For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “MOVIES” and go with WarGames. This movie was released in 1983, and was one that seemed so futuristic. It’s kind of funny to watch it in today’s time and see the DOS computers, etc. I’m sure that there are some in the government that still use those! ha/ha
It’s weird to think back on this movie, because I actually remember watching it at the drive-in…now that’s old!!! If, for some reason, you are of an age that makes it difficult to remember WarGames, here’s a preview of the movie that we all saw before it came out:
Did you ever watch the WarGames movie when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV or Netflix later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
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More Info on the WarGames Movie:
WarGames is a 1983 American Cold War science-fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally Sheedy.
The film follows David Lightman (Broderick), a young hacker who unwittingly accesses WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), a United States military supercomputer originally programmed to predict possible outcomes of nuclear war. Lightman gets WOPR to run a nuclear war simulation, originally believing it to be a computer game. The computer, now tied into the nuclear weapons control system, and unable to tell the difference between simulation and reality, attempts to start World War III.
The film was a box office success, costing US$12 million, and grossing $79,567,667 after five months in the United States and Canada. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards. A sequel, WarGames: The Dead Code, was released direct to DVD on July 29, 2008.
During a surprise drill of a nuclear attack, many United States Air Force Strategic Missile Wing missileers prove unwilling to turn a required key to launch a missile strike. Such refusals convince John McKittrick (Dabney Coleman) and other systems engineers at Norad that missile launch control centers must be automated, without human intervention. Control is given to a NORAD supercomputer, WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), programmed to continuously run military simulations and learn over time.
David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) is a bright but unmotivated Seattle high school student and hacker. After receiving a failing grade in school, he uses his IMSAI 8080 microcomputer to hack into the district’s computer system. He then changes his grade and does the same for his friend and classmate Jennifer Mack (Ally Sheedy). Later, while dialing every number in Sunnyvale, California to find a set of forthcoming computer games, a computer that does not identify itself intrigues David.
On the computer he finds a list of games, starting with general strategy games like chess, checkers, backgammon, and poker and then progressing to titles like “Theaterwide Biotoxic and Chemical Warfare” and “Global Thermonuclear War”, but cannot proceed further. Two hacker friends explain the concept of a backdoor password and suggest tracking down the Falken referenced in “Falken’s Maze”, the first game listed. David discovers that Stephen Falken is an early artificial intelligence researcher, and guesses correctly that his dead son’s name “Joshua” is the backdoor password.
David does not know that the Sunnyvale phone number connects to WOPR, or “Joshua”, at Cheyenne Mountain Complex. He starts a game of Global Thermonuclear War, playing as the Soviet Union. The computer starts a simulation that briefly convinces the military personnel at NORAD that actual Soviet nuclear missiles are inbound. While they defuse the situation, Joshua nonetheless continues the simulation to trigger the scenario and win the game, as it does not understand the difference between reality and simulation. It continuously feeds false data such as Soviet bomber incursions and submarine deployments to the humans at NORAD, pushing them into raising the DEFCON level and toward a retaliation that will start World War III.
David learns the true nature of his actions from a news broadcast, and the FBI arrests him and takes him to NORAD. He realizes that Joshua is behind the NORAD alerts but because he fails to convince McKittrick about this, he faces imprisonment. David escapes NORAD by joining a tourist group and, with Jennifer’s help, travels to the Oregon island where Falken (John Wood) now lives. David and Jennifer find that Falken has become despondent and believes that nuclear war is inevitable, that it is as futile as a game of tic-tac-toe between two experienced players. The teenagers convince Falken that he should return to NORAD to stop Joshua.
The computer stages a massive Soviet first strike with hundreds of missiles, submarines, and bombers. Believing the attack to be genuine, NORAD prepares to retaliate. Falken, David, and Jennifer convince military officials to cancel the second strike and ride out the non-existent attack. Joshua tries to launch the missiles itself, however, using a brute force attack to obtain the launch code. Without humans in the control centers as a safeguard, the computer will trigger a mass launch. All attempts to log in and order Joshua to cancel the countdown fail, and all weapons will launch if the computer is disabled.
Falken and David direct the computer to play tic-tac-toe against itself. This results in a long string of draws, forcing the computer to learn the concept of futility and no-win scenarios. Joshua obtains the missile code but before launching, it cycles through all the nuclear war scenarios it has devised, finding they too all result in stalemates. Having discovered the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (“WINNER: NONE”), the computer tells Falken that it has concluded that nuclear war is “a strange game” in which “the only winning move is not to play.” Joshua relinquishes control of NORAD and the missiles and offers to play “a nice game of chess.”
Some of the WarGames Characters:
Matthew Broderick (David Lightman) was a slight comic actor chiefly known for his boyish charm. He was born on March 21, 1962, in New York City to Patricia Broderick, a playwright and painter, and James Broderick, an actor. Matthew initially took up acting at New York’s upper-crust Walden School after being sidelined from his athletic pursuits (football and soccer) by a knee injury. His father got him his stage debut at age 17 in a workshop production of the play “On Valentine’s Day”.
Other films he has appeared in which may be known but not so much respected include Out on a Limb (1992) with his Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) co-star Jeffrey Jones; The Night We Never Met (1993); The Road to Wellville (1994); and The Cable Guy (1996) with Jim Carrey, which got him an MTV “Best Fight” award nomination; and the MTV film Election (1999) with Reese Witherspoon.
In 1985 he was involved in a controversial car crash while driving in Ireland with his then fiancé Jennifer Grey. The crash killed a woman and her daughter. Although Broderick was cleared of all charges, he paid a small fine to the family of the victims. He broke his leg in the accident, which happened just as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), his biggest hit, was coming out in the US. The box office success (but critical flop) and special effects blockbuster Godzilla (1998) gave Broderick his first action role (should any “Godzilla” sequels be planned, he is under contract for two more). He has occasionally returned to the stage in New York, either in revivals of old musical warhorses such as “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” or in revivals of old “show people”plays, such as “Night Must Fall”.
In 1996 Broderick attempted to wear three hats as co-producer/director/actor in Infinity (1996), working very closely with his mother, who also wrote the screenplay. It was not a critical or commercial success, and he has not directed or produced since. Since May 1997 he has been married to actress Sarah Jessica Parker. He was previously engaged to both Helen Hunt and dated Lili Taylor. In 1999 he donned a trenchcoat for the children’s film Inspector Gadget (1999), alongside Rupert Everett as the evil villain Claw. In March 2001 Broderick returned to Broadway in the musical smash “The Producers” (based on the 1968 Mel Brooks film of the same name).
Ally Sheedy (Jennifer Mack) was born June 13, 1962 in New York City and has two siblings, brother Patrick and sister Meghan. Her mother, Charlotte, is a writer and press agent who was involved in women’s and civil rights movements, and her father, John J. Sheedy, Jr., is a Manhattan advertising executive. Ally’s mother is Jewish and her father is of Irish Catholic background. Her parents divorced in 1971. Sheedy attended Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York City, graduating in 1980.
She started dancing with the American Ballet Theater at age six and was planning to make it a full-time career. However, she gave up dance in favor of acting full-time. At age 12 she wrote a children’s book, She Was Nice to Mice; the book was published by McGraw-Hill and became a best-seller. On June 19, 1975, she appeared on the game show To Tell the Truth in her role as a young writer. She is is an American film and stage actress, as well as the author of two books. Following her film debut in 1983’s Bad Boys, she became known as one of the Brat Pack group of actors in the films The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. She is also known for her roles in WarGames, Psych, Short Circuit and High Art.
Dabney Coleman (Dr. John McKittrick) was born in Austin, Texas, to Mary Wharton (Johns) and Melvin Randolph Coleman. He attended the Virginia Military Institute, and studied law in Texas. Coleman has a well deserved reputation as a fine character actor, and a reliable presence for almost any role in TV and movies. Dabney Coleman was also known for some satirical movies, starring in the comedy How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980) and snatched a lead role for the TV movie Pray TV (1980). Coleman’s reputation for playing world class jerks became cemented in 1980 as the boss to Dolly Parton , Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in Nine to Five (1980). The next year Coleman was in very good company working with legends Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond (1981).
Coleman’s hit streak would not end there. In 1982 Coleman landed a key role in the classic Tootsie (1982), further cementing his role as an unlikable wealthy boss in some capacity. In 1983 Coleman starred in the Cold War classic WarGames (1983). During this period he also found many parts in lesser known movies like Young Doctors in Love (1982) and Callie & Son (1981). He starred in The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) and in 1985 he starred with Tom Hanks in The Man with One Red Shoe (1985). In 1987 the actor won an Emmy for Sworn to Silence (1987). In 1993 Coleman starred in the slapstick comedy Amos & Andrew (1993) (a very funny part) and in a remake of the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) as Milburn Drysdale. Coleman took an extensive line of TV movies, such films as Texan, In the Line of Duty, among others. He took an unusual part in the ABC cartoon, Recess (1997), and then starred in a couple of big money grossers, the Tom Hanks comedy, You’ve Got Mail (1998), as Chief Quimby in Inspector Gadget (1999), and in Stuart Little (1999), both 1999. Coleman is still very active, and his future still seems ever brighter as he is starring in a couple of high profile movies in the near future that should do very well.
WarGames Facts – Did You Know?
The NORAD command center built for the movie was the most expensive set ever constructed up to that time, built at the cost of one million dollars. The producers were not allowed into the actual NORAD command center, so they had to imagine what it was like. In the DVD commentary, director John Badham notes that the actual NORAD command center isn’t nearly as elaborate as the one in the movie.
The WOPR, as seen in the movie, was made of wood and painted with a metal-finish paint. As the crew filmed the displays of the WOPR, Special Effects Supervisor Michael L. Fink sat inside and entered information into an Apple II computer that drove the countdown display.
The studio had the Galaxian (1979) and Galaga (1981) arcade machines delivered to Matthew Broderick’s home, where he practiced for two months to prepare for the arcade scene.
This movie inspired Congress to create and update the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984. Representative Dan Glickman (D-Kansas), opened the proceedings by saying: “..are gonna show about four minutes from the movie ‘WarGames,’ which…outlines the problem fairly clearly.” A House committee report solemnly intoned: “‘WarGames’ showed a realistic representation of the automatic dialing and access capabilities of the personal computer.”
The writers’ main inspiration for the character of Professor Stephen Falken was Cambridge Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking was originally approached to appear in the movie, but he declined because he didn’t want the producers exploiting his disability.
The tunnel and exterior used for the entrance into NORAD is the same tunnel used to enter and exit Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), as well as in the climax of Back to the Future Part II (1989). The tunnel is located in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California.
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