Do you have a knack for hacker movies? Believe it or not, you can learn much about the world of cybercrime and hackers by watching such flicks. Though the Hollywood version tends to be more action-packed than it really is, the number of similarities between hacker films and what happens in real life might surprise you.
The characters could seem a little stereotyped in these movies but aren’t too different from real-life cybercriminals. As for the storylines, they have often been inspired by past events or what could happen in the future.
Most of the movies included below feature a central theme surrounding hacking, whereas others make the cut because of certain characters or enough scenes on the subject. Here’s our list of 75 must-watch hacker movies you shouldn’t miss:
Greatest Hacker Movies List
- Sneakers (1992)
Robert Redford (Martin Bishop) heads a team of security experts who are hired by the National Security Agency (NSA) to steal a decoder that can break virtually any encryption code. However, they get framed for the murder of the device’s inventor and must do everything to clear their names.
- War Games (1983)
High school student and computer genius David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) accidentally hacks into a U.S military supercomputer while looking for new games to play. He challenges the supercomputer to a game of Global Thermonuclear War, causing it to activate the country’s nuclear arsenal. Lightman with his girlfriend (Ally Sheedy) have to race to stop the authorities from launching the missiles.
- Hackers (1995)
A group of teenage hackers unearth evidence of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme. However, their intrusion gets noticed, and they’re blamed for making a virus capable of capsizing an oil tanker fleet. The team has to work together to prove their innocence while being tailed by the Secret Service.
- Mr. Robot (2015-2019) (TV Series)
A cybersecurity engineer Elliot (Rami Malek), who suffers from anxiety, works for E Corp by day and hacks criminals by night. While Mr. Robot isn’t a movie, it makes a place on our list because of how far the show’s cast and crew went to get the technical details spot on.
- Who Am I (2014)
Young computer expert Benjamin (Tom Schilling) is invited by Max (Elyas M’Barek) and his two friends Stephen (Wotan Wilke Möhring) and Paul (Antoine Monot Jr.) to join a subversive hacker group by the name of CLAY.
- The Matrix (1999)
Blue pill or red pill? A hacker, known as Neo (Keanu Reeves), chooses the former and discovers mankind is living in a simulated universe created by super intelligent computers that intend on imprisoning humans and using their bodies as organic fuel. He joins a team of mysterious freedom fighters to continue their war against the machines.
- Takedown (2000)
A hacker Kevin Mitnick (Skeet Ulrich) faces an unexpected challenge after breaking into a security expert’s computer. Also referred to Track Down, the movie is based on Tsutomu Shimomura’s book, “Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick, America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw – By The Man Who Did It.”
- Snowden (2016)
This biopic about former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and now whistleblower Edward Snowden is a must-have for any list of best hacker movies. Played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it follows the events that lead to Snowden uncovering and sharing with the world the massive amounts of data that was being collected on American citizens and ally foreign governments.
- Blackhat (2015)
When the Mercantile Trade Exchange in Chicago and a nuclear power plant in Hong Kong are hacked, the Chinese government and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) join forces to track down the perpetrators. They release a convicted hacker (Chris Hemsworth) from prison to help with the investigation.
- The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)
Hacker Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) is recruited to steal a powerful computer program called FireWall that can access codes for the world’s nuclear weapons. The theft draws the attention of an NSA agent and things get more complicated when Russian thugs steal her laptop and kidnap a mathematical whiz who can activate FireWall.
- The Fifth Estate (2013)
The founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) become underground watchdogs of the powerful and privileged. Despite having limited resources, they make a platform for whistleblowers to leak covert information anonymously and expose corporate crimes and government secrets.
- Ghost in the Shell (1995)
A cyborg policewoman Major Motoko Kusanagi (Mimi Woods) hunts a cybercriminal called the Puppet Master who hacks into the minds of cyborg-human hybrids to steal information.
- 23 (1998)
Karl Koch (August Diehl) and his friend David (Fabian Busch) start breaking into government and military databases and find themselves facing the consequences.
- Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
John McClane and a young ethical hacker Mat Farrell (Justin Long) team up to take down cybercriminal Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) as he launches an attack on America’s infrastructure.
- The Net (1995)
Angela Bennet (Sandra Bullock), a computer programmer, becomes aware of a conspiracy during her time off. The vacation turns into a nightmare when her identity is stolen and someone attempts to kill her.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
A journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) search for answers about a woman who disappeared forty years ago.
- Citizenfour (2014)
This Laura Poitras documentary about the NSA spying scandal and whistleblower Edward Snowden features interviews of Snowden in 2013 and work by Glenn Greenwald.
- Tron (1982)
A software programmer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) discovers that Edward Dillin (David Warner) has been stealing his work and is pulled into the virtual world. Tron is one of the earliest hacking movies on this list.
- Swordfish (2001)
Gabriel Shear (John Travolta), a spy, plots to steal a huge fortune and recruits Ginger Knowles (Halle Berry) to persuade a computer hacker (Hugh Jackman) to help.
- Open Windows (2014)
A jilted fan (Elijah Wood) soon finds himself in a deadly cat-and-mouse game after accepting the opportunity to spy on his favorite actress (Sasha Grey) via his laptop.
- Anonymous (2016)
Alex (Callan McAuliffe), a young hacker, turns to identity theft and hacking to support his financially drained family and runs into the FBI’s most wanted hacker. This movie is also called Hacker.
- Untraceable (2008)
Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane), an FBI agent, tries to hunt down an elusive serial killer who posts live videos of his ruthless murders on a website.
- The Italian Job (1969)
A recently released criminal Charlie Croker (Michael Cane) plans to seal a shipment of gold by creating a traffic jam on the streets of Turin with the help of hackers.
- Antitrust (2001)
Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillips), a college graduate, lands his dream job of writing software at a hot computer company. However, he soon learns the founder and his mentor Tim Robbins (Gary Winston) are hiding some dark secrets.
- The Great Hack (2019)
This documentary explores the backstory of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and the 2016 U.S presidential election.
- Revolution OS (2001)
The documentary delves into the history of the GNU/Linux and Open Source movement and features numerous interviews with prominent entrepreneurs and hackers.
- The Social Network (2010)
Jesse Eisenberg plays computer genius and Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in this biographical drama about the creation of social networking site Facebook.
- Algorithm (2014)
A computer hacker stumbles upon a mysterious government computer program and breaks into it, which thrusts him into a revolution.
- Underground: The Julian Assange Story (2012)
This film takes a look at the prominent events that occurred in the career and life of Wikileaks founder and director Julian Assange (played by Alex Williams).
- Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
When massive computer systems from the US and Russian connect to each other, it triggers the possibility of a nuclear war.
- The Imitation Game (2014)
A British mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team get recruited by the M16 to crack the German enigma code during World War II.
- The Signal (2014)
Haley (Olivia Cooke), Nic (Brenton Thwaites), and Jonah (Beau Knapp) are on a road-trip when they get taunted by a hacker via emails. They end up in an underground research facility trying to track his location.
- The Circle (2017)
Mae (Emma Watson) gains employment at the world’s biggest tech company. She takes part in an experiment headed by the founder (Tom Hanks) only to realize its adverse consequences.
- Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
When the IMF is wrongly accused for the attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team set out to find the actual culprits and clear their organization’s reputation.
- Prime Risk (1985)
Computer-wise lovers Julie Collins (Toni Hudson) and Michael Fox (Lee Montgomery) discover a plot to destroy the monetary system of the US while ripping off ATMS.
- Risk (2016)
Filmed over a period of six years, this Laura Poitras documentary is a story about WikiLeaks founder and director Julian Assange.
- Anon (2018)
In a world with no anonymity or crime, detective Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) tries to investigate a hacker (Amanda Seyfried) whose data and records don’t exist.
- The Hacker Wars (2014)
This documentary takes a look at hacktivism in the US, including the government’s surveillance programs and persecution of journalists and hackers.
- I.T. (2016)
Mike Regan (Pierce Brosnan) hires IT consultant Ed Porter (James Frecheville) to work on his smart home, but things take a turn for the worse when Ed uses his skills to threaten Mike’s family and business.
- Zero Days (2016)
This documentary by Alex Gibney investigates Stuxnet, a malware program developed jointly between the US and Israel, which targeted Iranian centrifuges.
- Hackers Wanted (2009)
Directed by Sam Bozzo, the unreleased documentary follows the story of Adrian Lomo and explores the nature and origins of hackers and hacking.
- Hackers: Wizards of the Electronic Age (1985)
This documentary focuses on the hacker community and features interviews with a number of programmers that started the PC revolution, including Steve Wozniak and Bill Atkinson.
- Office Space (1999)
A software engineer Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is tired of his job and hatches a devious plan with two of his colleagues to plant a virus in the company’s system.
- Webmaster (1998)
J.B. (Lars Bom), a talented computer specialist, hacks into the most powerful domain. He gets caught and must work as the webmaster of the Stoiser domain in exchange for his life.
- The Conversation (1974)
Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), a surveillance expert, uses high-tech equipment to spy on a young couple he thinks might be in danger.
- We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists (2012)
This documentary is about the radical hacktivist group known as Anonymous and includes a series of interviews with its members.
- Firewall (2006)
With his family held hostage, Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford), a security executive for a bank, must hack into his own system and steal millions to pay off the ransom.
- Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
This biological drama focuses on the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple. Anthony Michael Halls portrays Bill Gates whereas Noah Wyle stars as Steve Jobs.
- Masterminds (1997)
A teenage computer genius Ozzie (Vincent Kartheiser) uses his skills to outwit the school’s security consultant Bentley (Patrick Stewart) who has taken the students hostage.
- Eagle Eye (2008)
Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) and Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) get a mysterious call from a woman they don’t know, who threatens their family and lives and forces them into dangerous situations by tracking and controlling their every move.
- Enemy of the State (1998)
Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith), a lawyer, becomes the target of government operatives when he accidentally receives a videotape containing evidence of a congressman’s murder.
- Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web (2017)
The documentary follows the story of MegaUpload owner Kim Dotcom and his battle against the entertainment industry and US government over issues of piracy, ownership, and privacy in the digital age.
- Cyberbully (2015)
A computer hacker forces Casey Jacobs (Maisie Williams) to do his bidding by threatening to leak her compromising photos.
- Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
Johnny (Keanu Reeves) has a secret stash of data implanted in his mind and must deliver it within 48 hours or he will die.
- Code 2600 (2012)
This documentary by Jeremy Zerechak is about the rise of information technology and features interviews with the individuals who helped build it.
- The Throwaways (2015)
Drew (Sam Huntington), a notorious hacker, is given a choice to go to prison or work for the CIA. He accepts the job but gets back at his employers by assembling a team of misfits.
- Minority Report (2002)
In the year 2054, technology allows the police to catch criminals before they commit a crime. John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is accused of such a crime and must prove his innocence.
- The Secret History of Hacking (2001)
This documentary focuses on social engineering, phreaking, and computer hacking occurring from the 1970s to the 1990s.
- Genius on Hold (2013)
The focus of this documentary is the downfall of telecommunications genius Walter L. Shaw and his eventual association with crime.
- V for Vendetta (2005)
In the late 2020s, Britain is under the rule of an authoritarian leader. A freedom fighter called V (Hugo Weaving) sets out to bring down the tyrannical government with aid from Evy (Natalie Portman).
- NetForce (1999)
Alex (Scott Bakula), the new commander of FBI’s computer-crime division, must stop a villain from gaining control of the internet.
- The Core (2003)
The Earth’s inner core has stopped spinning, causing the planet’s geomagnetic field to deteriorate rapidly. The only way to avert disaster is to get the core spinning again.
- Breach (2007)
This docudrama focuses on the events that lead to the capture and arrest of Agent Robert Hanssen for selling US secrets to Russia.
- We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013)
The documentary is about Julian Assange’s organization and the people involved in the gathering and distribution of media and secret information by whistleblowers.
- Hackers Are People Too (2008)
This documentary by Ashley Shwartu takes a look at the hacker community. It delves into areas like the meaning of hacking, the way hackers think, and profiles women in the field.
- The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)
In this Brian Knappenberger documentary, the life of information activist and programming prodigy Aaron Swartz is brought to light.
- Mickey Virus (2013)
Delhi police stumbles upon an unusual case surrounding hacking and seeks the help of a small-time hacker Mickey (Manish Paul).
- Hacked (2018)
A computer technician loses his job to a state-of-the-art supercomputer. Disgruntled, he decides to put his replacement to the test. Meanwhile, a group of hackers break into the building to steal it.
- Storm Watch (2002)
A protagonist who is the best player of a virtual reality online game must race against time to stop the world from being destroyed by a weather satellite.
- Reboot (2012)
When a young female hacker wakes up from a traumatic event, she notices an iPhone is glued to her hand with the timer counting down to zero.
- Terms and Conditions May Apply (2013)
This Cullen Hoback documentary highlights how the government and corporations use the information provided by users when agreeing to purchase goods online, browse a website, or install an app.
- Deep Web (2015)
The documentary features interviews with the individuals behind Bitcoin and the Deep Web and follows the trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of an online black market known as Silk Road.
- Nerve (2016)
Vee (Emma Roberts), a high school senior, gets caught up in an online game of truth and dare, but things take a sinister and dark turn.
- Hacking Democracy (2007)
This documentary by Simon Ardizzone and Russel Michaels investigates fraud allegations during the 2004 US presidential election.
- Ex Machina (2014)
A young programmer Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) gets the opportunity to become a part of a scientific experiment where he has to assess the capabilities of Ava (Alicia Vikander), an artificial intelligence (AI).
Are there any other hacker movies that should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments section below!