WarGames

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WarGames is a 1983 film about a teenager who unintentionally hacks into a war-simulating computer at NORAD, causing the US to panic over a seemingly impending Soviet nuclear strike.

Directed by John Badham. Written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes.
Is it a game, or is it real?taglines

David Lightman[edit]

  • [to Dr. Falken] This is unreal! You don't care about death 'cause you're already dead! I know a lot about you. I know you weren't always like this. What was the last thing you cared about?

Gen. Beringer[edit]

  • Goddammit, I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it'd do any good!

Dialogue[edit]

Mr. Liggett: Now there seems to be a lot of confusion on this next question: asexual reproduction. Could someone tell me please who first suggested the idea of reproduction without sex?
David: Ah-heh. [whispers something to a classmate]
[overhearing, Jennifer starts to laugh]
Mr. Liggett: Miss Mack! What is so amusing?
Jennifer: I...
[Jennifer breaks up into laughter again and turns to look at David, who puts on a show of mock innocence]
Mr. Liggett: Alright, Lightman. Maybe you could tell us who first suggested the idea of reproduction without sex.
David: Umm... Your wife?
[the class erupts into laughter]
Mr. Liggett: [pointing to the door] Get out, Lightman. Get out.

Mr. Lightman: This corn is raw!
Mrs. Lightman: I know isn't it wonderful, it's so crisp!
Mr. Lightman:: Of course, it's crisp, it's raw!
Mrs. Lightman: You can really feel the Vitamin A & D in here, it's great!.
Mr. Lightman: Could we not just take pills? And cook the corn?

[after David sees message saying "GREETINGS, PROFESSOR FALKEN."]
David Lightman: We're in! It thinks I'm Falken! [typing] Hello.
[David sees message saying "HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY?"]
Jennifer Mack: How can it ask you that?
David Lightman: It'll ask you whatever it's programmed to ask you. You wanna hear it talk?
Jennifer Mack: Yeah.
David Lightman: [turns on computer speaker] I'll ask it how it feels. [typing] I'm fine. How are you?
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] EXCELLENT. IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE REMOVAL OF YOUR USER ACCOUNT ON JUNE 23, 1973?
David Lightman: They must've told that he died. [typing] People sometimes make mistakes.
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] YES, THEY DO.
Jennifer Mack: How can it talk?
David Lightman: It's not a real voice. Uh, this box just interprets signals from the computer, and turns them into sound.
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?
David Lightman: Ohhh.
Jennifer Mack: [chuckles] I think it missed him.
David Lightman: Yeah. Weird, isn't it? [typing] Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] WOULDN'T YOU PREFER A GOOD GAME OF CHESS?
[Jennifer chuckles]
David Lightman: [typing] Later. Let's play Global Thermonuclear War.
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] FINE.
David Lightman: [happily] Alright! [sees "Global Thermonuclear War" loading up] [intrigued] Wow.
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] WHICH SIDE DO YOU WANT?
David Lightman: I'll be the Russians.
[David types 2. "AWAITING FIRST STRIKE COMMAND" appears onscreen.]
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] PLEASE LIST PRIMARY TARGETS.
David Lightman: Who should we nuke first?
Jennifer Mack: Um, oh, let's see. How 'bout...Las Vegas?
David Lightman: Las Vegas. Great. What next? Seattle!
Jennifer Mack: Yeah! [chuckles] Good one!

David Lightman: What is the primary goal?
Joshua/WOPR: YOU SHOULD KNOW, PROFESSOR. YOU PROGRAMMED ME.
David Lightman Oh, c'mon. What is the primary goal?
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] ''TO WIN THE GAME.

McKittrick: See that sign up here - up here. "DEFCON." That indicates our current defense condition. It should read "DEFCON 5," which means peace. It's still on 4 because of that little stunt you pulled. Actually, if we hadn't caught it in time, it might have gone to Defcon 1. You know what that means, David?
David Lightman: No. What does that mean?
McKittrick: World War III.

David Lightman: Is this a game or is it real?
Joshua/WOPR: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
David Lightman: Oh, wow.

Stephen Falken: Now, children, come on over here. I'm going to tell you a bedtime story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time, there lived a magnificent race of animals that dominated the world through age after age. They ran, they swam, and they fought and they flew, until suddenly, quite recently, they disappeared. Nature just gave up and started again. We weren't even apes then. We were just these smart little rodents hiding in the rocks. And when we go, nature will start again. With the bees, probably. Nature knows when to give up, David.
David: I'm not giving up. If Joshua tricks them into launching an attack, it'll be your fault.
Stephen Falken: My fault? The whole point was to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves; to get the computer to learn from mistakes we could not afford to make. Except, that I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson.
David: What's that?
Stephen Falken: Futility. That there's a time when you should just give up.
Jennifer: What kind of a lesson is that?
Stephen Falken: Did you ever play tic-tac-toe?
Jennifer: Yeah, of course.
Stephen Falken: But you don't anymore.
Jennifer: No.
Stephen Falken: Why?
Jennifer: Because it's a boring game. It's always a tie.
Stephen Falken: Exactly. There's no way to win. The game itself is pointless! But back in the war room, they believe you can win a nuclear war. That there can be "acceptable losses."

David: I think I saw one... [runs ahead for a moment and stops] What kind of an asshole lives on an island and he doesn't even have a boat?
Jennifer: Maybe we can swim for it. How far do you think it is?
David: No. It's uh, two, three miles at least. Maybe more.
Jennifer: Well, what do you say? Let's go for it!
David: No.
Jennifer: [starts to remove her shoes] Come on!
David: No! [pause] I can't swim.
Jennifer: You can't swim?
David: No, I can't, okay? Wonder Woman, I can't swim!
Jennifer: Well, what kind of an asshole grows up in Seattle and doesn't even know how to swim?
David: I never got around to it, okay? I always thought there was gonna be plenty of time!
Jennifer: Sorry.
David: I wish I didn't know about any of this! I wish I was like everybody else in the world, and tomorrow it would just be over. There wouldn't be any time to be sorry... about anything. Oh, Jesus! I really wanted to learn how to swim! I swear to God I did.

Stephen Falken: [looking at screens] How far's he gone?
McKittrick: Well the President about ready to order a counterstrike. That's what we're recommending he do.
Stephen Falken: It's a bluff, John, call it off.
McKittrick: No, it's not a bluff. It's real.
Stephen Falken: [raising his voice from stairs] Hello, General Beringer! Stephen Falken!
General Beringer: [standing] Mr. Falken you picked a hell of a day for a visit!
Stephen Falken: Uh, uh, General, what you see on these screens up here is a fantasy; a computer-enhanced hallucination. Those blips are not real missiles. They're phantoms.
McKittrick: Jack, there's nothing to indicate a simulation at all. Everything is working perfectly!
Stephen Falken: But does it make any sense?
General Beringer: Does what make any sense?
Stephen Falken: [points to the screens] That!
General Beringer: Look, I don't have time for a conversation right now.
Stephen Falken: General, are you prepared to destroy the enemy?
General Beringer: You betcha!
Stephen Falken: Do you think they know that?
General Beringer: I believe we've made that clear enough.
Stephen Falken: Then don't! Tell the President to ride out the attack.
Colonel Conley: Sir, they need a decision.
Stephen Falken: General, do you really believe that the enemy would attack without provocation, using so many missiles, bombers, and subs so that we would have no choice but to totally annihilate them?
Female Airman First Class: [on loudspeaker] One minute and thirty seconds to impact.
Stephen Falken: General, you are listening to a machine! Do the world a favor and don't act like one.

McKittrick: General, the machine has locked us out. It's sending random numbers to the silos.
Pat Healy: Codes. To launch the missiles.
General Beringer: Just unplug the goddamn thing! Jesus Christ!
McKittrick: That won't work, General. It would interpret a shutdown as the destruction of NORAD. The computers in the silos would carry out their last instructions. They'd launch.
General Beringer: Can't we disarm the missiles?
Pat Healy: Over a thousand of them? There's no time. At this rate it will hit the launch codes in... 5.3 minutes.
General Beringer: Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks.
McKittrick: I don't have to take that, you pig-eyed sack of shit.
General Beringer: Oh, I was hoping for something a little better than that from you, sir. A man of your education.
Officer: Sir, it's the President.
[McKittrick looks at Beringer]
McKittrick: What are you going to tell him?
General Beringer: That I'm ordering our bombers back to fail-safe; we might have to go through this thing after all. [talks into the phone] Yes, sir.

Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] GREETINGS, PROFESSOR FALKEN.
Stephen Falken: [typing] Hello, Joshua.
Joshua/WOPR: [electronic voice] A STRANGE GAME. THE ONLY WINNING MOVE IS NOT TO PLAY. HOW ABOUT A NICE GAME OF CHESS?

Taglines[edit]

  • Is it a game, or is it real?
  • Where the only winning move is NOT TO PLAY.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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