What is it about cutting-edge and futuristic technology that lends itself to great movies? There’s no shortage of films incorporating themes related to cybersecurity, and some of them are truly classic.
That got us thinking: If we at Cybersixgill appreciate these movies so much, then our blog readers just might enjoy them too. With that in mind, we decided to create a list of our 10 favorite cyber-themed films.
After much consideration, we managed to come up with a wide-ranging list of films that we highly recommend – new and old, funny and serious and informative. We even managed to fit in a couple of animated movies. And, although our focus was on films, there was one TV series so good we couldn’t leave it off the list.
So, without further ado, here (in no particular order) is Cybersixgill's list of 10 cyber-themed films (or TV series) we recommend to all of our blog readers:
This movie tells the story of a group of high-school student hackers who get caught up in a corporate conspiracy. But, watching it today, the coolest part may be the movie’s timing: It came out at a time when much of the public was just starting to be aware of the internet and what it could mean to live in a high-tech, highly connected world. It’s fascinating to see today what the internet looked like to a general audience a quarter-century ago.
Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
We must admit: A day at our office is not as action-packed as watching Bruce Willis take on a group of cyber-terrorists. But, like the work we do here, this film largely hinges on the ability to identify cyberthreats before it’s too late.
In a world before the internet was part of our day lives, keeping computer systems safe was largely a matter for governments to worry about. It was also great fodder for sci-fi movies like this Cold War-era classic about an adolescent hacker who unwittingly stumbles into a war-game simulation that risks triggering dangerous real-world repercussions.
Independence Day (1996)
This sci-fi/action film may be remembered more for its impressive action scenes and for Will Smith’s famous role as Captain Steven Hiller than for any cyber-related issues, but those issues also play a major role in it. No spoilers here, but threat intelligence and computer viruses are at the heart of the movie’s plot.
Toy Story (1995)
Unlike the other movies on our list, this one does not have a plot focusing on cybersecurity, computers, or related topics. Instead, it’s notable as the first film ever to consist entirely of computer-generated imagery (CGI) – giving it a groundbreaking role in the history of both computers and film. That said, is anybody really too old for Toy Story?
Secret History of Hacking (2001)
As its name suggests, this documentary explores the history of hacking and related practices such as phreaking, going back to the 1970s. Drawing heavily on interviews and archive footage, it tells a captivating story. And while it is focused on cybersecurity and related issues, its narrative is also very accessible to those without a background in computers.
The Imitation Game (2014)
Although this critically acclaimed biopic of Alan Turing takes place well before the birth of the internet, it tells an important story about the work that went into laying the foundation for modern computing – in addition to exploring Turing’s persona life. While we’re used to thinking of cyberthreats as a relatively modern phenomenon, The Imitation Game shows that the opposing goals of keeping information encrypted and exposing enemy secrets played a major role in the development of the computer.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
How would you explain the internet and the field of online marketing to a child? Beyond its all-star cast, this animated movie is notable for its take on how the web works, as shown by the protagonists’ adventures living inside the internet. Moreover, its witty humor makes it one of those great films that manages to keep both kids and their parents entertained.
Mr. Robot (2015-2019)
Although this is a TV show rather than a movie, its compelling storytelling makes it too good to leave off of this list. Focused on Elliot Alderson (played by Rami Malek), a cybersecurity engineer living in New York City, the series explores his personal and interpersonal struggles. The character development and the collision between Alderson’s career and hobbies – centered around cybersecurity – make this a can’t-miss show.
Another movie with an all-star cast, this comedy follows a computer security specialist and former hacker as he gets caught up in a large conspiracy centered around a powerful weapon capable of decoding any encryption system. Beyond this film’s humor, it’s worth watching for its depiction of what computer security looked like to the general public at a time when personal computers were becoming more common but home internet access was not yet mainstream.
These are our team’s picks, but there are lots of great cyber-themed movies that we didn’t get to mention here. What’s your favorite? We invite you to share your recommendations with us on Facebook or Twitter.