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We've selected early 80s sci fi thriller WarGames to coincide with our exhibitions Small Wars & CD-ROMS.

Definitely of its time, WarGames remains one of the most fun films about computer hackers ever made.  Blending an unease around the arms race with concerns around new technology, the film is surprisingly prescient and still a tense and gripping watch.    

Matthew Broderick is smart-beyond his years teenager David Lightman who accidentally hacks into the Pentagon and starts playing what he thinks is a computer game called Global Thermonuclear War. Turns out, the machine he’s competing against has complete control of the USA’s nuclear arsenal, and David’s actions are unwittingly pushing the world to the brink of war. Oops!

Broderick (terrific in only his second screen role) is joined by brat-pack regular Ally Sheedy as his love interest and the wonderful Dabney Coleman as the grumpy defence specialist trying to avert the impending nuclear holocaust. 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.