WarGames Film Adaptations 👨‍💻 Release Dates, Cast, Plots, Reviews, Opinions

WarGames Movies

Computers only do what they are programmed to do, and they will follow their programs to illogical conclusions. Sooner or later, one of these self-satisfied, sublimely confident thinking machines is going to blow us all off the face of the planet. 

That is the message of “WarGames,” a scary and intelligent thriller separated into two parts (one released over three decades, in 1983, and another one released in 2008). Certainly, the first is considered one of the best movies of that year, and the second is unknown by many.



Everything About WarGames (1983)

WarGames (1983) movie poster
Source: MGM/UA Entertainment Co.


Production, Release Date, and Reception

WarGames is a sci-fi thriller movie set in the Cold War era, which was directed by John Bradham and written by Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker. The original director, Martin Brest, was fired two weeks after the shooting started.

WarGames (1983) Trailer


The movie was released in 1983, but production began in 1979. WarGames was a successful movie, with a $79 million box office. The movie was nominated for Oscar Awards but didn’t win any.

WarGames was critically acclaimed, receiving positive reviews. It has an average rating of 7.63/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a 93% approval rating. Its reviews on Metacritic are also positive, with an average score of 77/100.


Cast and Characters

  • Matthew Broderick (David Lightman)
  • Dabney Coleman (Dr. John McKittrick)
  • John Wood Dr. (Stephen Falken)
  • Ally Sheedy (Jennifer Mack)
  • Barry Corbin (General Jack Beringer)
  • Juanin Clay (Patricia Healy)
  • Dennis Lipscomb (Watson)
  • Joseph Dorsey Jr. (Col. Joe Conley)
  • Michael Ensign (Beringer’s assistant)
  • William Bogert (Mr. Lightman)
  • Susan Davis (Mrs. Lightman)
  • Irving Metzman (Richter)
  • John Spencer (Capt. Jerry Lawson)
  • Michael Madsen (Lt. Steve Phelps)
  • Alan Blumenfeld (Mr. Liggett)
  • Maury Chaykin (Jim Sting)
  • Eddie Deezen (Malvin)
  • Art LaFleur (Guard – Sgt. Ginzberg)
  • Stack Pierce (Airman)
  • Stephen Lee (Sgt. Schneider)
  • Jesse Goins (Sergeant)
  • James Ackerman (Joshua Falken)
  • James Tolkan (FBI Agent George Wigan)

Plot/Sypnosis (What is the movie WarGames about?)

The WarGames plot revolves around a high school student named David Lightman. David is a skillful hacker. And like every teenage hacker, he’s trying to hack into a computer network to play some unreleased games.

But, unbeknownst to him, he managed to hack into a supercomputer. And, that supercomputer ends up being the Defense Department’s war computer. David then proceeds to start a global confrontation. 

Along with a computer genius and his girlfriend, David needs to find a way to prevent a nuclear war… Which he started.


Review and Opinions

WarGames might be seen as a video game adaptation with no real meaning. That’s far from the truth. From the beginning of the film, the viewers are encouraged to answer whether machines should be responsible for the duties of humans or not.

The movie centers around the 1980s huge technological boom and captures the 80s vibe perfectly. The serious tone of the film, along with a great cast and a captivating plot manages to deliver its message amazingly.

Colin Greenland of Imagine magazine: “Wargames is a tense, tight film, sharply acted, funny, sane, and with a plot twist for every chilling sub-routine in WOPR’s scenarios for World War III.”

Christopher John of Ares Magazine: “The movie cloaked itself in a standard message, but then set out to take something we have seen many times before and retell it in a new, interesting fashion. War Games is highly entertaining, fast-moving, colorful, and mentally stimulating.”



Everything About WarGames: The Dead Code (2008)

War Games - The Dead Code
Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


Production, Release Date, and Reception

WarGames: The Dead Code, is a direct sequel to the original WarGames movie. It was written by Randall Badat and Rob Kerchner, and directed by Stuart Gillard. The movie’s production started in 2006, in Montreal, and was released on July 29, 2008.

WarGames: The Dead Code (2008) Trailer


Not much can be said about its reception, since Rotten Tomatoes only has 3 reviews listed, 2 of which are negative and 1 is positive. Out of the over 2,500 user reviews, the movie scored a 25%.


Cast and Characters

  • Matt Lanter (Will Farmer)
  • Amanda Walsh (Annie D’Mateo)
  • Colm Feore (T. Kenneth Hassert and Voice of WOPR “Joshua”)
  • Chuck Shamata (Bill Carter)
  • Maxim Roy (Tina Rashe)
  • Nicolas Wright (Dennis Nichols)
  • Gary Reineke (Stephen Falken)
  • Susan Glover (Gail Farmer)
  • Trevor Hayes (Agent Aaron Scott)
  • Claudia Ferri (Agent Bolton)
  • Vlasta Vrána (Ivan Prokosh)
  • Ricky Mabe (Newman)
  • Claudia Black (Voice of RIPLEY)
  • Russell Yuen (David Chen)
  • Robert Higden (Mr. Baron)
  • John Maclaren (Norman Paget)
  • John Koensgen (Martin Cavanaugh)
  • Alberto Delburgo (Sayid Massude)
  • Lucinda Davis (Joleen Dupree)


The movie starts with Will Farmer (Matt Lanter), a computer whiz. His neighbor, Massude, has an issue with his computer and comes to Will for help. Will hooks up his own computer, only to find that Massude’s brother is making tons of money, and decides to steal $500 from his account. 

His friend Dennis, however, changes that $5000. Will aims to gamble that money on an online site, which has terrorist attack-based games. Will ends up making $25,000, with the help of his mother.

But, Will didn’t know that the game he plays is a form of spyware by the US government, named RIPLEY. With RIPLEY, the US government aims to find possible terrorists. RIPLEY has practically taken control of every single American system that’s connected to the internet.


Review and Opinions

The sequel to WarGames is very similar to the original film. But, the cast of this one is not as charismatic and the sequel’s style isn’t as great.

Nobody from the original film signed up for the sequel. So you shouldn’t expect to see any of your favorite characters from the original WarGames.

Before you watch WarGames: The Dead Code, we highly suggest you watch the original one.

If you still want to watch the sequel, it’s certainly a good laugh. While it is watchable, you’ll probably be laughing off through the “tense” scenes of the film.

Rossiter Drake of San Francisco Examiner: “Keeps the formula topical, replacing Soviet aggressors with cyber-savvy terrorists, but the renovations end there.”

Kevin Carr of 7M Pictures: “As far as direct-to-DVD sequels go, you can do a lot worse.”