If your only encounter with computers was through movies, you would come away with some interesting ideas about them. For example:
- They beep a lot
- They basically run on black magic
- Really fast typing is the key to hacking
- Fonts are always large
- Everything is rendered in 8-bit
In fact, Ariel Computing in Australia put together a handy list of Interesting Things You Learn About Computers in the Movies. Wouldn’t it be great if you somehow knew how to utilize that override function that’s used in movies whenever a menacing “Permission Denied” message appears?
Computers in movies go back a long way. Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of computers in movies through the decades, starting in the 1950s.
Desk Set, 1957
This romantic comedy starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn has Hepburn as the reference librarian for the Federal Broadcasting Network, which is negotiating a possible merger. To help with the workload, two “electronic brains” are brought in, and employees naturally think they’re about to be replaced by computers. When the payroll computer starts printing out actual pink slips, everyone’s fears seem confirmed.
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968
This iconic movie, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was quite polarizing when it was first released. Critics either thought it was revolutionary in its greatness, or the worst film ever made. With Douglas Rain as the voice of the sentient HAL 9000, the epic story concerns encounters between humans and mysterious monoliths influencing human evolution, and a voyage to Jupiter to trace a signal emitted by one of the monoliths.
Demon Seed, 1977
Starring Julie Christie, The Demon Seed was a science fiction / horror movie directed by Donald Cammell. Based on a Dean Koontz novel, the film concerns a self-aware computer named Proteus, which traps Christie’s character, Susan, and cuts off all communication to the outside world. Proteus compels Susan to agree to conceive a child by him, but her absent husband, Alex, discovers what’s going on and returns home to help her as the robotic baby grows in an incubator. Then it gets weird.
Tron was directed by Steven Lisberger and starred Jeff Bridges. Computer programmer and video game designer Kevin Flynn, played by Bridges, finds himself lasered into the software world of a mainframe computer where he has to interact with different programs in order to get back out. Flynn ultimately figures out that he as a user can manipulate the reality of his digital world.
The Matrix, 1999
Spawning sequels and countless pop culture references, The Matrix depicts a future dystopia where “reality” is actually a simulated world called the Matrix, created by sentient computers to keep the human race under control while the heat from their physical bodies is used as a source of energy. Programmer Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, learns the truth and along with other people freed from the Matrix, foments rebellion against the machines.
“Suddenly The Allegory of the Cave makes sense!”
Iron Man, 2008
This superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics character was directed by Jon Favreau and starred Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, a man who builds himself a technologically advanced exoskeleton that turns him into superhero Iron Man. Stark’s personal artificial intelligence computer program assists him in building and programming the Iron Man suit. The program, named J.A.R.V.I.S., is a reference to comic book character Edwin Jarvis, Stark’s butler.
The Social Network, 2010
Written by Aaron Sorkin and Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network portrays the beginnings of Facebook and the lawsuits that resulted. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was not involved with the project. The Social Network got rave reviews, though Zuckerberg criticized it as inaccurate. Nonetheless, the movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture (which it lost to The King’s Speech).
Samanage can’t help you master the typing speed necessary to successfully hack computers in the motion picture world. But it can provide you with IT service management software that may have end users believing in your magical powers as you use apps, remote desktop, and IT asset management functions to seamlessly manage all your organization’s IT service delivery needs.Computers in Movies: Decade by Decade Click To Tweet