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Directed by Iain Softley
Produced by Michael Peyser
Written by Rafael Moreu
Starring Jonny Lee Miller
Angelina Jolie
Jesse Bradford
Matthew Lillard
Fisher Stevens
Renoly Santiago
Laurence Mason
Music by Simon Boswell
Cinematography Andrzej Sekula
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) September 15, 1995
Running time 107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $7,487,370 (US) [1]

Hackers is a 1995 American thriller film directed by Iain Softley and starring Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller, Renoly Santiago and Matthew Lillard. The screenplay, written by Rafael Moreu, is highly influenced by the hacker and cyberpunk subcultures. The film follows the exploits of a group of gifted high school hackers and their involvement in a corporate extortion conspiracy.


Plot summary

In 1988, Seattle youth Dade "Zero Cool" Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller) is arrested and charged, at the age of 11, with crashing 1,507 systems in one day and causing a single-day 7-point drop in the New York Stock Exchange. Upon conviction, he is banned from owning or operating computers or touch-tone telephones until his 18th birthday.

Shortly before Dade turns 18, his mother (now divorced) takes a new job in New York City. Upon turning 18, Dade calls a local television station, dupes the security guard into giving him the modem's phone number (using a tactic known as social engineering) and successfully hacks into the station's computer network, changing the current tv program to an episode of The Outer Limits. However, Dade is "attacked" by a hacker on the same network, (who goes by the handle "Acid Burn") and is eventually kicked off. During the conversation, Dade identifies himself by the new alias, Crash Override.

Dade enrolls Stanton High School, where he meets the beautiful Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie), who is responsible for taking him on a tour of the school. After being told of a "pool on the roof" (which results in Dade and several other students being locked on the roof during a rainstorm) and learning that Kate is "Acid Burn" a feud erupts between Dade and Kate. Their eventual hacking duel, which spans most of the film, is judged by Kate and Dade's mutual friends in the hacking community, The Phantom Phreak, Cereal Killer and Lord Nikon.

The real trouble erupts when Joey Pardella (Jesse Bradford), the younger, novice hacker of the group, successfully breaks into an oil company supercomputer to prove to the rest of the group that he is an elite hacker. In order to validate this feat, he downloads part of a garbage file. Unfortunately, the company's IT employee Hal (Penn Jillette) detects this unauthorized entry into their systems and summons computer security officer Eugene "The Plague" Belford (Fisher Stevens) to deal with the problem. He realizes that the file that is being downloaded can prove that The Plague is stealing money from the company via salami slicing. The Plague enlists the US Secret Service to recover the file by claiming that it is the code to a computer virus that will capsize the company's oil tanker fleet.

What follows is a frantic race against The Plague and the Secret Service to exonerate the hackers before Belford can unleash the virus causing a worldwide ecological disaster.


Hackers was the first major film to star future Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie, and also helped to launch the career of Matthew Lillard. The cast included:


The school scenes are filmed in Stuyvesant High School and the surrounding area in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan.[2]


The music soundtrack was released in 3 separate volumes over a number of years.[3] The first volume was composed entirely of music featured in the film (with the exception of Carl Cox's "Phoebus Apollo"), while the second and third are a mix of music "inspired by the film" as well as music actually in the film. Among others, the song "Protection", by Massive Attack featuring Tracey Thorn [4] of Everything But The Girl [5], plays during the scene where Angelina Jolie's character is on a balcony during the party setting, and the song does not appear on any of the three soundtracks.


Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, "The movie is smart and entertaining, then, as long as you don't take the computer stuff very seriously. I didn't. I took it approximately as seriously as the archeology in Indiana Jones".[6] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Despite her sullen posturing, which is all this role requires, Ms. Jolie has the sweetly cherubic looks of her father, Jon Voight".[7] In his review for the Los Angeles Times, David Kronke wrote, "All this is courtesy of the short-circuited imagination of Rafael Moreu, making his feature screenwriting debut, and director Iain Softley, who hopes that if he piles on the attitude and stylized visuals, no one will notice just how empty and uninvolving the story really is. All the sound and fury in the world can't disguise the fact that yowling music, typing montages and computer animation do not a gripping finale make".[8] In his review for the Washington Post, Hal Hinson wrote, "As its stars, Miller and Jolie seem just as one-dimensional—except that, in their case, the effect is intentional".[9] In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Stack wrote, "Want a believable plot or acting? Forget it. But if you just want knockout images, unabashed eye candy and a riveting look at a complex world that seems both real and fake at the same time, Hackers is one of the most intriguing movies of the year".[10]

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association, Inc. - SHS | Stuyvesant High School". SHSAA. 2006-05-06. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  3. ^ "from Hell do "Hackers"". Mutant Reviewers. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  4. ^ "Everything But The Girl > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Massive Attack > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (September 15, 1995). "Hackers". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  7. ^ Maslin, Janet (September 15, 1995). "Those Wacky Teen-Agers and Their Crazy Fads". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  8. ^ Kronke, David (September 15, 1995). "Hackers: World of Hip Computer Nerds". Los Angeles Times.,0,374634.story. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  9. ^ Hinson, Hal (September 15, 1995). "Hackers". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  10. ^ Stack, Peter (September 15, 1995). "Hackers Computes Visually". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 

External links

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