Hackers (1995)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fun throw-back film

Film tries to hard to be hip

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Hackers

Studio:  United Artists

Genre(s):  Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  September 15, 1995

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


That’s right we’re hip, young, and hackers

Dade Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller) has just finished serving his sentence he received as an eleven year-old when as Zero Cool he caused a computer crash which affected the stock market.  Now, he’s back to hacking in a new school under the name of Crash Override and finding himself at odds with a fellow hacker named Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie)…aka Acid Burn.  When a member of a group of hackers named Joey Pardella (Jesse Bradford) accidentally downloads a trashed file from a Gibson computer, he finds himself targeted by the Secret Service who believes he and his hacker friends are part of a terrorist attack.  Unfortunately, the terrorist attack is part of a cover-up by a hacker called Eugene Belford (Fisher Stevens) aka The Plague and his partner Margo Wallace (Lorraine Bracco) to rob the company.  The hackers find themselves targets and must uncover the truth to save themselves and stop a disaster.


Let’s hack the city!!!

Directed by Iain Softley, Hackers was a cyberpunk teen thriller in the early days of the internet.  The movie received mixed reviews and a poor showing at the box office, but since its release has become a minor cult classic.

I saw Hackers in the theater when I was in college.  It was either right around the time or before the time I first got on “the World Wide Web” aka “The Internet”.  Granted, things like War Games were around ten years before, but the internet was new and exciting, and Hackers tried to profit off of that.


We swim with clothes on…we’re that cool!

The movie’s plot is rather complex, but it is still pretty goofy.  The movie tries to wow the audience with techno garble which is sometimes accurate (even from a computer novice) and other times feels like it is grasping.  The scriptwriter Rafael Moreu did meet with Hackers and was highly influenced by William Gibson’s cyberpunk writing (like Neuromancer) and named the supercomputer after him.  The movie thinks it is deeper and edgier than it is…even in 1995.

The cast has a bit of a who’s who aspect to it.  The lead Jonny Lee Miller was about to explode with the release of Trainspotting and has since gone on to TV and films.  His costar at the time was simply “Jon Voight’s daughter” (and she and Jonny Lee Miller were married shortly after the film), but Katherine Heigl was originally cast as Kate Libby but had to drop out for Under Siege 2:  Dark Territory.  Matthew Lillard aka Cereal Killer was also new to the scene.  Fisher Stevens, Lorraine Bracco, Felicity Huffman, and Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller also have roles in the movie.


Nothing like putting love on a building

Visually, the movie also pushed for a cyberpunk feel.  The movie is very stylized and now that society is more versed in computer technology, a lot feels pretty laughable.  It is fun to see the throwback technology that seemed hip at the time, but I still contend that it is hard to make looking at a computer screen exciting…especially at this time.

Hackers is a fun film for those of you who were growing up at the time.  It is pretty fluffy and light so don’t expect much from it, but it does have some fun aspects to it.  The relatively harmless movie probably won’t interest younger or much more tech-savvy kids, but it is a fun throwback that can be enjoyed.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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