The Best Hacker Movies of All Time

Even if you’ve never had a desire to become a hacker, you might feel the urge after viewing this list of the best hacker movies about computer geniuses. 

When people use the word “programmer,” they often imagine a nondescript, bespectacled person with red eyes. But such stereotypes are far from the truth. At least in the movies!

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Charismatic villains, rebellious teenagers, and pretty girls hack government networks for fun, steal secret materials from the federal government, find compromising materials on businessmen and politicians, and deftly lead the police by the nose. 

So, we’ve decided to prepare for you a collection of the top hacker movies. It will be easy to find the best hacker movie for you from this list because it contains both fantasies and strong dramas based on real events where the state – or smart machines – completely control people’s actions.

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The Best Hacker Movies

The Matrix (1999)

The matrix security movie

IMDb Rating: 8.7

Director: Lana and Lilly Wachowski

Genre: science fiction, action

The cult cyberpunk and security movie that made a lasting contribution to cinema. Also, it resonated in the field of philosophical thought. 

It tells the story of Thomas Anderson, who leads a double life. During the day, he works a dull office job, and at night becomes a hacker going by the name Neo and performs network hacks of any complexity. One day, a strange message appears on his computer that he is “stuck in the Matrix.” 

Then in the club, a mysterious woman called Trinity offers to introduce Neo to the most dangerous terrorist – Morpheus. This is how the hacker learns that everything around him is an illusion (the “matrix”) created by intelligent machines to drain energy from “sleeping” people. He takes the red pill and joins the rebels’ ranks, who consider Neo the chosen one and plan to free humanity from their sleepy slavery once and for all.

Why is it worth watching?

  • There is graceful choreography of fights with beautiful slow motion effects and stylish costumes.
  • The real world is in ruins, and all of humanity is immersed in capsules covered with wires.

Who am I (2014)

Who am I hacker movie

IMDb Rating: 7.6

Country: Germany

Director: Baran Bo Odar

Genre: science fiction, thriller, drama

This cyberthriller about Benjamin who wants to be a superhero. But this is the real world, and his only “superpower” is his ability to crack any password.

At first, the computer genius hides his talent deep inside and works as an ordinary pizza delivery man. But then he meets the bold and reckless Max, who wants to declare himself to the world loudly and shakes the confidence of large companies in their security. He persuades Benjamin to join a group of hackers called CLAY (Clowns Laugh At You).

The hackers commit a series of mostly harmless crimes: they write on the windows of a pharmaceutical company that they are conducting experiments on animals, and spoil the charts of trading indices, causing panic on the stock exchanges. But gradually, their games become more serious, and the first human victims appear. Now the police are hunting them and it’s deadly serious.

Why is it worth watching?

  • A successful music videographer shot it. The film is full of plot twists and boasts fragmentary spectacular editing. Although sometimes this affects the plot’s logic and harmony, you will certainly not be bored when viewing it.
  • The subtle references to “Fight Club” reimagined for modern reality: posters with the famous movie, imaginary characters, an active struggle against the government and the system by revolutionary methods.
  • The fresh and unusual image of virtual life, where a secret part of the internet becomes a subway, messages are transmitted in white envelopes, etc.

23 (1998)

German hacker movie

IMDb Rating: 7.3

Director: Hans-Christian Schmid 

Genre: Thriller, drama

The film is based on real events and tells the story of 19-year-old hacker Karl Koch, who in the 1980s collaborated with the KGB and founded a branch of the CCC (a decentralized German society of hackers with free membership). 

In the late 80s, Karl does not do much: he spends his inheritance on paying for an apartment, develops a home computer, and rereads his favorite books, The Illuminatus! Trilogy, which abound with conspiracy theories and the mystery of the number 23. 

These works, especially “The Eye in The Pyramid,” have a strong influence on the main character, and drugs transform his interest to paranoia. None of his relatives share his aspirations, so he searches the internet for like-minded people and eventually comes across a chat dedicated to the “world secret conspiracy.” 

At a meeting with hackers, he meets David. David suggests trying to hack the global data network. Karl agrees, gaining both a friend and membership in a group of like-minded people seeking to restore social justice. But things gradually go wrong, and Karl sinks into a drug-fueled obsession and delusion.

Why is it worth watching?

  • The film perfectly conveys the atmosphere of the 80s, when the first computer pirates began to appear.
  • It tells about the danger of getting too involved in conspiracy theories. It also shows how important it is not to cut off relations with parents because you may not have time to make peace.

Cyberbully (2015)

Cyberbully security movie

IMDb Rating: 6.8

Director: Ben Chanan

Genre: Thriller, drama, crime, detective

The film’s plot focuses on an overly active internet user named Casey. She’s the type of teen who posts selfies on Instagram, writes angry tweets about bad weather, and communicates with friends on Facebook more than in real life. 

One day, her boyfriend tweets about her being on antidepressants. Taking this as an insult, Casey decides to take revenge on the offender and asks a hacker to hack the guy’s Facebook account. 

Everything goes according to plan until it turns out that a stranger posing as her friend all this time, and that he got full access to Casey’s computer and all the compromising information on it. Now Casey has to do whatever he tells her to do, or her intimate photos will end up on the net.

Why is it worth watching?

  • Unusual shooting: the action of the film does not go beyond Casey’s room, and only three cameras are used to shoot the actress: a webcam view from Casey’s computer, a view that shows the monitor, and a camera that takes in the room.
  • It drives home the fact that you can never be sure that your data is safe from public access in the modern information society.

Takedown (2000)

Takedown hacker movie

IMDb Rating: 6.3

Director: Joe Chappelle

Genre: Thriller, drama, crime, biography

Kevin Mitnick is a world-class hacker, one of the pioneers in this criminal path. The film tells about the most famous case of his biography — a hacking in 1994. 

The main character decides to get into the computer of an American information security specialist Tsutomu Shimomura to find files with details for modifying a cell phone to listen to other people’s calls. But along with this, he gets a Pandora’s box — a unique virus that can destroy all known internet systems. The professional reputation of Tsutomu is undermined the successful hack. And the only way to restore it is to help the FBI agents catch the scoundrel.

Why is it worth watching?

  • Although the film is a pseudo-documentary from Hollywood, and the hero is Tsutomu Shimomura (the script is based on his book), the facts are still observed, and an elegant hack using social engineering is shown.
  • The film shows that there is not much difference between hackers and those who use the same technologies to protect network security.

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