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Modems from the movies

The early years of geek tech in Hollywood

Article comments

During the 1980s, a clutch of Hollywood movies incorporated some of the first commercially available computer modems. Use of the new devices usually had some far-fetched implications, such as pushing the United States to the brink of thermonuclear war when an online game turned dangerous. But modems in the movies went way beyond War Games. Read on to relive cinematic modem magic.


Brainstorm (1983)

In this scene from the 1983 thriller Brainstorm, researcher Michael Brace (played by Christopher Walken) dials in to a mainframe at a factory that makes computer parts, and directs its robots to go berserk, destroying the lab. Meanwhile, his estranged wife and fellow researcher uses another line to hack in to the security systems at the factory and reprogram them to lock the labs and thwart the guards inside. Pretty sophisticated for 1983, no?

  • Brainstorm (1983)
  • More Brainstorm (1983)
  • War Games (1983)
  • Electric Dreams (1984)
  • Real Genius (1985)
  • Weird Science (1985)
  • Ferris Buellerundefineds Day Off (1986)
  • The Net (1995)



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