There are a surprising number of films about computer programmers, whether it’s a sci-fi film about simulated reality or a biopic about one of the most influential inventors of all time. Surprisingly, among all the superhero movies, the multiplexes are actually filled with movies related to computer programming.
This is especially true now, as if it was once a novelty, audiences now live in the computerized world that the movies of the ’80s and’ 90s predicted. The difference is that the movies have gone from cyberpunk hacking action movies to true hacking stories.
ten The Fifth Estate (2013) – 6.2
The fifth state follows Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a real-life activist and programmer who created WikiLeaks. The film follows him as he creates a platform where any anonymous user can divulge government secrets, but his life turns into a thriller in the film.
This is also probably part of the reason why the film isn’t as acclaimed as the others on this list, as it relies more on melodrama and less on hard facts, especially since there is so much story to tell. Cumberbatch clearly has a weakness for playing programmers, as not only is he the leader in The fifth state, but he also plays Alan Turing in The imitation game too much.
9 The Internship (2013) – 6.3
Movies about computer programmers tend to be too serious, but The internship, on the other hand, is a comedy about two idiots who sort of land a programming internship at Google. This is one of the few movies with a good use of product placement, because the whole movie shows how great Google is.
While there are much better comedies out there, any enthusiastic programmer would love The internship just because of the way it showcases Google campuses. Between the Google bikes and the dorms, the film is an ad that works.
8 Swordfish (2001) – 6.5
Swordfish is essentially a mix between The matrix and Eleven from the ocean. And just like The matrix, the 2001 film has a cyberpunk aesthetic with its protagonists and pirates clad in leather, and even the green color scheme is the same.
Just like Eleven from the ocean, the movie also follows a team of bank robbers, but to steal $ 9.5 billion they need the best computer programmer they can get their hands on. It’s not the most beloved movie in the world, but Swordfish is an interesting and unique take on a heist movie, and the late ’90s aesthetic is fun to review.
7 Tron (1982) – 6.8
Tron is a fascinating film for programmers to watch for many different reasons. First, the film follows Kevin Flynn, a computer programmer and video game developer who ends up getting transported into the software he was designing.
The software’s mainframe is a whole world full of fascinating effects and action. And especially, Tron is one of the very first films in history to use extended CGI, paving the way for virtually every Hollywood movie released today.
6 War Games (1983) – 7.1
While not the most critically acclaimed film upon release, War games was actually way ahead of its time. The film follows a young hacker who gains access to a supercomputer belonging to the US military.
In recent times, hackers have become a serious threat because there is so much personal information that they can access. And as children receive computers as gifts from younger and younger, War games and its main character, David (Matthew Broderick) predicted the future. There is also a funny parallel between War games and another 80s film starring Broderick, Ferris Bueller’s day off, because Ferris is also using a computer to hack his school’s registry database.
5 Steve Jobs (2015) – 7.2
Steve Jobs is the first of two films about programmers written by Aaron Sorkin, as the screenwriter also wrote Social network. But Sorkin’s way of writing about two of the most famous programmers is unique, as he’s more interested in them as imperfect humans than in their groundbreaking inventions.
Steve Jobs and Works were released at the same time, the latter being another biopic about Apple’s founder. But the film Sorkin-written and directed by Danny Boyle came out on top, and that’s partly because of its structure. The 2015 film has a three-act structure, each focusing on a different product launch.
4 The Social Network (2010) – 7.7
Although he portrays one of the most famous self-made billionaires, Mark Zuckerberg, in a less than flattering light, Social network is still one of the most inspiring movies for programmers to watch. The film follows the founder of Facebook as he builds the website, spending most of his days coding. When he’s not partying, of course.
The film follows Facebook as it goes from a small idea of the Winklevoss twins to 500 million users. And as the social media site now has nearly three billion users, fans are still waiting. Social network 2.
3 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) – 7.8
Just like The social network, The girl with the dragon tattoo is directed by David Fincher – as if it wasn’t obvious from the shiny look of the film and the equally chilling score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. But they have another similarity, as the two main characters are programmers.
Specifically, Lisbeth Salander is a hacker who helps Mikael uncover a murder. It’s not always easy to watch, but satisfying when Lisbeth takes revenge on her attacker.
2 The Imitation Game (2014) – 8.0
Without Alan Turing, there would be no programmers, because he was responsible for everything except the creation of the computer. Some think The imitation game didn’t deserve a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars, but the on-screen portrayal of the actual scientist’s role in WWII couldn’t be more compelling.
The imitation game Also depicts Turing’s personal life after the events of WWII, when he was subjected to chemical castration for his homosexuality in the 1950s. Although he invented the computer and was a genius, it had a heartbreaking ending, just like the movie.
1 The Matrix (1999) – 8.7
The matrix is a perfect example of cyberpunk and he looks very stylish with his leather jackets and sunglasses. Before becoming Neo, Mr. Anderson was just a computer programmer called Thomas, but what follows is a groundbreaking concept on a simulated reality full of explosive action.
The fourth film in the series, Matrix resurrections, will be released later in 2021. And in the trailer, Neo has no recollection of what The Matrix is, so he might just be a programmer again.
NEXT: The Matrix Resurrections – 10 More Movies Featuring The Cast
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