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Hollywood and Hackers

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the stuff-to-think-about dept.

Movies 323

ford23 writes "CNN has a story on Hollywood and how it portrays Hackers to the public, and how the view on them has changed as the issues of hacking have evolved. Listed and discussed are 9 movies that have had the most effect on the image of hackers, WarGames and The Matrix naturally included." Tragically they also included The Net. At least Real Geniuses offsets it.

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Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#311852)

The first movie I saw that got me interested in having sex with other men I saw in first grade:Pron [] . I hear he's re-taking it?

You pervert.

Re:Hollywood And Hackers: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#311853)

I know the difference between hackers and crackers. Hackers do stuff with computers. Crackers are small crunchy wafers.

Two from the 70's (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#311854)

They didn't go back far enough. The Conversation(1974) with Gene Hackman is the precursor to Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Gene Hackman as a character 15 years later. Three Days of the Condor (1975) is one based in the phreaking foundations of the hacker tradition.

Scary Direction (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 13 years ago | (#311859)

Having it all laid out there in front of me, I realized the direction in which Hollywood takes "the hacker" over time is alarming.

I mean, we go from David Lightman and Martin Bishop -- intelligent, well adjusted people who use their brains (although I don't think Redford ever touched a computer in Sneakers, which is interesting) -- to that "I am inwincible!" moron from Goldeneye and Sandra Bullock (the best-looking girl I can't stand to watch in a movie).

I think I liked it better when hackers and other generally smart people were portrayed as people and not as shallow stereotypes; we came off better then.


Before you criticize Hackers... (1)

BadlandZ (1725) | more than 13 years ago | (#311871)

To those who would trash Hackers as inaccurate, watch "Copycat (1995)", better movie as movies go, but, same year, and way more inaccurate portrayal of computer hackers/crackers. After comparing the two, you might come to see that "The Net (1995)" and "Hackers (1995)" were not that bad in their portrayal of computers/technology/hacking/cracking for that time period in Hollywood.

Re:LOL! CNN's old review of The Matrix (1)

BadlandZ (1725) | more than 13 years ago | (#311872)

Hmm.. I just noted a movie reviewer I will never listen to again... Thanks for the tip :-)

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

Glytch (4881) | more than 13 years ago | (#311875)

"By Cron, I want the tooth!"
"You can't handle the tooth!"

Re:LOL! CNN's old review of The Matrix (2)

Zach Baker (5303) | more than 13 years ago | (#311878)

It's absolutely hilarious that the reviewer was
that stupid.

Well, not about Keanu Reeves. He's dead-on there.

Yeah, that's a ridiculously bitter review (even Mr. Cranky [] didn't get so bent out of shape). But come on, calling him "stupid" because he hated a movie you really liked? On the other hand, Ebert's review [] touches on many of the same points and is excellently written (as usual).

Shameless offtopic chatter: I saw Josie and the Pussycats last night and as it turns out, it was actually pretty funny (but it's really, really goofy).

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (3)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 13 years ago | (#311885)

Tron. I hear they're re-doing it?

Cool, they can update it for the times:

  • The evil entity, instead of "MCP" can be "MPAA" ("Master Proprietary Access Algorith"?)
  • Instead of a video game, the hero wrote a program for watching DVDs, which "MPAA" has stolen by cracking the author's website, then had the author's computer confiscated by sending anonymous email to the police accusing him of DMCA violations (and/or kiddie porn trade).
  • Of course, the tireless program doggedly continuing to keep the processes going to overthrow the Evil inside the MPAA 'mainframe' (a 'cluster' of two NT/W2K machines) isn't "Tron", it's "Cron".
Hey, this has action-comedy-special effects movie for all ages! (I know I'd pay to see it!)
"They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"

Re:So *that's* why it's so good.... (1)

Kimble (17437) | more than 13 years ago | (#311896)

Unfortunately, the punchline's a 404. But, the whole "History of the World" is here:
How many classes do you have to take

So *that's* why it's so good.... (2)

Kimble (17437) | more than 13 years ago | (#311897)

In the Hackers review:
Trivia: Emmanuel Goldstein, the name of one character in the hacking group, is a nod to the pseudonym of Eric Corley, publisher of the real-life magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. Corley himself took the handle from a character in George Orwell's novel 1984.
Corley served as a consultant for Hackers.
Granted, I haven't actually seen the movie, but if someone like Corley's involved, it's gotta be quality. If it were in the current poll, I'd be tempted to change my vote from Sneakers.
How many classes do you have to take

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (4)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 13 years ago | (#311903)

The most accurate 'hacker' movie I've ever seen was 'Sneakers'

The most accurate I saw last weekend at I-Con. Emmanuel Goldstein was on a panel (along with people from the EFF and others) about Privacy in the Electronic Age, and afterwards, he showed Freedom Downtime, about the reality of hackers and how they are treated.

Okay, so it's not Hollywood... and it's a documentary. But it's good enough for PBS and possibly the Learning Channel (incdently, they are finishing up getting the rights to the music; it's not available except in Film Shows right now). It should correct some of the spin - it should be required viewing for people who lobby against overzealous law agencies (Kevin Mitnick spent 8 months in solitary... no paper, no pen, nothing but four walls. Nothing. For eight straight months.) At very best, t might open the eyes of a few congressmen.

And although I had heard beforehand that it was "the Kevin Mitnick Movie", it actually covers more than just Kevin. Several other cases are shown - it's just that Kevin's is so obviously a matter of the press milking the story and overreaction by an ignorant legal system.

During the Q&A afterwards, a few people in the audiance (who had just wandered in), asked exactly what hacking is, and to what extent hackers can do damage (like the classic launching missles).

My response to the non-techincal was simple: Hacking is playing with your old car sterio and discovering that you can crank it down and listen to the audio of TV broadcasts. Discovering or inventing new or neat uses for an existing technology. The limit of what damage a hacker can do is very small. Even the cable or power company has to send someone physically to your house to turn off service. If it could be done by computer, they would. The biggest danger that malicious hackers pose is dumping private information... almost everything else can be fixed with some effort (like restoring from backup).

I've always admired the EFF and 2600... they pick good fights that should be fought. And now 2600 is fighting to educate.


Re:Ahh... (2)

frantzdb (22281) | more than 13 years ago | (#311907)

Real Genious is great. I didn't realize just how acurate it was untill I watched it last month. Try to remember the sceen in which the dorm is frozen over an someone rides a home-made chair/sled down the stiars. Compare that image with this []
picture from a recent dorm trip from Harvey Mudd College [] .


Re:The ultimate hacker movie (2)

hugg (22953) | more than 13 years ago | (#311908)

Wargames made me go out and get a modem. Unfortunately there were about 2 BBS's within dialing distance where I lived :-p Brodrick's character was a pretty accurate depiction of a hacker -- a goofy kid, not a black-wearing uptight cyberwannabe.

Re:misrepresentation. (1)

HackLore (31416) | more than 13 years ago | (#311916)

Of course that's true
but he said the American people are wary of anything that resembles communism, and socialism does resemble communism

Uh beware (1)

Pfhor (40220) | more than 13 years ago | (#311923)

Apperantly somebody at the Hackers, like the screenwriter or director, went to some 2600 meetings and may have talked to Goldstein. Little if anything that is in the movie is accurate. The guys freaking rollerblade!

Angelina Jolie is quite cute in the movie. I would want to be 31337 too, so I can get in the pants of a girl like Angelina Jolie.

The only thing I think they may have gotten right, was the ability of the company "cr/hacked" to manipulate the FBI.

Re:the best hacker movies (1)

ender- (42944) | more than 13 years ago | (#311931)

are the anime ghost behind shell..

Er...that's "Ghost in the Shell"... great flick. I don't know that I'd consider it a 'hacker' movie, since it was more about the internet spawning a new Intelligence [ala Jane from Speaker for the Dead]. I will admit though, that I don't think there's a geek or hacker alive that wouldn't kill to have hands that could pop out dozens of fingers for some really speedy typing. :)

Then again, I don't really consider The Matrix a hacker movie either.
There was also "Ghost in the Machine" which was kind of a bad rehash of the Lawnmower Man.


A list of hacker movies (1)

drivers (45076) | more than 13 years ago | (#311932)

...also known as, what's currently in my DVD collection.

(well, almost. I have six of them, and I don't have that many to start with)

Re:the way nerds are portrayed in movies (5)

DzugZug (52149) | more than 13 years ago | (#311936)

Geeks get off on technology.

Does that void the warrenty?

Matrix? Not the one I saw... (4)

pipeb0mb (60758) | more than 13 years ago | (#311938)

Did you guys read the review of 'The Matrix'? Did anyone at CNN even SEE the movie? Sigh.
One night Neo encounters a famous hacker online who goes by the name Morpheus. When Neo agrees to meet Morpheus, thinking the pro might clue him in to some new hacking technique, Neo discovers that Morpheus is actually the leader of an underground gang who is fighting for control of this manufactured existence we call reality.

Morpheus and his group recruit Neo to fight an even more menacing threat than federal agents: a malicious software "agent" that can kill using only its mind.
Jezum Crow

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1) (71379) | more than 13 years ago | (#311943)

Are you saying that those kinds of modems aren't realistic?


Re:The ultimate hacker movie (2)

dimator (71399) | more than 13 years ago | (#311948)

The first movie I saw that got me interested in computers I saw in 1st grade: Tron. I hear they're re-doing it?


Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

drin (83479) | more than 13 years ago | (#311952)

Ah. Well, if it's the the social and cultural aspect it portrays that you're talking about, I'll agree. I thought you were talking about the technology it portrays...


Re:The ultimate hacker movie (3)

drin (83479) | more than 13 years ago | (#311953)

'Sneakers' got me interested in computer security, systems, etc.

And in their uncanny ability to trace a phone call's routing progress graphically on a projected world map via their acoustically-coupled modem?

Please. I'm not sure to which 'accuracies' you're referring. The movie had so many technical inaccuracies you could have driven a PDP-8 through it. I don't doubt that it inspired some people, but I bet their inspiration fizzled when they discovered that most of the tech toys in the movie were just that - movie toys.


Re:So *that's* why it's so good.... (3)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#311954)

Corley served as a consultant for Hackers ... if someone like Corley's involved, it's gotta be quality

Do you know how many people serve as 'consultants' for a given movie production? Most have very little access to understand the movie as a whole, nevermind be given a script, nevermind have their consultations heeded. I'd take that factoid with a grain of salt, and not tilt my opinion so easily.

the way nerds are portrayed in movies (3)

hooded1 (89250) | more than 13 years ago | (#311959)

Although, nerds are now often portrayed as malicious computer crackers, our image has improved since the 80s. In many movies/shows nerds have a cool persona about them, often respectected to some degree, at least for their skills. This portrait of us may not be ideal, but it is sureley better than the socially inept, pocket protecting wearing, geek of the 80s and early 90s. This change proabably comes from the fact that most americans have computers and the internet is no longer portrayed as an esorteric gathering place for those who do not fit into society.

the best hacker movies (1)

rbreve (94225) | more than 13 years ago | (#311962)

are the anime ghost behind shell..

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

jdcook (96434) | more than 13 years ago | (#311963)

My favorite thing in "Sneakers" (other than the "cattle mutilations are up" bit) was seeing the evil hacker Cosmo demonstrate how he was using his mafia-owned supercomputer (A Y-MP? I don't remember.) to run Excel. Windows everywhere indeed.

Re:Matrix? Not the one I saw... (1)

~-zman-~ (99011) | more than 13 years ago | (#311965)

I also saw that so called review [] . To me that guy sounds like a complete idiot. He focuses the whole review on Reeves and ignores all of the genius in the movie's plot and the great acting by Laurence Fishburne. Looking at this guy's bio, he blames Hollywood for selling out. I don't think anyone with an anti-establishment attitude can not like the Matrix. Sounds to me like he adopted that atitude as a front to sound like a hip movie reviewer. Too bad he's a moron.

Umm... (1)

DaytonCIM (100144) | more than 13 years ago | (#311968)

The Net? Did anyone intelligent actually watch this movie? "As happens with many "high-concept" movies, nobody involved with writing, directing, or acting in this film seems to actually know how to use a computer. They don't seem to know the difference between an IP and a PI, and ... it's funny. Unintentionally so." Most intelligent thing I've seen from CNN in a long time.

Tatara is a drooling moron's drooling moron (2)

John Miles (108215) | more than 13 years ago | (#311975)

CNN Interactive has two "Pauls" reviewing films: Paul Clinton and Paul Tatara. Clinton is actually a pretty decent reviewer. I don't always agree with him, but his opinions are intelligently presented and at least it's always clear that we saw the same movie.

OTOH, Tatara (of Matrix fame) can be counted on to offer the most vapid, content-free analyses imaginable. He treats his column as a vehicle for his own political or philosophical biases, and he rarely if ever manages to deliver any meaningful critical or thematical insights on any films above the Disney level.

Tatara is living proof of the Peter Principle. It's simply astonishing that his career in the entertainment industry has extended beyond asking his clientele if they would like butter on their popcorn. :(

Sneakers == Mission Impossible (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | more than 13 years ago | (#311981)

Actually, Sneakers was more like the original Mission Impossible TV series than anything, hacking and all. It's what the MI movies should have been like, instead of the completely stupid Tom Cruise solo projects they turned out to be.

WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (2)

arunkv (116142) | more than 13 years ago | (#311987)

Yeah! Sneakers was pretty factual too. Imagine breaking some of the commonly used cryptosystems. That would be something all parties would kill for.

Re:Remembering... (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#311988)

And how many of you use CPE1704TKS as a password?

The Net sucked! (1)

CaseStudy (119864) | more than 13 years ago | (#311990)

I didn't read the article, but The Net sucked, so this article must suck. In addition, because it was written by a journalist and not a hacker, it must have misunderstood the image and confused the distinction we like to make between hackers (us, good) and crackers (them, bad).

(All further posts to this effect are redundant.)

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

Forrestina (120989) | more than 13 years ago | (#311991)

realistic as *hackers*?!?

maybe i saw another movie... but i saw one with silly graphics, with little kids using macs, and showing unix mainframes as swirling 3d gui's that made noise when you typed commands.

i did enjoy it, the characters are fun, the the realism is lacking.


Matthew Broderick broke into NORA? (1)

gregh76 (121243) | more than 13 years ago | (#311992)

Wrong! He broke into Ally Sheedy!

But seriously, you'd think that CNN would get the name NORAD right.

Doesn't anyone proofread anymore? Oh wait, this is Slashdot...

Re:the way nerds are portrayed in movies (1)

mud (121768) | more than 13 years ago | (#311993)

only if you don't clean up well or it gets into the moving parts..

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

Anarchos (122228) | more than 13 years ago | (#311996)

Mother wasn't blind man, Dan Ackroid or however you spell his name was Mother.

Re:Sandra B (1)

Anarchos (122228) | more than 13 years ago | (#311997)

Yeah I agree with you, plus they point out many of the flaws in the Net so I don't see any problem with including it.

Downward slope (1)

Wateshay (122749) | more than 13 years ago | (#311998)

Did anyone else notice that up through the early nineties (Sneakers), there isn't a bad movie on the list, but in the past eight years the only good movie to make the list was Matrix.

LOL! CNN's old review of The Matrix (4)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 13 years ago | (#312002)

If you don't remember reading CNN's review of The Matrix from way back in 1999, you've just got to read it again. It's absolutely hilarious that the reviewer was that stupid. (Yet more data to support my belief that whatever the reviews say should be run through an XOR-powered decryption routine with very few bits set in the mask.) Anyway, the review is at atrix/ []

Image Change (2)

NatePWIII (126267) | more than 13 years ago | (#312003)

Have you noticed recently how the Geek personna is actually glorified in today's media. I mean back in the 80's we were look down upon as these social misfits. Now hackers and programmers are looked up to as "Gurus" and "Experts". Also the media gives alot of attention to these virus creators and to their arrests etc... this only serves to heighten the mystique and image of hackers, crackers, geeks and otherwise computer savvy individuals. The question is, whether or not this is just a trend or it the image here to stay? Personally, I think as long as PC's are a major part of our everyday life the power of "Geekhood" will be respected. People in trouble like to have answers and who best to turn to than someone who is an expert in computer lingo, software and hardware. Slightly off the topic but in someways related, our current generation of kids are so computer literate it often makes me wonder, who is going to be the futures firemen, policemen, garbage men etc... It just seems that these kids are all headed in the direction of programming, and computer related subjects. No doubt the introduction of the PC has truly changed our world, whether it be for better or worse.

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson
Domain Names for $13

Be fair now (1)

ca1v1n (135902) | more than 13 years ago | (#312008)

By no stretch of the imagination are they saying that it is good that The Net belongs on the list, merely that it does in fact belong there, because it has shaped the public's view of hackers. I agree with them that the degree of computer illiteracy in there is pathetically funny.

Takedown (2)

epl (140556) | more than 13 years ago | (#312013)

How come they didnt list takedown? I thought it was pretty good and one of the most realistic hacker movies ever made, atleast compared to say hackers... although hackers is one of my favorite movies :)

Re:Matrix? Not the one I saw... (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 13 years ago | (#312014)

Speaking of Linux in movies and television, has anyone ever noticed subtle references to Linux in Law and Order? Like Lenny says "They have an office over on Linux street" or soemthing like that. Am I hearing things??


They've tried (2)

HerrGlock (141750) | more than 13 years ago | (#312017)

They've tried to criminalize 'hacker' and 'cracker' and tried to get people to confuse the two. There might be a reason for this. If people actually start using computers and start respecting the 'net for a legitimate place to get their news and entertainment, then the news and entertainment media loses it's stranglehold on what people actually watch and see.

If people actually see both sides of an issue, they might come to a conclusion that does not fall in line with the media's pre-conceived notion on how society should run.

Cav Pilot's Reference Page []

The general public's perception of hackers.. (2)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 13 years ago | (#312021)

Is that we are spotty teenagers who spend all nite staring at crts and downloading pr0n... and to be fair it's probably accurate :)

Remebering... (3)

stain ain (151381) | more than 13 years ago | (#312025)

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

Re:So *that's* why it's so good.... (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 13 years ago | (#312026)

Granted, I haven't actually seen the movie, but if someone like Corley's involved, it's gotta be quality. If it were in the current poll, I'd be tempted to change my vote from Sneakers.
I've seen it, and I thought it was horrible. Truly mind-numbing.

Re:AntiTrust (1)

groke (160115) | more than 13 years ago | (#312027)

Actually, I watched it. While it definantly had problems, it definantly was one of the better hacker-type films. The Microsoft references were over-the-top.. but at the same time, one of the characters wore ThinkGeek's "Code Poet" tshirt. Anyways, I'd recomend picking it up as a rental, anyways. Should be coming out fairly soon....

getting better (1)

axelbaker (167936) | more than 13 years ago | (#312030)

i think the issue is getting beter as computers are becomeing more main stream (aka that guy in Missippi has one now) but, people are still afraid of them, and as a result still afraid of people who know how to use them, esp use them well.

Oh the hypocracy... (3)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 13 years ago | (#312031)

Scroll to the bottom of the article, and here's the other headlines you see:

- IE flaw lets hackers take over user's computer
- Security center issues antihacker tool
- Hunt down those hackers and ... ignore them?
- FBI warns of digital-crime wave from Eastern Europe

Etc., etc... gee, a few moments of (little) insight and then it's right back to the media steriotypes.

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

Skruffy (170067) | more than 13 years ago | (#312034)

That's probably what you'll see on his pron site ;-)

Re:LOL! CNN's old review of The Matrix (1)

Dreyfus (176426) | more than 13 years ago | (#312039)

I have have no idea what your problem is with the review (LOL is not a very coherent criticism).

The only problem I have with it is it spends too much time belaboring the obvious, i.e. Keanu Reeves can't act, The Matrix is largely a special effects vehicle, etc.

Much of it, though, is dead on right and worth quoting. For example:

It lets you know early on that it won't be making a bit of sense, then repeatedly tries to convince you that the nonsense is actually deep and meaningful.
Dead on. That's The Matrix in a nutshell. And furthermore:
Half the movie consists of Reeves asking Fishburne straight questions, only to have Fishburne respond as cryptically as possible, like the know-it-all blind guy in "Kung-Fu."
You have learned much, grasshopper. Not only dead on, but hilarious. Go on:
"The Matrix" features that stroll-around-the-freeze-frame effect that's so great in those boogie-woogie Gap commercials, and you see it several times. Get ready for the same effect in every third movie you see for the next 18 months. Beginning in about 4 months
He's not only right, he's practically psychic.

I think movies today give a bad view of hackers (1)

Teflon Coating (177969) | more than 13 years ago | (#312041)

Movies portray hackers having wayyyy too much fun. Such as in the movie 'Hackers' where they go flying through a 3d universe in order to get r00t. This gets really annoying when people who belive the media (almost everyone) start wanting to fly through space on their computers. This gets really annoying for anyone on an irc board that have to put up with the constant barrage of people that want to fly through space because they saw it on a movie. I understand that movie makers have to make hacking interesting because i don't think most people find port scanning exciting. I'm not too angry at the people that belive that though, as i probably have views on subjects that were formed by movies that are completly wrong that they are interested in.

Lone Gunmen (4)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 13 years ago | (#312047)

I think the X Files has had a far greater influence on the public's perception of nerds than any of the films mentioned in the article (except perhaps Sneakers). The Lone Gunmen are certainly cool, if slightly weird. They're very popular characters which is why they're getting their own spinoff series.

Re:the way nerds are portrayed in movies (1)

dodald (195775) | more than 13 years ago | (#312049)

I was gonna argue with you, but I looked it up and hey he's right.-- geek [] /nerd []

I guess im a nerd.

dork [] !

hackers, schmackers (2)

Dukhat (198764) | more than 13 years ago | (#312053)

I can't believe they left out Weird Science. That has gotta be the most realistic hacker movie ever. When is mainstream society going to get a clue.

Not sure how all these made it. (1)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 13 years ago | (#312054)

Real Genius? Sure, a good movie. But about hackers? No. It was more one of those comedy 'cool nerd' romps, only slightly less slapstick then 'Revenge of the Nerds'. To say this movie is about hackers is a bit of a stretch.

The Net? Ok, yeah, it was about people who used computers to undermine a persons life. But why tout that one when the underated 'Enemy of the State' is by far better and is loosly the same thing (not to mention a poor sequal to the wonderful but forgoton 'The Conversation' with Gene Hackman').

And when I think about it, yeah, I guess the Matrix starts out with characters who are 'hackers', but the movie is really more of a sci-fi thriller about alternate realities. To say the Matrix is about hackers is as realistic as saying 'eXistance' is about video game programmers.

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#312063)

"I want him in the stores until he dies paying" - MCPAA

Re:Sandra B (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#312064)

And, most importantly, the article did a good job of saying how movies like the Net and Hackers were more than little unrealistic. (But that doesn't mean it's not what people still believe...)

Re:Matrix? Not the one I saw... (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#312065)

Actually, watching people pour over manuals for hours, and searching the web for information for hours, and writing code for days, is pretty boring stuff. Why would they want to show that?

Which is exactly why the hacker image has been so bad in movies. Not only do most people not understand what hackers/geeks/etc do, but what we do is boring to them.

Besides, when you go to the movies, people want excitement! Love! Romance! Danger! Stuff blowing up! It's only when you hear Shall we play a game? when things get interesting. (Although Wargames did a nice job of showing the research Lightman had to do, I think that was the only time I've ever seen it in a movie...)

Re:hackers (1)

Z4rd0Z (211373) | more than 13 years ago | (#312068)

They really play on the computer all night.

Re:They've tried (1)

Z4rd0Z (211373) | more than 13 years ago | (#312069)

They've tried to criminalize 'hacker' and 'cracker' and tried to get people to confuse the two.

How many of "Them" do you think have ever heard the word cracker in the same sentence as computer? Few if any. No one is trying to confuse anyone.

Re:Brazil (1)

wadetemp (217315) | more than 13 years ago | (#312071)

Your're right... the statement they made about Tron that seems to suggest Tron was made using only hand-animation is incorrect. It was one of the first movies done with CG sequences. I'm sure not all of them were CG but quite a few were.

Actually what I loved about sneakers (1)

S1mon_Jester (223331) | more than 13 years ago | (#312074)

was that they pointed out that the key sizes of the Americans and European markets were different. It reminded me immediately of DSS and IDEA.

Brazil (3)

mike260 (224212) | more than 13 years ago | (#312077)

I thought that Brazil was a glaring omission; >15 years old, and still 100 times more relevant than crap like The Net and Hackers.

Incidentally, is Tron really 'hand-painted' as the article asserts? I thought it was B&W footage over proto-CG.

Hacking Movies (1)

Afreet1 (224290) | more than 13 years ago | (#312078)

I don't know about you, but I thought that Gladiator had the best "hacking" of any movie.

Re:Mission:Impossible (1)

Daath (225404) | more than 13 years ago | (#312079)

Yeah Mission: Impossible had a really cool hacker, pretty nerdy type too - I really identified with Ving Rhames (he played Luther Stickell - the cool black guy with the *shiver* mac - ok, maybe I didn't identify truly:-)...
He was also in M:I2 - but his role was very downplayed unfortunately, maybe he didn't sit well with the public? Oh well, it's late :-)

Re:Where are these hackers?? ......???WHAT??? (1)

Conrad_Bombora (225559) | more than 13 years ago | (#312080)

"When it comes right down to it, everything that goes on with hacking these days is pretty damn juvenile. But has this changed? Not in 10 or 15 years. It's not worse now, it's always been stupid. Back in the 80's elite hackery generally involved getting someone's TRW records and posting it somewhere to let people screw with them."

What!!? hacking juvenile? You would not be online now if it where not for people playing with, experimenting "HACKING" computers. Hacking is fundamental and does not necessarily apply to just computers (cue inspirational background music) Apollo 13 never would have gotten back to earth safely if the astronauts didn't "Hack" there system, you would not be able to download any Divx movies let me say that again you would not be able to down load any Divx if it were not for those loveable "Hackers". Homer Simpson and his fellow co workers never would have been able to leave work early if he had not "Hacked" the security camera by playing a continues VHS loop of them working from 70's.

Also someone defacing a web site is not really hacking in my book there just doing something that's been done before. It's sometimes interesting, some times amusing. But basically its just digital graffiti. Just don't call it hacking....

Re:Downward slope (1)

FreeMath (230584) | more than 13 years ago | (#312082)

I think that applies to any movie. 90% of what's out there is crap.

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#312084)

Wargames WAS cool! Not quite as realistic as Hackers, but yeah, it was very cool! I loved the modem that you put your phone headset into.

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#312085)

Aw, shit, I could hardly understand the technical stuff they were doing. I wasn't sure if it was real or not. Although, if I do ever go blind, I do plan on getting one of those nifty brail writer thingies that Mother used. Very cool.

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (2)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#312086)

I didn't say that it was accurate, just that it was one of the most accurate hacker movies I've ever seen. What, was 'The Matrix' more realistic? Actually, it WAS accurate in what hacking can really be all about... You work hard, and you get to make a lot of money as security experts (or go to jail when you get caught doing black hat stuff). And, there's more to 'hacking' then just computers. It also involves social engineering, etc. The movie shows all of this pretty well, I thought.

The ultimate hacker movie (4)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#312087)

The most accurate 'hacker' movie I've ever seen was 'Sneakers', and it's at least 10 years old. 'Sneakers' got me interested in computer security, systems, etc.

Re:the best hacker movies (3)

SirFlakey (237855) | more than 13 years ago | (#312089)

ghost hacking. I agree .. "Ghost in the Shell [] " is a damn fine "hacking" movie (perhaps so far the definitive hacking movie? well after the classic "war games"). Can't comment on "real geniuses" never seen it. I confess I liked (for the entertainment value) "the Matrix" and "Johnny Mnemonic [] " and to a lesser extend "Hackers [] ".

Then there was techno trash like "Virus".

Sandra B (3)

byronbussey (238252) | more than 13 years ago | (#312090)

Tragically they also included The Net.

Why is this tragic? The point of the article is how movies present the image of a hacker. The Net falls into this category.
Even though Sandra B is, of course no hacker, the uninformed will think she is; thus molding the general publics perception of what hackers are, and what hacking is like.

misrepresentation. (2)

Pheersum (243554) | more than 13 years ago | (#312094)

The reason hackers are often misrepresented as "crackers" in the movies is simple. People don't understand the difference. What really is the difference between someone who breaks the law about DVDs and someone who breaks the law about infiltrating a server? People just see that someone is breaking the law, with a computer, and they get scared. What if he uses his '1337' skillz to hurt my computer? Another aspect of the fear, though unrelated, is the socialistic aspect of many parts of hacker society. (the GPL, for instance) People (in America, at least) don't like Communism and are likely to be wary of anything resembling it.

Re:Where are these hackers?? (1)

ljaguar (245365) | more than 13 years ago | (#312104)

Damn right, bro, Amen. All these people... They are loosers. They have no life, so they go around and does something so insignificant that was [illegal/wrong/3733T] and laugh their heads off (and finishes smoking the crack). Just as you people promote the difference between hacker and crackers, I demand that there be a difference between cyberpunks and everyone who isn't. These teens who thinks that they are eleet because they RuLe at Half life, and makes "awesome" images with photoshop and flash, and overclocks their pitiful I386 and because they succeeded installing a Redhat, thinks that they rule the world. I demand that there be a distintion between me and everyone who uses the phrase "0wnz j00". I wish that I, who sincerely wants to learn the study of computers and mathematics, be clearly seperated from these cyberpunk-ass-bitches. I am taking classes in CS, and all these people who are just plain loosers who are excited by articles from MaximumPC. I am just interested in Unix and its internals. I just want to learn C and learn theory and stuff. But I am just disgusted by the rest of the class. Thank you for reading my rant.

Re:AntiTrust (1)

hammock (247755) | more than 13 years ago | (#312107)

Seeing Bill Gates in shackles for stealing Open Source code then killing the programmers was DELIGHTFUL !!

Re:misrepresentation. (1)

ryancooley (248760) | more than 13 years ago | (#312108)

(the GPL, for instance) People (in America, at least) don't like Communism and are likely to be wary of anything resembling it.

Yeah! Just look at how the first time everyone say napster they ran away screeming... Oh, and not to mention how corporations and the press completely ignore GNU/Linux.

Ahh... (3)

cmowire (254489) | more than 13 years ago | (#312111)

Real Genius is one of the reasons why I'm such a geek. Val Kilmer was my role model at that age. ;)

The thing I liked best about Sneakers was not that it got the tech right. You can't get the tech right in a movie, it seems. But they got the people right. I mean, every Slashdot whacko can identify with Dan Akroyd's character.

Two funny anecdotes...

After War Games aired, people who were going to be telecommuting suddenly weren't allowed because everybody was scared to have a modem attached to the net. I'm not making that up.

And I was having a chat with an AI researcher friend of mine. It turns out that they are doing something just like the matrix to slug brains. They have very very few neurons, so it's pretty easy to hook them up to a simulated body and they are happy and stuff.

jurassic park and james bond (2)

TotoLeFoobar (256317) | more than 13 years ago | (#312115)

What about how hackers are portrayed as the Evil Ones in Jurassic Park1 and James Bond::Goldeneye (barely mentionned)?


In JP1, the fat fast-food-eating porno-addicted jerk runs away and gets killed. The hero is of course an innocent intelligent kid that knows Unix. Ok, sure, she knew Unix, maybe a future hacker (it's not because you know unix that you're a hacker), but to the eyes of the public, she's the smart kid that saved the day, while the evil-hacker ran away.

In James Bond, there again: sex-craving anti-social evil genious always trying to hide. Of course, he dies while his ego expresses itself. Blah, Tomorrow Never Dies does a much better job at showing that technology and the media are the Evil. Tomorrow Never Dies really gave me the impression that we must impose stronger regulation on technology because technology helps evil people.

What Hollywood is saying, is that technology enslaves us, and that evil people can use this to their advantage.

Then again, I'm just a computer geek. My two cents.


Re:the way nerds are portrayed in movies (1)

The Troll King (300871) | more than 13 years ago | (#312121)

You are sadly confusing geeks and nerds.

Nerds are still worthless dorks.

Geeks get off on technology.

Re:Uh beware (1)

Ancient Eye (300895) | more than 13 years ago | (#312123)


God forbid a hacker be portrayed as somebody with outside hobbies *Shock* *Shock* *Horror* *horror*

Finish this sentence: I can't think of a greater crime against hacker-kind than portraying them as
1) a group of which some are pysically attractive
2) People who do SOME things ON OCCASION other than hack
3) A group of which some are interested in the common welfare of mankind and some are interested in personal gain at any cost (and some aren't part of either of those groups)

As far as I can tell, these 3 "mis"representations are the only ones present in hackers -about-hackers- there are some techincal weirdnesses (or at least, technology I haven't seen... Daddy, can I have a "mainframe" like Penn Gillette got to use?) and other random stuff, continued use of the wore "elite" as actually connoting some positive status, though, this was less mis-representative in the '95 than it is now, but all in all, it didn't really put hackers into any small boxes that they didn't belong in...

Re:Matrix? Not the one I saw... (1)

Ancient Eye (300895) | more than 13 years ago | (#312124)

That merely establishes that the character Neo is "a hacker"
His hacking is not a relevant piece of the plot

Neo is found by Morpheus not the other way around, Neo's hacking skills in the Matrix keep his computer simulated self fed, and busy until he can join the plot, nothing else.

Re:Matrix? Not the one I saw... (2)

Ancient Eye (300895) | more than 13 years ago | (#312127)

More importantly... The Matrix is "about hackers" in that, the main characters were described as "hackers"

In how many points are their computer skills used? Umm, 1.5
  1. one full point for reading the matrix code off of those screens, probably took some tech savvy, (Cipher says "I can't even see the code, all I see is...")
  2. one half point for paying Neo's bills... selling "stuff" on zip-disk out of the hollowed out copies of "Simulations and Simulacra"

So then what do we have... pretty much that people are called 'hackers' and Trinity has a big hack in her history (which she blows off as history)
Meta-movie wise, we have people who are more efficient within a computer system than the unenlightened (term is my own), and one who actually can re-write the system on the fly. So I guess those are "hackerish" qualities, but not quite in the "we see them doing hackerish things" sense.

Of course, they were portayed as confident and competant (and, err, super-human) in the computer world, and downtrodden and scraping-by in the real world more "meta-movie" interpretation of them as hackerish.

Anyway, despite all that, I still don't think about it as a movie about hackers in the sense of hackers hacking... *shrug*

Re:Matrix? Not the one I saw... (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#312131)

Actually, watching people pour over manuals for hours, and searching the web for information for hours, and writing code for days, is pretty boring stuff. Why would they want to show that?

They showed Neo's hacker-factory in his apartment, and his long hours. That's enough for me.

Re:LOL! CNN's old review of The Matrix (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#312132)

> "Keanu Reeves stinks."

Well, the reviewer starts off right!

> For the most part, it's actually just another
> reason to trot out the latest mind-boggling
> developments in special effects.

No argument there.

> Half the movie consists of Reeves asking
> Fishburne straight questions, only to have
> Fishburne respond as cryptically as possible,
> like the know-it-all blind guy in "Kung-Fu."

Still accurately described...

The only thing he left out was the silliness of the main principle of the movie -- the use of humans as batteries. Actually, he touched on it, but by that point in the movie, he "didn't care."

Re:the way nerds are portrayed in movies (2)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#312136)

I'm sorry, that's not correct.

A nerd is actually what is referred to as a geek around here.

A geek was a weirdo who bit the heads off chickens in a circus routine. In Revenge of the Nerds, Booger was the closest to being a geek.

All the technologically advanced dorks were nerds, not geeks. A better term for the movie might have been "Revenge of the Dorks", consisting of geeks (Booger), nerds (the boys), foreigners (Asians) and Lamar. "Dork" is a synonym for shlong, though, and thus would not make an acceptable movie title.

Modern etymology has, apparently, swapped the meanings of nerd and geek for some reason. Perhaps "nerd" was so hateful growing up to teenagers in the 80's that they preferred the more respectable "geek"?

Hollywood And Hackers: (4)

Migelikor1 (308578) | more than 13 years ago | (#312140)

My biggest complaint about Hollywood is that they don't seem to understand the difference between Hackers and Crackers. Oh well. When I tell people I decrypt DVDs, they usually look at me like I'm going to kill them, so I guess that misunderstanding of intent is common. My favorite depiction of hackers/crackers is in the movie "Sneakers" with Robert Redford. Along with a whole bunch of comical thievery and hijinks, the main characters manage to secure a piece of hardware which can decrypt almost anything. They promptly bankrupt the republican party via the bank. -OK Scotty, very funny, now beam me my pants.

Mission:Impossible (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#312142)

How could they mention "Goldeneye" and leave out "Mission:Impossible"? Remember the obvious use of Netscape Navigator? (I think they used version 1.0, although 2.0 was out at the time). There was some nifty movie "hacking" in that film, but my favorite part was that the good guys all used Mac Powerbooks, while the bad guys all had IBM laptops.

Re:Matrix? Not the one I saw... (1)

Eryq (313869) | more than 13 years ago | (#312143)

You could give Tank a half-point for (presumably) cracking the "phone" system to give them exits. Then again, he might just be a script kiddie...

But I'd give them a full point because the GUIs on their monitors were so ugly and complex that they just had to be running X windows with Motif. (Hmmm.. so I guess Linux prevails after all...)

Oh yeah... and the "Matrix code" was clearly just: od /dev/matrix_kmem


Real Geniuses? (1)

jdludlow (316515) | more than 13 years ago | (#312146)

If you're going to reference one of the greatest movies ever made, please at least get the name correct.

It's "Real Genius".

hackers (1)

XramLrak (317162) | more than 13 years ago | (#312147)

In movies all they do is play on the computer all day. What do they really do?

Where are these hackers?? (5)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 13 years ago | (#312153)

OK, so of course I've seen all those movies. Good stuff, i guess, especially if you can turn off the "that's not how it works" part of your brain.

But what are we celebrating here? I understand that all this could be pretty exciting for the population at large, as it's an unknown world. But what about the geeks out there? It's a pretty known world right? Worse yet, it's pretty fucking boring.

Why do we all seem to have a soft spot in our hearts for hacking? Was it because of that thrill we got when we guessed mr. hibbard the science teacher's password so we could up our print-out quotas and print a bunch of ascii porn? Maybe so. I reckon most everyone out there has at least something like that in their background. Is this what makes hacking so fastenating to us all? It's really glorified in our community.

But what do "hacking" bring us? Where are the 31337 hackers that have stopped an evil mastermind hacker from bring down greenpeace and killing all the whales for his huge whale oil bomb to be set off at the polls? Where have the robin hoods been that stol 100th's of a penny from everyone's account at BigMegaBancCorp to fund the orphanage up on lookout road so that little jimmy would get the liver transplant? Where in fact is a single account of anyone anywhere close to black hatery doing anything that wasn't 100% in their own interests?

I don't see the examples. In fact 99.99% of the self-proclaimed hackers out there are into nothing more than web site defacement via the unicode bug, or root hacking cable modem linux boxes with the DNS exploit to put up eggdrop bots to hold their favorite channel. Maybe once in a blue moon someone will apply these pre-written tools and break in somewhere good, see lots of data, and have absolutely no idea what to do with it. Wow, look at all these credit cards, maybe I should buy and post em all? Hahaha, that'll stick it to the man.

I was a netcom subscriber in '94/'95 when kevin mitnick was raveging their networks. He's supposed to be an elite uber-hacker, using cell-phone booky boxes and all manner of tools to hide his tracks. The FBI was after him at this point, and I think he knew. Never the less, what was he doing on netcom? Mostly making stupidly named files in people's root directories with root priv's, just to show people he could. And who was he doing this to? Mostly to people a friend of his (and netcom subscriber) didn't like. Wow, way to go kevin.

When it comes right down to it, everything that goes on with hacking these days is pretty damn juvenile. But has this changed? Not in 10 or 15 years. It's not worse now, it's always been stupid. Back in the 80's elite hackery generally involved getting someone's TRW records and posting it somewhere to let people screw with them.

When the revolution comes, I think I'll stick with the government instead of the cyber-revolutionaries. At least when the government wins they won't be sitting alone in their bedroom laughing and snorting up a storm saying "oh kewl. viva la revolution. Heh. I am the supreme elite commander, you all must bow down to me! Haha! maybe i should order a pizza"

[note if you wish please silently change the word hacker to cracker, black hat hacker, ciminal, h4x0r or whatever other word will keep you from replying to me about the use of the word hacker. you know damn well who we're talking about and it's not alan cox]

Re:The ultimate hacker movie (3)

OSgod (323974) | more than 13 years ago | (#312157)

Sneakers was an incredible movie -- great cast and good execution. Accurate? On some technical details yes, on the whole conspiracy.... only if your a Scientologist

By the way, if you are, I have some excellant investment opportunities in atomic turf... expensive to get into but the payback is incredible.

Hacker as an antihero (1)

hirofx (415176) | more than 13 years ago | (#312167)

The hacker as an antihero is popular in books, and has been for a long while now. We have the entire genre of cyberpunk as a good example (and no, I don't mean to imply that cyberpunk is just about hackers in the traditional computer sense) Movies about hackers don't have a good enough understanding of computers to realize that it's not just a fancy special effect that'll bring people in. They have straight up villans and heros. It's not bad because it's inaccurate. Lots of things are innacurate but fun. It's just too simple. It's an idiotic black and white portrayal.

AntiTrust (1)

veronikka (415708) | more than 13 years ago | (#312168)

I didn't know anyone actually watched AntiTrust, let alone enough people for it to actually impact the public's perception of hackers.

And am I the only person who finds it hard to picture Ryan Philippe as a hacker? Sure, I know he wore glasses for the role (and apparently glasses = smart = hacker), but it was still Ryan Philippe under there, dammit.

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