John Badham (1983)

PG Certificate


Our Score
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.


A teenager hacks into a top-secret military supercomputer, which challenges him to what he thinks is a game. However, the machine has complete control of the US nuclear arsenal, and the youngster's actions are unwittingly pushing the world to the brink of war. Thriller, starring Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman and John Wood.

Cast & 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
Richter Irving Metzman
Beringer's aide Michael Ensign
Mr Lightman William Bogert
Mrs Lightman Susan Davis
Wigan James Tolkan
Director John Badham
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Edited for language, flashing images.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray