Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Wired’s 25th Anniversary Tribute to ‘Wargames’

posted by Nell Minow

I recently included War Games in my list of great movie computers. Wired Magazine has a fascinating salute to the movie’s 25th anniversary and the way it influenced a generation of proto-geeks in the current issue, featuring interviews with the screenwriters (and the legendary hackers they consulted) about developing a script centering on this still-exotic technology. And they actually considered casting John Lennon as the designer of the computer program! Even more astonishing was the impact the film had on one very powerful viewer, the President of the United States.

Days after the screening, wrote Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon, Reagan held a closed-door briefing with some moderate members of Congress, wherein he sidetracked discussion of the MX ballistic missile program by bringing up “WarGames.” Had any of them seen the film? he asked, then launched into an animated account of the plot. “Don’t tell the ending,” cautioned one of the lawmakers.


The Defense Department was so taken with the display system created for the movie that they designed one like it. But if the movie raised the consciousness of those creating defense systems, it also made them warier of those who might try to hack into them. Kevin Mitnick, who served five years in prison for hacking says,

That movie had a significant effect on my treatment by the federal government. I was held in solitary confinement for nearly a year because a prosecutor told a judge that if I got near a phone, I could dial up Norad and launch a nuclear missile. I never hacked into Norad. And when the prosecutor said that, I laughed — in open court. I thought, “This guy just burned all his credibility.” But the court believed it. I think the movie convinced people that this stuff was real. They tried to make me into a fictional character.


There’s a new 25th Anniversary Edition DVD with some excellent features and interviews.

  • Steve

    I presume you are also the former Movie Mom that was on Yahoo… If so… glad I have found you again and miss you from the ‘other’ location.
    Have always enjoyed your insight and have relied on your input when taking my kids to the movies… Thank you!

  • Nell Minow

    Yes, Steve, I am the same Movie Mom — thanks for tracking me down! Welcome to my new location and if you ever have questions or comments send me an email at All best to you and your family.

Previous Posts

Trailer: Barbershop - The Next Cut
Ice Cube and the gang are back for another "Barbershop" movie and it looks good! [iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 12:28:41pm Nov. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Happy Thanksgiving! Alice's Restaurant
Arlo Guthrie's classic song, "Alice's Restaurant," is based on the true story of his arrest for, well, garbage. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 3:45:01pm Nov. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Miracles From Heaven
[youtube][/youtube] Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah star in "Miracles from Heaven," based on Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl and Her Amazing Story of Healing by Christy Wilson Beam. ...

posted 8:00:03am Nov. 26, 2015 | read full post »

"Brooklyn," based on the book by Colm Tóibín, is exquisitely lyrical, the story of a young woman who immigrates from Ireland to New ...

posted 5:22:49pm Nov. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Pixar's New Short is Really Special: Sanjay's Super Team
The best part of "The Good Dinosaur" is the short film that comes before, "Sanjay's Super Team." The Pixar short films are gems but this one is really special. It is the first to feature non-white characters, the first to be based on the life ...

posted 2:30:49pm Nov. 25, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.