Hackers (movie)

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Hackers - Poster 1
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Hackers - Poster 2
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Hackers - German Poster

Hackers is a movie released in 1995 that follows the misfortunes of young hacker Dade Murphy (aka "Crash Override"/"Zero Cool", played by Jonny Lee Miller), Kate (aka "Acid Burn", played by Angelina Jolie) and their friends. It was written by Rafael Moreu and directed by Iain Softley.

The movie failed to make a profit at the box-office, but has developed a cult following from its video release despite the lack of accuracy; metaphorical graphical sequences are used well as a substitute for what would normally be hours of boring text screens and typing. It is also known as the first major film to star future Academy Award-winner Angelina Jolie. It also helped launch the career of Matthew Lillard.



In 1988, Seattle youth Dade "Zero Cool" Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller) is arrested and charged, at the age of 11, with crashing 1,507 systems in one day and causing a drop in the New York Stock Exchange. Upon conviction, he is banned from owning or operating computer or touch-tone telephone until the day of his 18th birthday.

Shortly before Dade turns 18, his mother (now divorced) takes a new job in New York City. Upon turning 18 (using a newly aquired laptop), Dade calls a local television station, dupes the security guard (obtaining the modem phone number) and successfully hacks into the station's computer network, changing the current program to an episode of The Outer Limits. However, Dade is "attacked" by a hacker on the same network, (who goes by the handle "Acid Burn") and is eventually kicked off.

Dade enrolls in the prestigous Stuyvesant High School, where he meets the beautiful Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie), who is responsible for taking him on a tour of the school. After being told of a "pool on the roof" (which results in Dade and several other students being locked on the roof during a rainstorm) a feud erupts between Dade and Kate. This duel, which spans most of the movie, is umpired by Kate and Dade's mutual friends in the hacking community.

The real trouble erupts when Joey Pardella (Jesse Bradford), the younger, novice hacker of the group, successfully breaks into an oil company supercomputer to prove to the rest of the group that he is an elite hacker. In order to validate this feat, he downloads part of a garbage file. Unfortunately, the company's IT staff detects this unauthorized entry into their systems and summons the Computer Security Officer Eugene "The Plague" Belford (Fisher Stevens) to deal with the problem. He realizes that the file that is being downloaded can prove that "The Plague" is stealing money from the company via salami slicing. 'The Plague' enlists the clueless US Secret Service to recover the file by claiming that it is the code to a computer virus that will capsize the company's oil tanker fleet.

What follows is a frantic race against "The Plague" and the Secret Service to exhonorate the hackers before Belford can unleash the virus causing a worldwide ecological disater.


The movie stars Jonny Lee Miller as Dade Murphy, Angelina Jolie as Kate Libby, with Fisher Stevens as Eugene Belford. The protagonist character, Zero Cool (Miller), is based on Robert T. Morris. A Phantom Phreak may have gotten his name from an early hacker who wrote for Phrack Magazine.

This movie quotes the Hacker Manifesto (written by The Mentor) from Phrack magazine. The person reading the manifesto was holding a 2600 magazine, not a print out of Phrack. Also, the name of Emmanuel Goldstein (a.k.a. "Cereal Killer") is borrowed from one of the editors of 2600. Emmanuel Goldstein (real name: Eric Corley) helped advise the movie makers when it came to the sub-hacker culture.

The racing game briefly featured in the movie was a video prototype created during development of wipEout.


  • "Hack the Gibson" is a phrase used in the movie that refers to the hacking of a Gibson supercomputer, a fictional brand of supercomputer probably referring to the science fiction author William Gibson, father of the cyberpunk genre and coiner of the term "cyberspace". Used colloquially to impugn an achievement, particularly as regards to computers (e.g. "Brian thought he was totally hacking the Gibson but ended up formatting his hard drive instead").
  • When Eugene Belford, aka The Plague, is on the plane near the end he uses the pseudonym "Mr. Babbage". This is a tribute to Charles Babbage, the inventor of an early computer.


  • Argentina:13
  • Australia:M
  • Canada:PG
  • Germany:12
  • Ireland:15
  • Singapore:PG
  • Spain:13
  • UK:12
  • USA:PG-13 (certificate #33561)


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