Hacker Movies We Know and Love

The 13 best movies about hacking of all time

The abstract image of the hacker wear a mask using a laptop in the empty white room overlay with source code hologram.

TimeStopper / Getty Images

Yes, these movies depict outlandish and distorted views of computer hacking. Yet despite their fantastical storytelling, each of these memorable films makes for a fun weekend of Netflix or Hulu viewing. While you won't learn any secret root command lines or packet sniffing techniques, these hacking movies are at least worth a free rental.

Some of these movies contain graphic violence and sexual content. Check the MPAA ratings for more information.

The Best Movies About Hacking

Most of these movies revolve around robbery capers or virtual reality enemies. Some are visually-stunning imaginings of possible alternate worlds, and a few of them offer powerful social commentary despite their preposterous plots.

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Best Non-English Film About Hacking: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
Music Box Films

While American audiences are more familiar with the 2011 English remake with Daniel Craig, the original Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is superior if you don't mind subtitles. Based on the Stieg Larsson novels, the film follows Lisbeth Salander, a Swedish hacker who types on a Mac and lives with Asperger's Syndrome. She teams up with a journalist to solve a murder-mystery. And she has a cool dragon tattoo.

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Pulse-Pumping Psychological Thriller: Untraceable (2008)

Untraceable (2008)
Sony Pictures

Untraceable is a suspenseful B-grade thriller with some truly creepy moments. FBI Agent Marsh needs to stop a serial killer from slaughtering more victims, brutal acts which he broadcasts live on the internet. You'll want to watch a happy Disney movie after this disturbing cat-and-mouse thriller.  

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Fun Heist Flick: The Italian Job (2003)

The Italian Job (2003)
Paramount Pictures

Modern heist movies always involve some sort of hacking. This particular heist movie is extremely entertaining, especially considering that the supposed "true" inventor of Napster is the main hacker. It's a must-see for fans of action and internet culture.

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Funniest Hacker Film: Sneakers (1992)

Sneakers (1992)
Universal Pictures

While now dated, this movie was groundbreaking at the time and is still charming to this day. The story revolves around two college buddies who take different paths in life. One becomes an ethical hacker, and the other is not quite so noble. Some great plot twists and comic scenes make this a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon at home.

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Best Action Movie Featuring Hackers: MI4: Ghost Protocol (2011)

MI4: Ghost Protocol (2011)
Paramount Pictures

The fourth Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise was a crowd pleaser for its splendid live-action stunts and high-tech thrills. You will see iPhones that crack door codes, iPads that spy on security guards, wireless intrusion vectors that are delivered by balloon, hijacked security networks, and a little bit of hacker fun involving Dean Martin music. It's a solid 2 hours of high-octane excitement. 

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Most Artsy Hacker Movie: One Point O (2004)

One Point O (2004)

Also known as Paranoia: 1.0, this movie requires you to bring your brain. One Point O is a magnificent art film that is very different from Hollywood movies. An isolated young computer programmer receives mysterious packages, which leads him into a strange world of corporate conspiracy, mind control, and the bizarre lives of his neighbors. This film is slow, haunting, visually mesmerizing, and intensely meditative, yet you'll want to watch it twice to catch all the clever details.

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Best Hacking Movie About Video Games: Gamer (2009)

Gamer (2009)

This violent movie is a cult favorite among gamers. It depicts a dystopian future where the minds of state prisoners are computer-linked to the consoles of rich video gamers. The action is brutally violent, and the concept is over the top, so the special effects will slake the bloodthirst of action fans. The final 10 minutes alone is worth the price of rental. 

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Best Cult Classic: Hackers (1995)

Hackers (1995)

MGM Distribution

Leave your brain at the door for this one. The story is weak, and the hacking scenes are comical, but you'll nonetheless have fun with characters like "Zero Cool," "Lord Nikon," and "Cereal Killer." You'll also hear some breakthrough techno music in the soundtrack. Hackers is like a time-capsule for the 1990s and the early days of the internet. Angelina Jolie is reason enough for most to rent this cult classic. 

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Trippiest Hacker Movie: The Lawnmower Man (1992)

The Lawnmower Man (1992)
Turner Home Video

Computer imagery and hacker technology abound throughout this bizarre movie. The Lawnmower Man has no connection to the Stephen King story of the same name. Instead, it explores a hypothetical future where scientists can manipulate people's brains with machines and drugs. As expected, a test subject breaks free and decides to take revenge on the experimenters. While the production quality and acting are forgettable, the concept and themes here are strangely haunting. 

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Best Military Hacking Move: Wargames (1983)

Wargames (1983)

MGM Distribution

While the Cold War is at a simmer, a young man finds a back door into a military computer that is linked to the nuclear defense grid of the United States. Wargames has a implausible plot, but it's still a compelling commentary on nuclear war and the destruction of the human race.

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Most Iconic Hacker Film: Tron (1982)

Tron (1982)
Walt Disney Pictures

In this classic, a hacker is transported into the digital universe of "The Grid" where he must survive combat as a cyber gladiator in order to stop the villainous Master Control. The imagination behind this movie made big ripples in the science fiction world at the time of its release, and it's a film every tech enthusiast should see at least once.

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Best B Movie About Hacking: The Net (1995)

The Net (1995)

Columbia Pictures

In The Net, Sandra Bullock plays a software engineer who loses her identity to digital thieves. Filmed during the fanatic years of the then-novel World Wide Web, this film may now seem cliched, but fans of Sandra Bullock will still enjoy watching this B movie. 

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Best Hacking Documentary: Revolution OS (2001)

Revolution OS (2001)

Wonderview Productions

This documentary tells the story of the Linux operating system and how it spearheaded the philosophy of open source and free intellectual property. You won't be a professional hacker by the end of it, but you'll learn a lot about how internet culture came to be the way it is.