• PG
  • John Badham (1983)
  • US
  • 108 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

This inventive nail-biter is very much a product of its time - blending the arms-race unease of the early 1980s with the beginning of the home-computer revolution - but it still manages to both grip and entertain. Matthew Broderick plays the high-school kid who accidentally hacks into the Pentagon and starts playing what he thinks is a computer game called Global Thermonuclear War. Only he's inadvertently pushing the world toward destruction for real. Broderick is impressive in only his second screen role, while strong support comes from Dabney Coleman as the defence specialist trying to avert the impending nuclear holocaust and John Wood as the war game's reclusive inventor. Director John Badham laces the suspense with just the right amount of invigorating humour, keeping the preachy sentiment to a minimum. Hugely enjoyable and worryingly thought-provoking, this cautionary tale has lost none of its edge, despite the somewhat dated technology on screen.

Plot Summary

Thriller starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. When teenager David Lightman hacks into a computer system hundreds of miles away and is challenged to play Global Thermonuclear Warfare, he thinks he's found a brand-new game. But at the Combined Operations Centre in Cheyenne, the Third World War has started.

Cast and crew


David Lightman
Matthew Broderick
John McKittrick
Dabney Coleman
Professor Falken
John Wood (2)
Jennifer Mack
Ally Sheedy
General Beringer
Barry Corbin
Pat Healy
Juanin Clay
Lyle Watson
Dennis Lipscomb
Arthur Cabot
Kent Williams
Colonel Conley
Joe Dorsey
Irving Metzman
Beringer's aide
Michael Ensign
Mr Lightman
William Bogert
Mrs Lightman
Susan Davis
James Tolkan


John Badham

Other Information

Edited for language, flashing images.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Certificate PG