Living in the 21st century is a complicated thing to describe. Even before we got there, science fiction novels and films had gone to great lengths to explain the increasing connection and questionable dependence humans have with technology, ranging from incredibly positive moments of innovation to fearful disputes about computers taking over the world.
These relationships affect how we live our lives, continue to create, and view ourselves as people. As a result, it's only natural to understand that these dynamics are still represented in film to this day, continuing to build on a timeless legacy of movies involving computers, AI, hacking, and various other pursuits.
To cover this long trajectory, here is a list of our favorite computer-related movies:
#100. Pi (1998)
After programming his computer to make stock predictions, having it print out one reading, then watching it crash, Max Cohen quickly finds himself with an accurate reading as he realizes that his computer was right.
This epiphany sends the number theorist on a chase to find out much more than he bargained for, causing intense distress along the way.
#99. Desk Set (1957)
An antiquated film about computers from a distinctly mid-20th-century outlook on science fiction, 1957's Desk Set implores the anxieties humans may have about eventually being replaced by machines who can do their job more efficiently.
This movie also brings up questions about the increasing speed of technological advancement and the relevance of humans in workplaces.
#98. Pulse (2001)
A prime example of computer-related horror, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse follows two young people in Tokyo who find their lives changed for the worse by the Internet, which connects them to a terrifying situation that may be deadly if they're not careful.
#97. Electric Dreams (1984)
A film featuring a love triangle where one of the people involved is a computer.
This movie takes a look at what happens when a human develops genuine, romantic feelings for technology and how that can affect them and the people around them.
#96. Alphaville (1965)
After a U.S. agent is sent to the futuristic city of Alphaville to solve a mystery, he must take on the burden of the town and begin navigating the technological dystopia to find a missing person and eventually stop the ruling dictator.
#95. Smart House (1999)
When a genius teenager and his family win a computer house that has a mind of its own, they begin to become afraid once it starts resembling a controlling mother and making their lives more difficult than they had expected.
#94. The Singularity (2012)
With science fiction movies creating fear around The Singularity, the concept that artificial intelligence will eventually become stronger than humans, is it unreasonable to have a fear of the possibility?
This film explores the reality of the situation and how our current technologies may affect how society runs in the future.
#93. The Hacker Wars (2014)
Though crime may seem disingenuous due to it being behind screens, there is a lot at stake regarding our right to privacy, politics, and even more—this film takes a closer look at what exactly hackers are fighting for and why.
#92. Good Copy Bad Copy (2007)
Copyright on the internet is an incredibly nuanced thing—this film aims to explore this, documenting how copyright culture had to adjust at the turn of the 21st century and how that has affected distribution and consumption on the Internet.
#91. Talhotblond: (2009)
Exploring the nuances of online dating and how "everybody lies online", this movie looks into the murder of 22-year-old Brian Barrett, who was the subject of a psychological game played by a middle-aged woman.
After posing as her 18-year-old daughter to set up a romance with a middle-aged father, she starts another online adventure with Brian and pits the men against each other, resulting in complications. This shocking film takes a look at the real-life consequences of internet romances.
#90. Startup.com (2001)
Any company beginning their journey as a startup on the internet is sure to face many complications along the way—this film explores the tribulations thrust upon the website govWorks.com, documenting its rise and eventual fall.
#89. The Imitation Game (2014)
An early example of a notorious hacker, Alan Turing must crack the code of the German Enigma to help bring an end to the atrocities of World War II.
#88. Algorithm (2014)
After a freelance computer hacker stumbles upon a hidden government computer program, he must come to terms with a revolution that is bursting at the seams with innovation and danger.
#87. DSKNECTD (2013)
Smartphones and social media have undoubtedly connected humans in many ways previously unknown while seemingly disconnecting us in others—this film looks at how society has changed following these technological revolutions, looking at both the pros and cons of constant connection to the Internet.
#86. DEFCON: The Documentary (2013)
This movie is an extensive look into the world's largest hacking conference with a one-time allowance for a film crew to bypass the notorious "no cameras" rule to document the event, the people attending, and what it means to take part in the hacking community worldwide.
#85. We Live in Public (2009)
The life of Josh Harris is a complicated one. This documentary investigates that life, following the entrepreneur's career as the founder of JupiterResearch and Pseudo.com, the Dot-com bubble, an art project he did to project Orwellian ideas, and discussing what it means to broadcast our lives in the 21st century.
#84. Indie Game: The Movie (2012)
Indie developers don't have it easy—this movie explores what precisely this means, focusing on the personal, financial, and creative endeavors that must be troubleshooted to create a successful indie game.
#83. Secret History of Hacking (2001)
This documentary provides an extensive look at hacking, looking at the phone phreak phenomenon of the late 20th century and hackers such as John Draper (Captain Crunch), Steve Wozniak, and Kevin Mitnick.
#82. Disconnect (2012)
The digital age can connect us, sure, but it can also be very isolating—this film explores what it means to feel lonely in a world where everybody is connected.
#81. Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
A data courier tasked with transporting a package that is hidden inside his head must deliver it while being on a potentially deadly run either from carrying the data inside of him or the people who are after him.
#80. Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview (2012)
This lost interview with Steve Jobs was taken while he was still the head of NeXT, the company he founded after leaving Apple.
#79. Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy (2011)
A perspective on Steve Jobs' life goals, success, and failures, this look at the acclaimed entrepreneur is told by the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and other experts on the company's legacy.
#78. Julian Assange: A Modern Day Hero? Inside the World of WikiLeaks (2011)
This documentary focuses on the impact and history of WikiLeaks, taking an unbiased approach to describe its infamous founder, Julian Assange.
#77. Hackers Wanted (2009)
An exploration of the ethics behind hacking, Hackers Wanted uses the work of Adrian Lamo to speak about the reasons why people begin hacking and the included repercussions.
#76. Risk (2016)
Focusing on the life of Julian Assange, this documentary details his philosophy and upbringing, including the controversies he endured as the founder of WikiLeaks.
#75. Google and the World Brain (2013)
Google's controversial goal to have a database of all the available information is more than just a goal to help humanity. This film brings to light other intentions and controversies the company discovered along the way.
#74. Welcome to Macintosh (2008)
The history of Apple is an extensive one that features many ups and downs—Robert Baca and Josh Rizzo offer a closer look, detailing the company's hardships and success stories.
#73. Snowden (2016)
In this biopic, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Edward Snowden as he undergoes the events that would make him famous: leaking the NSA's illegal surveillance methods to the public.
#72. Hacker (2016)
The young, Ukrainian hacker Alex Danyliuk turns to a life of criminal hacking after his mother loses her job, targeting banks along the way.
#71. Silicon Cowboys (2016)
The developers of the Compaq portable computer faced a difficult fight against IBM in the 1980s as the personal computer became accepted in the mainstream—this documentary highlights their hardships and tribulations.
#70. Steve Jobs (2015)
This film about the founder of Apple paints a portrait of his earlier life, centering around three specific product launches, ending in 1998. A compelling performance by Michael Fassbender lets us in to learn more about the enigma that was Steve Jobs.
#69. The Accountant (2016)
An accountant begins working for a new client and quickly realizes it is a more dangerous job than he expected, bringing in technological advancements and threats.
#68. The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Neo must continue to understand his place within a limbo world as an isolated number of humans begin to understand their position trapped in a virtual reality dream against their will.
#67. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016)
This exploration of the Internet brings to light the effects that interconnectivity has on us as a society.
#66. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus must continue to fight against the Machine Army while also learning more about The Matrix's relevance to humankind and what that means for their identities.
#65. Cyberbully (2015)
A teenager is blackmailed through the internet by a criminal as a result of her cyberbullying others and is forced to follow the hacker's commands to avoid having lewd photos of her posted online.
#64. Code 2600 (2011)
Our society has already changed incredible amounts in the past 20 years, the era that is commonly referred to as the Info-Tech Age.
This film explores the pros and cons of how our improved connectivity has affected our lives.
#63. In the Realm of the Hackers (2003)
Having just completed one of the most comprehensive hacks of its time (the 1980s), mysterious hackers Electron and Phoenix had nearly gotten away with stealing a security list to break into one of the world's most classified systems before one of them outed themselves to the New York Times. This documentary focuses on their arrests ten years after it happened, using that as a gateway to discuss the ethics and risk of underground hacking.
#62. Enemy of the State (1998)
After accidentally being given classified information regarding a politically-motivated crime, an innocent lawyer must adjust to his new life on the run from the NSA and the corrupt politician in question.
#61. One Point O (2004)
A young computer-programmer can't figure out how to complete a code he is working on and doesn't know why. When unknown packages show up at his door one day, he must figure out their origins through a daring investigation.
#60. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)
In this family-friendly comedy, Dexter Riley benefits from a computer accident. Afterward, he can perfectly memorize anything, ridding him of errors and many of the difficulties of modern life.
#59. Hackers: Wizards of the Electronic Age (1984)
Providing an old look at hacking, this documentary from the 1980s consists of interviews taken from a 1984 hacker conference in California, shedding light on the hacker community of the time.
#58. The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996)
Beginning in the 1970s, this movie looks at the modest beginnings of the computer industry up until the Dot-com boom of the 1990s, focusing on its creators and how they were able to change the world from their parents' garages.
#57. War for the Web (2015)
This documentary sheds light on how the Internet works, unmasking its physical infrastructure and raising questions about ownership and precautions against monopolies in the modern marketplace.
#56. GoldenEye (1995)
James Bond must save the world from a nuclear disaster by someone whom he thought was dead, teaming up with a survivor from a Russian research center to solve the mystery.
#55. Virtuosity (1995)
An ex-cop is tasked with stopping a computer simulation created from the personality profiles of serial killers after it creates a human body and begins replicating infamous murders in real life, seeking to improve on the originals
#54. Foolproof (2003)
Leading a group that focuses on pulling off heists, Kevin, Sam, and Rob find themselves forced to pull off the most extensive heist yet after being blackmailed by a gangster. They soon realize this is a dangerous mission, opening up a struggle to complete the task and stay alive in the process.
#53. Real Genius (1985)
While these teenage geniuses are developing a laser for a university project, they begin sabotaging the project after discovering that their professor intends to use the weapon for military-grade action.
#52. The KGB, the Computer and Me (1990)
A thrilling but true story, after finding a discrepancy while working at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in 1986, Clifford Stoll must figure out precisely what is going on as he races to find out who is hacking the system. This search takes him all the way to Hannover, Germany and reveals the perpetrator to be Markus Hess, disclosing ties to the KGB in the midst of a curious operation.
#51. Freedom Downtime (2001)
A documentary about the Free Kevin movement, this film looks at the rise and questionable fall of Kevin Mitnick and the people that backed him after his arrest.
It focuses on how criminal processing and the court of law comes into play during the turn of the century, using one of the most notable computer hacking prosecutions as a perfect example.
#50. Swordfish (2001)
The convicted hacker Stanley Jobson is enlisted by a counter-terrorist organization to help fight international terrorism despite a lack of financial funding in this action-filled thriller.
#49. Eagle Eye (2008)
Two strangers are unified by a phone call that subsequently threatens not only their lives but also their families. Through the use of technology, they are tracked and coerced into dangerous situations against their own will, leaving them to find a way out.
#48. eXistenZ (1999)
After she discovers that assassins are out to execute her, a game designer must play through one of her games to figure out what is wrong. This compelling film from David Cronenberg brings up questions about authorship, consumer experience, and video game development throughout its 97-minute runtime.
#47. The Startup Kids (2012)
Focusing on important file hosting websites such as Vimeo, Dropbox, Soundcloud, and more, The Startup Kids focuses on the young entrepreneurs who made these ideas reality. Learn about how the start-up attitude plays into capitalism and how their influence has been widely felt in their industries and outside ventures.
#46. Her (2013)
This romantic film describes the relevance of romance in an age where humans live alongside computers, with one man undergoing the highs and lows of romance.
The problem? He's in love with a computer and must fight the societal and personal troubles that brings.
#45. The Fifth Estate (2013)
Based on a real story, an internet start-up filled with controversy is dissected by those within it to understand how it functions and if it can continue efficiently and ethically.
#44. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)
Following the suicide of Aaron Swartz, this documentary takes a closer look at his upbringing, misfortune, and activist personality that brought him to be an important figure for the relevance of free data on the internet.
#43. We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists (2012)
This documentary describes the creation and sustainability of the self-described "hacktivist" group Anonymous, what they stand for, and how they run their organization on the internet.
#42. Terms and Conditions May Apply (2013)
Do you really read what you agree to when signing up for a website?
This documentary analyzes what exactly users agree to when signing up for services and what this means for consumers and the corporations that create the specifications.
#41. TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (2013)
As the internet's most popular torrent website, The Pirate Bay's existence and subsequent legal controversy highlight issues within the media industry and intellectual copyright.
#40.The Net (1995)
After stumbling upon a conspiracy, a programmer's life is changed immediately as she is given a new identity as a result of her exposure to the classified information. As she figures out what is going on, the society begins to be anguished by peril.
#39. Paycheck (2003)
An engineer unsuspectingly takes on a job that allows him to earn millions of dollars quickly but is thrown off by a sudden chase that ensues. He must put together the pieces and formulate why he is being chased or risk his life in the process.
#38. The Lawnmower Man (1992)
Is it possible to turn somebody into a genius through the use of technology? Some scientists might think so, and—when they come across a man who has the brain of a child—they use technology to turn him into a genius, soon seeing how his heightened intelligence can pose a threat.
#37. Source Code (2011)
After a soldier regains consciousness and realizes he is not only in someone else's body but also set with a task by the government to find a bomber, he is thrown into the intensive task immediately.
The most challenging part of the mission? He must find out what is going on and solve it within 8 minutes.
#36. Avalon (2001)
In a dystopian world, people are suffering from addiction relating to a new, immersive video game called Avalon. When some players hear about a potential next level of the game being available, they set on a quest to discover it, but begin learning about the potential inability to come back to reality after reaching it.
#35. Déjà Vu (2006)
A bombing in New Orleans forces an A.T.F. agent to investigate using experimental surveillance methods. However, as he gets deeper into the mission, he discovers a personal fascination with one of the victims involved.
#34. Hackers Are People Too (2008)
This humanizing look at hackers dismantles common tropes and stereotypes about hackers, creating a portrait of a community that was constructed by the community it speaks about.
#33. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
After the U.S. government sets up a computer system to handle its nuclear missile defenses, it develops a mind of its own.
#32. Revolution OS (2001)
Though Microsoft ruled the computer market of the early 2000s, this film goes into the fanbase of users who were disillusioned by the company and preferred more open-source methods, leading to the development and cultivation of Linux and other OS methods.
#31. Repo Men (2010)
In a dystopian future that involves a system in which people can purchase artificial organs on a credit basis, one man must find the money to pay back the debt for a heart before the timer goes off, threatening his life.
#30. Antitrust (2001)
After landing his dream programming job at a Portland-based company, one man is shocked to discover the dark side of the process, being forced to confront unethical and ruthless tactics used by his boss.
#29. Takedown (2000)
Hacker Kevin Mitnick rose to prominence with his controversial arrest in 1995—this movie is a re-telling of the events leading up to this arrest, going deep into his hacking origins and interest in social programming.
#28. Downloaded (2013)
Since the late 1990s, the music industry has undeniably changed due to the rising prominence of online piracy and the controversy that ensued. This movie details the legacy of services like Napster and how that changed the relationship consumers have with musicians and the industry.
#27. Untraceable (2008)
When Jennifer Marsh, an FBI agent, is assigned to hunt down a presumably untraceable serial killer, she begins to learn more about herself than she initially expected. The killer's technique of taking videos of his victims before killing them provides a backdrop for a wild race to save lives.
#26. Deep Web (2015)
With technological advancement also comes the potential of crime—this documentary investigates the dubious Deep Web, examining how it facilitated one of the largest hubs for the illegal drug trade and also how the takedown of the site brought up many questions about online ethics and our right to privacy.
#25. I, Robot (2004)
Set in the not-so-distance future of 2035, Will Smith stars as a cop that is generally ambivalent about technology. However, when he is assigned to investigate a crime questionably committed by a robot, he embarks on a journey to become more familiar with robots and their potential threat to humanity.
#24. Catfish (2010)
When some filmmakers aim to document their colleague's online dating experience, things take a drastic turn for the worse as they realize there is much more to the story than they realized.
#23. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Lisbeth Salander, a hacker, teams up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist to find a woman who has been missing for 40 years after a supposed murder. To get to the bottom of the mystery, they must gain trust from each other and solve any personal differences.
#22. Citizenfour (2014)
A prominent whistleblower who brought to light many of the NSA's illegal wrongdoings with public surveillance, Edward Snowden is interviewed in a series of meetings taking place in Hong Kong. Through this, topics of cybersecurity, technological rights, and what justice means are explored.
#21. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013)
This documentary investigates the origins of WikiLeaks, the website created by Julian Assange that presented stolen information from the US government to bring justice to corruption.
The film explains how this ended up being a big part of the most significant security violation in US history and examines the effects it had on democracy and cybersecurity.
#20. Jobs (2013)
Beginning with Steve Jobs' upbringing and subsequent status as a college dropout, this film goes to great lengths to portray just what made him an influential figure and eventually one of the greatest creative forces of the 20th century.
#19. Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
Learn more about the beginnings of great computer corporations Apple and Microsoft in this historical documentary. Understand how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates got their beginnings and started on their way to create two of the most influential companies in technology to this day.
#18. Open Windows (2014)
When an unsuspecting fan begins spying on his favorite actress from his laptop, he is thrown in the middle of an intense and potentially deadly conflict.
#17. Sneakers (1992)
A security specialist and his team are sent on a mission to get back a specific item, forcing him to confront his past through the technology he uses along the way.
#16. Reboot (2012)
When a hacker awakens from a deep sleep after a traumatic event, she discovers an iPhone glued to her hand and a mysterious timer that is ticking away.
#15. Firewall (2006)
A man mostly familiar with security must save his family by dismantling and robbing the bank he works at to have the money to pay their ransom.
#14. Hacking Democracy (2006)
American activists search for the root of a potential miscount in the 2004 presidential election, revealing flaws about the current system of voting digitally.
#13. Tron: Legacy (2010)
A continuation of the cult classic Tron and set 7 years after the original film, Tron: Legacy deals with the disappearance of original protagonist Kevin Flynn and the actions his son takes to solve the mysteries of The Grid.
#12. The Social Network (2010)
When Mark Zuckerberg created the social media website Facebook while a Harvard undergrad, he made some enemies along the way who pose issues on personal and business-related levels.
#11. Hackers (1995)
After a virus is made that threatens to sink five oil tankers, a group of hackers is blamed for the atrocity that could change the world forever. A little campy, but features Angelina Jolie and her crew "hacking the Gibson"!
#10. 23 (1998)
Based on a true story, this film follows a group of hackers from Hannover, Germany in the 1980s as they switch from harmless breaches to government-level acts of crime to confront the infamous KGB.
#9. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
A thrilling chase to take down a cyber-terrorist leads John McClane to enlist a young hacker in this action-packed film.
#8. The Matrix (1999)
After a computer hacker is confronted with the thin line that constitutes the reality in which he lives, he must embark on a journey to understand his identity and face those controlling the system.
#7. WALL-E (2008)
WALL-E, the film that got people of all ages to empathize with the incredibly friendly titular robot. Join WALL-E as he attempts to leave behind his job of compacting trash and save the earth from total pollution, answering questions about the relevance of computers and the potentially harmful effects of technology.
#6. Gamer (2009)
When death row convicts are placed in the hands of real players to fight to the death and are only released after they survive 30 matches, one teenager must bring his A game if he wants to help Kable (the convict he's controlling) to see the outside world before death.
#5. Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott's neo-noir science fiction film became a hit among tech geeks and mainstream audiences alike, presenting a distant (for the time) future of LA in 2019, in which robots exist freely, synthetic humans are created, and some societal issues must be solved.
#4. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
The original Ghost in the Shell serves as one of the most thought-provoking computer-related movies, defining many aspects of what it means to be a cyborg and how hacking relates when humans are combined with technology.
#3. Tron (1982)
The timeless film about software engineers hacking into the mainframe of a computer corporation's system begins the journey of a lifetime. Join Kevin Flynn as he navigates a digital landscape and comes face-to-face with many allies and villains along the way.
#2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
When it originally hit theaters in 1968, audiences didn't know what to think of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Stanley Kubrick-crafted epic took viewers through a wild journey of human discovery, beginning with evolution and eventually reaching an intense dialogue between human dependence on technology.
The most iconic scene is undoubtedly the interaction Dave has with the computer HAL, showing how artificial intelligence could be just as deadly as it is helpful.
#1. WarGames (1983)
At the top of our list is WarGames, a film that highlighted the IMSAI 8080 computer along with those beautiful 8" floppy drives. Almost by accident, a young man hacks into a military computer that distorts the line between reality and video games, causing societal conflict.