Best Hacker Movies of All Time

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The movies always had a talent for influencing public opinion on various questions. For almost a century, it’s been doing a pretty good job to inspire people. When we talk about the best hacker movies of all time, there are many great ones that had an impact for any people.

In the 1980s, there was an increase in hacker movies. Hackers played the roles of white hats, almost superhero-like individuals defending the day, and bad guys, high-tech criminals posing a threat to society, at times. In either case, it would be an exaggeration to suggest that the portrayal of hackers and security professionals in hacker films is accurate.

These hacker movies range from cult classics to B-movies to large Hollywood blockbusters, and they are always entertaining to watch. At least, they provide a humorous perspective on computer hackers and the media’s portrayal of them, and you can always see how often Nmap is used.

Although Hollywood’s portrayal of computer hackers is rarely accurate, the concept has inspired some of the best action films of all time. We have compiled a list of the best hacker movies we could locate.

The majority of these films are action-packed and exciting to watch. Some are downright comical, having aged less gracefully than others due to their unique perspectives on technology’s future and ethical hacking. As security professionals, we can at least take pride in the fact that we have influenced so many hacker movies throughout the years, and the list goes on.

List of the Best Movies about Hacking

The Matrix

Matrix is one of the best hacker movies

The Matrix is an all-time favorite and the best hacker movie of all time. Still, how it addresses the existential difficulty of living in a computer simulation and depicts an intelligent and repressive AI makes it a genuinely legendary film.

We are sure many of you have already seen this hugely popular film, but for those who have not, we strongly advise you to do so as soon as you have finished reading this list.

Then decide whether you’ll take the red pill or the blue pill.

Main characters

The Matrix is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and one of the best hacker movies of all time. Neo, the protagonist, is a computer programmer who unwittingly realizes that the entire universe, as he knows it, is nothing more than a computer program. Unfortunately for humans, the design of the program enslaves them. Neo and a tiny group of awake and conscious humanity manage to break free from the Matrix, but they are helpless in the face of the world’s programming.

In 2021, The Matrix Resurrections was released. This was a long waited moment for the movie fans.

Why do hackers like the movie?

We live in a world that is becoming more connected by the day, and the subject of how much of reality we actually perceive is still a topic of debate. One could even argue that The Matrix and the analogies it portrays have inspired more people to question reality than would have been the case otherwise.

Thomas A. Anderson, a computer programmer by day and a hacker known as “Neo” at night, is the protagonist. Neo must win the epic war against technology to set humanity free.


Hackers movie

Hackers is an excellent chance to sit back, relax, and laugh after The Matrix’s mind-bending philosophy. This cult hit is now considered a parody, but it’s still a fun film that many people enjoy. It follows a bunch of youthful hackers who have hacked the wrong person — a black hat hacker who has created a virus that aims to set five oil tankers on fire. This high-tech (for its time) thriller makes for a fun and satisfying hacker vs cracker scenario, with the fate of the globe being held at ransom.

The movie is also famous because the Angelina Jolie is starring in it.

Main characters

The film’s techno music and counterculture attire have significantly impacted how the world perceives hackers, some adopting the look. Released in the 1995, this movie was one of the pioneers of the hacking movies.

The movie contains references to social engineering, phreaking, and malicious software, among other cybersecurity themes. The details portrayed in the movie makes you feel that the real hacking is happening, and not some “mainframe hacking”. Not only do viewers see law enforcement raiding teenage hackers, but they also get an overview of the many various devices that can be hacked – including sprinklers!

Why do hackers like this movie?

The plot was not very original, and the hacking scenes may provoke a good laugh (even from those inexperienced with real-world hacking). Still, if a film better represents the 1990s and how hackers are frequently portrayed in the media, we would love to see it.

So, enjoy your weekend by watching one of the best hacker movies of all time!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hacking scene from the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is another one that might be considered being as one of the best hacker movies. This is a crime thriller created in 2009, that is based on a Swedish novel. The movie was successful and two sequels were released – The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. Movie tells a story about search of a woman that is missing for over forty years. And this the trace is being made with a help of a young hacker.

Main characters

The main character that is a hacker, is the Lisbeth Salander. She is a freelance suirveilance agent and a hacker. After a journalist, that had written unproven allegations about one very powerful billionaire, is sentenced to prison sentence. the Lisbet is being hired to perform background check on the journalist. After this, the same person who hired her (that is also, apparently a head of a very wealthy family), hires her to investigate the missing of his niece.

Why do hackers like the movie?

Even though many of the hacking related things were simplified in the movie, the movie contains actual hacking. Most of it is being completed by using computers. While this does not emphasize another attack vector – social engineering, this is still a good film about hackers.

The hacking was also portrayed in depth in the original book that the movie is based on. Author spend time to really understand what the hacking is really about.

War Games

War Games is a classical hacker movie

More than any other film on this list, War Games demonstrates the power of popular culture to influence the general people and government institutions and laws. Even if the premise is not entirely feasible, this hacker film offers a fascinating look at the hazards of nuclear war and the destruction that unprotected systems can cause.

This movie is about a young man that is capable of starting Wold War III. How did he managed to reach this level of power? By finding the backdoors to the military central computer. However, as this looks like a game, it is being confused with a game.

While this film did not affect the fashion trends of teenage hackers, it did convince Congress to pass the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in 1986.

Main characters

This thrilling film follows computer hacker David Lightman as he gains access to a US military supercomputer known as War Operations Plan Response. The computer was created to predict the outcomes of major nuclear disasters. When the hacker tries to conduct a bomb drill simulation, he accidentally activates the program. The supercomputer is activated, and all systems for WWIII are activated.

What bad can happen by clicking only one button? Right?

Why do hackers like the movie?

The fact, that the movie was created in 1983, makes it one of the first movies for the hackers. The hacking was just gaining popularity, as only a small population had the computers at the time. These were the times of the phreakers. For some people the movie has sentimental value, for others it gives a good laugh as the hacking in the movie is nothing like nowadays hacking. But the fact is that the movie is worth watching, as it is a classic created almost 40 years ago.


Tron is an oldschool movie for hackers

TRON was made when many special effects were still in their infancy. Thus, they may appear funny. While the poor script and acting don’t help the situation, it’s still a fun experience that shows what might happen if you lived in a video game.

There’s been a high-profile prequel, and it’s generated a slew of comic books and TV shows, but nothing compares to the original. Many people believe the film was ahead of its time, and here’s a fascinating fact: it’s a Disney film and one of the best hacker movies of all time.

Main characters

The main character in this classic film is a brilliant computer programmer, and he inadvertently transports himself inside his own software, allowing him to communicate with the programmers. While the first film was released in 1982, it has since grown into a franchise that includes comic books, a television show, computer games, and sequels.

Why do hackers like this movie?

This film is an actual classic SCI-FI action film from the 1980s, and it is must viewing for any fan of video games, computers, or science fiction. Tron follows a talented programmer who is transferred into his own game and the digital world known as The Grid, where he progresses through levels and fights for his survival against the Master Control Program.


Sneakers movie for ethical hackers

“It’s not about who has the most bullets; it’s about who has control of the information,” says the narrator. Sneakers is another enjoyable 90’s film that, unlike Hackers, is more technically correct and has a more serious tone. If you are an ethical hacker, this is a movie you should definitely see.

Main characters

According to the story line, Martin Brice and Cosmo, students at their university, hack into networks and steal monies to donate to charitable causes. Cosmo is apprehended and forced to flee.

Years later, Martin, now known as Martin Bishop, leads a physical penetration tester when the National Security Agency approaches them. He refuses their demands but is blackmailed by officers who seek to collect a hidden black box aware of Martin and Cosmo’s previous identities. The crew fights against attackers and comes across unusual scenarios that bring back memories.

Why do hackers like this movie?

The cast is impressive, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in a decent hacking film. While it appears to be an action film, it is made more enjoyable by a number of pleasantly funny situations. We also get a look at the early days of penetration testers, when they were evaluating physical attack vectors, along with a picture of right against wrong.


Movie 23

The film 23 focuses on the events that led to the incident and the players involved: Karl is a teenage hacker living in Germany after the Cold War. They began breaking into all types of systems, including the US government and business companies, with the support of his pal and a strong belief in social justice.

They decide to sell their knowledge to the KGB to profit from their hacking. Karl succumbs to narcotics due to the pressure to perform better hacks. During his drug-induced hallucinations, he hacks a nuclear power station, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster. To avoid the KGB’s threats, he breaks down and enrolls in the witness-protection programmer. Karl’s body is later discovered, burned in a wilderness.

While this movie belongs to the genre of thriller and drama, it does consists some hacking. If you are a movies about hackers enthusiast, this one is another great one.

Main characters

Karl Koch, a teenage hacker, starts seeing the number ’23’ everywhere in this narrative. He continues his investigation and discovers a global conspiracy. To obtain more information, the hacker enlists the assistance of a student to hack into the worldwide data network. Karl becomes insane after getting engaged with narcotics and hacking into Chernobyl.

Why do hackers like this movie?

Although the film 23 may not have had much of an impact on the public, it was partially based on the episode involving the German Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and Karl Koch. The cyber espionage case in which Karl Koch was jailed for getting into US government computers and planning to sell their source codes to the KGB is explored in Episode 23.

This is not an action film intended to delight you with its technological and hacker portal perspectives. 23 is a drama that delves into the early days of hacking, crackers, and the darker aspects of their past. If you have always wondered how did the hacking in the 90’s looked like, this movie provides the vibe of nineties hacking.

Ghost in the Shell

Anime about hacking

Ghost in the Shell is the only anime about hacking on our list. If you are fan of the anime, and of the hacking, this is a perfect combo. There aren’t that much animated cybersecurity-themed movies.

If you want to watch the best hacker movie of all time, without one animated picture, the list would be incomplete, and many consider this to be the apex of Japanese animation films, sometimes ranked as the best. Ghost in the Shell is a cyberpunk anime based on manga of the same name. It was created in 1995.

Main characters

The novel’s protagonist is Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg officer who works for a police division that deals with cybercrime. Action is taking place in the 2029. He is hunting for the Puppet Master, a hacker who hacks into bots’ brains. Philosophical analogies and concepts are woven throughout the script, as they are in many anime films. As the storyline unfolds, who is hunting becomes more difficult to answer. The story drags us even deeper into the drama.

Why do hackers like this movie?

This picture has impacted a lot of subsequent films in the same genre, yet it has stood the test of time and is still relevant today. Ghost in the Shell is a must-see for every anime lover or anyone interested in learning more about the genre.

Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot is the best TV series about hackers

Mr. Robot is not a film, but it is the most recent attempt into the cybercrime genre on television. It has received widespread acclaim for accurately portraying information security and data privacy as we know them now. The series are interested from someone who is not familiar with the cybersecurity field. However, the cybersecurity professionals absolutely love the Mr. Robot. There aren’t any other movie or TV Show that shows how the real life hacking is being performed. Every little detail in the series is realistic – starting from the mindset of the hackers, going to the tools used and methods for destroying evidence.

Main characters

Elliot is a cybersecurity engineer by day and a vigilante hacker by night, and the plot focuses on him. After being contacted by a young woman, Elliot meets a man named Mr Robot, and he tells him about E-Corp, an organization that Mr Robot claims are attempting to dominate the world. Elliot finds himself in a moral quandary because it is the firm he is supposed to safeguard.

Why do hackers like this movie?

This popular television show has cast new light on information security and the public’s perception of it. Mr Robot not only illustrates the true consequences of data protection and cybersecurity but also what may be the most technically accurate depiction of that community’s daily life.

Mr Robot is widely regarded as one of the best shows on information security, and if you have not watched it yet, we strongly advise you to do so right now. The good news is that there are 4 seasons of Mr. Robot, so you will be able to enjoy it for a long time. This is definitely one of the best movies for hackers, although, it is really series and not a movie.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

We witness a lot of hacking, hijacking, and everything else that makes security professionals happy in this fourth edition of the Mission: Impossible series. Like the rest of the franchise’s films, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is action-packed from the outset. iPhones will be seen cracking door codes, hijacking networks, breaking into a prison’s security system, and other scenes of amazing hacking action. It’s all about fiction, action, hacking and the drama you would love to watch.

Main characters

The plot revolves around Tom Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), falsely accused of causing an explosion. Hendricks is also involved, as his access to Russian nuclear launch codes feed his ambitions to strike the United States. The IMF is held as soon as the Ghost Protocol is activated.

Why do hackers like this movie?

For all you action fans out there, this film is a blast. Thanks to its decidedly high-tech hacking scenes, it’s also a really entertaining hacker film to watch. Its a family movie, and you can plan a movie night to spend some happy moments with your family and friends.

The Net

The Net

The Net is like something out of a B-movie. It’s not a “good” film with a clever plot, but it’s another chance to laugh while learning what the rest of the world thought about the Internet in 1995. Hence, no doubt the best hacker movie of all time.

Main characters

The story follows Angela Bennett, a computer whiz and systems analyst who spends her days online with only a few virtual friends. She has been given a program to debug, and in the process, she learns about the secret databases of several government agencies. Her identification documents, as well as her entire identity, are stolen while she is on vacation. The perpetrators are, of course, nefarious hackers.

Why do hackers like this movie?

This one is not old well, and many aspects now feel cliched. However, it provides a glimpse into the culture at the time and the anxieties many people had about an overly-connected Internet. It’s a positive idea and the best hacker movie of all time.

The Italian Job

The Italian job is another movie about hacking

Taking control of a city’s transportation management systems is a popular film cliché, as shown in Hackers and Taxi. This cliché is thought to have first featured in the 1969 film The Italian Job, although, for the purposes of this list, the more relevant (and somewhat correct) hacking reference is from the 2003 remake. Both, the remake, and the original one, tells a story about the heist of stealing gold bars. When the original movie was created, hacking was only just becoming a problem. The remake portraits the situation pretty realistically.

Main characters

The Italian Job involves a top-secret squad stealing $35 million in gold bars from an Italian cafe. Lyle, an experienced hacker, aided the gang in carrying off the theft by sending a green wave over Los Angeles to ensure the squad arrived at the safe.

The hacking in this film is relatively accurate, with a strong emphasis on demonstrating how any system or device connected to the Internet, including traffic control systems, can be cracked. Shodan could easily be used to search for all traffic lights and webcams in the city.

Why do hackers like this movie?

Hacking scenarios include Napster (Lyle’s screen name, proudly displayed in a message on every screen in the control centre) and manually guessing the password to access the centre’s network.

Live Free or Die Hard

Live free or die hard helicopter and car scene

Live free or die hard is another one that you will like if you are into hacker movies. In 2007, the screenwriters intended hackers to be the main antagonists in this action film. They succeeded—an evil cyber genius terrorizing the entire country and taking over government computers, causing traffic and communications mayhem. Of course, only Bruce can defeat him.

While this is an action movie, that has many action scenes, the story focuses on fighting the cyber-terrorist. You might not see that much hacking as in the other movies, but it still worth watching.

It’s always fun to watch how a famous film franchise portrays hackers, and Die Hard 4.0 has a whole cast of hackers to add to the excitement. “Bruce Willis fights hackers,” according to one excellent summary of the film. There are great villains, Bruce Willis as John McClane, and, of course, many gunshots and action sequences, all in typical Die Hard form.

Main characters

The main character in this action-packed flick is against some of the world’s smartest cyber terrorists. This gang can break into public and government computer systems and launch a massive asset sale. To find the security specialist in charge of the scheme, he pairs up with an expert ex-NSA hacker.

Apart from that, the movie prompted a number of newspapers to reference the scene in which a terrorist hacker uploads frozen photographs of the White House all over the Internet, ominously asking at the bottom of the screen, “What if this is just the beginning?” “What if you are alone and dial 911, but no one picks up?” as if it were something that could happen in real life

Why do hackers like this movie?

With the attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS demonstrating how a targeted cyberattack might have real-world implications, such a potential exists. When considering this terrifying truth, a better focus might be on the insufficient security guarding the public and private institutions they aim to assault rather than on the existence of evil hacker geniuses.

Final Thoughts

Many of these hacker movies don’t portray cybersecurity and the hacker scene in a realistic light — you won’t see any of the best hacker movies of all time if there is no fun to watch. This is how the movie industry works – they want to make a movie that appeals to the masses. A movie where the main character is “hacking the mainframe” just sells better.

We’ve tried to make a list with different types of movies. This selection offers everything you need for Friday night entertainment, whether it’s a light counterculture comedy or a mind-bending drama that makes you question your reality.

And if you are cybersecurity professional, you will definitely enjoy the Mr. Robot series, as the hacking is portrayed very in-depth. The even used the consultations of a real hackers when creating the series.

You will love the real-time hacking experience. In addition, the continuous thrill and excitement will let you sit back and watch the movie every time with a new theme.

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