and therefore very-worth-your-time, Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie. The two of them onscreen, together, gives anything an automatic boost.

Metacritic score: 46

2 of 27 Miramax Films

26. eXistenZ (1999)

Granted, the title hits you over the head with symbolism (not exactly the cleverest play on existentialism) and from its fashion to its cinematography, it's super 90s. And yeah, technically, this is more about virtual reality than hacking. But the concept-a virtual designer on the run from hit men using bio-computers-is pretty cool. Plus, a young Jude Law stars, and boy is he pretty.

Metacritic score: 68

3 of 27 Music Box Films

25. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

No offense to Rooney Mara, but Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth-the original-is way better. And journalist + young, badass hacker teaming up to solve a decades old mystery = addicting plot.

Metacritic score: 76

4 of 27 Warner Bros.

24. Inception (2010)

Granted, the ending kind of made the movie into something you'd expect out of a philosophy grad student thesis, but still, Leo and his crew HACK YOUR MINDS. That's awesome.

Metacritic score: 74

5 of 27 Buena Vista International

23. 23 (1998)

Yeah it's a 90s German film, but it's based on a true story of young hackers who, with little more than some extra money and free time, hacked their way into military and government computers. It's one of those stories where real life beats fiction. And no, its ranking isn't just because of its title. (OK: We will admit, it factored in a little. What are the odds?).

Imdb ranking: 7.3

6 of 27 Velocity / Thinkfilm

22. Paranoia 1.0/One Point O (2004)

Take one mysterious package, lots of creepy lighting, and a computer programmer (Jeremy Sisto) getting sent down a rabbit hole, and you've got this movie. Eerie, and moody, with undervalued performances, this is one of those smaller films you should definitely comb the Internet to find and watch.

Imdb ranking: 6.2

7 of 27 Universal Studios

21. Sneakers (1992)

We never thought Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier would ever be in a security hacking thriller with Dan Akyroyd but hey, that's the 90s, man. Those years were weird, and this particular weirdness has great performances and is hella watchable.

Imdb rating: 7.1

8 of 27 Walt Disney Pictures

20. Tron (1982)

We're talking about the original of course, not the crappy reboot. Tron makes the list just for the sheer ballsy, nerdy audacity of its concept. Are the special effects pure 80s? Naturally, but when you have a hacker sucked into a video game and forced to fight as a VR gladiator, well, you gotta pull out all the stops.

Imdb rating: 6.8

9 of 27 Twentieth Century FOX

19. Live Free Or Die Hard (2007)

Ok, so this choice isn't so about for the insights it brings into the world of hacking, but rather for the sheer glory of watching the Die Hard breathing some yippie-kay-yay into the 21st century.

Metacritic score: 69

10 of 27 Sony Pictures

18. Who Am I (2014)

Boy, those subversive hacker groups sure like their masks (and yes, the parallels to Anonymous are obvious). Still, for a fictional dive into the shadowy world of attention-getting, counter-culture hacking, it makes for good entertainment.

Imdb ranking: 7.6

11 of 27 ZyPIX Productions

17. Code 2600 (2011)

If you want to see how the info-tech age was born, then crawled and toddled, and then skipped walking and went straight for a run, this documentary spins a great arc while giving us fascinating insights on the future of privacy.

Imdb rating; 7.6

12 of 27 2600 Films

16. Freedom Downtime (2001)

The story of real-life hacker Kevin Mitnick is fascinating enough, but the film also gives the average Gmail user a rare glimpse into his whole world, with all its human fobiles and insider gossip.

Imdb rating: 7.6

13 of 27 September Films

15. The Secret History Of Hacking (2001)

How hacking can lead to tech innovations (iPhone, anyone?) makes for a gripping (if somewhat self-congratulatory) documentary every computer nerd should see.

Imdb rating: 7.7

14 of 27 Focus Features

14. Underground: The Julian Assange Story

Granted, Julian Assange's story has been told a few times, but not everyone bothered to look at him before WikiLeaks. This film does, and it's interesting to watch the early years of one of the most controversial people alive today.

Imdb rating: 6.8

15 of 27 MGM

13. Antitrust (2001)

This movie because is just so early 2000s ... in a great way. It stars Ryan Phillippe AND Rachel Leigh Cook and has Tim Robbins doing a pretty mean impression of an evil Bill Gates. There's not a lot of accuracy about computers, but the film makes up for it with buckets of nostalgia for people who were in high school when this came out.

Imdb rating: 6.1

16 of 27 Channel 4 Television Corporation

12. Cyberbully (2015)

It's every teen's (and celebrity's) worst nightmare: An anonymous cyber bully has hacked your accounts and is threatening to post all those terrible photos everywhere. Relevant without being hackneyed, it's a British TV movie, so you may have to get a bit, erm, creative about how you stream it. However an excellent performance by young star Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and a gripping psychological plot make it worth it. Imdb rating: 7.2

17 of 27 Warner Bros.

11. Swordfish (2001)

Oh c'mon, we had to put this on the list. Why? 1) Wolverine is a hacker with an obnoxious earring. 2) John Travolta hams it up splendidly as an evil mastermind (who makes terrible fashion choices too). 3) Halle Berry is, well, Halle Berry. It's so bad, it's not just good, it's fantastic. Imdb rating: 6.5

18 of 27 Screem Gems

10. Untraceable (2008)

A serial killer who posts his kills online (ick) plays a cat-and-mouse game with Diane Lane in this edge-of-your-seat thriller. Imdb rating: 6.2

19 of 27 Radius

9. Citizenfour (2014)

Edward Snowden: He's one of the most hated/venerated/admired/talked-about men of our times. For almost two hours, it's like you're sitting down and having a conversation with him. And that conversation is gripping. Imdb rating: 8.1

20 of 27 Focus Features

8. We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks

This documentary is essentially on big take on Julian Assange, all white-haired and charismatic and revealing exactly how he founded his groundbreaking website. It's worth watching for its political relevancy and hacker history. Imdb rating: 6.9

21 of 27 Walt Disney Pictures

7. The Fifth Estate

What's better than a documentary with IRL Julian Assange? Benedict Cumberbatch playing Disney's version of Julian Assange, duh. No more need be said. Imdb rating: 6.2

22 of 27 Lisa Bernier/ZDNet

6. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz

Forget the Amy Winehouse documentary. Watch this instead. When idealism met the Internet, it found its avatar in Aaron Swartz. The life of the computer genius and information activist has all the elements of a Shakespeare tragedy, and you'll cry when you watch it, guaranteed. Imdb rating: 8.1

23 of 27 TriStar Pictures

5. The Thirteenth Floor

Somehow the movie ends up in a pseudo-1930s simulation through something that vaguely has to do with computers. For that complete mind-frack alone, you should see this little-known 90s gem. And you should naturally, inevitably, totally not watch it stoned. Imdb rating: 7.0

24 of 27 Manga Entertainment

4. Ghost In The Shell (1996)

Blade Runner meets Lara Croft meets some pretty heady philosophical questions in this anime classic.

Imdb ranking: 8.0

25 of 27 Warner Bros.

3. The Matrix (1999)

It's a movie about hacking REALITY. And Keanu Reeves doesn't suck in it. And Hugo Weaving has such bon mots. Who cares what crap the Wachowskis have put out since? This movie is damn good.

Metacritic score: 73

26 of 27 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

2. WarGames (1983)

Yeah yeah, nuclear war is bad. But who cares about the parable? We just love the fact that a hacker accidentally brings the world to the brink of destruction just to impress a girl--and that the hacker is an 80s-era Matthew Broderick.

Imdb ranking: 7.1

27 of 27 Fox

1. Office Space

Oh, this isn't a hacker movie? It's a cult comedy? Except, wait: Don't the employees go on a crusade to destroy the corporate hell they live in by embezzling from a bank via some computer chicanery, and in the process burn the company down? Oh, they do? So Office Space pretty much IS the ultimate hacker movie, thereby making it even more awesome than it already is. We didn't think that was possible.

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